The Devil in the Details

It is the details of life, which often bog us down. Our priorities are sidetracked by the little demonic foxes that spoil the vineyard (Song of Solomon 2:15). They sway our thoughts and emotions until we lose our peace, fall out of God’s rest and end up drowning in stress.

 

The good things in life become the enemy of the best things. They demand our attention away from what is important. We fail to walk in God’s Spirit or perform His will for our day, because the details scream for our attention.

 

It is difficult to ignore those little nagging issues, which arise during the day and night. They are like a flashing neon sign that continually pull our focus back to them and away from God’s best for us.

 

We end up reaping physical illnesses, negative emotions in our soul and our spirit is malnourished from neglect. We feel like a failure and often start believing that we are hopeless. Yet, there is always hope in God.

 

Many details can be eliminated; for instance, immediately throw away that advertisement or catalog, which came in the mail; dust and vacuum once a week, and do not allow the gathering particles to bother you that collect in every corner and flat surface of the room until that day.

 

Separate the laundry in bins and only wash when the bin is full; wash dishes as you cook, so there is not a pile at the end of the meal; and, if necessary, allow yourself to leave the sink full of dishes and go to bed to get your needed rest for the next day.

 

Do not answer the telephone every time it rings – caller ID helps us to distinguish if our child needs our attention and everyone else can leave a message for us to hear at a more opportune time.

 

Make a grocery list and shop once a week or month or quarter, rather than running to the store every other day for some forgotten or needed item.

 

Making more little changes in the details of our home life, vocational activities and church ministries – as God gives us wisdom, changes our mindset and schedule.

 

We put our priorities in the proper order and we have more time for spiritual pursuits. Our life is more fulfilled and our spirit is nourished by our close intimacy with our Heavenly Daddy.

 

Prayer:

Father God, thank You for pointing out to us the areas where Satan uses the zillion details of the day to distract and discourage us. Give us Your wisdom to know how to organize and to make Your plans our priority. Help us to stay focused on the spiritual rather than on this earthly realm.

 

We want our day to start and finish in Your perfect will for us, accomplishing all that You called us to do at work, home and play. Draw our hearts to You and never let us go, as our intimacy with You deepens and our spiritual focus increases.

 

Thought for the Day:

Be aware of the minute details that tend to destroy us from the inside out, to interrupt our home life and relationships, and to spread the roots of apathy in our churches.

 

 

Our True Identity in Christ

 

We find our true identity and self-worth in Jesus Christ. We are a stem on the Vine of Christ (John 15:5), a slave to Jesus, our Master (Romans 6:16-18), a holy place for the Holy Spirit to dwell (1 Corinthians 6:19; 2 Corinthians 5:1).

 

We are dead to self-effort through Christ (Romans 6:4; Ephesians 2:8-9). Jesus perfects us, and He is the author and finisher of our faith as we focus on Him and His will for our life (Hebrews 12:2).

 

God sent His Son in the form of human flesh, in order that the law may be fulfilled in Him (Romans 8:3). As we obey God, we will not walk according to the law or in the sinful passions of our flesh.

 

We will walk instead according to the leading of God’s Spirit moment by moment throughout our day (Romans 8:4). We have no righteousness of our own merit, but we walk in the victory of the cross and in dependence upon our union with Christ.

 

A committed Believer wants to do God’s will above all else. That is our goal in life. Our every waking breath and the desire of our heart is to further the Kingdom of God in the earth.

 

Though we may fall short of God’s glory now and then, we surrender our life to Christ in order for Him to perfect us through sanctification (Philippians 3:12-14).

 

Our thoughts, words and behavior match our desires. We put away sinful pursuits and seek holiness. We live life surrendered to God’s unconditional love, unqualified forgiveness and perfect will for our lives.

 

Through the Spirit of God, we are transformed into the fullness of Christ from one degree of glory to another through the process of sanctification (2 Corinthians 3:18).

 

Prayer:

Father God, as a container we show that the all-surpassing power in us is from You and not from us (2 Corinthians 4:7). As we totally surrender our life and plans to You, we find all the riches and wonders we could ever want during both this life and the next.

 

Nothing is impossible with You, and we constantly reap the benefits of Your unconditional love for us (Matthew 19:26). Thank You for allowing us to be a part of Your glorious plan of redemption for the earth.

 

Remind us that once our “self-life” is dead, we no longer live, but Christ lives in us and through us (Colossians 1:27; 2 Corinthians 13:5; Galatians 2:20). Jesus uses our hands, our feet, our words and our actions to further Your Kingdom in the earth.

