Let Your Insides Out

 

Who are you behind the masks you wear? Do you wear your feelings on your shoulder for other people to see who you really are? Do you try to act one way when you really feel another?

Or have you learned that it does not matter what other people think about you? Are you free from the tyranny of their opinions? Do you let your insides out?

Our fears and insecurities define who we really are inside. Due to our spirit and soul, we may have a strong spirit, but a very wounded soul. We appear strong, yet most of us are really weak.

When people reject us for our weaknesses, we feel worthless and damaged, which increases our fears and insecurities. We feel too vulnerable and build walls around our heart.

My former husband disdained the inner me. My adult children tolerate the inner me. My current husband dwells with the inner me with patience and understanding.

The good news is that Jesus died for the inner me and His Spirit is transforming the inner me into a new creation from one glorious stage to another (2 Corinthians 3:18, 5:17).

He slowly peels away the bandages, which I applied to the wounds of the inner me. He exposes the raw emotion and anxiety and puts the salve of God’s unconditional love on each one of them.

He teaches us that the only opinion of us which really matters is God’s, which frees us from having to hide behind masks. He continually encourages us to let our insides out.

Prayer:
Father God, we can love and live with a person, but only You completely love, live with and accept us just as we are. Sometimes we have idols in our life, but they are not really perfect. Jesus is the only one who belongs on the throne of our life. Only You completely and unconditionally love the inner us.

We will leave the significant others in our life when we die, but we will live with You for eternity. Your love is ours now and forever and ever. As we keep You as our best friend and the lover of our soul, we will have Your blessings in our life and Your love will flow over us like a waterfall every day of our life now and always (Matthew 16:26).

Thought for the Day:
No person can completely understand or accept us for who we really are inside; Jesus lives inside of us and He knows and loves us better than we can even know and love our self.

Complete Trust and Rest

Our work in our own self-effort actually hinders the work of the Lord (2 Chronicles 5:14). We spin our wheels by attempting to make things happen on our own. We end up frustrated, anxious and even angry at times.

 

Yet, if we put our needs and the direction of our life into God’s capable hands, and allow His Holy Spirit to guide each moment of our day, we end up in the right place at the right time.

 

If we do not have what we want or what we think we need, we can be sure that God does not think we need it at this moment of time. We often get bored and want a change or feel desperate in some area and decide that we know what is best for us.

 

Yet, when we release all negative emotions and wait on the Lord’s direction, we end up receiving even more and infinitely better than we ever had in our whole life (Ephesians 3:20-21).

 

My sister-in-Christ needed a new house. She combed the papers daily and worked with several rental agencies, desperate to find a new place to live. She falsely believed that it was up to her to relocate her family.

 

After many months and an inordinate amount of stress and time of spinning her wheels, she gave up, prayed for God’s will and timing and entered His rest. She listened to His Spirit each succeeding day. Within a week, she had the perfect home for her family.

 

Another Believer had a similar story with a job. When she decided to abide in God’s rest, she lost her desperate drive. She joyfully turned down a few jobs that God made clear to her were not His will for her. Within a month she had the best job in which she ever worked in her entire life and is so fulfilled and joyful now.

 

A widowed Believer strongly desired a new husband. She tried every avenue she could think of to find a husband. Once she surrendered her need to the Lord, she had peace and enjoyed her life as a single person.

 

Two years later, she met her new husband at the sickbed of a dear friend. The ailing woman highly recommended each of her single friends to one another and they started dating.

 

Within a few weeks, they realized that they were very much in love, enjoying the complete peace of the Lord and were married at the bedside of their dying friend. Years later, they are still head over heels in love with one another.

 

As we cease from our striving and trade our self-efforts for surrender to God’s will, we start to serve God from a position of rest, daily obedience to His Spirit’s guidance and an uncompromising desire to live in the center of God’s will (Philippians 4:7).

 

Prayer:

Father God, thank You for teaching us to cease from living life in our own wisdom and strength, and from running through life with anxiety and stress, which make us unhappy and unfulfilled in every way. Help us to be grateful to You for every aspect of our life and to be satisfied with Your provision and timing.

 

Enable us to enter into Your complete trust and rest (John 14:27). Help us to be more concerned with Your will than our own, more eager to seek Your Kingdom than our own, and realizing that You will give us everything we need in Your timing and way (Matthew 6:33).

