Freedom from Anxiety

Anxiety robs us of our peace and joy, spawns other negative emotions and adversely affects our physical health. It is a “killer”. God has a tip for us to use to receive freedom from anxiety.

 

He advises us not to allow anxiety to enter our soul on any level (Philippians 4:6). He shows us the futility of worry by pointing out that anxiety cannot change anything anyway (Matthew 6:27). Then He tells us a secret.

 

We can avoid these debilitating, negative emotions. The first step is to continually rejoice in the love of the Lord and to realize that He has His best in store for us regardless of our circumstances (Philippians 4:4).

 

When we realize that the Lord is near to us, even dwelling in our spirit within, we walk in gentleness and peace (Philippians 4:5). We lift up every concern to God in prayer.

 

In faith, we thank God for dealing with the issue before we ever see the first sign of evidence that He cares about our immediate problem. We lay out our burdens and leave them in His capable hands (1 Peter 5:7).

 

He gives us the wisdom to know how to deal with the issues our self, or the courage to leave them for Him to resolve in His way and time. He may just give us grace instead of resolution, the way He did Saul’s thorn in the flesh (2 Corinthian 12:9).

 

When we compare our distress with the weightier matters of life, or the reality of eternity, we may see our anxiety evaporate before our eyes. The magnitude of eternity’s reality erases most concerns from our troubled soul (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).

 

God provides for the birds and flowers of the field; and He cares about us so much more, because we are made in His image. As we make His Kingdom our priority, He works out everything else for our good (Matthew 6:25-34; Romans 8:28).

 

Prayer:

Father God, draw us close to You and never let us go. Remind us of Your saving grace throughout our lifetime and build up our faith with this continual evidence of Your goodness and provision for us. Flood our soul with a waterfall of Your love and allow it to vanquish our fears (1 John 4:18).

 

The fruit of Your Spirit replaces our carnal nature and we find it easier to walk in Your Spirit and to trust in Your goodness rather than to fear the future. Remind us to ignore Satan’s lies and our negative self-talk, which pull us away from faith in Your faithfulness. Thank You for giving us Your freedom from anxiety concerning the temporal issues of this life.

 

Thought for the Day:

Consumed with worry, we cannot enter and remain in God’s rest; yet, if we walk in the center of God’s will, we abide in the happiest place on earth. – Hebrews 4:10-11

 

The Devil in the Details

It is the details of life, which often bog us down. Our priorities are sidetracked by the little demonic foxes that spoil the vineyard (Song of Solomon 2:15). They sway our thoughts and emotions until we lose our peace, fall out of God’s rest and end up drowning in stress.

 

The good things in life become the enemy of the best things. They demand our attention away from what is important. We fail to walk in God’s Spirit or perform His will for our day, because the details scream for our attention.

 

It is difficult to ignore those little nagging issues, which arise during the day and night. They are like a flashing neon sign that continually pull our focus back to them and away from God’s best for us.

 

We end up reaping physical illnesses, negative emotions in our soul and our spirit is malnourished from neglect. We feel like a failure and often start believing that we are hopeless. Yet, there is always hope in God.

 

Many details can be eliminated; for instance, immediately throw away that advertisement or catalog, which came in the mail; dust and vacuum once a week, and do not allow the gathering particles to bother you that collect in every corner and flat surface of the room until that day.

 

Separate the laundry in bins and only wash when the bin is full; wash dishes as you cook, so there is not a pile at the end of the meal; and, if necessary, allow yourself to leave the sink full of dishes and go to bed to get your needed rest for the next day.

 

Do not answer the telephone every time it rings – caller ID helps us to distinguish if our child needs our attention and everyone else can leave a message for us to hear at a more opportune time.

 

Make a grocery list and shop once a week or month or quarter, rather than running to the store every other day for some forgotten or needed item.

 

Making more little changes in the details of our home life, vocational activities and church ministries – as God gives us wisdom, changes our mindset and schedule.

 

We put our priorities in the proper order and we have more time for spiritual pursuits. Our life is more fulfilled and our spirit is nourished by our close intimacy with our Heavenly Daddy.

