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

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Slow Down and Spend Time with God

The soul is the most overlooked aspect of our Christian life. Prior to salvation, we allowed our heart to advise us, control us and comfort us. This does not refer to our blood pumping organ, but our inner self of thoughts, choices and emotions – our soul (Proverbs 4:23, 15:13, 23:7; Matthew 12:34-35). This way of life is weak, at best, but all we had.

When we come to Christ, our spirit is Born Again, and we begin the adventure of living in and by the Spirit of God (Galatians 5:16-25). This is when we start to mistrust our soul, and rightfully so. However, we also ignore the needs of our soul, thinking that they are carnal and unholy. Some of our soul’s demands are unrighteous idols, which we lay at the altar for sacrifice (Romans 8:6-7; 1 Corinthians 3:3).

Yet, many of our soul’s desires are given to us by God, and He wants to supply them through His glorious riches (Philippians 4:19; Ephesians 3:16). We can nurture our soul by listening to praise songs, reading God’s Word, learning a new hobby, taking college courses that interest us, making new Christian friends, planting a garden, exercising to trim down and raise endorphins, serving in the ministries of our church, planning a healthy snack to look forward to every day, joining Bible study classes, etc.

The most powerful way to nurture our soul, however, is to be a friend of God. It takes time to develop this relationship, but it is so nourishing to our body, soul and spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:23). Slow down and spend time alone with God. You will focus on the wholesome side of life, find peace and joy in the midst of negative circumstances and feel God’s presence in each moment of the day.

Prayer:
Father God, Satan has his agenda for our life, and we merrily follow his lead until we come face to face with Your invitation to accept Jesus as our Savior. Satan’s deception is no match for Your presence in our life. He fades into the background and loses the battles he wages for our soul. Your Spirit nurtures our body, soul and spirit as we follow Your direction for each new day. We love You and give You all the praise and glory for Your wondrous intervention in our life.

Thought for the Day:
God’s Spirit transforms our soul into the image of Christ throughout every moment of our life. – 2 Corinthians 3:18

Lightening Our Load

There are times when circumstances overwhelm us. Our life is riddled with disease, broken relationships and material losses. Negative emotions fill the void left behind by these severe issues. They cause us to withdraw, to lose hope and to feel weary and uninspired. We cannot seem to lift our head up off the pillow.

There are thousands of people in your sphere of influence, who all feel the same way that you do. They are looking for someone like you who will understand the place that they are in and to reach out to them and pray for them. You can take tiny steps at first. Go to your small group and share your experience. You may find others there who can relate to your experiences.

As you feel better, you can learn a new hobby. You will meet new people in the classes you take, which are potential new friends. Some of them will encourage you, and you will encourage others. You can join the YMCA or a fitness club and lose weight. That will enhance your self-image and physical well-being. Volunteer at your church by serving in a ministry or helping in the office or the nursery.

Play a game on the computer to improve your mental concentration and to bring some joy into your life. Get interested in your neighbors and lighten their load in some way. Giving your time and attention to others will also ease your burden and give you less time for Satan to drench you with self-pity. Follow your passion and get involved, so you can put down your heavy burdened, and feel less lonely.

Prayer:
Father God, help us to turn to You in our time of need. You provide these trials to draw us closer to You. Remind us that being busy is helpful, but spending time with You is even more appealing. We grow in our intimacy and love for You and we receive direction from Your Spirit. Remind us to allow You to use us to lighten the burden from someone else’s shoulders (Galatians 6:2).

Thought for the Day:
As we help others to deal with their issues, we will help our self at the same time.

Surviving Lonliness

When we lose a loved one, our job, our home, our church family or a beloved pet, depression often hinders our mind from seeing any joy in life. We wallow in self-pity and hide under the covers, nursing our wounds. Of course, we have a right to grieve, and it is very healthy for us to do so; but we often carry it way too far. We may even turn to addictions to erase our pain.

We can choose to be lonely, or we can choose to reach out. A smile will change our whole attitude. Of course, a fake smile will wear thin and tears will often wash it away. The smile must come from our heart; therefore we need to think of something or someone that honestly makes us happy. The fact that Jesus saved us for eternity always puts a smile on my face.

Serving in our church family puts a song in our heart and a smile in our steps. Reading our Bible and other spiritual books, listening to praise music or watching inspirational movies and testimonies will also help to bring us up from the pit of depression. In addition, we can return to a previous interest, start a new hobby or get together with former, cherished friends. Making new memories and meeting wholesome new friends can also change our life.

Often our friends are too shy to reach out, or do not know what to say or how to help us. So, please communicate how you feel, return calls, invite people over for dinner or go out with the crowd and get lost in it. Some former friends may drift out of your life, but let them go. God has new friends for you just around the corner. Trust in Him to see you through this trying time and to bring you safely to His eternal joy.

