Take Courage

With persecution of Christians increasing in the world, including in the good ole USA which was founded on religious freedom, we have to remember that the main thing is still the main thing: God will never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).

Regardless of how many God haters rise into power, God is still in control of our individual lives. Our fears and anxiety will only add to the stress and ill health caused by their persecution.

If we learn to enter God’s rest now, while we still have our freedoms, it will enable us to better traverse the unknown treatment, loss and deprivation which we may face in the future.

God reminds us that we are actually blessed when we are persecuted for His sake. We take courage from the example set by lives such as Paul and the Old Testament prophets (Matthew 5:10-12).

We rejoice, because although we may face scarcity now, we are storing up rewards in heaven for eternity. This concept allows us to rejoice and continue to serve as the salt and light of the earth (Matthew 5:12-15).

God uses us to preserve the lives and to light the path of those around us and to lead them to Him. When they see His love, peace and joy in our life, regardless of circumstances, they too will honor our Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16).

Prayer:
Father God, remind us to take the focus off our self and to share Your love with those who are also suffering all around us. Remind us that the endurance of Christ fills our soul, because He abides within us. Any persecution is light and momentary when compared to the glory You prepared for us in Heaven.

As Your righteous ones, we live by faith and You preserve our soul, so there is no need for us to shrink back in fear but to continue to show Your love even to our persecutors (Hebrews 10:32-39).

Thought for the Day:
Regardless of those who are elected as our officials, how much power terrorists gain in the world or how many laws are passed against us expressing our faith with words, buildings, external crosses or religious trappings, nothing can separate us from the eternal rest and love of God dwelling within us. – Romans 8:35-39; Proverbs 21:1

Renewed Mind – Part 4 – God-Given Emotions

Our soul – our thoughts, choices and emotions – is a vital part of who we are as human beings. Ignoring our soul only stunts our growth both in our soul and in our spirit.

A need for attention, dependence on others, and fear of being alone are results of abandonment issues from our childhood. Destructive acts, pouting, self-centeredness and temper tantrums all stem from deep deprivation and anger from our past.

Our lack of self-awareness and failure to accept our emotions will compound our past wounds, which we carry with us every day of our life, some of them since conception.

Our relationships suffer due to emotional, behavioral and mental deficits. Psychologically, we are stuck in the unresolved issues of our past, which prevent us from experiencing adulthood with a mature attitude.

We fail to succeed in most of our endeavors due to the lack of adult persistence, self-control and planning. Some of us are consumed with anger and unforgiveness, which we internalize.

This results in depression for which we take medication. This simply masks the pain in our soul and causes more grief as well as physical ailments such as headaches, and stomach and breathing and heart related issues.

If we allow our self to feel our anger, we can work through it to the grief buried within our subconscious mind (Ephesians 4:26). We can journal our thoughts and feelings, and ask God to help us to find the root cause of our grief and other negative emotions.

Never apologize for your emotions. God gave them to us. They are either a sign of sickness in our soul, a precaution to keep us safe, and an expression of the joy He places in the heart of His children (Proverbs 16:32, 17:22, 19:8; Ephesians 4:26-27).

After we identify the source of our negative emotions, we can grieve our losses and affirm and validate our feelings. Then we pray for God’s wisdom and healing, we forgive the perpetrators, who wounded us and caused our grief; and we move into the freedom and rest of the Lord Jesus Christ (Hebrews 13:5; John 8:36).

Prayer:
Father God, there are few of us on this earth who did not experience some form of abuse in our lifetime. We never learned to handle our emotions and often sin because of them. We may minimize, disassociate from or magnify our feelings; but teach us to learn from them, and to bring them to You for understanding and healing.

Help us to stop blaming our self for the abuse we suffered; to release the pent up energy from our negative emotions without sinning against You or someone else; and to allow our self to cry and grieve our losses. Then we can release the incident to You and find Your forgiveness for those who wounded us.

Thought for the Day:
God and Christ both gave us clear examples of how emotions are a normal and healthy part of life.

Proof of God’s Love – Part 2

God absolutely cares about us and the matters, which are important to us (1 Peter 5:7). He has our best interest at heart.
God’s discipline is a proof of His love for us (Hebrews 12:6).

He helps us to cast down the idols in our soul (2 Corinthians 10:5). I know that I have an idol in my life when my feelings get hurt and when other negative emotions start popping up in my heart.

If something irritates me, angers me or stresses me out, I can be sure there is an idol at the root of the issue, which I need to surrender to God.

Many times the issues, for which I am crusading, are best left as a matter of prayer, rather than trying to influence someone to accept my ideas or to act a certain way.

Another idol of mine is organization and schedules. I keep lists and calendars. I love order and proficiency. I feel secure and they keep me from forgetting appointments. They help me to have what we need, when we need it.

However, other people in my life are more impulsive and extemporaneous. They live a fluid life, and my need for order restricts them.

