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

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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.

My Life Was a Wreck – Part 2

The complete dependence on God, which I learned during my first car wreck, helped me to survive the devastation of divorce and to settle into a new life back in my home town.

About a year later, I drove home from work on my usual route, but my mind played a trick on me. Confusing the traffic light at the next street with the light in front of me, I ran a red light.

A large, commercial van t-boned my car, pushing the driver’s-side door twelve inches into the space where I was seat-belted behind the wheel.

Needless to say, my bones started breaking, one of them punctured my lung, and my head ricocheted back into the window. This impact shattered glass into my face, gave me a concussion and knocked me out.

Waking up in the hospital, I learned that my little finger had a compound fracture and 11 of my ribs broke in the impact. I had bruises and lacerations all over the left side of my body.

After getting shuffled around through excruciating x-rays and tests, I told the doctor I was through being tortured, and I wanted to go home.

Smiling to himself, he promised to send me home when my punctured lung healed. He informed me that most people with only a few broken ribs find it hard to breath, so I should be under an oxygen tent for a few days.

I declined His offer and slept in the chair overnight, because the only time I experienced pain was reclining or sitting up from a prone position.

From that same chair, I greeted a surprised doctor the next morning when he made his rounds. He had to keep his promise to send me home. Not only did I have no pain, I also had plenty of oxygen in my body and a healed lung.

At my follow-up appointment the next week, my still surprised doctor admitted that prayer and God’s grace were the only reasons I was not still in a hospital bed and under an oxygen tent. He released me to go back to work as a bookkeeper for my brother’s business.

God used this experience to bless my life in so many ways. The most important was God’s mercy to save my life once again.

The second benefit was that my fiancé’s love for me never diminished, even though I could have won the prize in a Frankenstein’s sister’s “look alike” contest.

Kevin, my parents and my three brothers did everything they could to make my life as easy as possible. Together, we witnessed God’s amazing healing power.

Though I slept in a recliner for three months until my ribs mended enough to lay down in a bed, I never had to take even one pain pill (Psalm 107:2).

Prayer:

Father God, the tiny piece of glass still lodged under the skin of my face is a constant memorial of Your glory and grace. The few ribs, which healed at angles, still poke my muscles to remind me that You hold the power of life and death in Your hands (Deuteronomy 32:39).

Although Satan tried again to snuff out my life, You had plans for me, which are always for my good and for Your glory (Psalm 147:3; Romans 8:28; Jeremiah 29:11). Without eternity, I would never have enough time to praise You for Your constant care for me (1 Peter 5:7).

Thought for the Day:

The unwavering love of the Lord never ceases and His mercy and grace never come to an end; in fact, they are new every single morning due to His great faithfulness. – Lamentations 3:22-23

Proof of God’s Love – Part 2

God absolutely cares about us and the matters, which are important to us (1 Peter 5:7). He has our best interest at heart.
God’s discipline is a proof of His love for us (Hebrews 12:6).

He helps us to cast down the idols in our soul (2 Corinthians 10:5). I know that I have an idol in my life when my feelings get hurt and when other negative emotions start popping up in my heart.

If something irritates me, angers me or stresses me out, I can be sure there is an idol at the root of the issue, which I need to surrender to God.

Many times the issues, for which I am crusading, are best left as a matter of prayer, rather than trying to influence someone to accept my ideas or to act a certain way.

Another idol of mine is organization and schedules. I keep lists and calendars. I love order and proficiency. I feel secure and they keep me from forgetting appointments. They help me to have what we need, when we need it.

However, other people in my life are more impulsive and extemporaneous. They live a fluid life, and my need for order restricts them.

I had to surrender this idol to God and then learn to be more adaptable, flexible and spontaneous. This helped me to have more fun.

Of course, my ability to keep schedules helps us to stay organized, but I had to learn to be less inhibited and to lay down the idol of my need to attempt to control life.

God is also healing me from codependency. I am learning not to serve others by putting their interests and needs above my own to the point of depriving myself of the peace and joy of walking in God’s Spirit. ( http://www.amazon.com/The-Christian-Codependence-Recovery-Workbook/dp/1936451050 )

God is teaching me to live interdependently with other people and to hear His will for my involvement in their lives. Many times, the discernment He gives me is a matter of prayer rather than action.

Prayer:
Father God, I am learning to trust that You are faithful to restore balance and peace in our life in Your own way and time. Thank You for reminding me that You love the people I care about more than I do.

You have a perfect plan for each life, and You will work out everything in their life for their good (Romans 8:28). You may use me to help in some situation; but more often than not, You choose to do the work in their lives as I pray for them.

Thank You for the freedom from idols that You provide for us. Help us to walk in Your Spirit, so that we will not fulfill the carnal impulses of our flesh (Galatians 5:15-21).