 

Prayer:

Father God, thank You for pointing out to us the areas where Satan uses the zillion details of the day to distract and discourage us. Give us Your wisdom to know how to organize and to make Your plans our priority. Help us to stay focused on the spiritual rather than on this earthly realm.

 

We want our day to start and finish in Your perfect will for us, accomplishing all that You called us to do at work, home and play. Draw our hearts to You and never let us go, as our intimacy with You deepens and our spiritual focus increases.

 

Thought for the Day:

Be aware of the minute details that tend to destroy us from the inside out, to interrupt our home life and relationships, and to spread the roots of apathy in our churches.

 

 

Fall on the Rock

Do you ever feel like a meteor fell out of the sky and landed right on top of you? Is there trouble at every turn and nothing ever works out as it is supposed to happen?

Jesus advises us to fall on the Rock, before the Rock has to fall on us (Matthew 21:44). This insinuates that we can prevent certain negative events from occurring if we trust in Christ alone.

In the center of God’s will nothing will actually harm us and anything that rises up against us will not stand or prosper (Romans 8:31; Psalm 118:6). Outside of the will of God, Satan can attack us or cause us unpleasant experiences without God’s protection.

When we step outside of God’s will, He usually disciplines us in order to return us to the straight and narrow road of His choosing for our life. He does not discipline to harm us, but to keep us safe and to bless us.

As vigilant parents, we attempt to keep our children out of harm’s way and walking in safety, security and blessings. God disciplines us for the same reasons – for our good and to give us a life of peace and joy.

He is not vindictive or harassing us or seeking to punish us, but is focused on our protection and rewards. As the Bible repeatedly illustrates to us, God never, ever sends judgment without first giving a warning.

If we obey right away, we avoid the need for discipline or reaping the negative results of what we sow. We do not sow to the wind and reap the whirlwind, but the calm surroundings of green pastures and still waters (Hosea 8:7; Psalm 23:1-2).

God always restores our soul to equilibrium after the world attempts to inflict us with trials and troubles (Psalm 23:3). He showers us with new mercies with each new dawn (Lamentations 3:22-23). Sorrow is fleeting, and joy always comes with the morning (Psalm 30:5).

Prayer:
Father God, remind us that if we insist on living life our own way, You will have no alternative but to reprimand us and allow us to reap the natural consequences of our disobedience. Only in the center of Your will do we find true joy and peace. Keep our feet from wandering off the straight and narrow road, which You prepared for us (Matthew 7:13-14).

Help us to totally surrender to You rather than to insist on living life our own way. Remind us that You have a perfect will for every member of Your Body, so that we will function together perfectly as we further Your Kingdom on the earth. Draw us ever closer to You and allow us to reap the fruit of our labors.

Thought for the Day:
God anoints our head with His peace and our cup overflows with abundance as He lavishness us with plentiful provision in the midst of our enemies. – Psalm 23:5

He’s Gotcha Covered

God’s got us covered…He’s got our back. His eyes and ears are always in tune with all of His children all over this globe (Psalm 34:15). His love for us is everlasting and provides us with true fulfillment and contentment.

 

God brought together sun bleached skeletons in the desert and erected a great army – the perfect picture of Him restoring Israel as a nation (Ezekiel 37:1-14). His love and provision for Israel are a constant testimony to us of His faithfulness to His Saints.

 

When the pain of life overwhelms us, we find encouragement, peace and joy in the fact that God is always watching, and never forsaking us or leaving us on our own (Hebrews 13:5).

 

He dwells within us and is experiencing our pain right along with us. His peace guards us (Philippians 4:7). He knows our needs before we do, and He already provided for them before we were even born (Ephesians 2:10; Jeremiah 29:11; Philippians 4:19).

 

When Satan sends his emissaries of discouragement to beat us down, we have a choice to believe their lies or to trust God. Regardless of the trouble we face, God is always there in us to help us through the experience (Psalm 46:1).

 

We simply place our faith in His faithfulness and He lifts us out of the pit of depression and hopelessness and plants our feet firmly on the Rock of Christ (Psalm 18:31, 40:2).

 

His work is perfect and He is just in all of His ways. He is our faithful God without injustice, righteous and upright in all of His ways (Deuteronomy 32:4; Psalm 92:15).