I had to surrender this idol to God and then learn to be more adaptable, flexible and spontaneous. This helped me to have more fun.

Of course, my ability to keep schedules helps us to stay organized, but I had to learn to be less inhibited and to lay down the idol of my need to attempt to control life.

God is also healing me from codependency. I am learning not to serve others by putting their interests and needs above my own to the point of depriving myself of the peace and joy of walking in God’s Spirit. ( http://www.amazon.com/The-Christian-Codependence-Recovery-Workbook/dp/1936451050 )

God is teaching me to live interdependently with other people and to hear His will for my involvement in their lives. Many times, the discernment He gives me is a matter of prayer rather than action.

Prayer:
Father God, I am learning to trust that You are faithful to restore balance and peace in our life in Your own way and time. Thank You for reminding me that You love the people I care about more than I do.

You have a perfect plan for each life, and You will work out everything in their life for their good (Romans 8:28). You may use me to help in some situation; but more often than not, You choose to do the work in their lives as I pray for them.

Thank You for the freedom from idols that You provide for us. Help us to walk in Your Spirit, so that we will not fulfill the carnal impulses of our flesh (Galatians 5:15-21).

Thought for the Day:
As we monitor the negative emotions, which disturb the peace of God in our soul, we can rely on God to reveal the issue at the root of them, so that we can lay down these idols at His feet.
( http://www.theophostic.com )

A Seed for a Miracle

The trials of life are inevitable. Tribulation even comes to those who walk uprightly before the Lord (Matthew 5:45). Paul learned two secrets through the things, which he suffered.

First, he learned to be content whether he had plenty or when he had nothing, when he lived in comfort or when he suffered deprivation, and when he saw the fruit of his ministry or when he simply planted or watered (Philippians 4:11-12; 1 Corinthians 3:6-7).

Secondly, he learned to count every trial and tribulation as a joyous event (James 1:2-18). I never understood this insane view of suffering; until the day that I suffered the dissolution of my family.

This was by far the worst thing that could ever happen to me. I can bear physical pain and death, but I was inconsolable from the magnitude of my emotional loss when I was literally cut out of my family circle.

God previously tried through numerous trials to teach me to surrender all to Him, to enter His place of rest and to have faith in His faithfulness (Proverbs 3:5-6; Hebrews 4:10-11).

Yet, through every trail I struggled, often in vain, to use my own human resources to remedy the situation. However, this time there was no repairing the rupture of my family unit through divorce.

This is when I learned the Serenity Prayer. I had no recourse but to hand this devastating trial completely to God to do with as He saw fit. What I learned from this situation changed my life.

Now when I experience a trial, I view it as a sidewalk. If I focus on the details of the journey, I experience fear and insecurity. If I remember that there is a seed for a miracle in every trial, I feel only hope and anticipation.

I look toward the end the trial with the eyes of faith (Hebrews 11:1), expecting to see a miracle just up ahead. I keep my mind focused on God’s Kingdom and His will for me in this trial.

I serve at the pleasure of our King Jesus. If He allows a loss or trial or tribulation in my life, it is for His glory and my good (John 9:3; Romans 8:28). I can count on Him, because He is always faithful (1 Corinthians 1:9).

God uses us in times of trial to share the Gospel with someone; to live through this storm as an example of Christ’s peace in us; and for God to form His character, the fruit of His Spirit, and Christ’s divine nature in us through the things, which we suffer (Galatians 5:22-23; 2 Peter 1:4; Ephesians 2:10)?

I count trials as a joyful experience now, as I focus on the eternal consequences and not the temporal aspects of each one. I look forward to the ultimate miracle, which this trial shall birth in my life.

Prayer:
Father God, trials also taught me that if I continually live in Your presence and walk by Your Spirit, I will experience far fewer trials than if You have to resort to trials to gain my attention.

Satan also uses circumstances to batter us with temptations and trials all throughout our life; but we thank You that Christ in us is greater than the god of this world (Job 2:3; 1 John 4:4). Remind us that Jesus already won the victory for us over every negative aspect of life (1 Corinthians 15:57).

Thought for the Day:
Trust your life to God’s capable hands.

Healing Spiritual Deprivation

Our world abounds with the masses of humanity in profound spiritual deprivation. They refuse to trust in Jesus for their salvation, because they do not want to submit to an entity, which cannot be proven to their human mind.

For some, their pride and rebellion thwart them from experiencing the wondrous provision of their Heavenly Father, who loved them enough to suffer the horrendous persecution and then death on Calvary’s cross.

Others were disappointed by God or someone in the church, and they hold a grudge against religion. They do not see that spirituality is about Jesus, not people; and that God had something better in store for them instead of what they wanted.

God did not create humanity in order to set us up for failure or to condemn us. Yet, anyone who fails to believe in Jesus as the Son of God, and refuses to repent of their sins and trust Him with their life, has already condemned themselves to an eternity in hell (John 3:18).