 

Thought for the Day:

The only way for every child of God to fully live is to completely die to our own desires, ambitions and goals, and to hide our life with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3).

 

 

 

 

Complete Trust and Rest

Our work in our own self-effort actually hinders the work of the Lord (2 Chronicles 5:14). We spin our wheels by attempting to make things happen on our own. We end up frustrated, anxious and even angry at times.

 

Yet, if we put our needs and the direction of our life into God’s capable hands, and allow His Holy Spirit to guide each moment of our day, we end up in the right place at the right time.

 

If we do not have what we want or what we think we need, we can be sure that God does not think we need it at this moment of time. We often get bored and want a change or feel desperate in some area and decide that we know what is best for us.

 

Yet, when we release all negative emotions and wait on the Lord’s direction, we end up receiving even more and infinitely better than we ever had in our whole life (Ephesians 3:20-21).

 

My sister-in-Christ needed a new house. She combed the papers daily and worked with several rental agencies, desperate to find a new place to live. She falsely believed that it was up to her to relocate her family.

 

After many months and an inordinate amount of stress and time of spinning her wheels, she gave up, prayed for God’s will and timing and entered His rest. She listened to His Spirit each succeeding day. Within a week, she had the perfect home for her family.

 

Another Believer had a similar story with a job. When she decided to abide in God’s rest, she lost her desperate drive. She joyfully turned down a few jobs that God made clear to her were not His will for her. Within a month she had the best job in which she ever worked in her entire life and is so fulfilled and joyful now.

 

A widowed Believer strongly desired a new husband. She tried every avenue she could think of to find a husband. Once she surrendered her need to the Lord, she had peace and enjoyed her life as a single person.

 

Two years later, she met her new husband at the sickbed of a dear friend. The ailing woman highly recommended each of her single friends to one another and they started dating.

 

Within a few weeks, they realized that they were very much in love, enjoying the complete peace of the Lord and were married at the bedside of their dying friend. Years later, they are still head over heels in love with one another.

 

As we cease from our striving and trade our self-efforts for surrender to God’s will, we start to serve God from a position of rest, daily obedience to His Spirit’s guidance and an uncompromising desire to live in the center of God’s will (Philippians 4:7).

 

Prayer:

Father God, thank You for teaching us to cease from living life in our own wisdom and strength, and from running through life with anxiety and stress, which make us unhappy and unfulfilled in every way. Help us to be grateful to You for every aspect of our life and to be satisfied with Your provision and timing.

 

Enable us to enter into Your complete trust and rest (John 14:27). Help us to be more concerned with Your will than our own, more eager to seek Your Kingdom than our own, and realizing that You will give us everything we need in Your timing and way (Matthew 6:33).

 

Thought for the Day:

Let gratitude for God’s daily provision, as well as the peace of the Lord, fill your heart to overflowing, trusting God to work out all things for your ultimate good. – Colossians 3:15; Romans 8:28

The Name of the Lord – Our Refuge

Faith in Jesus’ name will strengthen us; and the faith which comes through Him, often gives us perfect health through Him; so that Jesus may be magnified (Acts 3:16, 4:10, 4:30, 19:17 James 5:14).

God justly remembers the work and love we show in His name as we minister to one another (Hebrews 6:10). We give thanks and praise to His name, and exalt His name as He delivers us (1 Chronicles 16:35; Nehemiah 9:5).

We praise His name as we assemble, and to the ends of the earth, and as we pay our vows forever and ever (Psalm 22:22, 30:4, 38:10; 61:8). Even the oppressed and needy praise and give thanks to His great, lovely, and awesome name (Psalm 74:21, 99:3, 106:47, 135:3).

His is the only name, which we exalt and worship (Psalm 148:13). We praise His name with dancing and with instruments because of all the good things He does for us (Ps 149:3; Jeremiah 33:9; Joel 2:26). The fruit of our lips continually gives thanks to and boasts in His name (Hebrews 13:15; Psalm 44:8).

God releases our soul from its prison here on earth, so that we may give thanks to His name (Psalm 142:7). Therefore, we exalt His name forever for His wonderful works, and His perfect plans, which He faithfully fulfills (Isaiah 12:4, 25:1).

Even in trials and persecution, we praise the name of the Lord (Ephesians 5:20; Psalm 74:21). Whatever we do in word and deed, we do it all in His name and for the glory of His name (Colossians 3:17).

