Waiting Continually on God

Prayer is the most important spiritual discipline we can accomplish. Prayer is speaking to God from our heart. Rote prayers and formulas for prayer are unnecessary. God already knows our heart and wants to hear our own words (Luke 16:15).

 

God places His burdens upon our heart for the lost people groups in our world, for those laden by illness, for people devastated by the loss of a loved one through death or divorce, and those suffering from other ill effects of this life.

 

Waiting continually on God all day long, we pray without ceasing, worship the beauty of His holiness, live in His presence and praise His holy name (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; Psalm 16:11, 29:2, 138:2).

 

Once we entirely surrender to Christ in us, there is no limit to what God can do in and through us. We bow in humble adoration of our King and walk in perfect submission to His will.

 

He heals our diseases and nurtures our soul, lifting our head from the pillow of illness or a posture of depression; and putting a new song in our heart (Psalm 3:3-4, 40:3).

 

He takes our trials and tribulation personally, because He dwells within each one of us and experiences everything right along with us (Acts 9:4-5).

 

We hope in God alone as He sustains us, comfort us and puts a smile on our face (Psalm 42:11). As we find our delight in Him, He fills our soul and spirit with His glory and places His desires in our heart (Psalm 37:4).

 

Prayer:

Father God, You fill us with Your love in a world that is full of anger and hate. You encourage us when our soul is bowed with the cares of this life. You teach us to forgive when others fail to admit that they have mistreated us. You feel our pain and You carry us through our tribulation.

 

You lift our head from the pit of despondency and make our feet like hinds feet to climb higher still into Your presence (Psalm 18:33). We look forward to dwelling with you throughout eternity, because You are our great God, full of loving kindness and mercy (Psalm 95:3).

 

Thought for the Day:

It has been said, “When we go God’s way, we bump into the devil who is always trying to discourage us and derail our attempts to walk in God’s will.”

 

 

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The Lost Art of Grieving

Loss is a part of living; but grieving is a lost art. We do not want to face the pain, so we stuff it inside, wallow in self-pity and depression, and ignore the one safety valve God gave us to overcome the deep abiding sadness we carry around with us every hour of every day.

If we would allow Him to, our God of all comfort would fill us with His joy and peace as we trust in Him. He enables us to overflow with hope by the power of His Holy Spirit within us (Romans 15:13).

People usually ignore us when we are grieving, because they do not know what to say. They may want to speak to us but cannot decide how to word their feelings. This is common and we do not need to feel insecure.

We can simply say, “I am not sure what to say, but I want you to know that I care about you and that I am here for you in any way that I can be of help.”

We tend to use phrases like: passed on, passed away, graduated to heaven, went to be with the Lord, etc. Using the word “died” will allow the grieving person to realize that it is okay to refer to their loved one in that same way.

We can express our concern by sharing our sorrow that they are experiencing this loss. “I am so sorry for your loss. I really care about you. How may I help you?”

A simple, “What do you need from me right now?” or “What can I do for you?” are appropriate ways to offer help, because they show you support them during this time of grief.

Do not tell the grieving person that their loved one is in a better place, or that they will get over their grief in time, or that this loss was part of God’s plan, or that you know how they feel. Instead, ask them, “How are you feeling right now?”

You do not need to remind them of all they still have to be thankful for or that they can find comfort in the fact that their loved one really cared about them.

Do not tell them what they should feel or do. Let God direct their steps in His timing and way. If they ask you, then start your comment with, “Have you ever considered …”getting a part-time job”, “volunteering at a shelter”, “helping us with our children’s ministry” (in the office, on workdays around the building).

The worst thing you can say is, “It is time to get on with your life.” You could say, “God still has plans for your life and He will show them to you as you are ready.”

Everyone has a different way to grieve and different time frames in which to do this. Some take longer than others. Some never get over the intense feelings of grief and it shapes their future life.

Many friends forget about the grieving person once the funeral is over. That is when the person needs us the most. Take them shopping, to get their hair done, or for a quiet walk in the park on a pleasant sunny day.

Take them a hot meal, but do not stay to watch them eat it. Offer to buy them some groceries or to do their dishes or wash a load of laundry. These basic needs often get neglected when we are grieving.

Send cheerful cards, invite them to a movie or over to your house to join mutual friends for dinner. Do not force them to be outgoing or cheerful. Just allow them to silently enjoy your company.

Honor their requests, don’t push your ideas on them, but ask them, “What would you like to do this week?” Do this regularly for the first year after their loss. Be patient and don’t push them. Love them with the love of the Lord.

Prayer:
Father God, knowing what to say to a grieving person is so nerve wracking and our ineptitude is paralyzing. Teach us how to comfort. Give us Your Holy Spirit’s wisdom for how to minister to each new grieving person. Put Your ideas in our mind, inspire our creativity with Your ideas on how to be a special blessing to this grieving friend, relative or church member.

