The Lord is Our Refuge

 

As we enter adulthood, we attempt to provide security and stability for our self and our family through our vocation, savings account, two jobs, marrying someone who is already rich, etc.

 

Yet, we often find that our choices oppress our life and cause us more trouble than they help (Psalm 9:9, 52:7). In this world of sorrows and trials, we need an anchor for our soul, a stronghold where we can take refuge (Psalm 18:2).

 

Once we realize that the Lord is our light in the darkness, and our only real salvation, we release our fear of the unknown and humbly go to Him as our defense (Psalm 27:1).

 

He gives us His strength to traverse any trouble we encounter (Psalm 37:39). Even when we allow the stress of our trouble to disconnect us from Him, He is still there waiting for us to turn back in Him (Psalm 43:2; Hebrews 13:5).

 

The Lord is strong enough to tremble the whole earth with His voice; yet He is a gentle refuge for those who trust in Him (Joel 3:16; Psalm 62:2). The Lord lives forever and is the Rock of our salvation (2 Samuel 22:47; Psalm 18:46).

 

He desires that we meditate on Him and His goodness day and night, and that our thoughts, words and actions line up with His Word (Psalm 19:14). This proves our love for Him.

 

To those who stand against Him, He is a stumbling stone, a snare and trap for their wayward feet; but to His Saints, He is our sanctuary who offers us safety and shelter from any trouble we experience in life (Isaiah 8:14).

 

Prayer:

Father God, we cry out to You in our adversity, knowing that You are our only Rock and our Refuge (Psalm 89:26). We cling to Christ as our cornerstone, who gives us stability and order in our life (Psalm 118:22; Isaiah 28:16). The world rejects You, but we stand firmly on the solid footing You provide for our life in every circumstance (Matthew 21:42).

 

You are our precious Savior and we put our faith and trust in You (1 Peter 2:6-7). You are a great mountain and You fill the whole earth with Your power and majesty (Daniel 2:35). You spoke through age-old prophets and then confirmed their words as they came to pass, even over centuries of time (Daniel 2:44-45). This builds our faith in Your faithfulness and we know that we can trust in You.

 

Thought for the Day:

We humbly pursue our Living Stone by faith and do not attempt to earn His love or salvation by our works; so He rewards us with inner peace and joy, which transcend our earthly existence.

– Romans 9:32-33; 1 Peter 2:4-8

 

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Healing from Our Past

Humans often function on automatic pilot. We repeat tasks hundreds of times and pay no attention to the details along the way. Sometimes, “the devil is in the details”.

We get tied up in the details; and the good things we run around accomplishing rob us of the best things, which God called us to do with our life.

We wear different hats according to the requirement of the moment at work, home, church and play. We segment our soul and personality to meet the expectations of those around us.

Some of us dissociate from parts of our identity and suppress the expression of those personality characteristics. Sometimes, we experience trauma from which we use dissociative amnesia to escape the memory.

We cannot remember parts or all of our past; and, at times, even present events. We function on automatic pilot in multiple personalities in order to fit in or to cope. We lose part of our true self with every trauma we experience in life.

Some of us are schizophrenic, we hear our different ego states conversing with one another and we fear we are going crazy. One part of our self may sabotage or fight against the other.

This dissociative identity disorder attempts to save our life from the extreme pain of our past. Once the Holy Spirit moves into our spirit, He sorts through the various alter egos we create to protect our self.

He heals the pain of our past and allows us to release our grasp on various personalities we used to defend our self. We realize that God is here to protect us now and we have no need to hide behind alter egos.

Prayer:
Father God, the indescribable pain which human beings inflict on one another is caused by rampant sin and suggestions by the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4). Regardless of what we experience, however, there is healing in Your wings (Malachi 4:2; Psalm 91:4); and we can hide beneath them until we heal and gain the strength to face this world with Your perspective.

We sing for joy as we snuggle into your feathers and find safety, comfort and security from this world, which often frightens us (Psalm 63:7). Help us to serve as a lifeline to others who also face traumatic events in this life, and give us opportunities to share Your comfort with them in very real and tangible ways.

Thought for the Day:
We can ask God to strengthen the inner being of those we love by His Spirit, so that Christ may dwell in their hearts and they may also find His eternal healing. – Ephesians 3:16

Our Strong Tower

As an infant, most of us are properly cared for by our parents; although, more often in these days in which we live, children are no longer cherished and nurtured.

Regardless of our upbringing, however, life rarely pulls its punches. It deals out a lifetime of hard knocks, abuse, neglect and disappointments.

We learn to keep more to our self, in order to give people and circumstances fewer chances to hurt us. We want to stay safe from a world, which often frightens us.

We continue to reach out to other people, and to help them in any way we can; but suspicion taints the way we view people and opportunities, which come our way.

We are programmed to believe that the good times will never last, because they never did in the past. We stop looking forward to things; and we never believe promises, because they rarely if ever happen.

We miss opportunities, which we would enjoy, because we are afraid to trust the leading of God’s Spirit. We stay home rather than to take risks to meet new people and to share God’s love with them.

We learn to build walls to hide behind in an attempt to protect our self. However, these very walls only serve to keep us restrained in the confinement of our own making.

We try to escape these walls through addictions, the wrong friends and mate, busyness, hobbies, projects and over-achieving in areas, which do not really matter.

