He’s Gotcha Covered

God’s got us covered…He’s got our back. His eyes and ears are always in tune with all of His children all over this globe (Psalm 34:15). His love for us is everlasting and provides us with true fulfillment and contentment.

 

God brought together sun bleached skeletons in the desert and erected a great army – the perfect picture of Him restoring Israel as a nation (Ezekiel 37:1-14). His love and provision for Israel are a constant testimony to us of His faithfulness to His Saints.

 

When the pain of life overwhelms us, we find encouragement, peace and joy in the fact that God is always watching, and never forsaking us or leaving us on our own (Hebrews 13:5).

 

He dwells within us and is experiencing our pain right along with us. His peace guards us (Philippians 4:7). He knows our needs before we do, and He already provided for them before we were even born (Ephesians 2:10; Jeremiah 29:11; Philippians 4:19).

 

When Satan sends his emissaries of discouragement to beat us down, we have a choice to believe their lies or to trust God. Regardless of the trouble we face, God is always there in us to help us through the experience (Psalm 46:1).

 

We simply place our faith in His faithfulness and He lifts us out of the pit of depression and hopelessness and plants our feet firmly on the Rock of Christ (Psalm 18:31, 40:2).

 

His work is perfect and He is just in all of His ways. He is our faithful God without injustice, righteous and upright in all of His ways (Deuteronomy 32:4; Psalm 92:15).

 

There is no one like our God, holy and stable (1 Samuel 2:2). We have no need to fear when He is our Rock of refuge (Isaiah 44:8; Deuteronomy 32:31, 32:37). He is our salvation and rest, our strength and sanctuary (Psalm 62:7).

 

Prayer:

Father God, we call to You and You are not deaf to our pleas (Psalm 28:1). You never allow us to be ashamed of our relationship with You. You rescue us quickly as a stronghold and fortress. You lead and guide us for Your name’s sake (Psalm 31:1-3). We continually come to You as our hiding place and You save us (Psalm 71:3).

 

We trust in You forever as our God, our Lord and our everlasting Rock (Isaiah 26:4; Psalm 91:2). You are the Lord of a host of angels and our stronghold (Psalm 46:7). You are our deliver, our shield, the horn of our salvation and full of loving kindness (Psalm 144:2). Thank You for delivering us from violence (2 Samuel 22:3).

 

Thought for the Day:
No matter where we are on the face of the earth, when our heart is discouraged and we call to God, He leads us to His Rock that lifts us above the storms. – Psalm 61:2

 

I am not the Savior

As we all serve one another, we all get served. I read in the Bible that God wanted it this way. As a perfectionist codependent, I always put everyone else’s needs above my own.

 

However, it did not work that way in the first 45 years of my life. I did all the serving and others did all the taking with rare expressions of gratitude or encouragement for what I did.

 

I grew to resent the lack of reciprocation and my constant physical and emotional exhaustion. I felt like a hamster on its wheel, going round and round day after day and getting no place fast.

 

One day I realized that I was actually teaching people to expect me to do everything and not to respect me or my needs. I had a savior and martyr complex a mile wide and high.

 

The fact is, however, that I love to serve others. It is my main ministry in Christ’s body. Thankfully, I started working for a recovering codependent at this same time and she spoke truth to me that set me free.

 

She said, “You are a person too, and you can minister to yourself and meet your needs in the same way you meet everyone else’s needs.” WOW! That gave me food for thought.

 

She reminded me of Jesus’ words to love others as we love our self (Luke 10:27). I realized right away that I did not love myself in the same way that I loved others.

 

This opened up a whole new world for me. I went to the library and checked out books on how to be a nurturing parent. I learned to nurture myself and how to nurture others in a healthier manner.

 

Prayer:

Father God, so many times we take Your words at face value and skip over the minute details of the verse. We miss so much of the meat of Your Word because we do not take them in context with other verses in the Bible. We miss the whole picture, which You intend for us to see.

 

As we follow the leading of Your Spirit each moment of the day, we stop allowing the good things to become the enemy of the best things. We stop spinning our wheels by so much busyness and we live productive lives that bring us joy as we also give joy. We develop a closer relationship with You and people see our good works and give You the glory (Matthew 5:16).

