Walking in the Spirit

There is a fine line between walking in the flesh and walking in the Spirit. Our human soul – our mind, emotions and will – has definite opinions about everything, and wants to be heard in the midst of our day.

Of course, this is a very important exercise. We often neglect our body and soul. We push our body to the limit, ignoring warning signs. We discount the cautions of our soul.

We grab a protein bar instead of eating a balanced meal. We fail to exercise, because we have one more item to accomplish for work. We do not realize that we are full of destructive negative emotions.

Yet, our body, soul and spirit work much better when they are all in sync with God’s Spirit. We care for our body, pay attention to the way in which life is affecting our soul, and we stay in tune to God in our spirit.

God used the game of Scrabble to give me an object lesson on listening to the Spirit rather than obeying the thoughts in my mind.

Rather than to look for a word I already know, I listen to the Spirit and place the letters He tells me to use. I learn new words, earn more points and learn to discern between the voice of God and the voice of my own human reasoning.

When we walk in the Spirit, we stop making our own plans and trust in the Lord’s plans for our day instead. We stop considering our human reasoning and seek only God’s will for everything that we do and say as we follow His desires (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Walking in the Spirit allows us to more easily discern His prompting throughout the day. The voice of our soul eventually dims, and it is easier to hear the direction of God’s Spirit for each moment of our day.

Prayer:
Father God, You gave us an example of Your love and deliverance by freeing Israel from Egyptian control. In our similar dire circumstances, You always give us Your comfort, which increases our joy (Psalm 94:19). When we are overwhelmed by life’s sorrows and fears, You are right there within us.

You care about Your children who honor and obey You (Psalm 15:19). Our only true joy is in You, because You give us triumph over life’s hurdles as we feast even now on our inheritance as Your children (Isaiah 58:14).

Thought for the Day:
When we walk in the Spirit, we listen for His peace, which surpasses human understanding; therefore, we have less anxiety, because we pray about each moment of our day. – Philippians 4:6

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A Reasoned Response

Most of my answers are soft (Proverbs 15:1); however, my life was filled with people who took me for granted and ignored me unless I YELLED and unleashed the full fury of my Italian wrath every once in a while.

I always wanted to have a sweet response when someone stepped on my last nerve, or yanked my chain one too many times, but people tended not to take me seriously unless I yelled.

Therefore, when the people in my life changed, I had to practice giving soft answers, to practice choosing to give a reasoned response, rather than letting my emotions build within me until I simply exploded (Psalm 116:7).

In the ensuing years, God allowed my children to grow up into responsible adults who live in their own homes. He also gave me a husband who nurtures and cherishes me.

God helped me to understand that I do not need wrath to get my point across. All I need to do is to quietly say, “I really want you to take me seriously, and listen to what I am saying.”

Our authority is in Christ, not in our self or the intensity of our words. In Christ, quietness is our confidence and strength (Isaiah 30:15, 32:17). When two people disagree, they can always find a compromise.

When we speak with God’s authority instead of our own, people listen. We get the person’s attention, share our needs and then relax in quietness and confidence that the Lord will fight for us, as we wait on Him (Exodus 14:14).

We can trust that God already placed the seed for a miracle in every trial, which we will ever encounter. If we water this seed with faith, patience and confidence in God’s faithfulness, a beautiful plant of blessing will grow.

Prayer:
Father God, remind us that Satan battles for our soul through our mind, choices and emotions. He knows he already lost our spirit to You, but he wants to destroy our soul, and our witness for You (Proverbs 34:13). Help us to choose to step out of our self-effort and into Your authority by the guidance of Your Spirit (Proverbs 16:23; Isaiah 45:22).

Wounds from our past and ever-occurring wounds in our present life – being belittled, discounted, deprived emotionally or physically, abandoned, insecure and frightened in our heart – will manifest in our words.

Yet, as we trust You, You help us to heal from our wounds. We will dwell in security and rest (Isaiah 32:18). May our thoughts and words be pleasing to You as we rely on You as our rock and Redeemer (Psalm 20:14).

Thought for the Day:
As God heals the wounds in our soul, as we relinquish our pet peeves and idols to Him, as we surrender control of our life to Him and realize that nothing can happen to us that is not already part of His plan for us (Isaiah 7:4), then we can think and speak quiet, confident thoughts rather than broiling negative emotions.

