WHO LOVES YOU – Part 1 – The Love of the Father

God is head over heels in love with you (1 John 4: 8-11). God’s love is a spiritual, physical, mental and emotional “high”. Human love is merely a shadow of His love.

If the earth’s axis tilted a degree in any direction, if the stars fell from the sky, if a large solar storm erupted on the sun, if the oceans exceeded their boundaries, if animals no longer had an innate fear of man, if all the molten lava in the earth erupted at once, we would all die.

God’s hand, keeping the earth in perfect balance, keeps us all living and breathing and existing on planet earth. The natural order of the universe proves to us that God loves us.

When we repent of our sin, we realize that God actually chose us and adopted us as His beloved children. With God’s love, we do not need another person in our life in order to feel loved, affirmed and validated.

God constantly draws my attention to the fact that He is touching me with evidences of His love through a variety of means. I call them God’s Little Hugs.

He reveals His love through things like a bird’s outstretched wings, a perfect rose, a lady bug, the shapes of the clouds, the waves of the sea, the seasons of the year, a red cardinal chirping through my open window and in the numbers on the clock.

Escaping a devastating calamity is another occasion when we feel the love of God. When we see His hand protecting us from sudden and sure destruction and danger, our hearts swell with incredible gratitude and love for God.

To realize that God actually intervened for you makes you feel so precious, cared about and loved. At times like these we feel His love surrounding us and keeping us safe.

His love flows through us and out of us to everyone He brings into contact with us. He restores us with His joy and upholds with His generous Spirit (Psalm 51:10-12).

Prayer:
Father God, when our heart is open to Your love, we can feel it pouring over us like a waterfall. We are drenched with Your continual love. Even the cells in our body are full of Your love.

I often feel like I am wrapped in a soft, fluffy blanket of Your love. Your love gives us such a sense of security. Unsurpassed peace and joy flood our soul – our mind, will and emotions. We give You all the glory and praise and depend on Your love and Spirit to fill and guide us through every moment of our life.

Thought for the Day:
All through the day, I have learned to watch for the unexpected ways that God tells me, “I love you!”

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Renewed Mind – Part 4 – God-Given Emotions

Our soul – our thoughts, choices and emotions – is a vital part of who we are as human beings. Ignoring our soul only stunts our growth both in our soul and in our spirit.

A need for attention, dependence on others, and fear of being alone are results of abandonment issues from our childhood. Destructive acts, pouting, self-centeredness and temper tantrums all stem from deep deprivation and anger from our past.

Our lack of self-awareness and failure to accept our emotions will compound our past wounds, which we carry with us every day of our life, some of them since conception.

Our relationships suffer due to emotional, behavioral and mental deficits. Psychologically, we are stuck in the unresolved issues of our past, which prevent us from experiencing adulthood with a mature attitude.

We fail to succeed in most of our endeavors due to the lack of adult persistence, self-control and planning. Some of us are consumed with anger and unforgiveness, which we internalize.

This results in depression for which we take medication. This simply masks the pain in our soul and causes more grief as well as physical ailments such as headaches, and stomach and breathing and heart related issues.

If we allow our self to feel our anger, we can work through it to the grief buried within our subconscious mind (Ephesians 4:26). We can journal our thoughts and feelings, and ask God to help us to find the root cause of our grief and other negative emotions.

Never apologize for your emotions. God gave them to us. They are either a sign of sickness in our soul, a precaution to keep us safe, and an expression of the joy He places in the heart of His children (Proverbs 16:32, 17:22, 19:8; Ephesians 4:26-27).

After we identify the source of our negative emotions, we can grieve our losses and affirm and validate our feelings. Then we pray for God’s wisdom and healing, we forgive the perpetrators, who wounded us and caused our grief; and we move into the freedom and rest of the Lord Jesus Christ (Hebrews 13:5; John 8:36).

Prayer:
Father God, there are few of us on this earth who did not experience some form of abuse in our lifetime. We never learned to handle our emotions and often sin because of them. We may minimize, disassociate from or magnify our feelings; but teach us to learn from them, and to bring them to You for understanding and healing.

Help us to stop blaming our self for the abuse we suffered; to release the pent up energy from our negative emotions without sinning against You or someone else; and to allow our self to cry and grieve our losses. Then we can release the incident to You and find Your forgiveness for those who wounded us.

Thought for the Day:
God and Christ both gave us clear examples of how emotions are a normal and healthy part of life.

The Beauty of Marriage

Marriage was designed by God in order for a man and a woman to appreciate the advantages of each other’s company. The Bible is full of verses, which speak about the benefits of two people sharing life together; and when we add Christ into the equation, the three of us are not easily defeated (Genesis 2:18, 20; Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).