 

Thought for the Day:

Let gratitude for God’s daily provision, as well as the peace of the Lord, fill your heart to overflowing, trusting God to work out all things for your ultimate good. – Colossians 3:15; Romans 8:28

An Uncommon Man – My Life with Charlie

Charlie is charming and endearing, even though he is six foot two inches tall, strong and muscular, and one of the most handsome men God ever created. He loves a practical joke, the Bible and eating at Waffle House.

He will do almost anything to get a laugh; and he seeks out places to go where he will have an audience to entertain. Charlie is a Pastor, and he even uses his pulpit as a venue to tell his funny anecdotes; some of which I have heard hundreds of times in our many years together.

He has been known to pick on me, just to get a laugh; but he has learned that I am overly sensitive and he will not hurt my feelings in order to reap the coveted chuckle.

The cutest thing about Charlie is that he laughs at his own jokes, and that makes his audience laugh even louder. You know a joke is coming, because his huge smile and the little glint in his eye give him away.

He is so cute, adorable really; a man of integrity and worth, hard-working, diligent, conscientious, full of common sense and of the highest character. His moral fiber is woven tighter than a woolen blanket and his love keeps you just as warm.

Charlie enjoys fishing for brim, eating farm-raised catfish on the bone, reading his Bible, drinking his morning coffee with his buddies and talking about his favorite sports teams.

He is very knowledgeable about many topics and can converse with anyone about anything. He cares very deeply about everyone’s feelings; and he no longer likes to hunt as he did in his youth, because he does not want to cause anyone, not even an animal, pain of any sort.

Charlie has been known to proclaim that his love language is food. Grilled steak, smoky ribs, chicken wings, and a big turkey dinner are all his favorites.

He has food moods that change almost hourly. I never know what to cook; but he politely eats everything on his plate and always compliments me when he is done with both lunch and supper.

Charlie appreciates me and lets me know it. He loves that his socks match in his drawer, he always has clean clothes to wear, that his home is casually spotless and orderly, and that he usually has everything he needs right at his fingertips whenever he needs it.

If I am behind or remiss or too tired, he never berates or belittles me. He never gets frustrated with me; and nourishes and cherishes me and makes a huge effort to always think of me before himself.

He makes time to cuddle me, which is my main love language; and tells me at least five times a day that he loves me. He always defers to me in making choices, which I do to him too; so our main disagreements are over which of us will be allowed to serve the other.

Politics, the news, comedy movies and TV show, and sharing funny photos or sayings on Facebook are a few of his favorite things. When he sends me his sermons so that I can make his sermon slides each week, he always writes me love notes attached to his emails.

Charlie can predict the weather better than any weatherman just by looking at radar photos of impending fronts. Almost to the minute, he can predict when the rain will start or how much time is between showers, so that we can steal a half hour at the pool for exercise.

His children and grandchildren are very precious to Charlie. He hears from them all several times a week. He patiently listens as they chat about the events of their day or current concerns in their life and he always prays for them all by name.

I adore Charlie, simply because he is so adorable. His constant smile warms my heart; and things that make him sad, break my heart in two. If he would allow me, I would fight all of his battles; but he won’t hear of that.

He vents his feelings to me, and then wakes up the next morning with his normal positive attitude fresh and new; ready to take on the world, the flesh and the devil all over again.

Charlie loves to watch civilization wake up. Newspapers are delivered, the sun breaks over the horizon several hours after he wakes up, and lights turn off in neighborhood houses as cars back out of driveways on their way to work.

Charlie works 8-12 hours a day; and some days of the week, he works morning, afternoon and evenings without complaint. He rarely takes all of his vacation days in a year; and some holidays he works while others take a play day. So tired that he can barely stand up, he rejoices in all he accomplished for the Lord with his day.

He will talk about the Bible with anyone with a question. In fact, he will talk about the Bible at the drop of a hat; and sometimes, he will even drop the hat to get the conversation started.

His favorite Biblical topic is prophecy. In his early teens, he read Late Great Planet Earth by Hal Lindsey and he never looked back. Pastoring his first church at age 22, his wisdom soon caught up with his anointing and enthusiasm for God and the Bible.

During the winter season every year, people come from all over the world to hear his preaching; and many a Yankee threatens to tuck him in their suitcase to take him back home with them.

His preaching is simple, yet profound. His expository sermons are all Bible-based. He never makes a statement that he has not thoroughly researched and found true, using several sources, commentaries and other verses to verify what he is saying.

