Integratiion with God’s Spirit

When we detach from the belief that we are only the sum of what we think and feel, we are able to integrate our true inner self with God’s Spirit within us.

 

We see and forgive the causes of our faulty thinking and behavior and are healed. As we accept our feelings and idiosyncrasies without judgment, we can submit them to God’s Spirit for sanctification.

 

We stop fighting our self and start growing in Christ. God’s Spirit sets us free from the bondage of Satan’s lies which controlled us for most of our life ( http://www.theophostic.com ).

 

We align our thinking with God’s Word. Our days take on a hue of joy and peace unfamiliar to us in the past. The presence of God’s Spirit within us helps us to see our faulty thinking and behavior without negative repercussions or condemnation (Romans 8:1).

 

We relax and trust in God’s goodness and compassion. We pull the plug on the power which our negative feelings once held over our life. We learn to reject Satan’s lies and to embrace God’s Truth.

 

We no longer entertain them as real and important; and instead we view them as red flags which signal a deeper problem within.

 

Our realization, that our strong over-reaction to a person or experience comes from old wounds and unresolved conflicts, gives us more balance in our life and priorities.

 

We face our fears head-on and allow God’s Spirit to diffuse them for us. We see the idols we erected in our life for what they are, and we cooperate as the Holy Spirit tears them down.

 

Patience does her perfecting work in us and things of this world no longer grip us with the former, inordinate, over-powering importance which the earthly and material issues used to hold in our life. We look forward to the miracles God plants in all of our trials.

 

Prayer:

Father God, we find joy in our tribulation (Romans 5:3), because of Your presence in them with us. You hold us in the safety of Your hand and shelter us under the shadow of Your wings (Psalm 139:10). We realize that the disappointments and wounds of our childhood hold no more power over our current moment, because You set us free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2).

 

We forgive those who hurt and used us; and we look forward to a new chapter in our life, full of Your blessings and new possibilities. Teach us to walk in Your Spirit every moment of the day and to do the works which You created us to do before we were even born (Ephesians 2:10).

 

Thought for the Day:

As we face the grief of our past with a spiritual viewpoint, the intensity of it diminishes and we are freed from the power of negative emotions, which used to infect our life.

 

Secret Intents and Motives

When we depend on someone else for our sense of value, we put our self into bondage to that person. Our motives, goals and opinions revolve around that person’s whims.

People come and go in our life. They have unrealistic expectations of us, tire of us and dump us on the curb like a useless sack of trash.

However, Jesus never ever leaves us or forsakes us (Hebrews 13:5). He died for us in spite of our self and our failings. He approves of us in Christ and fully accepts us with all of our idiosyncrasies (Hebrews 13:8).

We can also put our self into bondage to religion by attempting to earn God’s love and acceptance. We drive our self endlessly to work harder and to do better to please Him.

The truth is that our “self” is already crucified with Christ (Colossians 3:3; Galatians 2:20). At Salvation, we are fully accepted in the Beloved of God (Ephesians 1:5-7). God’s Spirit fills us to the brim and overflows on everyone around us.

We prove that we love Him by our obedience to His Word (John 14:15). We do not always keep each letter of the law all the time, but our motive in life is to walk in His ways (Galatians 3:24; Psalm 86:11-17).

God sees our whole heart – including our secret intents and motives (1 Samuel 16:7). He encourages us to keep our self unspotted by the world. (James 1:26-27).

Jesus loved us even when we did not love Him (1 John 4:19). We feel secure in His love, because it is not dependent on whether we earn or deserve it. It is a free gift, which lasts forever (Romans 3:23, 6:23).

Prayer:
Father God, the world values human attributes like popularity, physical features, power, influence and financial abundance; but You reward faithfulness to Your Word. You discern our secret intents and motives and discipline or bless Your children according to the desires of our heart (Jeremiah 17:10).

Help us to shed the trappings of this world that we carry with us into our relationship with You. Purify our thoughts and teach us Your ways, so that we want only what You want and value only those things which bring You honor and glory forever and ever.

Thought for the Day:
We attempt to justify our motives and actions, but the Lord weighs them on His scales; as we consult the Lord, He will guide our steps and establish our plans in His will. – Proverbs 16:2-3

Loving the Unlovable

Too often we judge people for their peculiarities and idiosyncrasies. We categorize them, box them up in neat little packages and stick them away on a shelf in our mind, ignoring them as much as possible.

Once in a while our paths cross again, and we are forced to interact with this peculiar individual once more. We take down our box, stick new labels on them and place them back on the shelf as quickly as possible. They may be our neighbor, spouse, child, sibling, relative, church member, co-worker or even our employer.