 

Thought for the Day:

As we walk in the Spirit, we stop enabling others to be less than they can be by allowing them to do hard things for themselves and to learn to lean on God instead of on us, so they can live productive lives.

 

Words Matter – Part 1

The reservoir of a good heart produces encouraging words. The abundance of an evil heart generates evil results (Luke 6:45). Our words are the product of how we think, what we feel and our beliefs (Matthew 12:33-35).

Rash or too much talk can lead to sin (Proverbs 13:3); therefore, it is sensible to keep a guard over our words (Proverbs 10:19). To bridle our tongue is a talent that only the perfect person masters, but it would help us to control our whole body (James 3:1-2).

Lies and negative thoughts are like a skein of matted thread, so tangled that they are impossible to unravel. They weave confusion and cause us to miss God’s best for us.

When we believe Satan’s lies, complain or focus on the negative aspects of life, we miss the hand of God bringing blessings from the midst of all our trials (Romans 8:28).

Disparaging thoughts come from a troubled heart and never help us to prosper. They lead to negative words and actions, which cause trouble in so many ways (Proverbs 17:20).

Before we speak, a good rule is to pray first in order to speak the words, which God gives us to say and which will bring glory to Him (1 Peter 4:11). Wholesome, positive, uplifting words.

This is hard to do, especially in any moment of controversy. We are either exonerated or ruined by what we say and do (Matthew 12:37). Praying first gives us the needed boundaries.

Our thoughts affect our beliefs, our emotions and our attitude. We reap the consequences of our words, and they affect our relationships and even our health (Proverbs 8:21).

Therefore, we reap a blessing if we choose to think only about those things, which are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely and admirable (Philippians 4:8).

Prayer:
Father God, help us to submit to Your Spirit as You transform our mind, so that we may prove what Your good, acceptable and perfect will is for our life (Romans 12:2). Only a fool keeps on talking (Ecclesiastes 5:3), and an evil man is trapped by his sinful talk. Help us to live a righteous life in our thoughts, words and deed, so that we may escape trouble (Proverbs 12:13).

Thought for the Day:
Let us conduct ourselves in a manner that is worthy of the gospel of Christ, and to live with each other in one mind and spirit rather than in arguing. – Philippians 1:27

Apple of My Eye

The “apple” of one’s eye is commonly referring to the pupil (Deuteronomy 32:10). We protect our eyes at any cost, making sure that no foreign substance or harm come to them in any way.

We use the term “apple of my eye” when speaking about something very valuable to us. We instruct our children, the “apple of our eye”, to pay attention to our advice, in order to prevent them from reaping the destruction caused by making poor choices (Proverbs 7:2).

Those who harm the Lord’s anointed children or Israel, His chosen nation, will truly suffer from His hand, because they touch the “apple of His eye” (Zechariah 2:8). God protects His own.

Sometimes, we may wound a brother or a sister; or we may walk in sin for a season, which grieves God’s Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30). At times like these, we plead with God to forgive us and to keep us as the” apple of His eye”.

We hide in the shadow of His wings and He saves us from our enemies and the issues of life, which threaten to overpower us (Psalm 17:8; Lamentations 2:18). This intimate expression reminds us about the extent of God’s love for each one of His Saints.

God took on a human form in order to pay the penalty, which we reaped from the first Adam’s sin (Philippians 2:7-8; 1 Corinthians 15:45). Emmanuel, God with us, felt the degradation, insecurity and weight of living on this sin-cursed earth.

God went all the way to the cross to make it possible for us to dwell with Him for eternity. All He asks is for us to keep His commandments, which were designed to protect us, not to restrict us (John 14:23).

Prayer:

Father God, You encourage us to keep Your precepts as the apple of our eye (Proverbs 7:2). Please, remind us to hide Your Word in our heart, so that we will not sin against You (Psalm 119:11). The nation of Israel was the first “apple of Your eye”. They strayed from You, as we tend to do; but we thank You for giving all Gentile unbelievers a chance to know You, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent to save us (John 17:3). Truly, this is eternal life, which we can enjoy now, as well as all throughout eternity.

Thought for the Day:

It is interesting to realize that any person we speak to sees a small image of their profile reflecting in the pupil of our eye.