God came to earth as a human being to pay the penalty of our sins. Therefore, anyone who repents of their sins, and believes in Him enough to trust Him for salvation, is forgiven of the sin debt we collected throughout our lifetime (John 3:17).

God did this because He immensely loves each person ever born (John 3:16). He actually knows the number of hairs we have on our head at all times, even though they fall out and new ones grow each day (Luke 12:7). He saw us as we developed in our mother’s womb, and has a wonderful plan for our life (Ephesians 2:10; Psalm 139:13, 16; Jeremiah 1:5).

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for working out the circumstances in our lives to draw us closer to You. You came to earth to redeem us, because You want to shower us with blessings as Your adopted children. We give You our willing, undivided attention. You replace our carnal nature with the fruit of Your Spirit and You work in us the divine nature of Christ (Galatians 5:22-23; 2 Peter 1:4). Teach us to commit each minute of every day to You and to listen to Your Spirit’s direction as we walk in Your will.

Thought for the Day:
As we bring everything to God is prayer, with thanksgiving in our heart for His provision in His own timing and way, we will live a fulfilled life.
– Philippians 4:6

Freedom for Negative Thoughts and Emotions

Our behavior and emotions are fueled by our thoughts (Proverbs 23:7). We act out what our soul – our mind, will and emotions – is experiencing. However, once we spend time analyzing our thoughts, and coming to a complete understanding of what is really bothering us, then we can go to God for healing.

When negative emotions are controlling us, then we are not totally surrendered to the will of God in our life. Trusting God with our hurt and insecurities will insure that we will gain His perspective on them. He will reveal to us the lie, which Satan planted in our mind and His truth about the issue.                             ( http://www.theophostic.com )

We fight Satan’s deception by drawing near to God and then resisting the devil, so that He will have to flee from us (James 4:7). Too often we look at a person’s outward behavior and detest them for it, or try to change it, but their inner soul is causing their behavior. Once we denounce Satan’s deceptive stronghold in our life, we are set free to see the problem from God’s perspective.

Yet, at other times, our thoughts and emotions are based on real problems, such as abuse, neglect, deprivation or a myriad of other concerns. This is when we need to find help from law officers, counselors, our pastor or a caring friend. They will assist us in finding alternate living arrangements to protection us from the behavior, which is killing our soul and our body.

Prayer:
Father God, this evil world is so full of issues, which try our soul. When Satan’s deception is added to the mix, our soul is often depressed and overwhelmed. You give us ideas to rearrange our life or our activities, which are fueling these negative thoughts and emotions. Enable our Born Again spirit to rise above these problems and to find our solace in You. Remind us that even if our physical or emotional conditions never change, we still have Christ in us, who is our eternal hope of glory, now in our inner being and also for eternity.

Thought for the Day:
When we sense the battle going on in our soul, we can surrender our thought, emotions and behavior to God’s Spirit and He will conform our mind and transform our nature into the mind and divine nature of Christ. – 2 Peter 1:4; Romans 7:15-19, 12:2

Hope for Tomorrow

If the Gospel of Christ is not true, then there is no forgiveness or reconciliation for our sins and we have no resurrection to look forward to. We have no joy for our current life or for the next, and there is no expectation of living in the Father’s house in the future (Romans 10:9; I Corinthians 15:17-19; John 14:1-2, 12). Life without Christ is a life without hope.

There are countless people experiencing depression and mid-life insecurities because they place their hope in our culture, a bank account, a philosophy, their employment or worldly religions. This house of cards is shaky at best, and the ensuing insecurity drives people insane, gives them heart attacks or destroys their relationships.

However, the Gospel of Christ is gloriously true. Jesus suffered and died to set us free from Satan, the flesh, sin and death. We now have hope for tomorrow. As we walk in the light of God’s Truth, we have no fear of darkness or evil, because Christ in the authentic Believer overcame Satan and evil on Calvary’s cross. Even negative aspects of life now work out for our good (Romans 8:28).

A life based on God’s Word has a stable and firm foundation (2 Timothy 2:19). As we walk by the direction and power of God’s Spirit, we will not fulfill the dictates of the devil or the flesh, but we will luxuriate in the continual blessings of God (Galatians 5:15-26). As we focus on His plans for our life with a pure heart, He uses us according to His will (Psalm 51:10; Ephesians 2:10).

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for giving us the opportunity to live in Christ and to become a new creation. We rejoice that our old habits, sins, negative emotions and personality are made new by Your Spirit (2 Corinthians 5:17). When we trust You with our life, You destroy the deprivation, which devastated us and You mature us in the likeness of Your Son (Romans 8:29). Thank You for claiming us as Your own and for making it possible for us to spend eternity with You.

Thought for the Day:
Therefore, even when we are simply eating or drinking, or whatever we decide God wants us to do, we do it all for His glory.
– 1 Corinthians 10:31