Surviving Our Past

During the formative years of our life, many of us experience physical and emotional wounds perpetrated by family, neighbors and friends of our family.

 

These events caused parts of our soul to splinter off and embed in our subconscious mind. We are disjointed and incomplete, because our basic human needs in these areas were never met.

 

Some of us barely survive our past experiences, and we drag the wounds with us into adulthood. Victimization took away our choices and we feel trapped.

 

We even mistreat our self by either putting our needs last and allowing other people to take advantage of us, or punishing our self with further pain and neglect, or becoming obsessed with our own needs and walling our heart from further hurt by shutting down our emotions and becoming self-sufficient.

 

We may allow the demon of perfectionism to control our life, because we fear further rejection or feel the need to earn love and acceptance; or we may adopt a lackadaisical and carefree attitude, unthinking and callous to the needs of others.

 

God leads us on the path of healing through sanctification. As we embrace the parts of our soul we left behind, we experience a wholeness and completion, which we never thought was possible (Colossians 2:10-15).

 

We integrate the pieces of our self, which we rejected in our past, and learn to relate to people and the will of God for our life as healthy individuals who are growing in the grace of God.

( http://www.theophostic.com )

 

God teaches us to set boundaries in our life to prevent future abuse and gives us a new heart in order to love others as He loves us.

 

God’s healing in our life sets us free to shed the shackles of negative emotions and to be more aware of living fully in each present moment with unceasing prayer and by walking in the Spirit.

 

Prayer:

Father God, You were right there with us during those times of abuse and neglect in our past. You understand our thought processes now and the negative emotions, which plague our life. You became a man and died for us. This act of selfless love now gives us the sense of being valued and unconditionally loved.

 

As we align our self and our beliefs with Your Word, we find fulfillment in this life, which we never thought possible on this side of heaven. You supply all of our needs according to Your glorious riches (Philippians 4:19). You restore our soul, anoint our head with oil, set a table for us in the presence of our enemies and our cup overflows with Your blessings (Psalm 23).

 

Thought for the Day:

We can relinquish the need to control life and other people in a misguided attempt to keep our self safe from further abuse and neglect, when we insist on taking part in decisions which affect our life, and trust God to work out even the worst circumstances for our good – Romans 8:28

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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

Divine Appointmets – A Missed Opportunity

Growing up as a shy melancholy, I did not change very much when I first came to Christ. I still hesitated to talk to people, for fear of rejection and ridicule. Yet, I wanted to tell others about God’s divine love.

An opportunity arose a few weeks later, when a school chum pulled into the gas station just outside the window of the office where I worked. I knew my boss would not like me to take time away, and I figured my friend was also very busy.

So I just ran outside for a moment, greeted him and told him I had some good news to tell him as soon as we could get together. He was married to my boyfriend’s sister, so I did not think much time would pass before we could chat.

I ran back to my desk, excited that this would be my first opportunity to share with someone about the love and mercy of Christ in my life. A smile adorned my face for the rest of the day.

That very night…my lifelong school friend…committed suicide.

When my boyfriend gave me the news, I was devastated for his wife and their families, but more distraught because the Gospel of Christ may have saved his life both physically and spiritually, if I had only taken the time to speak to him when God gave me the opportunity.

I felt such deep remorse for days. I cried out to the Lord for forgiveness of this sin of omission. At the funeral, I cried more for my failure than I did for his family. I felt bereft and condemned by Satan’s shame.

The next day at work, I stared out the window, watching the cars come and go at the gas station next door. I judged myself for my failure and felt such regret that his life ended too young, and that his eternal destiny was already set.

My failure haunted me for weeks, until I stopped rebuking myself long enough to listen to the Lord. The shame of my failure left, but in its place came a dogged determination never to miss another divine appointment to share the love and grace of the Lord.

Prayer:
Father God, Your mercy and grace to forgive our sins of commission and omission humbles us and increases our love for You. I know that You had a plan for my school friend, and he chose to end his life rather than to surrender His life to You (John 3:16-18).

Thank you for the many opportunities You continually give us to share the Good News of the Gospel of Christ with everyone You bring into our life. Help us never to hesitate from fear or human reasoning, but to step out of our flesh and into Your Spirit, and to open our mouth and allow You to fill it by Your Spirit (Psalm 81:10).

