Surviving Our Past

During the formative years of our life, many of us experience physical and emotional wounds perpetrated by family, neighbors and friends of our family.

 

These events caused parts of our soul to splinter off and embed in our subconscious mind. We are disjointed and incomplete, because our basic human needs in these areas were never met.

 

Some of us barely survive our past experiences, and we drag the wounds with us into adulthood. Victimization took away our choices and we feel trapped.

 

We even mistreat our self by either putting our needs last and allowing other people to take advantage of us, or punishing our self with further pain and neglect, or becoming obsessed with our own needs and walling our heart from further hurt by shutting down our emotions and becoming self-sufficient.

 

We may allow the demon of perfectionism to control our life, because we fear further rejection or feel the need to earn love and acceptance; or we may adopt a lackadaisical and carefree attitude, unthinking and callous to the needs of others.

 

God leads us on the path of healing through sanctification. As we embrace the parts of our soul we left behind, we experience a wholeness and completion, which we never thought was possible (Colossians 2:10-15).

 

We integrate the pieces of our self, which we rejected in our past, and learn to relate to people and the will of God for our life as healthy individuals who are growing in the grace of God.

( http://www.theophostic.com )

 

God teaches us to set boundaries in our life to prevent future abuse and gives us a new heart in order to love others as He loves us.

 

God’s healing in our life sets us free to shed the shackles of negative emotions and to be more aware of living fully in each present moment with unceasing prayer and by walking in the Spirit.

 

Prayer:

Father God, You were right there with us during those times of abuse and neglect in our past. You understand our thought processes now and the negative emotions, which plague our life. You became a man and died for us. This act of selfless love now gives us the sense of being valued and unconditionally loved.

 

As we align our self and our beliefs with Your Word, we find fulfillment in this life, which we never thought possible on this side of heaven. You supply all of our needs according to Your glorious riches (Philippians 4:19). You restore our soul, anoint our head with oil, set a table for us in the presence of our enemies and our cup overflows with Your blessings (Psalm 23).

 

Thought for the Day:

We can relinquish the need to control life and other people in a misguided attempt to keep our self safe from further abuse and neglect, when we insist on taking part in decisions which affect our life, and trust God to work out even the worst circumstances for our good – Romans 8:28

God’s Divine Purpose

 

Without Christ in our life, we know something is missing. We optimistically search everywhere to find it. Since the time of Adam and Eve, the spirit of man is dead at birth, buried under layers of sin (Ephesians 2:1-5).

 

We all have a living soul – our mind, will and emotions – which often fails under the weight of life, because circumstances beat us down relentlessly.

 

Our dead spirit and our unhealthy soul affect our body as well. What we lack is the vital power of God. Without the Spirit of God rebirthing and dwelling in our spirit, we are crippled in life.

 

No one is intrinsically good except God (Mark 10:18). However, when Christ moves into our life, we daily die to our carnal flesh and we grow in His good judgment and nature (Galatians 2:20; John 12:24; Luke 9:23).

 

We start to make wiser choices, which last for eternity; rather than desiring options, which are carnal, temporal and momentary.

 

Over time, Jesus becomes our only life and we have no meaningful existence outside of Him (2 Corinthians 13:5; Colossians 3:3). This does not mean that we sit in a meditative state all day, every day.

 

Jesus and the apostles interacted with people. They were anointed with the Holy Spirit and with God’s power. They went everywhere the Spirit led them, and they blessed people with healing, wisdom and deliverance (Acts 10:38).

 

Once we come to Christ we are totally complete in Him (Colossians 2:9-10). We live and move and have our existence in Jesus each moment of our day (Act 17:28).

 

We come to realize that if we do not have something we think we need, it is because God knows we do not need it at this time. He has other plans for us. Accepting His will with joy brings us ultimate fulfillment.

 

Prayer:

Father God, we realize that Christ actually does Your work through us. Our true identity as Authentic Christians comes from Christ living in us. Christ expresses Your character through us, which is the fruit of Your Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, meekness, self-control and faith (Galatians 5:22-23).

 

We are all united with Christ in His Body. You utilize us as individual members of this Body, each with unique gifts and talents, in a ministry to a corporate, church Body. Thank You for using us to fulfill Your purpose in the earth (Romans 12:15; Ephesians 1:22,23; Colossians 1:18; 1 Corinthians 12:27).

 

Thought for the Day:

Salvation is the beginning of our walk in Christ, but the next step is to develop awareness in our conscious thoughts of the reality of Christ living within us.

 

Healing from Abusive Behavior – Part 1

Abuse, even a one-time moment of rage that used abuse as punishment or an attempt to control the victim, robs us of our innocence and makes us feel powerless over our own life.

It drives us into a codependent role – attempting to please others to keep them from abusing us. The problem with this faulty thinking is that it often has the opposite effect.