Prayer:
Father God, all the earth will one day worship You with the glory, which is due to Your name (Psalm 66:4). There is no god like You, and we eagerly await the revelation of Your appearing, because You are the desire of our soul (Exodus 34:14; Isaiah 26:8). We love and take refuge in Your name and sing for joy because of Your shelter throughout our life (Psalm 5:11).

We cling to You and hold fast to Your promises and ways as we enjoy Your deliverance (Deuteronomy 10:20; Psalm 5:11, 9:10). Thank You for securely setting us high upon the Rock of Christ, because we experience the magnitude of Your name (Psalm 91:14).

Thought for the Day:
Due to God’s marvelous works, let us continually offer words of praise, even if it is a sacrifice for our soul to use our last ounce of strength to do it. – Hebrews 13:15

Experiencing God’s Presence

There is no place on earth more fulfilling than living in God’s presence. He reveals to us the path of life, fills us with His joy and gives us pleasures, which last for an eternity (Psalm 16:11).

His presence abides in us and He gives us His rest (Exodus 33:14). We continually commune with Him through prayer (Psalm 145:18-19). When we draw near to Him, He comes closer to us (James 4:8).

At times, we do not sense His presence, but He is always near to us, living within us (Genesis 28:16). We find Him if we take the time to seek Him with our whole heart and soul (Deuteronomy 4:29).

Regardless of our behavior, His graciousness, compassion, attention, mercy and love accompany the presence of God in our life; although our sins will break His heart and grieve His Spirit (2 Kings 13:23; 1 Thessalonians 5:19).

Brokenhearted people find soothing comfort in God’s presence; and, in our humility, He will save us from every one of our afflictions (Psalm 34:18-19).

God’s goodness is magnanimous to those who submit to Him. Words fail to describe what He has planned for those who trust Him (Psalm 31:19-20).

As our refuge and strength, God keeps us safe from every enemy, from strife and from gossips (Psalm 46:1). His plans are not evil, and He intends for us to prosper in Him (Jeremiah 29:11).

Prayer:
Father God, create a clean heart in us, and help us to refresh our commitment to You. We thank You for not casting us away from Your presence or removing Your Spirit from within us when we fall into sin (Psalm 51:10-11).

We come into Your presence with gratitude for all that You do for us, and we shout joyfully in praises to You. You are our great King, our Savior and God (Psalm 95:2-3).

Thought for the Day:
We joyfully serve the Lord and dwell in His presence with a continual song in our heart and on our lips. – Psalm 100:2

God’s Wondrous Love

There is nothing in the created world or in the supernatural world, which can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39). God’s love is not one dimensional; it is four-square.

It has height, depth, width and length, and is an abundance of all-encompassing love. God’s love fulfills our life and endows us with non-paralleled, unfathomable gratification (Psalm 107:43).

We not only know about His love in our mind, but we can also feel it and experience it through His wondrous gifts and blessings, which He showers on us each and every day.

God’s love accompanies His presence within our Born Again spirit. We bask in His fullness each moment of the day, and we walk in His Spirit throughout our lifetime (Galatians 5:15-25).

Even though our King Jesus sits on His throne at the right hand of our Father God, He also lives in us by His Spirit (Mark 16:19; Colossians 1:27). His love frees us from fear and anxiety (1 John 4:18).

We maintain our faith in God’s faithfulness, and we look for the seed of a miracle in the midst of every trial. We know without a doubt that He will work out everything for our ultimate good (Psalm 118:1; Romans 8:28).

We prove our love for God by obeying His commandments (John 14:21-23). They are not constructed to restrict our life, but to keep us healthy, joyful and in the center of His love.

The fruit of our obedience is an open door between us and God, so that His love pours over us like a waterfall every day of our life. Our joy is full, because Christ dwells within us (Psalm 16:11; Colossians 1:27).

Prayer:
Father God, in the abundance of Your love for us, we live in contentment regardless of our circumstances (Philippians 4:11; Ephesians 5:20). We gratefully count our blessings, which never end, rather than taking them for granted (Psalm 103:2).

We surrender to Christ in us and enter into Your rest. We resist the human tendency to interrupt our joy, shatter our serenity or rush the fellowship of our time in Your presence (Hebrews 4:10). We effortlessly float in the river of Your love and allow Your Spirit to move us along according to Your will and purpose for our life.

Thought for the Day:
When we realize that nothing this world has to offer is more fulfilling than the gift of love from Calvary’s cross, we fall on our face in repentance and then rise up to worship our living God. – John 3:16-17;

Complete in Christ Within

We search our whole life for a person or accomplishment to complete us, to make us whole. We drive our self to distraction, like slaves who never measure up.