Please realize that within each of these precious people is a wounded soul. They are a product of a lifetime of events, which molded their personality to give them unique characteristics, which may irritate or even wound us deeply.

We may go so far as to harbor bitterness toward them and possibly even dismiss them from our life as a lost cause (Ephesians 4:32). However, these unlovable people are diamonds in the rough.

They are created by God, and He has a special plan for their life, just as He has for us (Ephesians 2:10). God put them in our life for us to minister His Agape love to them and to give them a secure and nurturing place to live (Matthew 5:47).

We are all fallible and have our own weaknesses and peculiarities. How would you want this person to treat you? There is healing for everyone at the cross of Christ.

Sometimes, people are unaware of God’s grace, and He gives us opportunities to give them unconditional love, patience, security and friendship to model God’s character to them. His plan for this relationship may be for us to help heal the deep wounds within their soul.

Prayer:

Father God, You create everyone in Your image. We are all unlovable until You redeem us (Ephesians 1:7). In fact, You loved us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8). Teach us that when we allow Your Agape love to flow through us to someone else, it is hard to stay angry at them or to consider them worthless.

Remind us to pray for them and to look for opportunities to bless them. You may just use this individual to bless us in some way too, if we look beyond the aspects of their life which irritate or hurt us, and love them anyway.

Thought for the Day:

Don’t throw people away, because God wants us to use our freedom in Him to love and serve one another, just as He died for and blesses us. – Galatians 5:13

God’s Plans in Our Losses

Living life as a good person does not guarantee our earthly success or our place in eternity (Galatians 3:21). Beliefs founded on humanistic philosophy may change our life and give us temporary relief, but it does not last for eternity. Only the Word and Will of God are entirely righteous and true (Psalm 19:9). God is patient with our unbelief, because He does not want anyone to die in their sin (2 Peter 3:9).

He walks with us through every valley and gives us His joy as our strength (Psalm 23; Nehemiah 8:10). For instance, after 22 years of marriage, the love of my life decided that he could no longer live with my Italian emotionalism. A wall of constant misunderstandings stood between us, so he determined that there was no option for us but divorce. I was shocked and in disbelief; yet, I did not want to live where I was not loved.

God proved that He has a perfect plan and purpose for us all (Ephesians 2:10). He led me to relocate and to attend divorce recovery classes in two different churches in order to heal from my loss. I learned that God still had plans for me, which did not include my former husband. One day when I least expected it, in a crowded Books-a-Million bookstore, I divinely met a pastor whose wife recently decided to end their union too.

Now, after 20 years of marriage to this wonderful man who dwells with me with understanding (1 Peter 3:7), I can see from hindsight that in both of our lives God used these devastating, negative circumstances for our good (Romans 8:28). In this new union, we appreciate each other’s gifts and character as we serve God together. We truly cherish one another, even with all of our idiosyncrasies (Ephesians 4:12-16).

Prayer:
Father God, we may be hesitant to put our total faith in You, but You always prove that Your ways will bring us ultimate fulfillment. We are so grateful that we can trust You to work out for our good every circumstance, no matter how devastating it is (Romans 8:28). You help us to grieve the loss of our relationships, health, wealth and material possessions. Although, crying may last through many nights, Your joy always comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5).

Thought for the Day:
We can trust in God’s ways, even when they do not coincide with our view of the perfect life, because His ways are always perfect, even when we experience trials, heartache, loss and devastation.
– Psalm 18:30; 2 Sam 22:31; Deuteronomy 32:4

Accountability Partner

We all have areas of our life that we ignore; little habits, words and facial expressions, which are less than stellar. We do not even think about them…but other people see them. Even more importantly is the fact that God sees them too. He has been watching and dealing with us about these issues throughout our whole life. They are called “blind spots”.

We merrily go about our life without noticing that our testimony is tarnished by what we say and by the way we act. That is why it is so good to have an accountability partner. Someone that we love and trust, and that we know “has our back” through thick and thin. They love and respect us in spite of all of our idiosyncrasies.

We choose an accountability partner who would never turn on us or hurt us by the intimate details of our life, which we share with them. They should be spiritual, and endeavor to follow Christ with their life as well. They see our blind spots, those little nagging issues, which we ignore or are unaware of, and they are not afraid to point them out to us in love.

They are committed to God, and care about us as a friend and a fellow Christian. They are humble and recognize that they have faults as well; and they are growing and changing in their own lives. We can share anything with them and they will keep our confidence. These particular people willingly pray for God to strengthen us and to give us wisdom.

