Exacting Revenge

Revenge is sweet, or so they say. We plot and plan our next encounter and how we will get the jump on our enemy’s rude and spiteful behavior.

We set up a cycle of events in order to position our self to put our enemies in their place and to hurt them before they can hurt us. We despise them more with each breath we take.

Yet, revenge leaves us feeling empty. As Believers we even regret our display of ungodly behavior. Our vindictive and vengeful thoughts and actions take a toll on our spirit, and grieve the Holy Spirit within us (Ephesians 4:30).

It seems impossible to love our enemies. They taunt us, thwart us and stab us in the back every chance they get. We are willing to struggle with the concept of not hating them; but loving them is going a bit too far.

There is good news. We do not need to feel emotional affection to love our enemies, just a heart, which is surrendered to Christ.

When we love Christ more than we love our self, we can love our enemies with His Agape love. We grow to desire that our enemies will prosper and to experience the love of God, which we enjoy.

We can minister to our enemy’s physical, emotional, spiritual, financial and mental needs when God prompts us. He shows us opportunities to share His love with them.

God’s Word, which richly fills our soul, helps us to have meekness in order to walk away from the temptation to inflict revenge on our enemies (James 1:21).

God walks with us and in us through the dark night of our soul (Psalm 139:17-18). He rewards our faithfulness to walk in His truth. He roots us in His love and builds us up in His presence.

Prayer:
Father God, remind us that vengeance is Yours and You will repay our enemies for their treatment of us. Help us to kill our enemies with kindness, pricking their conscience with our loving behavior toward them (Romans 12:20).

Soften their heart toward us. Show us the root of their feelings, which cause them to despise us. Use us to help them to heal from their wounds which cause them to bully us and others.

Cause their reasons for attacking us to diminish; and if nothing else, make them just walk away and leave us alone. In all things, help us to prosper even as our soul prosper when we follow Your will for our life (3 John 1:2).

Thoughts for the Day:
God establishes our faith in His faithfulness; and we abound in our gratitude to Him. – Colossians 2:6-7

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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.

The Joy of the Lord

God gives us several commands throughout His Word to rejoice in Him. When God thinks a concept is worth repeating, it is definitely worthy of our consideration (Psalm 32:11, 35:9, 64:10, 97:12, 104:34; Isaiah 29:10, 41:16; Joel 2:23; Habakkuk 3:18; Zechariah 10:7; Philippians 3:1, 4:4).

When the joy of the Lord fills our spirit, it also affects our body and soul – our thoughts, choices and feelings. It influences our words and actions and how we relate to our self and to other people.

It affects our relationship with the Lord and helps us to sing the praises to Him that He is worthy to receive (Psalm 147:1). We pray about everything and give thanks in everything, even in the negative aspects of our life (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

The Lord puts a hymn of praise, a new song, in our heart (Psalm 40:3). We come before His presence with thanksgiving as we make a joyful noise to Him in song (Psalm 100). His joy is our continual source of strength (Nehemiah 8:10),

God’s Word is living and powerful and teaches us to abide in our spirit rather than in our body and our soul (Hebrews 4:12; John 15:11; Galatians 2:20). He opens the eyes of our understanding to the opportunities we have to walk and live in His Spirit.

God helps us to discern between the desires of our flesh and the leading of His Spirit. We no longer allow the appetites of our body, considerations of our mind or fickleness of our emotions to dictate our thoughts, words or behavior.

Instead we seek the Lord to reveal the root source of any negative impulses we experience and to free us from any dictates of our flesh, any influence of the world and any tyranny of the devil over our life.

Prayer:
Father God, we submit our spirit, body and soul – our every thought, choice and emotion – to Your Spirit. Our union with You consumes our every waking moment, and we want nothing more than for You to live Your life in and through us.

Remind us not to worry about anything, but to seek Your will in ceaseless prayer. We want to live a life of continual joy, prayer and thanksgiving to You through Christ in us (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). We thank You for meeting all of our needs, and for giving us Your peace, which is not dependent on our human reasoning and understanding, and which guards our hearts and minds as we live, move and have our being in Christ alone (Philippians 4:4-6; Acts 17:28).