We want so desperately to find love, acceptance and abundant provision. Yet, our soul is fragmented all along the highway of life. Our identity is falsified with Satan’s lies.

Lost loves, rejection, physical abuse, belittling, deprivation, abandonment, high expectations and a myriad of other traumas and negative experiences will chip off pieces of our soul and leave it behind in our past.

The false labels, which we use to identify our self, are destructive and demeaning. They restrict us with feelings of futility and worthlessness. We feel hopeless and helpless.

We cripple our future with the pain of our past. We may do immoral things, but that does not make us a bad person. It only identifies us as a sinner in need of Jesus as our Savior.

Good people do not go to heaven, and bad people do not go to hell. Believers in Christ go to heaven and unbelievers condemn themselves to eternity in hell (John 3:16-18).

As we find our true identity in Christ alone, He takes us back to these losses and recovers our true self from the rubble we left behind. His love completes us and His provision satisfies us.

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for renewing our mind and transforming it into the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). Jesus freed us from the bondage, which Satan attempts to bind us with, and He gives us the right to become Your children (John 1:12, 8:36).

Help us to forgive our self for the sins of our past, just as You forgive us (Matthew 6:14). Remind us to follow the direction of Your Spirit through each moment of our day and to bring You the glory for our every thought, word and deed (Psalm 143:8).

Thought for the Day:
God is the only one who can restore our soul and make us co-heirs with Christ to His Kingdom. – Psalm 23:3; 1 John 3:2; Romans 8:17

The Reasons We Over-React

We over-react when we use more emotion in our response than is necessary. The issue does not warrant the intensity of our reaction, but we over react for many reasons.

An over-reaction may be due to emotions in our subconscious, which are connected to unresolved issues in our past. Satan planted a lie in past trauma, and these lies fuel our current reactions.

For instance, our mate’s behavior reminds us of the behavior we experienced with someone else in former times. Our soul combines the pain we felt back then with the pain we feel in the moment, and the vehemence is overwhelming both to us and the person receiving our wrath.

God wants to help us to resolve these previous issues by discovering Satan’s lies and hearing God’s Truth. This negates the power of the lies, and the intensity of our over-reaction because of them. Once the past pain is gone, it no longer intensifies our emotions in the current moment (www.theophostic.com).

Another reason for over-reacting is that we make assumptions and react before getting all of the facts. For instance, our mate is late…again. We assume there is an affair and we blast him with the anger fueled by our devastation.

The remedy for over-reacting due to misconceptions is to gain all of the facts before we react. Calmly sit the person down and ask them to explain their behavior. When we see their actions from their point of view, we may realize Satan planted another lie, which caused our assumption.

Another reason for over-reactions is that many people refrain from nagging by swallowing irritations or slights each time they occur. We think they are gone, but they are actually stored in our subconscious mind. They pile higher and deeper until one final trespass triggers a violent over-reaction.

The person who prompted this response from us looks at us as if we have two heads. They cannot understand why some insignificant occurrence would cause us to over-react so emotionally and sometimes violently.

The remedy for this is to ask God to reveal the reason every time their behavior irritates us or hurts our feelings. Is there an idol in our life, which we must lay at Jesus’ feet? Do we have preconceived notions, for which we need clarification? Is there a misunderstanding that needs an explanation?

Once we discover whether the problem is in their behavior or our perception, we are free to discuss it with them quietly and calmly. We no longer allow issues to build up within our soul.

We may need to request that the person change their behavior. If they try to change and fail, we can give them more opportunities to change their habitual conduct. We would want them to give us more chances as well. However, we may need to set boundaries until a resolution is found.

Another cause for irritation is that we fail to make sure the person paid attention to us when we made a request. They have to focus on our words and hear and understand what we are actually saying.

Otherwise, they may think they are fulfilling our request, only to find out they only paid attention to half of what we said. Or maybe they were focusing on something else and not paying attention to us at all or they have “selective” hearing.

We can rectify this issue by asking the person to repeat what we just said. Then, we can ask them when they think we can expect our request to be fulfilled. We can make sure that they take us seriously and do not discount our request to have our needs met.

Another reason that we over-react is that we misunderstand what is said. For instance, Sally made the statement to Mary that she was faithful in attendance to Bible study. Mary thought Sally said that she was thankful that Mary missed attendance at Bible study. Mary was offended for no reason, because she simply misunderstood a word that sounded similar, but had a very different meaning.

Over-reactions are sudden bursts of passionate emotions, which end as quickly as they erupt; however, like a volcano, they leave behind deep scars that ruin the composition of the relationship.

