Life’s Disappointments

Considering the disappointments of our past, the uncertainty of our future and the unexpected surprises which meet us with each new day, we often feel frightened by a world that can be very overwhelming.

We always wonder why God allows bad things to happen to good people. We search our soul to discover if we did something to deserve the trials we are experiencing. We shrink from the pain and suffering inflicted upon us.

Regret and anger over our past mistakes, depression and loneliness in our current experiences and hopelessness and fear concerning the future make us regret the day we were ever born.

Yet, when we allow God to open the eyes of our understanding and to open our hearts to His eternal love, our life takes on a whole new meaning.

Our compassionate Lord experienced the same degree of suffering and degradation, which we do; and He understands how we feel. He suffered so much more than we ever will and He did it all for us.

He uses the sin-caused circumstances of daily living to strengthen our character, perfect our patience and draw us ever closer to His bleeding heart (James 1:4-8).

He is our hope, and our expectations are in Him alone. Apart from Him, there is no joy and peace in this life. He satisfies our longings and fills our empty soul (Psalm 107:9).

He heals broken hearts, answers our doubts, calms our fears, strengthens our endurance and gives us hope for a tomorrow filled with His presence, regardless of our circumstances.

Prayer:
Father God, we depend on your mercy to see us through this life, on Your grace to make us victorious over every negative experience, and Your goodness to give us a miracle from every trial. From Old Testament examples and New Testament encouragement we realize that You are the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

You help us to remain faithful regardless of our experiences, never losing hope, never slandering Your name and always walking in Your righteousness; so we do not cause anyone to doubt Your goodness. Nothing can ever separate us from Your love except the distance that we put between You and us (Romans 8:35-39).

Thought for the Day:
As we are fully aware and present in each moment of life, we see how God is weaving them into a beautiful tapestry for us to enjoy.

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The Truth about Forgiveness

Sometimes, the hardest person to forgive is our self. We struggle with forgiving the intrusion inflicted on us by others; but we often find it easier to forgive their insults and violation than to forgive our self.

 

If we refuse to forgive others, the resulting bitterness is a malignancy, which invades our body, soul and spirit; yet, if we choose to forgive, we do not excuse their behavior, but we set our self free from the bondage unforgiveness causes (Ephesians 4:31-32).

 

Our refusal to forgive our self, will inflict these same results in our body, soul and spirit (Proverbs 10:12). We grow bitter at our self for disappointing our self or someone else, or for failing to meet up to our own idealistic standards.

 

Bitterness attracts other negative emotions, such as shame, depression and hopelessness. We accuse our self of ineptitude, carelessness, greediness and thoughtlessness.

 

When we make choices that turn out badly, we are disappointed and hold a grudge against our self. These grudges fester and affect our future choices, our reactions to others and our feelings about our self (Hebrews 12:15).

 

We end up in a downward spiral, which keeps us locked into negative thoughts, emotions and future behavior (Colossians 3:8). Therefore, it is imperative that we forgive even our self (Luke 6:37; Proverbs 20:22).

 

There is no sin too wicked to receive God’s forgiveness. God’s Word tells us that to lust is equal to fornication or rape, and to hate is the same as murder (Matthew 5:21, 28). God considers all sins equal in their depravity.

 

When we forgive our self and others, we humble our pride, admit that we are human and open our soul up to God’s immeasurable grace (Hebrews 4:16). When bitterness no longer takes up space in our heart, we feel God’s peace and joy filling the void.

 

We bask in God’s love for us, and His love empowers us to love our self and others. God calls us to forgive our human tendency to wound our self and one another (Psalm 103:12).

 

Prayer:

Father God, teach us humility through our foibles and failures. It is only in our weakness that we reach out to You. Help us to understand that to forgive our self and others is to free our self from the bondage of bitterness and unforgiveness (John 18:15-27).