Prayer:
Father God, Jesus had twelve disciples, but He only took three to the mountain to see His transfiguration. He had three special friends whom He knew cared for Him deeply and would need the vision of His glory to strengthen them as they carried on His work after His resurrection. Help us to find those faithful few whom we can trust with our life and who will help us to grow in Christ.

Thought for the Day:
Since we dwell on this earth together, let us help rather than hinder one another.

Choosing a Marriage Partner

Most couples dearly love one another, but have a hard time expressing their deepest feelings. They desperately want their mate to know and love them, but have no clue how to show or share their feelings. We take each other for granted and settle into a stale rut. The old joke states, “I told you that I love you when I married you; and if I change my mind, I will let you know.”

Unrealistic expectations prior to marriage often ruin a couple’s chance at happiness in the marriage. No one can possibly live up to the fairy tale romance we dream about or be the person someone else expects us to be. Many people think that they will change their mate once they get married. One man put it this way, “Honey, what you see is what you get. I’m not changing for anyone or for any reason.”

We end up frustrated, angry, resentful and feeling hopeless, because we are always arguing. If we realize that we are both human, we can both relax a bit. We all have foibles and idiosyncrasies, which make us the unique person that we are. Rather than insisting on our own way, we can find a third choice, which meets both of our needs.

The key to a happy marriage is honest communication. Not brutal honesty, but loving, confident, uncritical expressions of what we want and need. We do not like to guess what our mate expects or is thinking. It puts undo stress on a couple to try to predict what gift our mate wants for special occasions or what behavior they are expecting from us. ( http://www.5lovelanguages.com/profile/ )

There are realistic expectations for marriage, however. We need the same goals, dreams and principles. We need to have similar ideas on raising children, where to worship and how to spend money. We need to laugh together, play together and cry together. We need someone who will accept us as we are and who will support us through the hard times, someone who will love us for a lifetime.

Prayer:
Father God, we know without a doubt that Your love for us is the most fulfilling and the most urgent of our human needs. You do not love us for how we perform, because You loved us while we were still depraved sinners (Romans 5:8; 1 John 4:10). You gave us the desire to love and to be loved. Remind us to seek Your will for our potential mate and to receive Godly counsel before making the final decision. Thank You for never leaving or forsaking us (Hebrews 13:5).

Thought for the Day:
Both men and women thrive on praise and affirmation, rather than on criticism and unrealistic expectations. – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

The Eternal Marriage

One of the great mysteries of the Bible is the connection between Jesus and the Church in a marriage. A husband is exhorted to love his wife in the same manner that Christ loves the Church (Ephesians 5:25). Jesus literally laid down His life for the Church. How many husbands actually do that for their wife? Most of them get frustrated with their wife’s idiosyncrasies and opt out of the marriage?

 

There is not a problem in a person or a marriage that cannot be resolved with intentional counseling and mutual submission. Except in life or death situations, no reason is good enough to justify divorcing one’s mate. It is a lazy, superficial, self-centered person who files for divorce. They are unwilling to work at becoming one flesh. A time of separation and a forgiving heart will help to iron out even the worst marital issues.

 

Reserving nothing for Himself, Jesus gave His life for His Bride before we even knew or loved Him. His love is unconditional, regardless of our behavior, attitude or expressions. He will never, ever leave or forsake us for any reason or in any way (Hebrews 13:5). Spouses are to follow suite and care for one another’s physical, emotional, mental, financial and spiritual needs despite the reception we receive from our mate.

 

The husband honors the wife as the weaker vessel, and he protects her from the pain and confusion of the world (1 Peter 3:7). He listens to her and cares about what she cares about. The wife respects and encourages her husband. She keeps his home and cares for his children. She supports him even when she disagrees with the direction he is going. Although she does have the option to separate for a time if she feels threatened in any way.

 

There is no man or woman alive who does not grab his/her toe when it is stubbed, or jerk away from something hot or cringe from a hand raised in anger. We are to protect one another in the same way that we love and protect our self (Ephesians 5:28-33). We care about each other’s needs, often anticipating them before the desire is even expressed. God will help us to work out every negative issue in our marriage if we totally surrender our will to His.

 

Prayer:

Father God, You give us a perfect example of loving a flawed mate. Israel failed You over and over; and yet, You continually loved her and honored Your commitment to her. Remind us to feel each other’s pain and confusion as if they were our own and never to break our marriage vows to one another, even when we do not like one another very much!