 

There is no one like our God, holy and stable (1 Samuel 2:2). We have no need to fear when He is our Rock of refuge (Isaiah 44:8; Deuteronomy 32:31, 32:37). He is our salvation and rest, our strength and sanctuary (Psalm 62:7).

 

Prayer:

Father God, we call to You and You are not deaf to our pleas (Psalm 28:1). You never allow us to be ashamed of our relationship with You. You rescue us quickly as a stronghold and fortress. You lead and guide us for Your name’s sake (Psalm 31:1-3). We continually come to You as our hiding place and You save us (Psalm 71:3).

 

We trust in You forever as our God, our Lord and our everlasting Rock (Isaiah 26:4; Psalm 91:2). You are the Lord of a host of angels and our stronghold (Psalm 46:7). You are our deliver, our shield, the horn of our salvation and full of loving kindness (Psalm 144:2). Thank You for delivering us from violence (2 Samuel 22:3).

 

Thought for the Day:
No matter where we are on the face of the earth, when our heart is discouraged and we call to God, He leads us to His Rock that lifts us above the storms. – Psalm 61:2

 

Mirroring the Heart of God

The Spirit of God urges men and women to enter into the purposeful ministry of prayer for the godless portion of humanity, which co-habitates this earth with us – in both big cities and country towns alike.

 

He gives us the burden of His heart for these dear souls who need to hear about Jesus and respond to His invitation to come just as they are. He also floods us with His peace and joy as we obey and pray.

 

God burdens our soul with His intense love for humanity and His concern for their eternal destination. He moves on our heart by His Spirit to dedicate our life to prayer and intercession until we actually mirror His heart back to Him.

 

God knows the intents and desires of our heart and answers our petitions as He brings circumstances to bear in a person’s life. Of course, it is still that person’s choice to reject or to accept God’s love.

 

Daniel, Ezra and other prophets of old such as Nehemiah served in this ministry of intercessory prayer for people in their day and time. They and we mourn with the burden of lost souls around us.

 

The Holy Spirit fills us with the burden of the sin all around us; and sometimes even in us, if we are not thoroughly cleansed by the blood of the Lamb. We mourn for their lost condition and their separation from God who is all in all (1 Corinthians 15:24-28).

 

As we quietly trust in God’s goodness, mercy and grace, His love shines in our heart and transforms us into the mind, character and nature of Christ in us; and we enjoy His unbroken fellowship.

 

Prayer:

Father God, we completely and wholly surrender our motives, goals and heart to You. We consider it such a privilege to partake in Your Kingdom as co-heirs with Your precious Son, Jesus Christ. We will stand with Him in that final hour as one Body, one Bride, one Army and deliver the Kingdom to You.

 

From the rising to the setting of the sun, we relinquish to You our life with all of its sorrows and joys. We walk in Your will and reap the benefits of serving You even now. We prove our love to You by dedicating our life to one of prayer, and obedience to Your Spirit and Your Word.

 

Thought for the Day:

Filling God’s ear with petitions, and demanding that He honor His myriad of promises in our life is not prayer; it is simply a spoiled child giving an ultimatum to our Heavenly Father. Instead, we enter the true life of prayer, which mirrors the heart of God back to Him.

 

God’s Promises through Generations

The good things in life are often the enemy of the best things in life. We pursue worldly gain and pleasures and reject God’s free gifts of Salvation, love, mercy, peace and joy.

 

We relegate Jesus to a holy man or a good teacher, and we have no interest in living according to His principles. We reject the concept of the absolute truth of God’s Word.

 

Living according to the lies of Satan and the dictates of the world, we are controlled by a false system of philosophies where we are each a god unto our self. We pride our self in doing things our own way.

 

Thankfully, the arrogance of our humanity diminishes for many people as we experience God’s presence. We realize His power, His role as our Creator and His promises through the generations to return to establish His Kingdom on the earth.

 

We lay down our worldly pursuits and idols, and earnestly work in the calling He prepared for us before the foundation of the earth (Ephesians 2:10). He sets us free from the power of spiritual darkness in His Kingdom of light (Colossians 1:13).

 

God gives us His Spirit to dwell within us, and we enjoy fellowship with the Father and the Son. We receive His eternal promise of everlasting life, and His Spirit teaches us the truths of God’s Word (1 John 2:24-27)

 

God reveals Himself to us by His Spirit and His Word. He gives us boldness to stand for Him in this sinful and perverse world in which we exist. We stand in faith in His faithfulness.