 

Help us to relax our impossible standards and to allow our self and others to be human (Philippians 3:13). Remind us that our prayers are hindered by negative emotions; yet, when we forgive and focus on the life of Christ within us, You can forgive us and open the windows of heaven to pour out Your blessings on our life (Mark 11:25; Malachi 3:10).

 

Thought for the Day:

When we choose to forgive our self and others for being human, we allow our self the opportunity to experience the forgiveness and unconditional love of God in all of its fullness. – 1 John 1:9

 

 

 

 

 

 

Help for Hurting People

Hurting people go in one of three directions: they clam up and become a loner, hoping to avoid any more pain; or they strike out like a bully, injuring others as badly as they are hurting inside; or they hate the pain they are inflicted with, and they never want anyone else to hurt as much as they do, so they help to carry someone else’s burden.

I have no idea what causes people to react in such different ways. Maybe their personality, or their inability to bear any more pain, or the example of others in their life, or an instinctive desire to help someone else will fuel their behavior. Regardless of their reaction, however, they all have one thing in common. They are wounded beyond the ability of their soul to handle any more pain.

Sometimes our anguish is so intense, that we do not want to admit it, even to our self; pain that we are afraid to verbalize, in fear that we will feel the ache all over again, or even more intensely than we felt it the first time. We may not even know or remember the incident, which inflicted this trauma. We may have disassociated from the event, so that we can forget it in the hopes of stopping the pain.

A good method of releasing this pent-up torment is to write about it on a piece of paper – to keep a journal in which we write truthfully and often. We allow our soul to express the cause of our pain and the profound feelings we keep buried deeply within our soul. There is no need to write a whole paragraph, a phrase or a sentence will do.

Reading it to someone else is your option, but not a necessity. Just one sentence is all we need, in order to diffuse the terrifying emotion, which is keeping us in bondage. If you do not remember the incident, then just list the negative emotions rampant in your soul right now: anger, bitterness, revenge, brokenness, depression, discouragement, hopelessness, etc.

Then, ask God to disclose the source of these emotions; to reveal the lies, which Satan planted in this experience; and then to express His truth about this hidden pain. God knows the end of our life from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10). He was there when we experienced this pain. He wants us to lay our pain at the Cross, and to ask Jesus to make us a new creation; so that He can care for us (2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 Peter 5:7; Psalm 55:22).

Prayer:
Father God, it takes courage for us to go hunting in the recesses of the jungle of our mind. Weeds, vines and underbrush wall in our pain; and we will have to break through these barriers in order to expose the anguish all over again. Pour out Your love upon us as we embark on this journey. Pull out the splinters of pain that have festered over the years from neglect. Renew a right spirit within us and give us Your joy as our strength (Psalm 28:7, 51:10, 71:26, 94:19; Nehemiah 8:10). Then help us to help other hurting people to find freedom in Your love as well.

Thought for the Day:
As we draw nearer to God, we can resist the devil and he will have to run from us. – James 4:7-8
Read these three free chapters offering freedom from the debilitating pain: http://theophostic.com/page13051343.aspx

New Strides in Life

American youth grow up under the assumption that we can achieve the American dream. We go to college and we obtain job experience to guarantee our future success. However, life often careens out of our control. We pull our self up by our bootstraps and try all over again, shaking off the depression and hopelessness nipping at our heels.

Time after time, life sends us debilitating storms. We end up treading water, feeling like we will drown. There comes a time in everyone’s life that we eventually admit that we are ultimately powerless to overcome the negative aspects of our life. Some people give up, and end up with physical and mental illnesses; some turn to addictions; and some realize that we need a savior outside of our self (Romans 7:18).

First, we attempt to trust in a person to bail us out. We get into codependent relationships that seem to stifle us in the end. In order to reinstate our sanity, we eventually realize that we must come to believe in a higher power. Some people try Eastern religions, positive thinking or something that epitomizes wholeness to them. This lasts for a little while, but often fizzles out, because our spirit is still dead in sin.