Thought for the Day:
Not everyone will accept the Gospel of Christ when we share it with them; but we take them to a crossroad in their life where they have to make a choice to accept or reject the Lord. – John 3:16-18

Proof of God’s Love – Part 1

I love the discipline of the Lord, because I know it is a sign that He loves me (Hebrews 12:5-6). He points out idols, which I erect in my life; and He helps me to lay them down at His feet.

They are not obvious idols like money, addictions, covetousness or seeking other gods. They are sly, subtle idols, which usually stir up negative emotions in my soul.

For instance, I like everyone to be happy. I am tenacious and dogged, and I will move mountains to ensure that those I love are happy and content.

However, having everyone delighted and satisfied is an idol in my life. This state of sublime joy is impossible to attain through human effort.

I have to be willing for my family members to be unhappy and discontent, and to stop trying to fix things for them. I need to lay my family’s happiness at Jesus’ feet and allow Him to work out His will in their lives.

Another idol, which He recently exposed in me, is that I like having my ideas valued and taken to heart. I come up with good ideas, because of the analytical mind God gave me.

However, some people reject my ideas before they even hear my whole thought (Proverbs 18:13). They acclaim ideas, which other people have; but disdain most of my ideas. God delivered me from these idols and so many more.

The Lord only disciplines His children (Proverbs 3:12). This is a sign of His enduring love for us and that He cares enough to remove things from our life, which have a negative effect on us.

Prayer:
Father God, remind me to walk in Your Spirit and not to care if people receive my efforts to do Your will. They have issues of their own that You are working out in their soul. Their behavior and words are no real reflection on me.

I want to make a difference in people’s lives, but I do not want to walk outside of Your will. I lay down my need to help others and I commit myself to Your will for my life and theirs.

Thought for the Day:
Idols come in all sizes, shapes and packages; God will reveal them to us as we listen to His Spirit each moment of the day.

Identity Crisis

If a child does not receive the fulfillment of his/her legitimate human needs, they will look for people in their adulthood to meet them. Belonging, significance, acceptance, identity and security are the major psychological and emotional necessities in every human soul.

Our emotionally wounded parents were unable to provide these for us. As adults, we search in vain for our perfect soulmate, who has the limitless resources to make up for the deprivation from our past. In search of our fulfillment, we get too involved in earthly pursuits and change partners too often.

Those we reject suffer deep emotional scars, which are almost impossible to heal. As individuals, we attempt to perfect our personality and performance in order to find our personal worth through our human qualities, talents, intelligence, and physical assets.

The problem is that no one is capable of perfection. The key to our fulfillment on this earth is to realize that our true personal worth comes from our relationship with our supreme God and Father (Philippians 4:19). Only He provides us with a secure sense of belonging. We can trust Him and have no fear of His rejecting us for any reason.

If we cling to our deficiencies, rather than surrendering it all to God, we erect an idol, which we continue to “worship”. We allow Satan and our flesh to deceive us, which continues to cripple us. However, when we completely surrender all of our needs to God, He will meet them in His way and timing.

Prayer:
Father God, our freedom comes only as we surrender every aspect of our life to You. As long as we focus on what we lack, we continue to worship idols. Once we take our mind off our needs, and put it on worshipping and serving you, we suddenly discover that we are living a very fulfilling life. Remind us to commit our life to You, because then Jesus heals us and we are totally set free from emotional and psychological hindrances (John 8:32; Psalm 37:5). We enjoy mental, emotional and spiritual freedom, which only comes by learning to find our contentment in You (Philippians 4:11-13).

Thought for the Day:
In truth, complete fulfillment only comes when Christ is our whole life. – Colossians 3:4

Ask and Receive

God’s promises to us are positive and guaranteed (2 Corinthians 1:20). He tells us to ask and we will receive (John 15:7, 16:24). One of the favorite verses in today’s Christian ranks is that God will give us a hopeful future, that He has our best interest at heart and that He wants us to prosper (Jeremiah 29:11).

