Hope for Tomorrow

If the Gospel of Christ is not true, then there is no forgiveness or reconciliation for our sins and we have no resurrection to look forward to. We have no joy for our current life or for the next, and there is no expectation of living in the Father’s house in the future (Romans 10:9; I Corinthians 15:17-19; John 14:1-2, 12). Life without Christ is a life without hope.

There are countless people experiencing depression and mid-life insecurities because they place their hope in our culture, a bank account, a philosophy, their employment or worldly religions. This house of cards is shaky at best, and the ensuing insecurity drives people insane, gives them heart attacks or destroys their relationships.

However, the Gospel of Christ is gloriously true. Jesus suffered and died to set us free from Satan, the flesh, sin and death. We now have hope for tomorrow. As we walk in the light of God’s Truth, we have no fear of darkness or evil, because Christ in the authentic Believer overcame Satan and evil on Calvary’s cross. Even negative aspects of life now work out for our good (Romans 8:28).

A life based on God’s Word has a stable and firm foundation (2 Timothy 2:19). As we walk by the direction and power of God’s Spirit, we will not fulfill the dictates of the devil or the flesh, but we will luxuriate in the continual blessings of God (Galatians 5:15-26). As we focus on His plans for our life with a pure heart, He uses us according to His will (Psalm 51:10; Ephesians 2:10).

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for giving us the opportunity to live in Christ and to become a new creation. We rejoice that our old habits, sins, negative emotions and personality are made new by Your Spirit (2 Corinthians 5:17). When we trust You with our life, You destroy the deprivation, which devastated us and You mature us in the likeness of Your Son (Romans 8:29). Thank You for claiming us as Your own and for making it possible for us to spend eternity with You.

Thought for the Day:
Therefore, even when we are simply eating or drinking, or whatever we decide God wants us to do, we do it all for His glory.
– 1 Corinthians 10:31

The Blessings of God’s Law

God did not give Moses the Law in order to restrict and burden the people with too many rules to keep. He gave the Law as wisdom and enlightenment of how we can live a healthy life in body, soul and spirit. Our Heavenly Father developed the Law in order to protect us from our self and from people who desire to perpetuate evil on others. The Law also leads us to our need for Christ (Galatians 3:24-26).

As we read His Word and meditate on His Law, God uses these words to caution and instruct us during our daily life. This keeps us from breaking the laws of our nation and ending up in jail, it stops us from contracting illnesses from other people, it prevents us from getting enslaved by addictions, it averts disasters in our personal relationships, etc.

God will circumvent His law in certain cases when He divinely intervenes in the circumstances of our life. For instance, if two cars are heading toward one another on a collision course, God can send His angels to prevent a wreck. We usually reap what we sow in life. Although because of God’s mercy and grace, He often protects us from our own, or someone else’s choices (Galatians 6:7; Isaiah 63:7-9).

In addition to His Word, God also uses His Spirit to speak to His Saints and to direct our choices (Proverbs 3:5-6). However, if we are not committing our way to the Lord and walking in His Spirit, then we will often harvest the results of our humanistic decisions. As we walk in God’s will instead of our own, we are filled with peace and joy, and our life is much more fulfilled.

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for Your Law, which gives us the wisdom to live productive and blessed lives. You do not want us to make our plans and ask You to bless them. Instead, You want us to hear from You and to accomplish the works You created us to do (Ephesians 2:10). In order to hear from You, we need to quiet our body, ignore the thoughts and emotions in our soul, and focus on Your still, small voice communicating with us through our spirit. Show us Your ways, and teach us Your truths as we wait on You all through the day (Psalm 25:4-5; 27:11; 86:11).

Thought for the Day:
There is no conflict between the law and promises of God; the law shows that we are all controlled by sin, but those who believe in Christ will receive God’s promises. – Galatians 3:21

Loving Our Spouse

The joining of two human beings as one is a very difficult prospect (Mark 10:8). The high divorce rate proves that this is often impossible to do. There are basic human needs in each person, some of which were never satisfied in childhood. We carry these needs with us our whole life, trying to find fulfillment for them, even in marriage. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow%27s_hierarchy_of_needs )

When two people marry, they take these needs into this new relationship. If they are incompatible needs or if one person insists on their own needs being met instead of their partner’s, there will be conflict in the marriage. However, if the couple is willing to humble themselves and to prefer one another on a daily basis, a happy marriage is possible (Romans 12:10).