We also ask that You comfort us in our grief. Help us not to wallow in self-pity but to rise and shine with each new day and to seek Your will in each new moment. Help us to realize that You have plans for us that do not include our loved one; and that we still have purpose and meaning for our life in You.

Thought for the Day:
Give a bereaving person the gift of your time and attention.

Spirit over Matter

Our spirit is our dwelling place with God. When we live in the center of God’s Will, we dwell in the heavenly realm and everything that happens to us is in the sphere of His purpose and control.

As we view any circumstance from within our spirit, the physical and emotional and mental aspects of the event are outside of our dwelling place and have no real effect on who we really are in Christ.

We know without a doubt that He has an eternal purpose for us in any experience and that He will work out all of the details for our ultimate good.

Even physical illness, loss, relational issues, financial disaster and every other negative incident which may occur are in His control. We can rest in His everlasting arms through it all.

If we happen to slip out of our spirit and allow our self to feel the emotion or physical pain of the experience, then it affects us negatively. But in the spirit, it cannot touch us.

Jesus experienced loss and grief a few times in His life. His good friend Lazarus died and Jesus wept (John 1:35). He looked out over Jerusalem and grieved for the coming destruction of His beloved city (Luke 19:41).

He sweat drops of blood as He faced the cross and begged our Father to release Him from the anguish of taking on the sin of the whole world and being rejected by God (Luke 22:44).

Yet, once He stepped back into His spirit in all of these situations, He accepted God’s will over His own desires and no longer suffered any negative consequences from the trials of His body and soul (Hebrews 4:15).

This happened in my life. After an auto accident, I was bruised, bleeding, had half a face full of glass, broke my little finger and eleven ribs, and suffered a concussion and a punctured lung.

I totaled my car, but I was out of the hospital in one day, back to work as a secretary in one week, and I never took one pain pill as I slowly healed over the next three months.

That was spirit over matter with a generous helping of God’s grace (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Prayer:
Father God, we know that nothing catches You by surprise and we can relax and look forward to the miracle, which You place within every trial that we encounter. You are in control regardless of what the circumstances look like or how much suffering and turmoil we experience.

As we view the experience from within our spirit, Your Spirit buffers any loss to our body or soul. We know that the suffering is occurring, but it has no effect on our attitude because we count it all joy (James 1:2-8).

Thought of the Day:
A Christian does not experience life through mind over matter, but through spirit over matter; because though we suffer loss in this world, it does not affect our eternal existence now or in the world to come.

Open Doors

Human beings often fear the unknown, resist change and grieve our losses longer than is healthy for our soul. This causes unnecessary stress to ravage our body and soul.

As authentic Born Again Believers, we can prevent this by trusting completely in God’s goodness and grace. When He closes one door in our life, it is to open another door.

He may allow us to lose a job, mate, child, friend, church family, home, part of our body, etc in order to open new doors for us.

God also closes doors to protect us. The timing, people involved, location and details are not conducive to this new venue He planned for us, so God will close those doors.

When we end one chapter of our life, we start a new one, full of possibilities and every bit as fulfilling as the former chapter. If we maintain an open mind, God will bless us.

No matter where we are, who we are with, or what circumstances He brings to us, we can still walk in God’s Spirit and allow Christ in us to live through us (Galatians 2:20, 5:15-25; Colossians 3:3-4).

Supernatural direction, peace and joy sustain, strengthen and equip us for the Kingdom work ahead of us. God’s Spirit and Son within us are our everlasting companions.

Prayer:
Father God, make us conscious of Your hand in our life. Help us not to mourn the closed doors for very long before we change our focus to the new and living way You have prepared for us.

We trust in You to care for all of our needs and to direct our every step through this new life where You called us to live. Open our eyes and ears to see and hear what Your Spirit is directing us to do, and use us for Your glory.

Thought for the Day:
The new door, which God opens, may be different than we are used to, strange and unfamiliar, but with Christ in us, we will continue to walk in God’s perfect peace and joy.

God’s Comfort through Grief

The death of an intimate relative is one of the most challenging, disturbing, overwhelming, and painful experiences we may ever survive. Grief shakes our core foundations and creates devastating and sometimes unrelenting loss and chaos in our life.

For a period of time, depression dampens all of our activities and feelings, and it interrupts our normal schedule. Grief has even been known to hasten the death of the surviving partner or parent.

Our life may never totally recover after the loss of a loved one. At best, life will take a new course, which brings change and fear of the unknown. This change is often one we would never select if we had a choice.

Grief may even accompany the loss of a cherished personal possession, a pet, or even financial security or a part of our body. Aging also produces aspects of grief as we experience the loss of friends, health, physical appearance, energy, family support and memory.

Divorce is another loss from which some people never recover. It causes traumatic grief in most cases, which is similar to or even more distressing than a death, because our mate chooses to leave us.

Each person alive experiences grief in some form or other in their lifetime. Even minor losses will trigger heartache. Grief from former losses will accumulate over the years and add to the sorrow we feel in current losses.

