Struggling to Survive

At the root of sin and degradation is pride and rebellion. These often stem from unresolved conflicts in our past. We hide our pain behind a veneer of self-reliance in order to avoid further injury.

We do not want to take a chance on being vulnerable again. Struggling to survive, we choose self-absorption and arrogance instead of living a life of humility and self-sacrifice.

We live within the parameters of our sinful nature and set our mind on what our flesh desires (Romans 8:5). Our spirit is dead in sin and we cannot help our self (Ephesians 2:1).

Even church attendees who claim Christ as their savior play along with worldly culture, advice and popular demands. They came under conviction at one point, but their life was never converted.

Political correctness, religious pluralism, humanism and other new age lies color our concept of holiness. We take the path of least resistance and follow the crowd.

We lack discernment, spiritual understanding and perception. Caving in to the struggles, strain and stress of everyday life, we turn away from Biblical wisdom, God’s love and devotion.

Jesus is the perfect example of a humble, yet powerful life. He said that no one could take His life until He was ready to lay it down (John 10:18). By following Jesus’ example we truly convert from hedonism to holiness.

Jesus illustrates for us that the Lord is our portion, provider and protector as we obey His Word. We seek His face with our whole heart and God is gracious to us according to His promises (Psalm 119:57-58).

Prayer:
Father God, we invite Your Holy Spirit to cleanse our thoughts, heal our memory, calm our fears, and direct our goals and plans. We trust that in our pain and suffering, You are working out Your will and purpose for our life, giving us opportunities to share Your love and to bear fruit for Your Kingdom.

Teach us discernment through our life experiences; heal our raw emotions of discontentment, loneliness and anxiety; give us hope to overcome anger, unforgiveness and bitterness; and help us to walk in Your will with faith for each moment of our day.

Thought for the Day:
The Holy Spirit wants to direct the details of our day, so let’s step aside, stop obsessing and trust and obey; there is no better way to enjoy the joy of the Lord.

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Eternal Outlook

Eternal Outlook

Well-meaning friends and relatives often attempt to talk us out of our negative emotions in an effort to help us to feel better. However, this only causes us to suffer more acutely.

We feel misunderstood, unaccepted and invalidated. They want to help; but they complicate our issues, and we feel more alone than we did before they tried to support us.

Their perception of our issue is different than ours. They were not in the circumstance, so they cannot fully comprehend our viewpoint.

We can help one another more fully by listening and affirming each other’s feelings, rather than trying to help someone change their feelings.

We can also share a similar experience and how God taught us to deal with it, which may give them an idea on how to resolve their own issue.

Sometimes, Satan will tempt us to believe his lies, or to trust the feelings in our heart. This may cause us to reject God’s truth, which compounds our problems.

The Bible is clear in its assessment of such behavior. The heart is deceptive and often wicked. It will rarely steer us in the right direction (Jeremiah 17:9).

Our thoughts influence our feelings, and our feelings will direct our behavior. Therefore, it is imperative for us to think about the positive and find the root of our negative emotions (Philippians 4:8).

This is particularly difficult for people with a melancholy personality. We always see the glass half-empty. Yet, God’s Holy Spirit will replace our destructive tendencies with His fruit (Galatians 5:22-23).

Negative thoughts signal a need in our soul: a slight to mourn, forgiveness to grant, a need to meet, an idol to cast down, faulty thinking to correct, etc.

As we focus on the eternal, put temporal issues in Godly perspective, and take an inventory of our soul in order to meet our own needs, we find more peace and joy in life.

Prayer:
Father God, we often feel life’s issues with a depth of emotion, which is difficult to explain in words. People want to encourage us and help us to restore our joy, but they often come across as indifferent and uncompassionate.

Help us to comfort one another with Your love within us and to show patience and genuine concern. Remind us to view the issues of life from Your eternal perspective, rather than our limited earthly standpoint. Enable us to learn to laugh more and not to take our self or life so seriously.

Thought for the Day:
As we fully grieve our losses, we can change our focus and find the joy of the Lord regardless of our circumstances.

A Better Way

As we age, events occur in our life, which influence our belief system. Maybe our parents, a school experience, siblings, neighbors, a stranger, or a combination of any or all of these factors imposed some harm on us or failed to protect us in some way.

We develop a warped perception of life caused by these painful events. Most of us adopt coping skills based on what we perceived as fact, because of these experiences.

Those without coping skills develop neuroses, which we think will protect us from what we fear the most. These anxieties, obsessions, compulsions, indecisiveness and social and interpersonal maladjustments are driven by fear and insecurity.

These perceived notions of life cause us to breathe in shallow breaths, to fear change, to act suspiciously of new people and situations, and to stay in the background; yet, we may also come out fighting when backed into a corner.

Many counselors believe that an effectual method to overcome a neurosis is to daily recite affirmations and to use human will power to change our behavioral patterns.

However, there is a better way to face the fear of the past or the challenges of our future. Only through prayer will a person truly experience freedom from the memories, which drive neurosis in our life.

As we seek God’s will for every moment of our day, He will set us free from having to face life alone (Ephesians 2:10; Proverbs 3:5-6). He is our Champion, who never abandons us (Hebrews 13:5).

Prayer:
Father God, life is so hard. Nothing is ever easy. There are constant roadblocks, which hinder our progress. The abuse and abandonment, which we experienced in our childhood and even in our adult life, cripple us with neurosis and negative behavior.

We look to You to replace our negative character with the fruit of Your Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), for transforming our mind into the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:14-16) and for giving us the divine nature of Christ (2 Peter 1:4). Thank You for strengthening our inner being so that we, through Your Spirit, can accept Christ as our Savior (Ephesians 3:16-19).

Thought for the Day:
Once we recognize that we are a nobody, we can come to the clear revelation that only in Christ are we a somebody.