Everyone ever born has an innate knowledge of God within their soul, and they are yearning for their spirit to be reborn (John 3:1-21). Once we come to Christ as our Higher Power, He helps us to clear our conscience of the dead works of unforgiveness, anger, resentment, bitterness, etc. He is greater than anything this world has to offer (Philippians 2:13).

He also reminds us of people to whom we need to ask forgiveness, and He helps us to make amends for the harm we perpetrated on their life (Lamentations 3:40; Luke 6:31; Matthew 5:23-24). We can obtain Christian counseling or find an accountability partner to continually hold us responsible to walk in God’s Truth (James 5:16; 1 Corinthians 10:12).

As we humble our self before the Lord, He replaces our moral deficiencies with the fruit of His Spirit (James 4:10; Galatians 5:22-23). We come to know Him intimately, and He progressively exchanges our carnal nature for His divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). God assures us of His love, which transcends our human understanding. Filling us with His Spirit He slowly and deliberately floods our entire being with Himself (Ephesians 3:19).

Prayer:
Father God, remind us that no one is perfect, and we can forgive those who harmed us and ask forgiveness from those whom we have harmed. As we pray and read Your Word, draw us closer to You, tell us Your Will for each moment of our life, and give us the power to carry it out (Philippians 2:12-13; Colossians 3:16). Thank You for totally forgiving us for our transgressions of Your law and for sanctifying us daily as we walk toward Your perfection (1 John 1:9; Matthew 5:48).

Thought for the Day:
Nothing but living in service to Jesus Christ can fill the void that continually haunts our life. – Romans 12:1

There is No Condemnation

Satan loves to use condemnation to defeat God’s Saints. His condemnation causes us to sink into the quicksand of shame with no visible way out. We see our faults and are burdened by our failings. Satan plants lies in our soul during each perceived failing; and we readily believe them, because of our feelings of hopelessness.

God, on the other hand, does not condemn us, He convicts us. Conviction reveals our guilt with a desire for repentance. Repentance means to turn away from sin and move toward holiness. Even if we never commit some gross sin of immorality or murder, we are still sinners (Romans 3:23). No amount of good works or self-effort can free us from the penalty of our sins.

Trusting in Jesus is our only means of salvation (John 14:6). His Holy Spirit breathes God’s breath of life into us and our spirit is no longer dead in sin. We completely surrendered our goals, dreams and aspiration in life to God’s will for us (Ephesians 2:10). We serve God with authentic devotion each moment of the day. We no longer desire a life of worldly pursuits and willful sin.

God’s Spirit converts our sinful nature to the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). We realize that God’s presence is within us and the Holy Spirit is sanctifying us. We are truly saved from hell and going to heaven (2 Corinthians 13:5-6; Lamentations 3:40-42). God removes our condemnation by washing us as clean as snow, and giving us a new heart and spirit within us (Ezekiel 36:25-27).

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for washing us clean, and giving us righteous desires and Your Spirit to direct us (Colossians 2:13-15). Thank You also that Jesus nailed our sins to the cross and blotted out the charges proved against us. Remind us not to live for You in our human effort. Help us to allow Christ to richly dwell in us as Your Body, so that whatever we do in word or deeds, it is all done for Your glory and honor (Colossians 3:16-18).

Thought for the Day:
God took away Satan’s power over our life and openly displayed to the whole world the triumph of Christ over Him; so that there is no longer any condemnation for those who love God and who are called to serve Him in His purpose for our life. – Romans 8:1; Colossians 2:15

Hopelessness

 

There is a common malady in today’s society, which leads many into addictions and crime. It is called hopelessness. They have tried to make something of their life and they failed at every turn; so, they turn to chemicals and theft to relieve their symptoms. Some have never heard of the hope, which Jesus Christ provides. Others have heard that Jesus makes a difference, but they do not believe it.

 

It is up to those of us, who have first-hand experience with the wonderful love of God, to share the hope we find in Christ in a gentle, informative fashion and to entreat others to trust their life to Christ too. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, and He saves all those who are crushed in spirit, if we will simply call out to Him (Psalm 43:18; 147:3).