The mayor calls Charlie “the friend of the city”; and he is known by all the city council, police, fire, rescue and veterans of the community. They actually smile widely and call his name in delight when they see him out around the town.

The greatest fact about Charlie is that he is my best friend, my soulmate and my husband of several decades. He treats me like a treasure and calls me his “little woman”. Sometimes, he even adds “my little Italian woman”.

Meeting at Books-a-Million bookstore in Pensacola, Florida, we have been together ever since. We cannot believe the perfect timing of the Lord to have us both in the same microcosm of time and space in order to form a most perfect union.

We thank God for bringing us together and allowing us to embark on a journey through tough times, times of hurt and misunderstanding and times of joy and comfort, which we continually gain from dwelling together in unity all the days of our life.

The best part about our relationship is that Jesus Christ lives in both of us – dwelling in our spirit. We love one another, but we love God even more. We serve Him together and make the perfect team. We look forward to continuing as best friends in eternity, as we serve our Bridegroom together even then. – Kitty Bradley

The Breaking Point

People often think that the life we know is better than the life we do not know. That is why women stay in abusive marriages and continue to suffer the torment. They believe they do not deserve better.

When we come to Christ, He humbles us; yet He gives us His holy boldness. We start to realize that we are not defective; and that in Him, we are “enough”.

Christ in us transforms us into all that He intends for us to be. We no longer need to strive for perfection, because God’s Spirit within us changes us from one stage of holiness to the next (2 Corinthians 3:18).

We find our true identity and fulfillment in Christ alone (Colossians 3:3-4, 2:9-10; Philippians 1:13-2:16). We are adopted as God’s children, conformed to Christ’s image and co-heirs with Christ of God’s Kingdom.

Most of us need a breaking point in our life in order to step over the line from self-effort to Christ-reliance. The trials, which God allows in our life, are designed to bring us to the end of our self.

My breaking point was when the love of my life decided that there was no option for us, but divorce. I had no job, no alimony and no foreseeable future.

In this bewildering new world, my only option was to rely totally on God for each moment of my day. As I did, I entered a deeper relationship with our Lord; one that I continue to this day.

As I listened to His Spirit within, He led me to get a job at a Montessori school where my training and relationships taught me to nurture my own soul.

He also gave me two other jobs, so I could pay my bills and save for a rainy day. Eventually, in His perfect way and timing, He brought a nurturing, appreciative husband into my life as well, and restored my ministry as a Pastor’s wife.

Prayer:
Father God, You brought me to the place in my life where I stopped trying and gave up. I cast all of my cares on You, because I had no doubt that You cared for me. You taught me that Your Spirit will put us in the right place at the right time, if we will listen to that still, small voice within us (1 Kings 19:11-13).

Remind us that the sooner we stop trying, and enter into Your rest, the sooner our life will hold unspeakable joy, even in the midst of sorrows. Your Spirit leads us to be productive for Your Kingdom; and in the process, all of our needs are met.

Thought for the Day:
As we totally surrender our heart to God in prayer, we give Him our weaknesses and failings – even the sins we commit in secret. We no longer live in shame, but in the fearless confidence and identity of Christ in us. – Job 11:13-15; 1 John 1:9; Colossians 1:27

Let Me Tell You, Ladies

A man loves to be useful and to feel needed, admired, accepted as he is and appreciated. As his wife, we are his biggest fan and most vocal cheering section.

We encourage our husband, show him appreciation, leave love notes in his briefcase or lunchbox, get excited at his accomplishments and care about his day. We can ask him what he needs, and do all in our power to help.

Our husband is not our mule and a paycheck. His role in life is not to function as our servant. Even if we both work all day, and we share the chores and child care, he should choose the chores he feels comfortable doing.

When our husband has a day off, he needs some of that time for himself. Family time is important, but he needs some of that time to chill, to hang with his buds, to create in his shop, to surf the waves or the internet, or to play his gaming device.

He decompresses his stress this way and can pay more attention to the family during our time together. A date night is also important for us as a couple…a time to play, laugh, make memories, form a closer bond and do something fun.

If we make his favorite meals and have everything he needs for the next day in plain view and ready for him before we go to bed, his love for us will grow; and he will make more of an effort to care for our needs as well.

If he is withdrawn, irritable, angry, or exhibiting any negative emotions, we can give him some space and some time to work out his issues. We can ask if there is anything we can do to help, and then follow through with his requests.