People tend to continue to abuse our good nature, take us for granted and treat us with contempt. A lack of appreciation and more verbal, mental and physical abuse may follow.

We strive throughout our life to lay down our life in hopes that someone will love us; but we actually teach them that it is okay to take advantage of us, because we constantly put our needs last.

Trauma does not always make us stronger. It may also make us a ball of nerves, fear and insecurity. We are actually weaker, because we are always on the defensive.

We may develop PTSD, much like any survivor of a battle zone, and react to life with this fractured thinking and behavior. Medication may be necessary to help us to remain calm and lucid until God heals us.

Journaling helps us to heal by allowing our Inner Parent to understand the deep wounds we experienced and to nurture our Inner Child as we turn our words into a prayer for God’s healing.

Prayer:
Father God, I pray for victims of abuse of every type. Give them the deep comfort that can only come from Your love. Restore to them their joy in life and remove from them the fears and insecurities, which plague their life. Redeem their heart and mind and give them a new outlook on life.

Teach them that although people may not be trustworthy, You are always trustworthy. Help us to remain vulnerable and kind, yet wary and wise (Matthew 10:16). Show us the balance between serving others without teaching them to take us for granted by always putting our needs last.

Thought for the Day:
God’s perfect goodness and love find expression in the midst of wickedness and degradation; because He experiences every slight right along with us and carries our pain and burden for us, if we will relinquish it to Him.

Life is No Longer a Struggle

After surrendering our life to Christ, we experience a struggle between our soul and spirit. Our spirit is born again by the Spirit of God at salvation. Our carnal nature is now dead, and our life is hidden with Christ in God. Christ is our whole life (Colossians 3:1-4).

Yet, there are predispositions in our life through habits and addictions, which continually pull us back to the deeds of the flesh (Romans 7:14-24). Thankfully, our redemption through Christ rescued us from serving a slaves to sin (Romans 7:25).

We can trust His Spirit to slowly sanctify us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). The result is that we walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:15-26). We bear holy fruit in our life and share this fruit with those God brings our way (Galatians 5:22-23).

We cannot accumulate enough good works to earn God’s love (Ephesians 2:8-9). While we were still sinners, He already gave us His unconditional and unmerited love as a free gift (Romans 3:23, 5:6-8, 6:23).

He gives us an example of how to love our children, spouse and other family members and friends. Our love for them is not based on their behavior or accomplishments, but as a free gift.

When we believe that our self-worth is based on our performance, we lose respect for our self if we fail. When we base our identity on Christ in us, we always succeed because we follow His Spirit on a daily basis.

This frees us from wearing masks to fit in or lying or living a hypocritical life in order to live up to the image we believe people expect from us. Receiving our worth from Christ in us keeps us humble and totally dependent on God.

We rely on God to point out our inconsistencies, to effect these changes in us and to help us to accomplish the works He pre-ordained for us to do (Psalm 139:23-24; Ephesians 2:10). He is our all in all through every moment of every day (Ephesians 4:6).

Prayer:
Father God, we choose to enter Your rest and to bear fruit through Your Spirit and by no effort of our own (John 15:4). We trust in the saving work of Christ on Calvary’s cross rather than on our good works; and we accept our holiness, righteousness, justification and sanctification as gifts from Your Spirit.

Thank You for rooting and grounding us in the soil of Your love and for caring for us as our Vinedresser throughout our entire lifetime. We pray that as we submit to Your will for our life, we will glorify You by bearing much fruit for Your Kingdom through Your Spirit’s work in our life (John 15:8; Galatians 5:15-25).

Thought for the Day:
God searches our heart and tries us, seeing our fears and anxiety and healing us of every hurtful memory as He leads us in His everlasting way.
– Psalm 139:23-24

Healing from Life’s Trauma

Life in this perverse and dark world is evil at best and cruel and unthinkable at its worse. The atrocities perpetuated on one human being by another without conscience is wounding and debilitating.

From a one-time event to repeated and ritualistic abuse, we tend to bury this pain in our subconscious mind and often refuse to revisit it or we may deny its existence. Yet, it influences every moment of every day of our life.

Traumatized in body, mind and emotions, we separate parts of our self and bury them in the past, moving forward with any self-respect and reality, which we can find.

We survive by erecting walls, hiding behind anger, staying in a protective mode to prevent future real or imagined abuse. We cope through any means available, even addictions and defense mechanisms.

As Christ strengthens us from within and becomes the focus of our life, this pain loses some of its strength. God’s love covers a multitude of sin perpetrated against us and helps us to forgive and move on.

He brings these issues to light along with the lies, which Satan plants in each trauma. He speaks His truth about each memory and situation and completely sets us free from bondage to these memories. ( http://www.theophostic.com )

As God reveals any issue which may keep us in bondage to sin, Satan, the world, the flesh and our past, we recover the bits and pieces of our self, which litter our past and God heals them and molds them back into our life as productive pieces of who we are today.