I Surrender All

God calls us to love Him with our whole mind, heart and soul, and then to love our neighbor as well as our self (Luke 10:27). We help one another when we fall into desperate times, and we share comfort in grief and provision in deprivation. Jesus is our ultimate friend, who sticks closer to us than our dearest brother (Proverbs 18:24; 1 John 3:1).

God’s Holy Spirit restores our life to stability and order as we follow His leading through each moment of our day. We embrace His will for our life, follow His precepts and obey His Holy Word. God hears the prayers of the afflicted (Psalm 10:17). He encourages us and listens to us when we cry out to Him (1 John 5: 14-15; Psalm 54:2). He keeps every one of our tears in a bottle and records them in His book (Psalm 56:8).

We cannot enter heaven through our own good deeds or morally upright behavior. We cannot go to heaven by joining a church, getting baptized or living in a Christian home. Jesus is the only way, truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6). Salvation is a free gift from God and there is no way we can boast about our accomplishments (Ephesians 2: 8-10).

Surrendering our life to Christ is the first step of sincere faith and total submission to Him. He forgives us for our self-centered lifestyle and calls us to turn complete control of our life over to Him. He adopts us into His family, and He holds us, protects us, nurtures us and comforts us in all of our affliction. He constantly reassures us that He has everything under His control, so that we can surrender all to Him.

Prayer:
Father God, You defend the fatherless, the oppressed and the widow. You remove the terror from our life (Psalm 10:17-18). Your love for us defies description, because it is more than we can comprehend. Thank You for all that You do for all of us each and every day, and for plucking us out of our old lifestyle and giving us this wondrous new life in You. We will live each day in Your will with the knowledge that You already secured for us our eternal destination with You.

Thought for the Day:
Eternal life is a free gift, but only those who believe in Jesus Christ as Savior, and who surrender control of their lives to Him, will receive it.
– John 3:36

Healing Through Grief

When our feelings threaten to overwhelm us and their intensity frightens us, grieving them will help us to cope in healthy ways. To receive healing it is necessary to face our grief and to actively surrender it to God. Trying to ignore our pain only makes it worse. Our Inner Child will find a way to interject our heart-felt feelings into our day at the most inopportune times. Feeling sad, frightened, or lonely is normal. Showing our true feelings can help others to grieve as well.

Everyone grieves differently. We all have our own unique personality and needs, which color our grief process. Some take longer than others to grieve. We never fully recover from grief. Familiar places and aspects of life will trigger our grief, sometimes at the most unexpected moments. Holidays, a special song, a child, a Bible passage, a piece of clothing, a facial expression, a motto, and many other experiences may trigger our feelings of grief all over again.

This is a normal and a necessary part of healing. It is healthy to allow our self to feel the grief, and then to put it into God’s perspective. We can compare it to what God did for us during other times of loss and what He is doing now as well. Circumstances may continue to trigger our feelings for years after our loss. It is important to allow our self to feel that grief, rather than to bury the feelings or to lecture our self or others for the way we feel. They are legitimate feelings.

Patience with our self and others who are grieving is very important. Those in grief need our care, patience and understanding. We allow our grief to process naturally, by refusing to put parameters and expectations on grief. Grief often resembles a roller coaster; but it is also a ferry, which will transport us to the future stages in our life with more compassion and understanding for others who encounter grief in their life too.

Prayer:
Father God, strengthen our inner being after a loss in our life and reshape the beliefs and thought patterns that contribute to our fear of the future. Remind us to read Your Word and to copy down verses, which comfort us in our time of fear and grief. From Your scriptures, we will gain guidance, wisdom, courage and encouragement. They are our spiritual vitamins, which strengthen us more each day.

Thought for the Day:
God is more powerful than all of our needs, and He will provide for us according to His glorious riches. – Philippians 4:19

God’s Eternal Gifts

Salvation in Christ is a tremendous free gift, which includes many other gifts. Not only did Jesus save us from paying the penalty of our sins, but He also gave us eternal life and the right to live with Him in New Jerusalem (Romans 5:8, 6:23). This makes us children of almighty God and co-heirs with Jesus of all that our Father possesses (Ezekiel 36:25; Galatians 4:4, 5:19).