 

Thought for the Day:

There is no one that loves us better, or cares for our welfare more than Jesus Christ, our Kinsman Redeemer. – Leviticus 25:25; Ruth 1-4

Let the Weak Say, “I am Strong.”

Most of us feel totally inadequate to face the issues in our life. We pull our self up by our bootstraps every morning, put one foot in front of the other and move forward through the day, doing the best we can. Living in this stress-filled life with no spiritual basis for coping with its issues or making positive choices are more than most people can bear.

 

We struggle with inadequacy, shame, doubt, uncertainty, weakness and anxiety, which end up putting our body in the state of physical and psychosomatic illness. For many people, they have no support system. This is a travesty and drives them to use addictions of all kinds in order to cope with their feelings about life’s pressures (Galatians 5:19-21).

 

There are many paradoxes in the Bible and the one, which applies here, is that in order to be strong, we must first realize that we are weak. God uses the broken and foolish things in the world to confound the wise (1 Corinthians 1:27). Our flaws give us compassion for other people. We never stand in judgment, because we are just as defective as the next person. However, God is our only judge (James 4:12). 

 

 

God loves it when we come to the end of our self and look up into His waiting, loving face. The weaker and less competent we are, the more God can use us for His glory. Peace of mind and spiritual assurance of God’s presence in our life affects our body, soul and spirit positively and gives us a new life and an eternal hope, which ignites our passion for God (Romans 8:11).  

 

The Creator of the Universe transforms us from the inside out by dwelling within us (2 Corinthians 5:17). He removes our wounded heart of stone and gives us a compassionate heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26). God uses our unique idiosyncrasies, formed in us by a lifetime of nature and nurture, for His glory (2 Corinthians 12:9). His Spirit gives us the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). The weak can now say, “I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).

 

Prayer:

Father God, as a natural, carnal person, we attempt to live independently of You and Your plan for our life (Jeremiah 29:11; Ephesians 2:10). We live out of harmony with You and reap a wind storm of consequences. Remind us not to depend on our human understanding, but to consult You in every moment of our day. Thank You for Your redemption in our life and for caring about every aspect of it that we face.

 

Thought for the Day:

God changes our life by giving us His new birth and eternal life in Jesus Christ. He takes us from our lowly state and exalts us as co-heirs with Christ of His entire Kingdom.

– Romans 8:17; 2 Corinthians 4:7

Breathing Room for our Soul

With preconceived ideas of what we want from life, we often miss out on God’s best for us. We toil and strive for fulfillment only to end up disillusioned and frustrated. If we completely surrender to God’s will, enter into His rest and consult Him in all of our decisions, He opens doors for us that no one can close (Ephesians 2:10; Hebrews 4:10; Proverbs 3:5-6, Revelation 3:8). We find complete joy in the Lord (Colossians 2:10).

Positive attitudes enhance our life. Forgiveness allows us to feel kindness and compassion for other people (Ephesians 4:32). Each moment that we hold a grudge, feel resentment or entertain bitterness robs us of our health, wealth and success. Negative emotions and attitudes are red flags, indicating that we are not caring for our soul. We rent our soul out to others, so they can abuse and devalue us.

We all appreciate having a second chance when we fail, so giving someone else that same opportunity will bring us joy, especially when they prove their faithfulness. We can also take complete responsibility for our life, faults and failings. We can apologize for letting someone down, even when we are not really at fault. This keeps peace in our relationships and our life.

Gratitude is another important key to entertaining positive attitudes (1 Thessalonians 5:18). We often have unfulfilled expectations, which make us unhappy with what we already have. God gives us abundant blessings every day, and we fail to notice or thank Him for them. Sometimes, other people bless us, and we fail to show them appreciation too. Start counting your blessings and saying, “Thank you.”

As we renounce the negative self-talk in our life, we gain our identity from God’s love and acceptance. Learning to laugh at our idiosyncrasies, we stop taking our self so seriously. God gives us courage to make changes and to trust Him with our life. Fellowshipping with other authentic Believers, we limit our exposure to negative people. Living by God’s promises will change our future.

Prayer:
Father God, we know that You love us so much that You became a man and died for us on Calvary’s cross. We cherish our life and want to live it for Your glory. You have a perfect plan for each of us. We submit to You and resist Satan, so that he cannot influence our life (James 4:7). Help us to center our time in You and to live in Your will for each moment of it (Ephesians 2:10). Make us a light, which cannot be hidden (Matthew 5:14-16); so we can encourage others to come to You too. In Jesus’ name and for Your glory. Amen.

Thought for the Day:
Seeking God’s Will gives us breathing room for our soul. – Psalm 62:2