That is why it is important to allow our self the time and opportunity to grieve until we feel closure from any loss as it arises. Ignoring or suppressing grief compounds this devastating emotion in our soul.

Taking our grief to God allows us to heal more completely than if we try to heal on our own. His solace provides peace and joy, which surpasses human reasoning and emotion. We feel His presence within us, filling us and lifting us up.

Prayer:
Father God, we thank You for walking with us through the valleys of grief we experience throughout our lifetime. Your comfort transcends any mantras we utter or human counsel we receive during these times of loss.

We come to You and Your Word and find our wellbeing through Your life-giving truth and wisdom. We know we will see our saved loved ones again, but please fill their void in our life with more of Your presence than we ever felt before now.

Thought for the Day:
God brings physical, emotional, mental, social and spiritual healing to us in every instance of grief we experience during our lifetime.

School of Hard Knocks

Life often sends us through a crash course at the School of Hard Knocks. We feel overwhelmed and hopeless, because of the weight of disappointment smothering the life right out of us.

As authentic Born Again Believers, we have Father God, Brother Jesus and their Spirit – who defend, protect, advise, guide, provide for and love us, so much that Jesus laid down His own life for us (1 John 2:1; John 14:16, 15:13).

We can have faith in God’s faithfulness, because He proves His love for us each moment of every day. He provides a miracle to accompany every trial, such as: spiritual growth, lessons learned, or blessings, which come in spite of our suffering.

In our trials, God surrounds us with His ministering angels, provides for our needs, builds our faith, gives us wisdom to share with others, and uses us as an example of one who maintains faith in God (Hebrews 1:14; Philippians 4:19; 1 Peter 1:7; Luke 22:32).

God’s Spirit uses trials to shape in us the fruit of His Spirit: love, joy, faith, patience, gentleness, goodness, meekness, self-control and faith (Galatians 5:22-23; James 1:3).

God also teaches us contentment, which fills our heart regardless of the severity of the circumstances (Philippians 4:11-12). God continually abides in us through everything we ever experience (Galatians 2:20; Colossians 1:27).

At times, Satan tempts us to blame God for our losses and to feel anger towards Him for what we perceive as Him letting us down. However, God sees the big picture and He allows trials for our ultimate good.

Prayer:
Father God, as we live through the school of hard knocks, remind us to adopt an attitude of joyful acceptance and thanksgiving. Help us to focus on Your sovereign purpose in everything we experience (Romans 8:28). Remind us to trust in Your foreknowledge and grace (Romans 8:29; Hebrews 4:16).

Your infinite ways exceed our finite human understanding; therefore, we can always trust that You have our good at heart.
We trust in Your faithfulness to fulfill all of Your promises, even when the circumstances appear hopeless.

Thought for the Day:
Praising God in and through trials helps us to feel contentment in spite of them and gratitude for His presence in us through each one of them. – 1 Thessalonians 5:18; John 17:23

Jesus is All We Need

God orchestrates the losses, broken heart, difficult trials, and painful tribulation in our life to bring us to the place of total surrender to His love and our perfect submission to His will.

The quicker we come to the place of complete compliance to His will, the fewer negative aspects enter our life.

The less we trust in and cherish the temporal aspects of this life, the fewer losses we experience.

The more intimate we grow in our union with Christ, the less we experience the negative effects of trauma.

We are not devastated by our losses, because nothing can separate us from God’s love (Romans 8:35-39). We will not lose Christ, and He is all we really need.

We are complete in Him (Colossians 2:10). We have all wisdom, right standing with God, holiness and redemption in Christ (1 Corinthians 1:30).

His grace is sufficient to uphold us in any tragedy or insufficiency, which we face in this world (2 Corinthians 12:9). In Christ, we have every spiritual blessing, which heaven has to offer us (Ephesians 1:3).

God perfects us and sanctifies us in Christ (Hebrews 10:14). Jesus is not an option to add to our life; He is our whole life (Colossians 3:4).

He is our peace, and He breaks down every wall, which stands in our way (Ephesians 2:14). Jesus is our treasure hidden within us; our pearl of great price; our coin, which was lost, but now is found (Matthew 13:45-46; Luke 15:8-10; 2 Corinthians 4:7).

Jesus is our all in all (Ephesians 4:6). He contains all the fullness of the Trinity (Colossians 2:9), and He triumphed over our enemies through His death (Colossians 2:15).

He gives us victory through His resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:55). Jesus is all we need (2 Peter 1:3-4).

Prayer:

Father God, thank You that through Christ we have redemption through His blood and forgiveness for our sins. He is Your actual image and through Him everything was created and is under His authority. He is our all sufficiency (Colossians 1:13-16).

Remind us that the philosophy of man and the cares of this world are nothing when compared to the majesty of Christ on high. We give Him all of our praise and the glory for everything we ever accomplish through Your Spirit.

Thought for the Day:

Through Christ we find our right standing with God and enter a spiritual life, which never ends.