New Jerusalem is a city filled with many mansion-sized rooms and is a 1500-mile cube. Jesus went back to heaven in order to prepare this place, so that He can dwell physically throughout eternity with every authentic, Born Again Believer from all the ages (Hebrews 11:10-12:22; Revelation 3:12, 21:10). This city will come down from Heaven, and most likely be in the area of Jerusalem in the Middle East.

Until then, God gives us the gifts of Christ to dwell in us through His Holy Spirit (John 14:15-17), His Word to enlighten us (Psalm 119:105), and His Body of Believers to encourage us (1 Corinthians 12:27). God’s Spirit speaks through an impression in our spirit to direct our every step through life, to comfort us and allow us to accomplish the work He created us to perform (Ephesians 2:10). We shall live as the bride of Christ forever (Isaiah 61:10; Revelation 21:9).

God provides for our every need (Psalm 55:22; 1 Peter 5:7; Philippians 4:19; 1 Peter 1:3), He liberally gives us His wisdom (James 1:5), and He comforts our soul through every trial in life, turning them around for our ultimate good (Romans 8:28). God collects our tears in a bottle and once His wrath is full, He will pour out His vengeance on a wicked earth full of those who rejected Him and persecuted His Saints (Psalm 56:8; Revelation 14:10).

Prayer:
Father God, You know how to give good gifts to those who ask You (James 1:17; Matthew 7:11). We are humbled by Your love for us now, and for Your provision for us even into eternity. You will restore to us the perfect environment, which You provided for Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3). We will have immortal bodies, a never-dying soul and our spirit’s connection with You (1 Corinthians 15:53; Luke 16:19-31 – his body was in the grave, his soul and spirit experienced hell). Help us to bring as many people into this same right standing with You as we can possibly reach during our lifetime. Help us to be a city set on hill, which allows Your light to shine though us (Matthew 5:14-16).

Thought for the Day:
The Kingdom of God has nothing to do with carnal pursuits, but everything to do with living righteously in the peace and joy of the Holy Spirit. – Romans 14:17

Loving Our Spouse

The joining of two human beings as one is a very difficult prospect (Mark 10:8). The high divorce rate proves that this is often impossible to do. There are basic human needs in each person, some of which were never satisfied in childhood. We carry these needs with us our whole life, trying to find fulfillment for them, even in marriage. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow%27s_hierarchy_of_needs )

When two people marry, they take these needs into this new relationship. If they are incompatible needs or if one person insists on their own needs being met instead of their partner’s, there will be conflict in the marriage. However, if the couple is willing to humble themselves and to prefer one another on a daily basis, a happy marriage is possible (Romans 12:10).

Ask your spouse what he/she needs to feel loved. They may not even realize their basic needs, but there is Christian help at the bookstore, counselor’s office and online. Words are either power tools of encouragement or lethal weapons of destruction (Proverbs 18:21). It turns out that many people need verbal validation from their spouse to feel loved (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

Others need help with daily chores, which often overwhelm them (Galatians 6:2). Receiving a little love note or a simple gift during each day will help many other spouses to feel loved (1 Thessalonians 2:7-12). Having a meaningful, undistracted conversation, often accompanied by snuggle time, will do wonders for some other relationships (Hebrews 10:24).

The easiest tool to use to ensure peace and harmony in a relationship is to never insist on one’s own way. Often, one person will have a need or idea they want to fulfill, but their spouse has a different idea of how to respond to this issue. Neither of you can agree with the other person’s assessment, so there is an impasse or a violent argument.

As the popular song recommends, “The road is shorter when we meet in the middle.” Rather than focusing on your own needs to the exclusion of your mate’s needs, look at the issue from a third perspective. Brainstorm together about the problem or need until you find a solution that is agreeable to both of you. Rather than your Plan A, or your spouse’s Plan B, agree on a Plan C that you both feel good about.
Prayer:
Father God, remind us that You joined us as man and woman for the purpose of serving You together with our lives. Help us to prefer one another and to share with each other what you are teaching us every day. In an impasse, remind us that You have a perfect will for this issue or activity in our life. Rather than insisting on our own way, we need to seek You together in order to find Your solution for the problem. We love You and lift You up as Lord and Savior of our life and our marriage.