When a man finds a wife, he opens up a whole world of benefits for himself and his future family (Proverbs 18:22). Like puzzle pieces, we learn to fit together perfectly and blend our two personalities to work as a team.

Our individual strengths help to overcome the weaknesses in one another. We never insist on our own way, but we talk out our issues until we find a third plan, on which we can both agree.

This prevents heated words, angry emotions and shredded feelings. If both members prefer one another over themselves, there is no issue in any relationship, which cannot be worked out.

Both partners must really listen to one another and take each other seriously. Even if the issue seems unimportant to us, it is important to our mate, so we should take it seriously.

This helps us not to over-react, because we know we are heard. It also allows us to gather all the facts before forming conclusions (Proverbs 18:13).

If we dwell together with understanding and prefer our mate over our self, then love grows (Peter 3:7). When we make God the priority in our marriage, and worship God and serve in a church together, our respect for one another increases.

Marriage also helps us to increase our wealth by either both working at different jobs, or by one staying home to frugally care for the house, children and family errands.

We build together rather than tearing each other down. Abiding by these principles tends to resolve many marital issues before they ever start, and we cherish and admire one another.

Prayer:
Father God remind us that in our marriage, we do not complete one another. Only Christ in us can truly complete us (Colossians 2:10). Neither do we compete with one another. Instead, we complement each other. We provide wisdom in decisions, companionship, physical assistance, and support for one another in body, soul and spirit.

Enable us to see that the longer we are married, the more we feel comfortable with one another, and we no longer feel the need to impress each other. We feel safe in the confidence that we are loved and cherished. We relax, breath easily and smile more often.

Remind us to enjoy one another’s company and to have fun together. Help us to understand each other, and to like, as well as love each other. Especially prompt us not to take one another for granted.

Thought for the Day:
When God gives us a mate to share our life with, we cherish, honor and protect one another for an entire lifetime. – Genesis 2:24

Healing Relationships – Part 2

Due to the insecurity and fear in life, many of us attempt to control people and events in order to maintain a safe and secure existence. Unfortunately, life never cooperates.

People who are wounded in their soul form relationships with other wounded people. In fact, we are all wounded to some extent or another due to our life experiences.

When we are wounded, we often choose untrustworthy people to trust, unreliable people to rely upon, and emotionally unavailable people from which we attempt to receive love. We end up more wounded than ever before.

If we are already in such a marriage relationship, God does not want us to divorce (Malachi 2:16). He will change us, which will also help to change our mate. The transition is gradual and it will take patience and time.

If you are not already married, then practice spiritual discernment and seek only God’s will for your future mate (Psalm 37:34).

Trust God to lead you to His selection for your mate. Walk in serenity and realize that when God wants you to be married, He will supply a mate.

As we learned from the Serenity prayer in Part 1 of Healing Relationships, we can only find fulfillment as we focus on eternal aspects of life and walk in God’s Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).

This changes our belief system, our choices and our pattern of behavior.

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for healing the wounds of our past as You sanctify our soul and make us whole. Help us to focus on eternal matters in life and to put the matters of our soul in Your capable hands.

You will bring us everything that we need in life when we need it. If we do not have what we want, we can be assured that it is not Your time for us to have it.

If it is not Your will for us to have the desires of our heart, then you will change our desires to line up according to Your Will. Help us to wait patiently on You (Psalm 37:7, 40:11).

Thought for the Day:
Securing counseling as a couple will teach each partner how to live in a healthy, interdependent relationship; this way, you will grow together instead of apart.
*For healing the wounds of our past, start by reading my post: http://fulfilledchristianlife.blogspot.com/2012/08/part-1-healing-emotional-wounds.html

Not My Will, but Yours

Life often requires a balancing act. We find ourselves thrown off center by confusion or a catastrophe, which comes when we least expect it. Our normal peaceful life spins out of control. Each compartment of our life, which we meticulously created to provide us with security and a safe haven, suddenly tilts to one side.

We feel disoriented, insecure and fearful. Reacting with negative emotions can create even more problems. We panic and make poor decisions. We hectically, yet unsuccessfully, try to manage the disruptive people and events in our life in an attempt to make us feel safe again, but this never helps. In fact, it usually increases our anxiety, when these people react to the frustration we create in their lives.

Part of the problem occurs when we acquire more possessions than we need. Our life slowly sinks under a burden of stress created by trying to pay for this accumulation. Another factor comes if we lean toward making sinful decisions, because we end up reaping what we sow. A third aspect transpires when we tip under the weight of the demands, which others place on us.