Prayer:
Father God, You always use the negative aspects of our life for our good (Romans 8:28). We may not see anything positive at this time, but in hindsight, it becomes very clear that You had a purpose in it all (Proverbs 5:21). We often want the answers now, but You have Your very own time and way to meet all of our needs (Proverbs 3:5-6). Remind us that rather than doing all of the talking during our times of prayer, that we need to listen in order to hear Your voice.

Thought for the Day:
Jesus comforts us with the consolation He received from our Father; and we can turn around and comfort others with the same reassurance He gives to us in our time of need. – 2 Corinthians 1:4

A New Life in Christ

In this world, people are very touchy about what we say to them. They think that we are trying to proselytize them, if we even mention anything about God or Christ. We are simply living out who we are, and they accuse us of judging them. Of course, if they would join us, they would understand that Jesus is not our hobby or our crutch. Christ is our very life (Colossians 3:4).

We are not trying to impose our beliefs on anyone. We are just living out the truth of God’s Word. We do not condemn their behavior or their person, but offer them the opportunity to trust Christ and to enjoy the wondrous life He provides for His children (Ephesians 4:13). When we repent and believe in Christ (Mark 1:15), we no longer live as part of this world, even though we still live in it (John 17:16).

We no longer attempt to earn His acceptance by our performance to His standards. We are already accepted in His beloved family, by faith and not by works (Ephesians 1:6, 2:8-10). God placed the weight of the vilest sin upon His own shoulders and He paid our penalty for us. We accept Christ’s atoning work for our salvation, and then choose to live in total surrender to God’s will.

Jesus freed us from deprivation, degradation and devastation in this life. He allows us to walk in a new life in Him (Romans 6:4). His anointing in us and through us breaks the yoke of bondage to sin and deception (Isaiah 10:27). His Spirit enables us to obey God’s will, by living in and through us (Galatians 2:20). Let us seek His direction for our life and not allow earthly concerns to sway us from His ways (Luke 9:57-62, 14:26-33).

Prayer:
Father God, true surrender to You always supercedes our natural devotion to job, family or friends. We forsake all for you (Luke 14:33). We know without a doubt that You will meet the needs of our family and friends as we focus on Your will for our life. Keep us from failing to totally surrender to You, and enable us to experience the fullness of Your love for us.

Thought for the Day:
God listens to and understands our prayers and knows exactly how to answer them.

Following in Jesus’ Footsteps

As humans, we devote hours to gaining proficiency in our career, hobby, talent or sport. We sacrifice everything else in our life to acheive greatness in this one field. Yet, in our walk with God, our most important relationship, we barely give Him one hour a week. We decide that since our eternal destination is secure, we do not need to put any more time or effort into a relationship with Him.

 

Is our eternal desitination really secure? Praying a prayer, getting baptized, attending church on Easter and Christmas, reading our Bible and believing in God do not insure our salvation. True, authentic Born Again salvation will give us the desire to sacrifice all for God. Jesus is the pearl of great price; and we willingly give up everything to attain a deeper relationship with Him (Matthew 13:45-46).

 

God desires an intimate relationship with us; that is why He created us. When we finally come to the point of total surrender to God, He leads us into His perfect, everlasting rest (Hebrews 4:10). We are living stones with which He is building His holy temple (1 Peter 2:4-6; 1 Corinthians 6:19). He is faithful, and we can trust Him with our current and future life as we seek Him only and always.

 

Jesus is our very life (Colossians 3:4). Almighty God is ever ready to shine forth His light and life into our hearts each moment of our day. The Holy Spirit abides in us, leading and directing each step, which we surrender to Him. We can trust the Trinity to work out every aspect of our life for our good (Romans 8:28). Jesus lives His divine life in and through us (2 Peter 1:3-4).

 

Jesus gave 33 years of His life to show us an example of how to live a Spirit-filled life. He walked, talked and demonstrated the power of God in human form. We have this same Christ in us and we can follow in Jesus’ footsteps. He lived in complete dependence upon our Father God, absolute surrender to His will and total trust in His guidance and power (John 5:17-30). We have His same character within us.

 

Prayer:

Father God, Jesus knew that without You He could do nothing (John 5:17-30). He communed with You throughout His life and looked to You to fill Him with everything He needed in power and majesty. Remind us that You are in control of our life and You did not give us our life to squander in seeking earthly riches and relationships. We are the branches of the Vine of Christ and Your Holy Spirit is the sap which empowers each branch to bear fruit for Your Kingdom.

 

Thought for the Day:

We are dead to sin and alive to God, a living sacrifice for our Father’s use. – Romans 6:11; 12:1