 

His presence in us is certain. He is our dwelling place for all time (Psalm 90:1-2). We behold His beauty, meditate in His temple and abide in the house of the Lord all the days of our life (Psalm 27:4).

 

Prayer:

Father God, in these last day, Your grace keeps us close to You, wrapped in Your mercy and love, rocked in Your everlasting arms. We dwell in Your presence now and forevermore. You are our eternal hope of salvation, sanctification and glorification. We exalt Your name in righteousness and live in faithfulness to Your Word and Your Truth.

 

We praise You for Your generous works for the children of men and the promises You make and keep throughout every generation (Isaiah 25:1). Thank You that we are no longer slaves to sin, but partakers of Christ’s righteousness; and for freeing us from the law of sin and death by the law of Your Spirit of life in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:2).

 

Thought for the Day:

Jesus Christ offers us His gift of rebirth, sanctification, His own presence within us and eventually glorification when we see Him as He is. – 1 John 3:2

 

Into the Silence

The world is so noisy. All around us, even out in the country, social media, TV, car radios and stores are blaring advertisements and voices almost 24/7.

 

Many people have a noisy soul too. Their thoughts and feelings are bombarding them with negative issues that demand their immediate attention. They are weary and discover no rest, even in God’s presence.

 

In sleep they dream disruptive images, which come from their troubled soul. They argue with significant others in their life and even argue with their own self; finding no peace at all.

 

Only if we disappear into our spirit and immerse our self in God’s peace can we find ultimate silence regardless of the dissonance of circumstances around us.

 

As we sit in His presence, we get lost in Him and focus on His still, small voice within us. We worship with the angels and enjoy our front row seat with Jesus in heavenly places even now (Ephesians 2:4-7).

 

We sit in companionable silence with Him as we bask in the pleasure of God’s face shining on us as He takes joy in our company (Numbers 6:25; Psalm 80:3; Zephaniah 3:17).

 

Finding comfort in the silent presence of our significant others is also a joyful experience. We may chat amiably or snuggle silently and recharge our battery for the coming tasks which will demand our attention.

 

Holding our child as they drift off to sleep is one of the most satisfying experiences in life. We watch their peaceful features and enjoy their unconditional love as their breathing slows and their tiny eyes droop.

 

Yet, our most meaningful relationship is dwelling continually in God’s presence. He permeates us with a quiet peace, sane direction, cheerful thoughts and a holy existence. We pray or listen as the moment dictates and enjoy the constant fellowship of His company.

Prayer:

Father God, as we abide in Your presence we experience deep peace, unexplainable joy, and Your comfort and support as we share with You our tears of worship or burdens. You are kind to all of us who trust in and obey You. We wait patiently for You in our alone times and in the cacophony of daily living (Lamentations 3:25-26).

 

By faith, even in our worse trials and times of testing, we joyfully count on Your faithfulness to produce endurance in our soul (James 1:2). We dwell in our spirit and snuggle under the almighty shadow of Your wings (Psalm 91:4). You give us peace which overcomes human reasoning, and You shower us with Your blessings regardless of the hardships we experience in this life (Philippians 4:7).

 

Thought for the Day:
Times of silence give us rest, hope and strength to face the next trial.

 

Fall on the Rock

Do you ever feel like a meteor fell out of the sky and landed right on top of you? Is there trouble at every turn and nothing ever works out as it is supposed to happen?

Jesus advises us to fall on the Rock, before the Rock has to fall on us (Matthew 21:44). This insinuates that we can prevent certain negative events from occurring if we trust in Christ alone.

In the center of God’s will nothing will actually harm us and anything that rises up against us will not stand or prosper (Romans 8:31; Psalm 118:6). Outside of the will of God, Satan can attack us or cause us unpleasant experiences without God’s protection.

When we step outside of God’s will, He usually disciplines us in order to return us to the straight and narrow road of His choosing for our life. He does not discipline to harm us, but to keep us safe and to bless us.

As vigilant parents, we attempt to keep our children out of harm’s way and walking in safety, security and blessings. God disciplines us for the same reasons – for our good and to give us a life of peace and joy.