Thought for the Day:
The Lord loves us so much that He actually takes delight in us and rejoices over us with singing. – Zephaniah 3:17

A Worm or a Butterfly?

As human beings, we live in a body, make choices and think and feel with our soul, and live eternally through our spirit in either heaven or hell (John 3:16-18).

The carnal nature does not understand or accept the truths of the Spirit of God. These people considers them foolishness, because they cannot comprehend them, since their spirit is dead in sin (1 Corinthians 2:14).

They function in life only through their soul and body, judging right and wrong according to how it makes them think and feel (Psalm 139:13-14).

God sees the spirit of everyone ever born (Numbers 16:22), and calls us to live with a good conscience before God (Acts 23:1). He wants us to allow His Word to convict and to divide between our soul – our thoughts, choices and feelings – and our spirit (Hebrews 4:12).

God is not belittling the soul, nor recommending that we discount our soul; but simply that we do now allow our human understanding to control our life (Proverbs 3:5-6).

He desires that all men everywhere come to the saving truth of His Son, so their spirit is Born Again (Acts 17:30; John 3:1-21). Then, He abides within our spirit forever (1 Corinthians 3:16; 1 John 4:13).

Prayer:
Father God, as Your children we can never cease praising You for saving us from a life of wallowing in the mire of this world. You transformed us into a butterfly from the meager existence of a worm. Thank You that Your Spirit pursues us until we accept Christ’s sacrifice, so our spirit is Born Again.

Now we ask You to teach us to live, move and have our total being in You (Acts 17:28). Use Your Word to separate for us our soul and spirit, so that we can walk in Your Spirit every moment of every day, accomplishing only those works, which You created us to do (Ephesians 2:10).

Thought for the Day:
We daily give thanks to our wondrous God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who because of His mercies, which are new every single morning, caused us to be Born Again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.

– 1 Peter 1:3; Lamentations 3:22-23

Mind Over Matter

There is only one way for our mind to control matter, and that is through satanic powers. Most of us never try this; yet, every day we attempt to control our life by our sheer will power (Matthew 6:27).

This accomplishes nothing more than to increase our anxiety (Jeremiah 17:5). The phrase that “God helps those who help themselves” is not in the Bible.

The only profitable result of us using our will power is that we eventually realize the futility of it, and we come to the end of our self-effort.

We quit trying to be good and to make things happen in our own timing and way; and instead, we trust in God’s will for our life (Isaiah 40:28-31). This allows us to enter God’s rest and for His Spirit to totally control our life (Hebrews 4:9-10).

God teaches us to separate our soul from our spirit (Hebrews 4:12). We disregard the thoughts from our mind, and listen to His leading in our Spirit.

Our human thoughts are centered on earthly matters – what we will eat, where we will live and how we will provide these items for our self.

The emotions, which accompany these thoughts are equally as carnal (Matthew 6:31). If we focus our heart on the temporal, we will work for and be controlled by the momentary issues of this life.

If we set our focus on things above, we have a spiritual context to our life, which lasts throughout eternity (Colossians 3:2).This way too, God will lead us in the center of His will.

In this union life with God, we realize in our spirit, rather than our soul – our mind, choices and emotions, what God’s will is for every moment of our day (John 17:11, 20-23; 1 Corinthians 6:17).

We follow His Spirit’s direction, even when it is contrary to the thoughts and feelings in our soul. As we recognize the union life provided for us by Christ’s suffering, we live for our Father every moment of our life (John 10:30, 5:19).

Prayer:
Father God, remind us that our heart is fickle and despicably wicked, and that we do not even know our own mind. Then, we will no longer allow our human heart and mind to dictate our activities and thoughts throughout the day; but we will focus on Christ and Your will for each moment (Psalm 57:7).

We will revere You and never be moved from following after You (Psalm 42:11; Ruth 1:16). You will cherish us in Your everlasting embrace, so that we will not even fear bad news, because we totally trust in You (Psalm 112:1-8). We know You provide a seed for a miracle in every trial.