Thought for the Day:
As we monitor the negative emotions, which disturb the peace of God in our soul, we can rely on God to reveal the issue at the root of them, so that we can lay down these idols at His feet.
( http://www.theophostic.com )

A Better Way

As we age, events occur in our life, which influence our belief system. Maybe our parents, a school experience, siblings, neighbors, a stranger, or a combination of any or all of these factors imposed some harm on us or failed to protect us in some way.

We develop a warped perception of life caused by these painful events. Most of us adopt coping skills based on what we perceived as fact, because of these experiences.

Those without coping skills develop neuroses, which we think will protect us from what we fear the most. These anxieties, obsessions, compulsions, indecisiveness and social and interpersonal maladjustments are driven by fear and insecurity.

These perceived notions of life cause us to breathe in shallow breaths, to fear change, to act suspiciously of new people and situations, and to stay in the background; yet, we may also come out fighting when backed into a corner.

Many counselors believe that an effectual method to overcome a neurosis is to daily recite affirmations and to use human will power to change our behavioral patterns.

However, there is a better way to face the fear of the past or the challenges of our future. Only through prayer will a person truly experience freedom from the memories, which drive neurosis in our life.

As we seek God’s will for every moment of our day, He will set us free from having to face life alone (Ephesians 2:10; Proverbs 3:5-6). He is our Champion, who never abandons us (Hebrews 13:5).

Prayer:
Father God, life is so hard. Nothing is ever easy. There are constant roadblocks, which hinder our progress. The abuse and abandonment, which we experienced in our childhood and even in our adult life, cripple us with neurosis and negative behavior.

We look to You to replace our negative character with the fruit of Your Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), for transforming our mind into the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:14-16) and for giving us the divine nature of Christ (2 Peter 1:4). Thank You for strengthening our inner being so that we, through Your Spirit, can accept Christ as our Savior (Ephesians 3:16-19).

Thought for the Day:
Once we recognize that we are a nobody, we can come to the clear revelation that only in Christ are we a somebody.

Living in God’s Presence

I used to think that God wanted me to work for Him. I was under the impression that He desired for me to spend all of my time serving in the soup kitchen for the homeless, going to Bible studies, taking abandoned children into our home, helping to lead worship in my church, teaching adults how to read, witnessing to everyone I met and a myriad of other activities.

However, these very activities stole time away from my ability to actually live in the presence of God (1 Chronicles 28:9). Remember when Jesus went to the pool? He only healed one man (John 5:1-18).

Another time, when He walked through the crowd, only the woman who touched his garment was healed (Luke 8:43-48). Jesus did miracles and taught the crowds as He saw the Father working.

However, He spent more time in solitary places communing with our Father God (Matthew 6:9-13, 11:25-26, 14:23; Luke 6:12, 22:32, 22:41-44, 23:34; John 11:41-42, 12:27-28, 14:31, 17:1-26). He lived in the very center of God’s will.

We can learn a lesson from Jesus’ life. He listened to God, heard His direction and did only what the Father said and did (John 5:19, 5:30, 8:28, 12:49). God calls us to do this same thing.

We no longer rely on our human reasoning to direct our day. We seek the Lord and He directs our path (Proverbs 3:5-6). We walk through our day communing with our Father and following His Spirit’s direction even if it makes no human sense.

Sometimes, I actually argue with the Spirit’s leading, or discount it as a human thought, which just floated through my mind.

Maybe I am tired and I do not want to follow the Spirit’s leading. I have my own agenda for my day; so I decide to take a nap or go to the pool or play a game of Scrabble instead of obeying my Father’s will.

When I do, I quickly learn that I grieved the Holy Spirit and missed an opportunity to further the Kingdom of God.

Sometimes, God will lead us to nap, because of what lies ahead in our evening, or He has a person at the pool or the park whom He wants us to talk to about Jesus.

The point is to walk in the Spirit, so that we do not reap the consequences of living in the flesh (Galatians 5:15-25), thwart God’s will for our life or quench God’s Holy Spirit. We will have more time to rest in His presence.

Prayer:
Father God, keep our thoughts centered on You as we learn to walk in Your ways. Help us to understand that You do not want us to work for You, but to do the works, which You created us to do (Ephesians 2:10).

Remind us that it is not by our works of righteousness, or our might and power, but by Your Spirit that we live, move and have our being in You (Titus 3:5-7; Zechariah 4:6; Acts 17: 28).

Thought for the Day:
If Jesus did not speak for Himself, do anything through His own effort or strength, or teach anything of His own devising, how can we do otherwise?                                        – John 12:49-50, 7:18, 5:19, 30, 14:31