 

Total surrender to God is the key to getting out of our misery. He holds us up when we fall and lifts up everyone who is discouraged. We surrender our family, our future, our worries and our desires to the love and care of God Almighty (Mark 9:23). Then, we leave them in His capable hands.

 

When our soul is disheartened, we put our hope in God alone (Psalm 43:5). Complete surrender to God’s will in negative circumstance is the only way to stay sane. Even through the loss of a job, spouse, child, pet, home or parent, God cares for us. We walk in obedience to His Spirit, and live victoriously moment by moment throughout the day.

 

We learn to trust in God and not in our bank account, friends, children, job, the government or our parents. When we take our eyes off our self and put them on Him instead, He keeps us in perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3). We do not fear tomorrow, because God only leads us one step at a time. We obey His Spirit, and find rest in God alone. Our only true hope comes from Him (Psalm 62:5).

 

Prayer:

Father God, You are my helper, so I will not be afraid (Isaiah 41:10,13-14). What can mere mortals do to me? In my distress, I cry out to You and pray to You for help. You always hear me from Your sanctuary, because my cries always reach Your ears (Psalm 18:8). Thank You that once we put our trust totally in Your miraculous love, we always find a victorious way through every negative circumstance we face (2 Corinthians 4:8; Romans 8:28; Jeremiah 29:11).

 

Thought for the Day:

God gives us grace for today and hope for tomorrow. – Ecclesiastes 9:4

Entering the Promised Land

When we succomb to hopelessness and anxiety, this is a sign that we are not seeking our comfort from God. We are wandering in the wilderness of desires, rather than in the Promised Land, which God prepared for us. In the Wilderness, Israel constantly struggled with discouragement, toil and deprivation. Their rebellion and unbelief brought this hardship upon them. They even despised the food God provided and were not grateful that their belongings never wore out (Numbers 11:1-5; Deuteronomy 29:5).

Our unbelief in God causes us to suffer from the stress of life too, because we rely on our self, rather than on God. We use our human effort to attempt to procure what we deem is necessary for our happiness. However, if we abandon human reasoning and rely totally on the Spirit of God, He gives us direction, provision and hope. The divine life of Christ abides in our spirit (2 Peter1:4; Colossians 2:10), expresses through our soul, which in turn strengthens our biological body.

When we come to the end of our self, to our wandering in our wilderness, to our attempts to equip our self and to succeed at life, we place our complete faith and trust in God, who deserves more than we could ever repay. We relinquish all, in order to receive the pearl of great price (Matthew 13:45-46), to win the race (1 Corinthians 9:24; Philippians 3:14), and to come into His divine presence, never to leave again. We enjoy fellowship with Him and His Saints each moment of our life.

We resist all desires birthed by the finite, carnal nature, which is dead in Christ (Galatians 2:20; Colossians 3:3), and pursue the realm of the Spirit instead. Peace comes as we completely trust in God. We live in faith, as we serve our Living Lord (1 Thessalonians 1:3), and He provides for us in every area of life, which concerns us (Psalm 138:8). We enter God’s rest (Hebrews 4:10) and find contentment regardless of any emotional, mental, financial or physical issues.

Prayer:
Father God, You are worth so much more than anything or anyone that we hold precious in this life. You deliver us from darkness and bring us into Your Kingdom of light (Colossians 1:13). You rejoice over us with singing (Zephaniah 3:17). Your mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:33-23). When we enter into the place of perfect rest in Christ, You give us all things as co-heirs with Jesus (Psalm 62:1-2; Romans 8:17). Help us to walk worthy of the calling You placed on our life (Ephesians 4:1), and always remind us to seek first Your Kingdom (Matthew 6:33).

Thought for the Day:
We receive infinite fulfillment and joy in this life, corresponding with the extent to which we surrender to God. – 1 Samuel 2:30