Prayer:
Father God, You see the secret pain of our past and desire to search us and to heal the pain which causes our current fears, depression and anger. You lead us into complete healing by Your Spirit to live whole and complete lives unhindered by the pain of our past (Psalm 139:23-24). You make us a new creation, created by Christ Jesus for good works to further Your Kingdom on the earth (2 Corinthians 5:17).

You bring an article, a sermon, a Bible verse, a song, a comment by a friend or enemy to open those wounds, remove the splinters and to allow us to heal from the inside out. We bring our troubled thoughts to You and rejoice as You lead us to the freedom only You can provide both now and throughout eternity.

Thought for the Day:
The Holy Spirit is God’s wonderful Counselor who operates on the infected splinters embedded deep within our soul and frees us from the source of the infection, healing the wounds and making us whole.

Puzzling Pieces

When I assemble a puzzle, I start with the corner piece; then I build the frame of the puzzle before attempting to find all of the inner pieces. This brings order and clarity to the puzzle.

Our walk as Christians follows this same principle. Jesus is the main cornerstone on which we base the rest of our life (Ephesians 2:20; Matthew 21:42). He helps us to line up the other three corners and to build the framework of a successful lifestyle.

We use God’s Word to place the parameters within which we frame our thoughts, words and deeds. These are not restrictions, but a simple plan, which gives our life order and clarity.

The inside pieces are a beautiful tapestry, which God weaves throughout each moment of our day by His sanctifying process; adding brilliant colors and beautiful scenery which enhances our existence.

Each new piece that He adds makes the panorama come to life and brings logic to some puzzling pieces that made no sense in the past. The enigmatic life experiences in our future fall into place with ease when each new aspect is added.

With the safety of God’s spiritual border around our life, our fears and insecurity fade, anger diminishes, earthly focus switches to spiritual focus and dependence on God replaces self-reliance and codependence.

Through our total commitment and surrender to God’s will we experience the richest measure of His presence, the multi-dimensions of His love, and the magnitude of His mercy, grace and peace (Romans 8:35-39; 2 John 1:3; Ephesians 3:16-19, Amplified Bible)

Prayer:
Father God, thank You that our true identity is found only in Christ and that Your Holy Spirit continues Your sanctifying work in us. Teach us to follow Your voice each moment of the day and to do the works You created us to accomplish before we were ever born (Ephesians 2:10).

The parameters of Your love give us peace and security and help us to experience the fullness of Your presence and Spirit within us. Give us Your wisdom and understanding to enable us to walk worthy to wear Your name, to please You completely and to bear spiritual fruit through every good work we do (Colossians 1:9-10).

Thought for the Day:
In the midst of the puzzling aspects of life on this earth, God gives us healing from our past, trust to face the future and clarity of thought in each new moment.

Healing from Trauma – Part 2

Healing from Trauma – Part 2

We all finally reach the point in life where we totally surrender to the will of God (Ephesians 2:10). The fears of the future no longer etch away at our faith, because God proves Himself faithful by His intervention in our current issues.

During times of relocation and restoration, God hides us under the shadow of His wings. We heal physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally (Psalm 63:7). His love sustains us.

God encourages us through long time friendships, as well as new friends who love us unconditionally as He does. He makes His presence known within us and we flourish under His gentle care.

We start to notice the seeds for a miracle, which God places in every trial. We learn to look beyond the momentary afflictions to the promises, which God gives us through His Word and His world (2 Corinthians 4:17; 2 Peter 1:4).

He teaches us that negative emotions are arrows pointing to a wound in our soul, which needs healing ( http://www.theophostic.com ). God’s Spirit continues replacing the negative aspects of our personality with His fruit (Galatians 5:22-23).

He gives us the mind of Christ, which puts more emphasis on the eternal than the temporal, more fulfillment from the spiritual than from the carnal, and makes us appreciate that our identity comes from Christ in us , not from our own strengths and accomplishments (Colossians 1:27).

We realized for the first time, that we really are already crucified with Christ, even though we still physically live on this earth. We are never truly abandoned to survive the trials of this life alone, because Christ gives us His faith and actually lives in and through us (Galatians 2:20).

God teaches us to rejoice in every situation and to float with the ebb and flow of life, because He is the Lord of all (1 Timothy 6:15). He proves to us that He will never leave or forsake us, regardless of the circumstances (Hebrews 13:5).

Surrendering to the love of God is how we can enjoy the peace of God, which floods our soul and transcends any human reasoning, as it guards our thoughts and emotions through the presence of Christ Jesus abiding within us (Philippians 4:4-7).