God’s Fullness – Abiding in God’s Presence

Any area of our life, which we do not surrender to God, holds us back from being fully filled with His presence. Negative emotions are the indicators of areas to which we are still clinging.

When we feel negative, we can inspect our soul to discover the root of the issues. We may need to repent of our attitude or actions, to forgive our self or someone else, or to change our focus about this issue until it no longer bothers us.

Total surrender opens the windows of heaven to fill our life with all of God’s fullness and blessings. Obeying God’s Word and walking in the Spirit are the steps for success in our journey through sanctification (Galatians 5:15-25).

As we yield to God’s will, we learn that He always works out everything – even the most painful human experience – for our ultimate good, if we will only relinquish our plans and embrace His will (Matthew 13: 44-46).

Satan will attempt to hinder us with his lies, fear of the unknown, grudges over past treatment, and carnal desires that thwart God’s purposes in our life.

However, Christ in us is greater than Satan and his demons (1 John 4:4). We are filled with God through Christ in us. He fills us with his holiness, peace and joy as He fills us with His Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17).

We realize that we are simply stewards of all the material blessings, which God gives us; and if we use then as He directs us, He will give us more, and often something better to use and share.

As we grasp the immensity of God’s love, we live and walk in His presence, giving preference to His will in our life, rather than pursuing our own goals, dreams and desires.

We have no greater desire than to be used by God to further His Kingdom in this earth and to take as many people to heaven with us who will humble their pride and surrender their life to Him too.

Prayer:
Father God, show us the reality of Your presence indwelling within us (Matthew 28:20). Thank You for walking through the trials of this life with us, giving us green pastures and still waters, and restoring our soul (Psalm 23:1-2).

Remind us not to have faith in what we want You to do for us, but to have faith to do what You want us to do for You. Help us to focus on Your will and to understand that the prayer that never fails is, “Lord, not my will, but Yours be done on earth, in my life and in Heaven.” (Matthew 6:10)

Thought for the Day:
The intense focus of God’s heart is to live as one with us, just as He is one with Jesus. – John 17:22:23

Let Me Tell You, Gentlemen

If you think that your marriage is good, or even perfect, that may be because all of your needs are met by your good and faithful wife. Have you ever asked her what she thinks about your marriage?

You may be surprised to find out that she is so busy caring for you and the home and children, that she has no time to fulfill her needs. She may have longings in her soul that are not realized; so make the time to discover her needs and help her to accomplish them.

You may criticize her for her irritability, insecurity, jealousy, rage, discouragement, etc., and view these negative emotions as separate from your behavior. They very well may have an outside source; but you could help to relieve them, even if your behavior and attitude are not causing them.

Do you ignore her when she talks to you, and only listen to her with half an ear? Do you take all of her needs seriously and ask her how you can help her? Do you provide her with a stable living environment full of cherishing, nurturing and acceptance?

She may need an hour to soak in the tub, some help with the dishes or bathing the children, a night alone to read or watch a movie in the sanctity of your bedroom, or a special date night. Take charge and give her that time.

Make sure that you inundate her with continual focused attention; date nights which you help to plan; and little gifts, notes, cards, emails and phone calls to let her know that she is not only in your heart but in your mind as well.

Never take her for granted. Bless her with words, which affirm your appreciation of her, but back the words up with actions too. Celebrate her successes along with her and show her your care and concern when she is discouraged or ill.

If she works outside of the home too, help her with the household chores and make sure all of your children have assigned duties, so that the whole family cooperates to keep your home clean, harmonious and running smoothly.

Never allow your children to speak to your wife with disrespect, and model this respect by your behavior. Find a church to attend with your family, have daily devotions with them all and disciple them in Biblical truth to help them to withstand the devil’s temptations.

Prayer:
Father God, You created the husband to serve as a role model in his family as he patterns his behavior and attitude after Your character and nature (Galatians 5:15-25; 2 Peter 1:4). Help him to consider the needs of his wife and children above his own (Ephesians 5:25). Yet, give him the boldness to express his needs as well, so his family can uplift him as he supports them.

Meld the husband and wife in such unity that they provide a positive and cohesive home for their children. This will give more security to the children and reduce rebellion in them as well. Remind us that You are the reason we are alive on this earth, and that serving You as a family is the greatest privilege, which life affords us.