Ask your spouse what he/she needs to feel loved. They may not even realize their basic needs, but there is Christian help at the bookstore, counselor’s office and online. Words are either power tools of encouragement or lethal weapons of destruction (Proverbs 18:21). It turns out that many people need verbal validation from their spouse to feel loved (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

Others need help with daily chores, which often overwhelm them (Galatians 6:2). Receiving a little love note or a simple gift during each day will help many other spouses to feel loved (1 Thessalonians 2:7-12). Having a meaningful, undistracted conversation, often accompanied by snuggle time, will do wonders for some other relationships (Hebrews 10:24).

The easiest tool to use to ensure peace and harmony in a relationship is to never insist on one’s own way. Often, one person will have a need or idea they want to fulfill, but their spouse has a different idea of how to respond to this issue. Neither of you can agree with the other person’s assessment, so there is an impasse or a violent argument.

As the popular song recommends, “The road is shorter when we meet in the middle.” Rather than focusing on your own needs to the exclusion of your mate’s needs, look at the issue from a third perspective. Brainstorm together about the problem or need until you find a solution that is agreeable to both of you. Rather than your Plan A, or your spouse’s Plan B, agree on a Plan C that you both feel good about.
Prayer:
Father God, remind us that You joined us as man and woman for the purpose of serving You together with our lives. Help us to prefer one another and to share with each other what you are teaching us every day. In an impasse, remind us that You have a perfect will for this issue or activity in our life. Rather than insisting on our own way, we need to seek You together in order to find Your solution for the problem. We love You and lift You up as Lord and Savior of our life and our marriage.

Thought for the Day:
Today, there are some great resources to help us to maintain an equitable and successful marriage, starting with The Five Love Languages ( http://www.5lovelanguages.com/profile/ ).

Powerless to Control Life

We usually start life under the assumption that we can achieve the American dream, but life often careens out of our control. We eventually admit that we are ultimately powerless to overcome the negative aspects of our life, and we realize that we need a Savior outside of our self (Romans 7:18).

First, we attempt to trust in a person to bail us out. We get into codependent relationships that seem to stifle us in the end. In order to reinstate our sanity, we eventually realize that we must come to believe in a power, which is greater than anything this world has to offer (Philippians 2:13).

Some people try Eastern religions, positive thinking or something that epitomizes wholeness to them. This lasts for a little while, but often fizzles out. Everyone ever born has an innate knowledge of God within his or her soul, yearning for their spirit to be reborn (Romans 1:19-23). We all have a body and soul – our mind, will and emotions, but our spirit is dead until we come to Christ (John 3:1-21).

Once we come to Christ, He helps us to clear our conscience of dead works. Feelings of unforgiveness, anger, resentment, bitterness and more melt away at His presence in our life. He also helps us to think of people to whom we need to ask forgiveness, and He helps us to make amends for the harm we perpetrated on their life (Lamentations 3:40; Luke 6:31; Matthew 5:23-24).

It is wise to obtain Christian counseling and discipleship, and to share with someone who will continually hold us accountable as we walk in God’s Truth (James 5:16; 1 Corinthians 10:12). As we humble our self before the Lord, He replaces our moral deficiencies with the fruit of His Spirit (James 4:10; Galatians 5:22-23). He loves us with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3).

Prayer:
Father God, remind us that no one is perfect. We can forgive those who harm us and ask forgiveness from those whom we hurt. As we pray and read Your Word, draw us closer to You, tell us Your Will for our life each moment and give us the power to carry it out (Philippians 2:12-13; Ephesians 2:10; Colossians 3:16). Thank You for totally forgiving us for our transgressions of Your ways. Sanctify us daily as we walk toward Your perfection (1 John 1:9; Matthew 5:48).

Thought for the Day:
Nothing but living in service to Jesus Christ can fill the void that continually haunts our life. – Romans 12:1

Lightening Our Load

There are times when circumstances overwhelm us. Our life is riddled with disease, broken relationships and material losses. Negative emotions fill the void left behind by these severe issues. They cause us to withdraw, to lose hope and to feel weary and uninspired. We cannot seem to lift our head up off the pillow.

There are thousands of people in your sphere of influence, who all feel the same way that you do. They are looking for someone like you who will understand the place that they are in and to reach out to them and pray for them. You can take tiny steps at first. Go to your small group and share your experience. You may find others there who can relate to your experiences.

As you feel better, you can learn a new hobby. You will meet new people in the classes you take, which are potential new friends. Some of them will encourage you, and you will encourage others. You can join the YMCA or a fitness club and lose weight. That will enhance your self-image and physical well-being. Volunteer at your church by serving in a ministry or helping in the office or the nursery.

