Too Vulnerable

One objection people have about completely surrendering to Christ is that it makes us feel too vulnerable. Men especially despise admitting that they need help. It makes us feel deficient and dependent in some way.

Yet, humility is always the best course of action in this life. Admitting that we are not self-sufficient and that we need a Savior is actually freeing and empowering (John 8:36).

We cast our cares on Christ, knowing that He cares for us enough to give His life for us and to submit Himself to the horrendous crucifixion in order to guarantee our salvation (1 Peter 5:7).

We can ask God for protection and provision and reject Satan’s lies in his attempt to discourage us with contempt and judgment for vulnerably admitting that we are powerless.

We come to realize that feeling emotions and admitting our needs is not weakness but strength. We acknowledge that we need our Father God, and possibly even a human confidant as well.

This helps us to heal and to feel less anxious, alone and shamed (2 Corinthians 5:20). We rely less on addictions and destructive behavior and have more inner fortitude to live our life for Christ.

God’s Spirit can then empower us to help other people who have similar needs as our own. Seeing God’s light and love shining in our life inspires them to trust Him with their life as well.

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for caring for all of our needs as a doting Father who delights in us and even rejoices over us with singing (Zephaniah 3:17). We can pour out our heart to You with all of our hopelessness and fear, knowing that You care about everything, which concerns us.

Although You often require that we traverse the trial anyway, we are confident that You are walking through it from within us as well as beside us, completely surrounding us with Your love, wisdom, presence and power. You help us to look beyond despair to Your comfort, which is always more powerful than our burdens.

Thought for the Day:
When we come to Christ in our weariness and hopelessness, He hears us and comes to our rescue; He helps us to carry our heavy load of cares with His gentle humility, and we find true rest for our devastated soul. – Matthew 11:28-29

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The Joy of the Lord

God gives us several commands throughout His Word to rejoice in Him. When God thinks a concept is worth repeating, it is definitely worthy of our consideration (Psalm 32:11, 35:9, 64:10, 97:12, 104:34; Isaiah 29:10, 41:16; Joel 2:23; Habakkuk 3:18; Zechariah 10:7; Philippians 3:1, 4:4).

When the joy of the Lord fills our spirit, it also affects our body and soul – our thoughts, choices and feelings. It influences our words and actions and how we relate to our self and to other people.

It affects our relationship with the Lord and helps us to sing the praises to Him that He is worthy to receive (Psalm 147:1). We pray about everything and give thanks in everything, even in the negative aspects of our life (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

The Lord puts a hymn of praise, a new song, in our heart (Psalm 40:3). We come before His presence with thanksgiving as we make a joyful noise to Him in song (Psalm 100). His joy is our continual source of strength (Nehemiah 8:10),

God’s Word is living and powerful and teaches us to abide in our spirit rather than in our body and our soul (Hebrews 4:12; John 15:11; Galatians 2:20). He opens the eyes of our understanding to the opportunities we have to walk and live in His Spirit.

God helps us to discern between the desires of our flesh and the leading of His Spirit. We no longer allow the appetites of our body, considerations of our mind or fickleness of our emotions to dictate our thoughts, words or behavior.

Instead we seek the Lord to reveal the root source of any negative impulses we experience and to free us from any dictates of our flesh, any influence of the world and any tyranny of the devil over our life.

Prayer:
Father God, we submit our spirit, body and soul – our every thought, choice and emotion – to Your Spirit. Our union with You consumes our every waking moment, and we want nothing more than for You to live Your life in and through us.

Remind us not to worry about anything, but to seek Your will in ceaseless prayer. We want to live a life of continual joy, prayer and thanksgiving to You through Christ in us (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). We thank You for meeting all of our needs, and for giving us Your peace, which is not dependent on our human reasoning and understanding, and which guards our hearts and minds as we live, move and have our being in Christ alone (Philippians 4:4-6; Acts 17:28).

Thought for the Day:
The Lord loves us so much that He actually takes delight in us and rejoices over us with singing. – Zephaniah 3:17

Loving Others as Our Self

Jesus made a point of telling us to love others as we love our self. Most of us despise our self, have grudges and disappointments and unforgiveness toward our self. We do not love our self at all (Mark 12:30-31).