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

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.

Living in Contentment

As we live in the presence of God, and enjoy the still, quiet moments of our devotion time each day, then our schedule, to-do lists and responsibilities fade into the background of our mind.

Cleansing our soul and life, of dead works and all negative emotions, enables us to freely hear God’s voice. Unhindered by the destructive influence of the devil’s lies, we walk in the Spirit. ( http://www.theophostic.com ).

Continually praising God for His provision in our life teaches us gratitude for what we have, which overshadows our longings for what we do not have. We learn contentment at His feet (Philippians 4:11).

While we praise God for who He is, for His blessings and for His perfect plan for our life, we consult Him throughout our day and hear His will for each moment of our life (Proverbs 3:5-6).

This way, when work deadlines, emotional turmoil in our family, rushed schedules, slander and false accusation, and a lack of fulfillment in our life all upset our sense of stability, we have God’s Spirit to return our soul and spirit to peace and rest (Hebrews 10:4).

Once we learn to live in the gratification and fulfillment, which walking in the Spirit afford us, we never go back (Galatians 5:15-25). If life pulls us from the shelter of God’s wings, we scurry back under the shadow of our Almighty God (Psalm 91:1,4).

We accomplish more in our day under the instruction of God’s Spirit than by the direction of all of our lists, calendar reminders and sticky notes. The light of God’s Son brightens each step of our way (John 14:6).

Prayer:
Father God, draw us to Your side and never let us go. Wrap us in Your everlasting arms and help us to experience the contentment of living in Your presence (Deuteronomy 33:27). Lead us to accomplish Your will, rather than our will, for every moment of our day.

Remind us to look for divine appointments to share Your love with people we meet. Help us never to look past someone who may need Your light in their life, simply because we are too busy. Our days are numbered, and we want to live each one of them in the center of Your will (Job 14:5; Psalm 39:4).

Thought for the Day:
As we contentedly dwell in the Kingdom of God and seek His will for each moment of our life, God provides for all of our needs. – Luke 12:31-32

The Beauty of Marriage

Marriage was designed by God in order for a man and a woman to appreciate the advantages of each other’s company. The Bible is full of verses, which speak about the benefits of two people sharing life together; and when we add Christ into the equation, the three of us are not easily defeated (Genesis 2:18, 20; Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).

When a man finds a wife, he opens up a whole world of benefits for himself and his future family (Proverbs 18:22). Like puzzle pieces, we learn to fit together perfectly and blend our two personalities to work as a team.

Our individual strengths help to overcome the weaknesses in one another. We never insist on our own way, but we talk out our issues until we find a third plan, on which we can both agree.

This prevents heated words, angry emotions and shredded feelings. If both members prefer one another over themselves, there is no issue in any relationship, which cannot be worked out.

Both partners must really listen to one another and take each other seriously. Even if the issue seems unimportant to us, it is important to our mate, so we should take it seriously.

This helps us not to over-react, because we know we are heard. It also allows us to gather all the facts before forming conclusions (Proverbs 18:13).

If we dwell together with understanding and prefer our mate over our self, then love grows (Peter 3:7). When we make God the priority in our marriage, and worship God and serve in a church together, our respect for one another increases.

Marriage also helps us to increase our wealth by either both working at different jobs, or by one staying home to frugally care for the house, children and family errands.

We build together rather than tearing each other down. Abiding by these principles tends to resolve many marital issues before they ever start, and we cherish and admire one another.

Prayer:
Father God remind us that in our marriage, we do not complete one another. Only Christ in us can truly complete us (Colossians 2:10). Neither do we compete with one another. Instead, we complement each other. We provide wisdom in decisions, companionship, physical assistance, and support for one another in body, soul and spirit.

Enable us to see that the longer we are married, the more we feel comfortable with one another, and we no longer feel the need to impress each other. We feel safe in the confidence that we are loved and cherished. We relax, breath easily and smile more often.

Remind us to enjoy one another’s company and to have fun together. Help us to understand each other, and to like, as well as love each other. Especially prompt us not to take one another for granted.

Thought for the Day:
When God gives us a mate to share our life with, we cherish, honor and protect one another for an entire lifetime. – Genesis 2:24