He is not vindictive or harassing us or seeking to punish us, but is focused on our protection and rewards. As the Bible repeatedly illustrates to us, God never, ever sends judgment without first giving a warning.

If we obey right away, we avoid the need for discipline or reaping the negative results of what we sow. We do not sow to the wind and reap the whirlwind, but the calm surroundings of green pastures and still waters (Hosea 8:7; Psalm 23:1-2).

God always restores our soul to equilibrium after the world attempts to inflict us with trials and troubles (Psalm 23:3). He showers us with new mercies with each new dawn (Lamentations 3:22-23). Sorrow is fleeting, and joy always comes with the morning (Psalm 30:5).

Prayer:
Father God, remind us that if we insist on living life our own way, You will have no alternative but to reprimand us and allow us to reap the natural consequences of our disobedience. Only in the center of Your will do we find true joy and peace. Keep our feet from wandering off the straight and narrow road, which You prepared for us (Matthew 7:13-14).

Help us to totally surrender to You rather than to insist on living life our own way. Remind us that You have a perfect will for every member of Your Body, so that we will function together perfectly as we further Your Kingdom on the earth. Draw us ever closer to You and allow us to reap the fruit of our labors.

Thought for the Day:
God anoints our head with His peace and our cup overflows with abundance as He lavishness us with plentiful provision in the midst of our enemies. – Psalm 23:5

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.

From Self-Effort to Christ-Reliance

Living in this world apart from Christ is wearisome at best. Even as Believers we embrace the false doctrine that we have to try harder and strive more to please God and to grow spiritually.

We struggle from day to day and almost never awaken without some trepidation over what will happen to us next. Trouble seems to happen in “threes,” and we are always waiting for the next shoe to drop.

We think of these trials as building character in us and transforming us into the image of Christ; so we patiently continue to prod along making the best of every negative circumstance.

Most of us need a breaking point in our life in order to step over the line from self-effort to Christ-reliance. Therefore, trials are actually like the Law – designed to bring us to the end of our self and to lead us to Christ (Galatians 3:24-26).

God encourages us to take our focus off our competent human abilities or our mortal frailty, and to concentrate on the reality of Christ in us instead (Colossians 1:27; Colossians 3:3-4; Galatians 2:20).

As we do, we start to live a victorious life apart from human effort and understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6). We enter into rest in God’s presence, which provides us with deep inner peace and fulfillment regardless of our circumstances (Hebrews 4:10).

Jesus delivers us from the bondage of every negative emotion, wound and issue we experience, and brings us astounding joy which defies description and is full of His glory (1 Peter 1:8; James 1:2-18).

God’s Spirit helps us to see our problems as adventures rather than as challenges. Our supply for each circumstance, and the wisdom to deal with it come from Christ in us, our only hope for success (Colossians 1:27).

God orchestrates every nuance of our life. His abundant light overcomes the densest gloom. His power and majesty slay every demon in spiritual darkness, which comes against us (1 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 1:3; Daniel Chapters 9 and 10).

As we decrease, He increases (John 3:30). We exhibit more and more of Christ’s divine nature and we never, ever leave His presence (2 Peter 1:4; 2 Corinthians 5:17).

His Spirit leads us moment by moment in the center of His will for our life, transforms our character with the nature of Christ, and replaces our carnality with the fruit of His Spirit (2 Peter 1:4; Galatians 5:22-23).

Prayer:
Father God, nothing this world has to offer can take the place of Your goodness and grace. When the issues of life become more than we can bear, we sit on Your lap and snuggle in the safety of Your arms. This provides us with a ring-side seat to view the seed for a miracle, which You place within every trial, as it sprouts into fruition.

You designed salvation so that abiding in Christ is accomplished by one swift act of total surrender. It may take a deep trial, a layoff from work, rejection from a mate or a week-end retreat; but when our soul finally yearns for You alone, we readily relinquish our will to Yours.

Thought for the Day:
We no longer work out our own issues in life using God’s strength to fuel our human effort, because we come to the realization that we can live life only as His Spirit leads each moment of our day and provides us with the desire, wisdom and strength to walk in the center of His will. – Philippians 2:12-13