When a disagreement occurs, we brainstorm and pray together rather than just caving in to our partner or fighting to get our own way. Once God shows us a scenario, which we both feel good about, we proceed with unity and joy in our heart.

Prayer:
Father God, Your Word warns us that all of the forces of hell, along with the temptations and disagreements of the world, unite to destroy our marriage. We often join them and make life more difficult for our partner.

Remind us that love never fails; so we can decide together that divorce is never an option, since divorce shreds our family and removes the support that our children need regardless of how old they are. Divorce makes Your Church vulnerable, unstable and defeated.

Revive us, O Lord, so that we can rejoice in You (Psalm 85:6). Satisfy us anew each new morning with your unfailing love, so we can sing for joy and rejoice all the days of our life (Psalm 90:14).

Thought for the Day:
There is nothing, which happens in a marriage that cannot be resolved, if both mates will prefer the other person, exhibit patience during a disagreement, join forces during a trial and spend time enjoying one another’s company.

Victory Regardless of Trials

Biblical guidelines help to establish a routine in our life, which encourages wisdom and safety. Prior to our relationship with Christ, our spirit was dead in sin and our soul was carnal at best. Our body reaped the negative results of our sins and we were children of God’s wrath (Ephesians 2:1-3). Satan used us as tools for his evil plans (Proverbs 16:18).

If we continue to practice a sinful lifestyle or to maintain a worldly attitude and world view, the Spirit of God does not dwell in us (Romans 8:9). We are not truly Born Again. We prayed a prayer, but did not consecrate our life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. God only forgives the repentant heart of the penalty of our sins. He brings us out of the kingdom of Satan’s darkness into His glorious light (2 Corinthians 4:6).

Our only true liberty comes by choosing to live under the grace and mercy of God. Jesus advises us to deny our self, to bear our burdens through His peace and to follow Him (Matthew 16:24). When we do, we find true success in our life and live victoriously over every set back and obstacle (Romans 8:31-39). God showers us with His blessings and we feel His love flowing over us like a waterfall.

Authentic Believers derive our identity from the fact that we are God’s child, as well as from the wonderful account of His love for us. The human, Adamic nature is wiped clean and we no longer dwell in the flesh or focus on aspects of this world. Once we come to Christ, He replaces our former carnal tendencies with His divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). Through His regenerating power within us, we live a life honoring Him and furthering His Kingdom on the earth.

Prayer:
Father God, increase our concept of what it means to live in Christ and to dwell in victory regardless of the trials in our life. We are secure in Your love and mercy. Remind us that our husband, Jesus Christ, desires a pure and holy bride without spot or wrinkle (2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:25). You provide Your grace so that we will choose holiness and not live a destructive life of debauchery and lust.

Thought for the Day:
As authentic Believers, nothing will ever separate us from the love of God as we live a victorious life in Christ. – Romans 8:38-39

Her Cherished Treasure

The wise woman makes her husband her priority second only to God. He will see her love for him in her eyes, in her tone of voice, in her caring touch and in the amount of time she wants to spend with him. He is her most cherished treasure and is highly esteemed in her priorities. She respects, prefers and values his presence in her life.

Men want to be appreciated, and to feel trusted, believed in and admired. When a husband feels disrespected, he feels humiliated and will often react in anger or withdraw within himself. Often, his own behavior causes these feelings, but a wife can still attempt to support him in his endeavors. We believe in him, even when he doesn’t believe in himself.

Men are more vulnerable than they will admit or than most women realize. They crave verbal affirmation and encouragement. This gives them security and confidence. Some men believe that if their wife will stand with them, then the whole world can stand against them and they will not care. Many men will seek genuine affirmation from another woman, if they do not receive it from their wife.

Men want to be romantic, but fear humiliation. A wife’s encouragement, even in his frailest attempts, will encourage a husband to do even more. A man needs to know that his wife wants and desires him. This helps him to feel loved and gives him the confidence to succeed in every area of life. Due to her appreciation, he will not feel trapped by the innate need to provide for his family.

Prayer:
Father God, You created marriage to give men a helpmate (Genesis 2:18-22). Enable women to focus on the positive character in our mate and to build him up and appreciate him at every opportunity. Remind us to be grateful to him for each romantic gesture and every moment that he wants to spend with us. Assist us in maintaining a positive attitude, even when our husband disappoints us.

Thought for the Day:
When a wife accepts the influence of her husband over the household, even an unbelieving husband will be impressed; and may be won over to the Gospel because of his wife’s respect. – 1 Peter 3:1