Thought for the Day:
While we live on this earth, we have only partially tasted the goodness of the word of God and His powers, which will manifest in the age to come. – 1 Peter 1:23; Hebrews 6:5

Honoring God

Have you ever thought about the fact that the Holy Spirit is subjected to every thought, word and deed, which we entertain? We drag Him through the mire in which we participate (Philippians 1:8; 2:5,13; 1:20).

I don’t know about you, but this makes me cringe. I certainly do not want the Trinity to be grieved by my behavior. I want my body and soul – my thoughts, choices and feelings – to honor God in every way (Ephesians 4:30).

Our pride and self-sufficiency keep us from honoring God with our life. We want to do things our way and make our own decisions. What we fail to understand is that the happiest place on earth is in the center of God’s will.

Our regenerated spirit, once dead in Adam’s sin, is filled with God’s Spirit and Son who abide within us (Romans 8:10; Colossians 1:27). Our body and soul no longer direct our life, because they are now directed by God’s Spirit.

As we serve God, we choose spiritual desires over the desires of our flesh, which struggle to gain ascendancy in our body and soul (Romans 1:9). We mature to the place where we are not even tempted by carnal thoughts any more.

As we walk in the Spirit, whatever we think, say and do is led by God’s Spirit, and we reap the rewards of living by God’s Spirit (Galatians 5:15-25; Romans 2:29; 7:6; 8:4-6, 9, 13; 12:11). While we live from our spirit, we praise the Lord all day long.

We give Him continual glory for His provision in our life, and we function for His glory, even in our normal daily activities of eating, drinking and going to work (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Prayer:
Father God, we will give continual thanks to You, for You are always good to us. Your loving kindness is never-ending. We also thank You for Your unfailing love and Your multitude of blessings, which You shower on all of Your children.

Only You can satisfy our thirsty soul and fill our hungry spirit with good things (Psalm 107:1, 8-9). We want to walk in unity with Your Spirit every moment of every day without giving any place to the world, the devil or the flesh.

Thought for the Day:
The more we abide in Christ and keep His praises on our lips, the more positive and blessed is our life experience. – John 15:4; Psalm 149:6

Freedom from Sin

God gave us His law to prove to us that we cannot save our self. To reach holiness through the law, we must keep every word of it (Matthew 5:18; James 2:10).

When we trust in Christ, who did keep every letter of the law, as the perfect sacrifice for our sins, His Holy Spirit takes up residence in our body (Romans 5:8; 1 Corinthians 6:19).

Christ in us satisfied the law for us (Galatians 5:18). As we surrender to the leading of God’s Spirit, we are free to live in His righteousness (Roman 1:17, 8:14).

God’s Spirit never leads us into permissive living (Galatians 5:18). We grieve God’s Spirit when we use His temple for sinful purposes (1 Corinthians 6:19; Ephesians 4:30-31).

Our relationship with God is more important than any other aspect of our life. He fills us with His presence and we follow God’s Spirit moment by moment.

Increasing our intimacy with God is the best use of our time and efforts. His living water flows through us and out to the world around us (John 7:38).

As we love Him with our whole heart, soul and strength, He quenches our thirsty soul (Deuteronomy 6:5; Psalm 42:1-2, 143:6). Then we love our neighbors as our self and fulfill the second greatest commandment (Matthew 22:39-40).

We love each other as God loves us, and we serve one another and lay down our preferences, feelings and opinions for one another (John 15:12-13).

God’s precepts are for our protection and are only restrictive if we want to continue to sin. When we choose to live in God’s freedom in righteousness, we are no longer under the oppression of Satan’s abuse.

Prayer:
Father God, prior to our salvation through Christ, we served the devil and His will for our life. We may not have committed evil, but even our responsible, ethical life was inspired by his desire to keep us from coming to Christ.

If we return to the bondage to Satan’s lies (Galatians 5:1), we forfeit our freedom from sin. You can no longer bless us, although Your desire is always to give us all good things (Psalm 84:11; James 1:17). Draw us to completely surrender our life to You.

Thought for the Day:
When the righteous return to a sinful lifestyle, we muddy the springs of living water within us. – Proverbs 25:26; John 4:14, 7:38