Thought for the Day:
Today, there are some great resources to help us to maintain an equitable and successful marriage, starting with The Five Love Languages ( http://www.5lovelanguages.com/profile/ ).

Laying on of Hands

The apostles used the method of laying on of hands in order to impart God’s calling on those they commissioned to follow in Jesus’ footsteps (Acts 13:3). This has become a basic principle and doctrine of our Christian faith (Hebrews 6:1-2). In fact, spiritual power and anointing is actually transferred by this practice (Genesis 14, 17-19).

For example, spiritual power came on Joshua when Moses laid hands on him (Numbers 27:16-23; Deuteronomy 34:9). Jacob passed God’s blessing on to Ephraim and Manasseh by the laying on of hands (Genesis 48:13-20). Paul declared that the gift of God, which Timothy possessed, was imparted through the laying on of hands (2 Timothy 1:6). Since the early church, the body of elders transfers the gifts of the Spirit to other men who are going into the ministry (1 Timothy 4:14).

When someone intends to set aside their life for full time service to the Lord, we pray for them by the laying on of hands (Acts 6:5-6). We also lay hands on people coming for physical healing (James 5:14), and deliverance from Satanic oppression and possession (Luke 4:40-41). In the ministry of the laying on of hands, we share blessings, spiritual anointing and encouragement (Matthew 19:13-15; Daniel 10:16-19).

Frankly, there is a danger in laying hands on someone who is not mature and full of God’s Spirit. Therefore, this should not be done without careful prayer, examination and consideration (Numbers 27:18; 1 Timothy 5:22). The power received by the laying on of hands is visually evident. Simon actually saw this and wanted to buy it for himself (Acts 8:14-19). God anoints people into His service and uses the leadership of the church to impart His gifts.

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for giving us Your power and anointing and for allowing us to share these gifts with one another. Please give Your wisdom to the leadership of Your church to know with whom to share these gifts, and who will not seriously desire to walk in Your anointing for Your glory. Remind us to always use them for Your glory and not for our own power and success. Keep us from glorying in the flesh, but cause us to walk in humility and grace.

Thought for the Day:
There is a spirit in each one, given to us by the inspiration of Almighty God, which provides us with understanding. – Job 32:8

Life Hurts

There are so many hurts in this world. Our body and soul are wracked with every kind of atrocity in varying degree of horror. One of the worse is that inflicted on us at the death of our child – from one in the womb to one that is grown, but died too soon. I lost a baby in a miscarriage. At first I did not want anyone to fuss over me, because it was just a fetus, right? I tried not to grieve.

But God showed me that although my arms ached to hold this precious fruit of my love with my husband, God was now holding my child in HIS arms, and what better place for my child to be resting! I gave my baby a name and celebrated his birthday in my heart every year. This gave me hope and a blessing that lessened my grief (Jeremiah 29:11).

My beloved child may have left this mortal world, with all of its suffering and trials, but he did not miss our immortal home in heaven. Every single one of our days are planned out by God and written down in His book before we are ever born (Psalm 139: 13-18; Ephesians 2:10). God makes all things beautiful in His time (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

Life starts at conception, and our precious child’s soul was alive in heaven with our Savior (Jeremiah 1:5). What a fact to celebrate, in spite of our sadness of never having known our child in this earthly life. God actually creates our soul to include our personality and knits our bones together in our mother’s womb. We are amazingly made as spirit, body, soul – our thoughts, will and emotions.

No one deserves to suffer the trials of life, but we all go through them. We are united in our sufferings, but we are also united in our joys and pleasures. God uses tribulation to strengthen our soul and to allow us to draw closer to Him and to one another. We can comfort each other with the same encouragement He uses to comfort us (2 Corinthians 1:4).

Prayer:
Father God, life treated Jesus abominably. His life was cut off in His prime at 33 years of life. His mother grieved at the cross and at His grave. She watched as He was scourged, nailed to a wooden cross and allowed to hang there until His lungs collapsed. However, according to Your will, Jesus victoriously rose again from the grave. He paved the way for everyone, who will walk away from sin and embrace Your will for our life, to spend eternity with You.

Thought for the Day:
God always uses everything in our life, even the bad things, for our ultimate good.