Prayer:
Father God, human communication is one of the hardest feats we must accomplish in our lifetime. We all speak and hear from prejudices, which interpret what is said from our own paradigm.

That is why You inspired James to tell us to be “quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger” (James 1:19). We must listen with twice as much attention, so that we do not react with anger, or trigger an angry reaction in someone else.

Thank You for helping us to face the pain of our past and to hear Your Truth about Satan’s lies, so that each issue resolves and never hurts us again. Thank You for teaching us not to take one another for granted, to turn off the TV or computer, or to put down our book, phone, game controller, etc and pay complete attention to one another when we communicate our feelings or needs. Thank You for reminding us to communicate with You during each moment of our day.

Thoughts for the Day:
At times, wounds caused by an over-reaction may never heal, and friends or mates part company; when instead, one of these simple resolutions could put out the fire at the very core of the issue.

A Fulfilled Life

As humans, we are so engrossed in our soul that we fail to realize that our spirit is dead within us (Ephesians 2:1). We instinctively know there is a missing ingredient within, but we ignore this fact much of our life.

This causes us to delve deeper into the realm of the soul – the thoughts of our mind, our fleshly choices and the tyrant of our emotions. We seek satisfaction in any way, time and place we can find it.

We refuse to believe anything, which does not make sense to our human understanding. We even perverted the Serenity Prayer to relate to the “god of our understanding.”

As fallen humanity, we are so blinded by our pride and rebellion to the Truth of God’s Word that we miss out on the blessings, which God wants to provide for each and every one of us right here and now, as well as in the future.

The power of God for salvation is freely given to everyone who chooses to believe, without regard to color, age, race, financial status and ethnic background (Romans 1:16).

Our righteous God reveals a fulfilled life in His love to those who choose to reject the counsel of our pride and rebellion; and instead, to have faith in His faithfulness (Romans 1:16-17).

Prayer:
Father God, You freely give all things to those who put their trust in You. You infuse us with Your joy, which is our strength to live a fulfilled life in this sin-cursed world. Even creation cries out for the revelation of Your sons, so that You will restore the former glory of Paradise to the earth.

Thank You for moving by Your Spirit in my life and giving me the faith of Your Son, Jesus Christ, to believe in You (Galatians 2:20). Thank You for showering me with Your love every moment of my day and teaching me to follow the direction of Your Spirit through each one of them. Dwelling in the center of Your will is the happiest place on earth.

Thought for the Day:
We can conqueror every negative aspect in this life, just because of God’s love for us. – Romans 8:37-39

The Blessings of God’s Law

God did not give Moses the Law in order to restrict and burden the people with too many rules to keep. He gave the Law as wisdom and enlightenment of how we can live a healthy life in body, soul and spirit. Our Heavenly Father developed the Law in order to protect us from our self and from people who desire to perpetuate evil on others. The Law also leads us to our need for Christ (Galatians 3:24-26).

As we read His Word and meditate on His Law, God uses these words to caution and instruct us during our daily life. This keeps us from breaking the laws of our nation and ending up in jail, it stops us from contracting illnesses from other people, it prevents us from getting enslaved by addictions, it averts disasters in our personal relationships, etc.

God will circumvent His law in certain cases when He divinely intervenes in the circumstances of our life. For instance, if two cars are heading toward one another on a collision course, God can send His angels to prevent a wreck. We usually reap what we sow in life. Although because of God’s mercy and grace, He often protects us from our own, or someone else’s choices (Galatians 6:7; Isaiah 63:7-9).

In addition to His Word, God also uses His Spirit to speak to His Saints and to direct our choices (Proverbs 3:5-6). However, if we are not committing our way to the Lord and walking in His Spirit, then we will often harvest the results of our humanistic decisions. As we walk in God’s will instead of our own, we are filled with peace and joy, and our life is much more fulfilled.

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for Your Law, which gives us the wisdom to live productive and blessed lives. You do not want us to make our plans and ask You to bless them. Instead, You want us to hear from You and to accomplish the works You created us to do (Ephesians 2:10). In order to hear from You, we need to quiet our body, ignore the thoughts and emotions in our soul, and focus on Your still, small voice communicating with us through our spirit. Show us Your ways, and teach us Your truths as we wait on You all through the day (Psalm 25:4-5; 27:11; 86:11).

Thought for the Day:
There is no conflict between the law and promises of God; the law shows that we are all controlled by sin, but those who believe in Christ will receive God’s promises. – Galatians 3:21