So, let’s simplify our life. We can sell unnecessary possessions and discipline our spending habits, make wiser choices in the future and maintain a life of purity and serenity. We can also simplify time and energy, which other people demand from us, by doing on that which God’s Spirit directs us to do for them. Peace comes when we trust God to order our lives (James 1:2-4).

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, as we walk the tightrope of life, help us to focus on the equilibrium You provide for us within each moment that we live, rather than focusing on the spinning details of our negative circumstances (Hebrews 12:2). Life wavers like the ocean, with a continuous ebb and flow, but You give us the words of the prayer, which never fails: “Father, not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42-43)

Thought for the Day:
When we trust God more and strive less, serenity seeps into every area of our life, no matter how the circumstances play out around us.

Spiritual Healing – Part 1

Understanding Bitterness and Anger

Once we repent, our sins are always forgiven (1 John 1:9). However, some sins often continue to plague us relentlessly for two reasons. They are caused by a subconscious lie from the pit of hell, and this lie is still affecting us every day of our life. What is the sin, which so easily ensnares you? (Hebrews 12:1) What happened in your past that draws you to that sin over and over again?

For instance, my besetting sin is anger. I use anger to protect myself from abuse and neglect. Why do I do that? I had incidences in my life of both abuse and neglect. My soul – my mind, will and emotions – do not want to experience either of these issues again. Therefore, I use anger to fight against anything that even remotely appears to resemble either exploitation or abandonment.

I fight the circumstance and I clash with the person whom I perceive is abusing or neglecting me. I do not even think about it before I react. I automatically over-react to any behavior that involves me, which even hints at being abusive or negligent. This over-reaction in anger is a sin, because it is telling God that I do not trust Him to care for me. I want to control the situation to keep myself safe.

As humans, when something upsets us, it triggers the wounds from our past. We react from the anguish of our soul and complain bitterly about the current issue, because of these ancient wounds (Job 7:11). This bitterness, rooted in the hurtful experiences of our past, will spring up and cause us all sorts of trouble. It will even spoil our current relationships and hinder our walk with the Lord (Hebrews 12:15).

Prayer:
Father God, bitterness and anger reside in our heart over past wounds. Show us the root of Satan’s lies, which stand against Your truth (James 3:14; http://www.theophostic.com ). We need Your forgiveness for sin, as well as Your healing and cleansing from the root of the sin, which allows that sinful behavior to perpetually manifest in our life. Remind us that when Your Son sets us free, we are free indeed (John 8:36).

Thought for the Day:
God wants to cleanse our soul from bitterness and anger and allow His sweet, living water to flow from our soul instead of putrid, bitter water from the painful experiences in our past. – James 3:11

The Truth About Anger

Anger is a God-given response to protect us when we feel threatened or insecure. Some people in our life arouse anger in our soul more than others. God advises us to go ahead and be angry, but not to sin in our anger (Ephesians 4:26). Resentment at not being given a choice about what happened in my life turned to anger and bitterness.

Those in authority over me would not listen when I expressed what I wanted and needed, and I felt like I did not matter. I usually kept quiet, rolling with the punches, internalizing my feelings for as long as I could. However, some small slight eventually unleashed all of that pent up emotion.

When I exploded in anger to express my displeasure at what I was being forced to experience, the unsuspecting victim of my outburst looked at me like I had two heads and wondered about my sanity. The eruption was quick. However, my volcanic anger left emotional scars in others, which were as destructive as volcanic lava.

I eventually learned that my pent up anger from unresolved issues in my childhood was added to those current feelings of anger. This caused my emotional outbursts to devastate those around me. My anger over the events of my past increased the expression of my anger over the issues occurring at the moment.

God eventually set me free from the pain of my past by revealing its source. He exposed Satan’s lies, spoken to me during negative experiences, which held me in bondage to fear and insecurity my whole life. Then He revealed His truth to replace those lies. (www.theophostic.com)

Negative emotions are actually red flags. When I first start feeling them, I examine my beliefs and the actions, which cause them. I look for an idol, which God is exposing, or I separate my self-worth from the opinion of others. Now, rather than to allow my negative feelings to pile up inside of me, I quickly repent of my idol or firmly appeal to my authority to consider my feelings.

Prayer:
Father God, You advise us not to allow the issues of this life to trouble our soul. We can bring everything to You and make our requests in prayer. You help us to live in quiet expectation of Your purpose for the trials we experience. Your peace, which transcends all human reasoning, will guard our feelings and thoughts. We lift up our soul to Your safe keeping (Philippians 4:6-7; Psalm 25:1).

Thought for the Day:
Attentiveness to our troubled soul can allow us to find peace in our heart by expressing our feelings before they escalate into anger.