Due to this fact, many Bible teachers counsel people to stand on God’s Word. Of course, it is a good idea to read and pray God’s Word. The Spirit uses God’s Word to anoint our spirit, to encourage our soul – our mind, choices and emotions – and to strengthen our body.

However, many people will point to a verse in the Bible, hold the book up in God’s face and demand that He provide us with the humanistic fulfillment, which we interpret the verse to say. We take the verse out of the context of the rest of the verses around it, and we do not consider who the verse’s author is talking to when he wrote it.

Rather than demanding that God provide what we want, we can sit quietly in His presence and receive from Him what He chooses to give us. We praise and thank Him, even if His answer is hardship and suffering. We can give thanks to God for His love and generosity in the most dire circumstance, which life throws at us (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

God’s presence in our life is a more valuable treasure than any earthly, carnal provision we expect. Even if we are homeless, dying in a hospital bed or falsely accused and in prison, we can rejoice in the Lord always (Philippians 4:4-9). All of God’s promises come to us through Christ’s atoning work; and we give God the glory for whatever He provides for us (2 Corinthians 1:20).

Prayer:
Father God, trials are not a sign of Your rejection of us, our lack of faith or our immature spirituality. In this world, Jesus had tribulation, and we are not more privileged than our Lord (John 13:16). Help us to see the seed for a miracle in every trial You allow into our life (Job 1:8; 2:3). Thank You for teaching us submission to Your will, appreciation for Your blessings, and for molding us into the image of Christ through the things that we suffer (Hebrews 5:8).

You are our provision and protection, and our heart trusts in You and Your supply; we will sing songs to You, because our heart greatly rejoices in Your loving presence in our life (Psalm 28:7). Rather than demanding, grabbing or insisting on Your blessings, we will sit quietly in Your presence and surrender to Your will for our life.

Thought for the Day:
As we change our focus from temporal to eternal aspects of life, things of this earth will fade in their importance to us. – 2 Corinthians 4:18

Confidence in Christ Alone

So many Christians still fall into the trap of attempting to gain their esteem through self-effort. We want to feel good about our self, because of the belittling, condescension and criticism we receive. Life positions us for this tendency by giving us praise for our successes, good behavior and accomplishments; and then rejecting or punishing us for our failings.

The good news is that, in Christ, our failings are not failures. They are simply lapses in judgment, over-reactions in a situation or misinformed decisions. The solution to this is to walk in God’s Spirit each moment of the day, with our focus on His direction and not on our human thoughts, plans and goals (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Walking in the Spirit requires thinking with the mind of Christ, rather than relying on our human observations (1 Corinthians 2:16; Galatians 5:15-25). God’s plan for us started before our birth and continues to our last breath (Psalm 139:13-14; Philippians 1:6; Ephesians 2:10). At salvation, we died to our human mind-set, and Christ is now our whole life (Galatians 2:20; Colossians 3:3-4; 1 Corinthians 2:3-5).

Through God’s Spirit, we have the ability, confidence, love and self-discipline to live a successful life (2 Timothy 1:7; Proverbs 3:26; Psalm 138:8). Our self-esteem comes from Christ in us, and God’s unconditional love for us.
Even during trials, our confidence in God and His promises remain steadfast and true (Hebrews 10:35-36; Matthew 6:34; James 1:12).

We boldly approach God’s throne to receive forgiveness and grace in our times of need (Hebrews 4:16). Christ and His Spirit within us strengthen us to walk in God’s will all the days of our life (Philippians 4:13; Acts 1:8). This gives us more confidence than anything we could ever accomplish through our own self-efforts.

Prayer:
Father God, no matter what we face during our lifetime, we have no need to fear, because we rely on Christ in us rather than our human capabilities (1 John 4:18). Even if the most horrendous issue ever known to mankind comes against us, we have confidence in Christ abiding within us (Psalm 27:3). You are with us no matter where we live, what surrounds us or what occurs in our life (Joshua 1:9). We have all of our confidence in You, rather than in our self, because we know that You work out even the negative issues of life for our ultimate good (Romans 8:28).

Thought for the Day:
We find joy, even in the most trying difficulty; because when we pray with gratitude in our heart, surrender to God’s will and have faith in God’s faithfulness, He guards our heart and mind through Christ in the most miraculous ways. – Philippians 4:4-7