Play a game on the computer to improve your mental concentration and to bring some joy into your life. Get interested in your neighbors and lighten their load in some way. Giving your time and attention to others will also ease your burden and give you less time for Satan to drench you with self-pity. Follow your passion and get involved, so you can put down your heavy burdened, and feel less lonely.

Prayer:
Father God, help us to turn to You in our time of need. You provide these trials to draw us closer to You. Remind us that being busy is helpful, but spending time with You is even more appealing. We grow in our intimacy and love for You and we receive direction from Your Spirit. Remind us to allow You to use us to lighten the burden from someone else’s shoulders (Galatians 6:2).

Thought for the Day:
As we help others to deal with their issues, we will help our self at the same time.

Live Well with a Positive Attitude

I am so concerned about people who live from one day to the next in more pain and misery than they did the day before. Things never go right for them and they are always focusing on the negative aspects in their life. I know that some people are genuinely ill; but I have seen others, in the same position, with a smile on their face and a jaunt in their step.

If we do all we can to prevent the pain or circumstances in our life, then we can look to God to deliver us from them. He may surprise us by taking us home to heaven, or allowing some major decision to be made that will affect our life drastically. However, we can continue to live a positive life by focusing on the pure, lovely aspects, which He constantly supplies for us (Philippians 4:8).

Expectations ruin our life and our health. We expect deep relationships, abundant finances, stellar health and increasing spiritual growth each day of our life. When this does not happen, we are devastated. Then depression settles in, coloring every other aspect of our life. Our spiritual, emotional, physical and mental health are all affected by our negative attitude.

We also get too involved in too many aspects of life; and this tires us out, pressures our schedule and makes us feel used and abused. We end up getting tension headaches, stress-related illnesses and our soul gets disheartened and miserable. We get grouchy, irritable and too sick to do anything. The answer is to live each moment in gratitude and praise, led by God’s Spirit in every aspect of our life.

Prayer:
Father God, remind us to cast our cares on Your shoulders. You promise to take care of them and us (1 Peter 5:7). That means that we can thank You for the answers before we ever get them. If we focus on our troubles, we live in a negative spiral that can only get worse. This causes tension, fear, unhappiness and despair. However, if we live with our faith in You, we maintain a positive attitude. Then we will reap many more positive results in our life with Your love filling our soul with joy.

Thought for the Day:
Prayers of gratitude keep our focus on God’s Presence in our life rather than on our circumstances. – Matthew 6:25-33; Luke 12:22-31

God’s Purposes in Troubling Times

Have you noticed the slow deterioration of life, as we know it? Governments, financial affairs, justice, personal commitments, geography and climate are all failing. What hope does mankind have of surviving into eternity? There is only one sure hope and that is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

The coming of God’s Kingdom is just around the corner. We are only ready to enter into it if we realize how intensely our fleshly indulgences grieve God’s heart and that we need a Savior. God offers us His free gift of salvation. We simply admit that we are sinners, turn away from our selfish lifestyle and turn to follow Jesus.

There is an unprecedented time of intense suffering coming to the world. Yet, God is not willing for anyone to perish (2 Peter 3:9). He offers His ark of salvation for anyone who is willing to come aboard (Matthew 24:37). Like Jesus, we live to serve our living God. We dedicate our life to wholly yield to Him our thoughts, words and deeds.

Sometimes, we have to realize that the “prince of Persia” is hindering God’s answer to our prayers, and intense spiritual warfare is going on (Daniel 10:13). That is what my husband and I experienced when we followed God’s direction to sell our little brick, cottage home and to pay cash for a manufactured home in order to get out of debt.

It started with my six weeks of bronchitis, pneumonia and pleurisy. Then, we moved into a new home with termites, leaking roof, A/C breaking down every other week and a bank that had way too many hoops to jump through to refinance our former home as a rental. However, God is always the victor.

Today, He is blessing three of His families with our former home, and we started a Bible study group in our new mission field in our new community. We also have a growing number of new neighbors attending our church with us. God delights in blessing His children. He uses us in ways that we could never imagine and He always sweetens the bitter lemons of circumstances into lemonade (Romans 8:28)!

Prayer:
Father God, remind us that we need to confess with our mouth that “Jesus is Lord,” and to sincerely believe in our heart that You raised him from the dead. Then we are justified and reconciled to You for eternity (Romans 10:9-10). Give us a revelation of Your Kingdom so that we may advance its reach and prepare for its coming to the earth. Help us to have a heart for the lost that are heading for an eternity in hell. Give us opportunities to share Your love with those willing to hear Your Truth. May Your Kingdom come and Your will be done on earth as it is already done in heaven (Matthew 6:10).

Thought for the Day:
I am loving life in God’s presence, regardless of the circumstances.