Prayer:
Father God, I am amazed that for even one moment I thought that I could save myself. I learned at 18 that You were the Savior of my spirit, but it took me thirty more years to learn that You are also Savior of our body and soul.

There is nothing this world can throw at us that will ever knock me down again, because nothing can ever separate us from Your love (Romans 8:35-39). With Your mercy and grace in our life, we can look forward to the miracle, which comes from every trial which we will ever experience.

Thought for the Day:
Worry is the toll we pay for traversing the trials of life without trusting in the Lord.

True Christian Life

A life lived in total surrender to the will of God brings healing in body, soul and spirit. God’s Spirit renews our mind and transforms our spirit into the likeness of Christ (Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 3:18).

Satan will attempt to keep us under His bondage to sin, and to prevent us from functioning with effectiveness in the Kingdom of God. He will lure us with a promise of worldly gain.

However, as we seek more intimacy with God, who abides within us, our desire for more of this world fades. We find our true identity, restful peace and complete joy in the presence of Christ in us (Colossians 1:27; Galatians 2:20).

Christ abides in our heart by faith and we are rooted and grounded in God’s love (Ephesians 3:17; Colossians 2:7). Our goal is to reach perfection through the knowledge of God’s Son and by growing into the fullest measure of the richness of Christ (Ephesians 4:13).

We live in contentment, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). We have boldness and access to the very presence of God, because of Christ’s completed work on Calvary’s cross (Ephesians 3:12).

Christ’s faith within us helps to quench the fiery darts of Satan’s lies and temptations (Ephesians 6:16; 1 Corinthians 10:13). By God’s Spirit we work in faith, labor in love and have patience through our hope in the Lord in the sight of God, our Father (1 Thessalonians 1:3).

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for counting us worthy of our calling, for helping us to fulfill Your will through Your goodness, for the work of Christ’s faith and power within us, and for delivering us from unreasonable and wicked people in our life (2 Thessalonians 1:11, 3:2)

Thank You for freeing us from believing fables and trusting in endless genealogies, which only stir up more questions rather than edify You or build our faith (1 Timothy 1:4). We enjoy Your abundant grace through the faith and love, which we find in Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 1:14). You are all we need.

Thought for the Day:
As Christians, we let our thoughts, words and deed reflect the glory of Christ within us, so that we do not shame our Father God in any way. – Philippians 1:27

Redemption Story

On Calvary’s cross, Jesus paid the ransom for our sins and gave us freedom in Him (John 8:36). As our Refuge, He is our redemption and He replenishes, rejuvenates, re-establishes and restores us.

When our soul is in anguish and we see no way out, or when we are lost in a cave of darkness and are chilled to the bone, our God is right there with us (Hebrews 13:5).

Sometimes, our determination wanes and our body grows weary (Psalm 31:10). We may cause our self to suffer physical illness, if we do not surrender our disappointment and stress-filled life to God.

As we weary of living with the consequences of our mistakes, we stop attempting to live life for our own purposes, with our human resources and in our own power and effort (Psalm 31:14-20).

When we learn not to take even one more step in our human strength, we cast all of our cares on God and He proves His care for us by changing our life for the better (1 Peter 5:7).

Once we are surrendered to Him, even when our pillow is drenched with tears caused by physical, mental, financial and emotional suffering and disappointment, God is in control (Psalm 56:8).

We totally surrender to God, not holding back or relying on our self in any way. Then, our God of grace restores us and re-establishes our life in the center of His will (1 Peter 5:10).

We often look for fulfillment on this side of Heaven. We may succeed in certain areas, but complete fulfillment only happens for those who totally surrender to God and walk in His Spirit.

Sometimes, for His glory, God allows us to walk in continual trials until His ultimate healing in Heaven (John 9:3). Even then, we have the power of His Spirit within us to find His joy and contentment in our circumstances.

When we place our faith in God’s faithfulness, His presence within us gives us His peace, wisdom and power, and He strengthens our body to accomplish those tasks, which He calls us to do (Proverbs 31:17).

Prayer:
Father God, Your Word is our truth and our hope (Psalm 119:114). Keep us safe from destructive people and accusing tongues (Psalm 31:20; Proverbs 29:25). Watch over us and shade us from the fiery darts of the enemy (Psalm 121:5). Continue to provide a refuge for the poor and needy all the days of our life (Isaiah 25:4).

When we serve You with our whole heart, mind, spirit and energy, You lift our burdens and bring us continual new life. We offer back to You the gifts, which You give to us, and we ask you to empower us to perform every ministry, which You lead us to do. Remind us to breathe out life’s stresses and to breathe in Your calming presence all throughout the day.

Thought for the Day:
In this world, we are guaranteed to have problems at home, work and in society; but as we trust Christ’s complete redemption, His joy is our strength, and He is our refuge and fortress forever. – John 16:33; Nehemiah 8:10; Psalm 18:2, 91:2

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.