Our Strong Tower

As an infant, most of us are properly cared for by our parents; although, more often in these days in which we live, children are no longer cherished and nurtured.

Regardless of our upbringing, however, life rarely pulls its punches. It deals out a lifetime of hard knocks, abuse, neglect and disappointments.

We learn to keep more to our self, in order to give people and circumstances fewer chances to hurt us. We want to stay safe from a world, which often frightens us.

We continue to reach out to other people, and to help them in any way we can; but suspicion taints the way we view people and opportunities, which come our way.

We are programmed to believe that the good times will never last, because they never did in the past. We stop looking forward to things; and we never believe promises, because they rarely if ever happen.

We miss opportunities, which we would enjoy, because we are afraid to trust the leading of God’s Spirit. We stay home rather than to take risks to meet new people and to share God’s love with them.

We learn to build walls to hide behind in an attempt to protect our self. However, these very walls only serve to keep us restrained in the confinement of our own making.

We try to escape these walls through addictions, the wrong friends and mate, busyness, hobbies, projects and over-achieving in areas, which do not really matter.

We imprison our true self behind those walls, which were meant to keep us safe. We can never live a full life as long as we continue to hinder our whole body, soul and spirit from living free in Christ (Galatians 5:1).

Prayer:
Father God, we wall up our heart, because vulnerability makes us susceptible to victimization and neglect. You advise us to guard our heart from sin, but not from other people. You actually expose us to disappointment in this life to show us the magnitude of Your continual love and nurture for us.

Remind us that when we are the weakest and the most vulnerable, then You are the strongest and closest to us in order to fight on our behalf (2 Corinthians 12:9-11; Exodus 14:14; Deuteronomy 3:22).

Therefore, we can entrust our body, soul and spirit to You and Your protection and care (Psalm 55:22; 1 Peter 5:7). We can run into the safety of Your everlasting arms (Isaiah 41:10).

Thought for the Day:
We fear vulnerability; therefore, we hide our true self behind walls of our own making; but God protects us from our enemies and is a strong tower into which we can run and be safe. – Psalm 18:2, 10

School of Hard Knocks

Life often sends us through a crash course at the School of Hard Knocks. We feel overwhelmed and hopeless, because of the weight of disappointment smothering the life right out of us.

As authentic Born Again Believers, we have Father God, Brother Jesus and their Spirit – who defend, protect, advise, guide, provide for and love us, so much that Jesus laid down His own life for us (1 John 2:1; John 14:16, 15:13).

We can have faith in God’s faithfulness, because He proves His love for us each moment of every day. He provides a miracle to accompany every trial, such as: spiritual growth, lessons learned, or blessings, which come in spite of our suffering.

In our trials, God surrounds us with His ministering angels, provides for our needs, builds our faith, gives us wisdom to share with others, and uses us as an example of one who maintains faith in God (Hebrews 1:14; Philippians 4:19; 1 Peter 1:7; Luke 22:32).

God’s Spirit uses trials to shape in us the fruit of His Spirit: love, joy, faith, patience, gentleness, goodness, meekness, self-control and faith (Galatians 5:22-23; James 1:3).

God also teaches us contentment, which fills our heart regardless of the severity of the circumstances (Philippians 4:11-12). God continually abides in us through everything we ever experience (Galatians 2:20; Colossians 1:27).

At times, Satan tempts us to blame God for our losses and to feel anger towards Him for what we perceive as Him letting us down. However, God sees the big picture and He allows trials for our ultimate good.

Prayer:
Father God, as we live through the school of hard knocks, remind us to adopt an attitude of joyful acceptance and thanksgiving. Help us to focus on Your sovereign purpose in everything we experience (Romans 8:28). Remind us to trust in Your foreknowledge and grace (Romans 8:29; Hebrews 4:16).

Your infinite ways exceed our finite human understanding; therefore, we can always trust that You have our good at heart.
We trust in Your faithfulness to fulfill all of Your promises, even when the circumstances appear hopeless.

Thought for the Day:
Praising God in and through trials helps us to feel contentment in spite of them and gratitude for His presence in us through each one of them. – 1 Thessalonians 5:18; John 17:23

We Are All Winners

We Are All Winners

We are given every opportunity as we grow up from childhood to compete with others in athletics, games, grades, hobbies and even dating. We covet the first place award, and we are so disappointed when we achieve anything less. This drive to reach perfection will drive us into an early grave. It makes us think that we can control our life and the outcome of every endeavor.

We soon learn, through a series of hard knocks, that we cannot control everything. Rather than give us relief, we allow this fact to demean us in our own eyes. We see others who always win; therefore, we must be less in every way than they are. Satan makes sure that we do not recognize that there are many others who are not in first place either.

There can only be one first place winner, and everyone else is second rate at best. Therefore, rather than allowing Satan to accuse us with this fact, allow it to be a comfort, realizing that most people do not achieve first place, but we are all winners if we are IN CHRIST. This way we can rejoice with people who do win, and comfort those who do not.

We have no reason to deride our self or to feel belittled in any way, because even the winners will lose sometimes. They cannot win at everything they try. The real goal is not to win, but to do our best. If you did your best, then no one, not even your self, can expect anything more from you than your best. It is only when we do not do our best that we deserve to come in second best.

John warns us about the boastful pride of life and points out that this does not come from God, but from the philosophy of the world (1 John 2:16). Satan is the god of this world, and he thinks that he owns the kingdoms of this world. The truth is that God gave the government of the earth to mankind, and Adam relinquished his position by believing Satan’s lie.

We do this same thing every day. We believe Satan’s lies as truth and we discount the Word of God. In truth, King Jesus now has all power and authority both in heaven and on earth. He lives within us and we abide in Him as He abides in us. All the power of the Godhead dwells inside of our spirit; and we can tap into it and share it with the world around us.

Prayer:
Father God, open the eyes of our heart and let us see You. You are high and lifted up and the earth is simply Your footstool (Isaiah 66:1). Teach us that there is nothing in this world that is more valuable than our relationship with You. Remind us that as King’s kids, we are all winners because of what our brother Jesus did for us on Calvary’s cross (Matthew 4:10).

Thought for the Day:
Never think that you can handle life on your own; seek God in all of your circumstances, plans, goals and decisions. – Proverbs 3:5-6