Therefore, how can we truly love anyone else? We compare our self to worldly standards and find our self lacking. We listen to significant others in our life and adopt their opinion of us, even if it is negative.

We try all of our life to earn the unconditional love, respect, worth and affirmation we so desperately need. We sell our self short and give up on our self. We feel useless, hopeless, helpless and unlovable.

We are not powerful enough, rich enough, adorable enough, smart enough, talented enough, or attractive enough; we are not enough. We see our self through the eyes of others and we feel disappointed and ashamed.

However, God wants us to see our self through His eyes – as a person He cares about so much that He gave His life for us. He wants us to love our self as He loves us, and then to love others as we love our self.

We can start by accepting our self as He accepts us, just the way we are. We can make better, healthier, wiser and more nurturing choices. We can speak only kind, loving words to and about our self and others.

We can take care of our body, soul and spirit. We can accept our feelings and seek God to find resolutions for our negative feelings and unresolved conflicts. We can judge our self only through the eyes of God, not the eyes of the world.

We can stop using addictions, people, vocation and talents to make us feel better about our self. We can stop abandoning our self and taking our self and others for granted. We can stay in touch with who we are, what we need and how God is leading us all throughout our day.

Prayer:
Father God, enlighten the eyes of our understanding to see our self as You see us: as Your adopted children, co-heirs with Christ of Your entire Kingdom. Remind us to pay attention to our physical, emotional, spiritual and mental needs and to seek You on how to fulfill them.

Help us to accept our feelings and circumstances, even the negative ones, as Your tool in our life to bring us closer to total surrender to Your will and to keep us from depending on our human resources and understanding. Give us Your peace and joy as our strength. Remind us that without You we are nothing; but with You, all things are possible if we simply believe (John 15:5; Mark 9:23).

Thought for the Day:
Take the time throughout the day for a personal physical, mental, emotional and spiritual inventory; meet your needs or ask God to meet them; and then give yourself time to renew Your strength in the Lord and to rise up on wings like eagles. – Isaiah 40:31

Admitting Faults

“I was wrong” is the hardest sentence in the English language to say. Due to perceived, as well as legitimate wounds in our past, we are afraid to admit that we have faults.

We think that we have to be perfect in order to be loved; and that we must earn the love, which we need, by making other people happy and proud of us.

We fear rejection so much that we will make excuses or lie to cover up our faults and mistakes. We wear masks so that people do not know who we really are.

If we admit that we did something inappropriate, we may fall into the black hole of condemnation and shame, which nips at our toes and plots ways to swallow us whole.

If we agree that we are wrong, we will topple over the edge of the dark abyss of shame, and we will be trapped, hopeless, useless and totally rejected forever.

In order to escape the bottomless pit of shame, we either do our best to become invisible, or fight tooth and nail to retain some semblance of order in our life, or hide behind a wall of pride and arrogance.

Bullies are motivated from their fear and insecurity. They surround themselves with controllable people who have qualities, which they feel they lack. When they hurt others, they feel powerful and in control of at least one part of their life.

Once we come to Christ for forgiveness, He exposes Satan’s lies and frees us from the evil task master of shame. Then we no longer experience the devil’s condemnation (Romans 8:1).

If we could be perfect, Christ would not have suffered that horrendous crucifixion. Through His sacrifice, we enter His rest and are able to breathe unhindered by stress, fear and insecurities.

If one person abandons us, or turns against us, we have a whole family of Believers who will love us for who we are, even with all of our faults, insecurities and over-reactions (Ephesians 4:32).

Prayer:
Father God, often another person’s wounds expose our wounds and weaknesses, and we fear rejection. Therefore, we walk away from them, before they get a chance to reject us. We dispose of them from our life, rather than working out our issues together.

Help us to look deeper, beneath the surface of a person’s words and actions, to see the real person, which they are hiding behind their false facade. Remind us to show mercy and grace to everyone, and not to reject someone just because they are wounded.

Thought for the Day:
Make allowances for one another’s faults and idiosyncrasies; so, that if someone offends you, you can forgive them time and time again, as you help to strength them to feel secure through God’s love within you. – Matthew 18:21-22; Colossians 3:13