We imprison our true self behind those walls, which were meant to keep us safe. We can never live a full life as long as we continue to hinder our whole body, soul and spirit from living free in Christ (Galatians 5:1).

Prayer:
Father God, we wall up our heart, because vulnerability makes us susceptible to victimization and neglect. You advise us to guard our heart from sin, but not from other people. You actually expose us to disappointment in this life to show us the magnitude of Your continual love and nurture for us.

Remind us that when we are the weakest and the most vulnerable, then You are the strongest and closest to us in order to fight on our behalf (2 Corinthians 12:9-11; Exodus 14:14; Deuteronomy 3:22).

Therefore, we can entrust our body, soul and spirit to You and Your protection and care (Psalm 55:22; 1 Peter 5:7). We can run into the safety of Your everlasting arms (Isaiah 41:10).

Thought for the Day:
We fear vulnerability; therefore, we hide our true self behind walls of our own making; but God protects us from our enemies and is a strong tower into which we can run and be safe. – Psalm 18:2, 10

Healing from Loss

In this world we will have troubles and trials, but we can rejoice through them all because Christ IN us has already overcome them all (John 16:33).

However, it is important to allow our soul to grieve each loss. Everyone experiences loss at one time or another during our lifetime.

We all react to loss in a similar fashion. We suffer both emotional and physical distress in our grief, caused by the heightened levels of adrenalin in our bloodstream.

When a segment of our support system in this life crumbles, our assurance of security, safety and stability crumble as well.

Part of our purpose, identity, social status and provision vanish. Unfamiliar and unwanted issues occur, which demand our attention and time.

Our life is full of turmoil, loss, isolation and grief. We feel overwhelmed, depressed, hopeless and unable to cope. We find it difficult to function in both our normal roles and new responsibilities.

Some people are angry and others withdraw from society. We feel abandoned by significant others, and maybe even by God.

However, we have hope of full recovering when we cling ever closer to God. He gives us His peace, which transcends all of our circumstances.

Prayer:
Father God, our life on this earth is a series of losses from favorite toys, to special treasures, to important people and places, all of which helped to define who we are. Remind us to allow our self to work through the grief process and not to short-cut our time of healing.

Help us to reflect on the positive side of grief as an opportunity to evaluate our priorities in life, to examine our values and to deepen our beliefs. Guide us as we move toward a more mature relationship with You, and a stronger faith in Your faithfulness as we experience Your provision in all of our negative circumstances.

Thought for the Day:
The impact of loss is so profound that it reaches to the very core of our being and affects every aspect of our life–physically, emotionally, mentally, socially and spiritually.

Our Benefits as a Christ Follower

Christianity does not make us superior to anyone else. It simply initiates our spiritual birth and brings fulfillment into our life.
As we mature, Christ becomes our whole life (Colossians 3:4).

We have confidence and security in Christ (Galatians 2:20). He abides within us and knows us better than we know our self (Colossians 1:27).

God may withhold from us some of the desires of our heart, because they are not in His plan for us at this time. As we trust and obey, He fills us entirely with His love, joy and peace, and we overflow with assurance and hope through His Spirit (Romans 15:13).

When we insist on our own way, God allows us to fail, in order to teach us to wait on Him and His will, rather than pursuing our own will for our life. God is working out His plan for us each moment of our day.

If we follow the direction of God’s Spirit for our day, our efficiency increases and our stress level decreases. He teaches us to cooperate with His Body in order to increase our productivity for His Kingdom (1 Corinthians 12:12-27).

God supplies all of our needs and leads us by His Spirit as we concede to His will (Proverbs 3:5-6). He gives us one day at a time to prevent us from worrying about the past and fearing the future.

At times, we may feel idle and useless, or that God is not speaking to us. However, these are the times of companionable silence, which God enjoys with His Saints.

Our Father God demonstrated His love for us by becoming man to pay the penalty of our sins (Romans 5:8). He finds pleasure in an intimate relationship with each of us. He quiets us with His love and rejoices over us with singing (Zephaniah 3:17).

Prayer:
Father God, You consider us as Your friends, children, holy nation, royal priests, Your own possession and chosen people (John 15:13-17; 1 John 3:2; 1 Peter 2:9). You will not allow any tribulation or distress, life or death, angels or principalities, the present or future, or any created thing to separate us from Your love, which dwells in us through Christ Jesus, our Lord (Romans 8:35-39).

Help us not to fail one another, wound each other deeply or cause anyone to stumble and fall away from You. Teach us to love one another as You love each of us.

Thought for the Day:
Living in the center of God’s will is the happiest place on earth; our enjoyment is amplified and our sorrows diminished as we maintain an eternal focus, rather than a temporal one. – Isaiah 26:3

​A New Creation – Part 1

As a child, I felt insecure and fearful about tomorrow. I desperately attempted to control my life in order to feel as safe as is humanly possible. I did not want to leave anything to chance, because it usually turned out badly. I focused inwardly and took care of my own business.

Introverted and analytical, I lived a very cautious life with intense self-discipline and attention to details, so I would not cause anyone to get upset with me. I disliked change of any kind and I reacted in anger when my security was threatened in any way.

My favorite activity was to sit in our giant China-berry tree in our back yard, engrossed in a book until sunset. I also enjoyed crafts of all kinds. My mom and grandmother taught me to do needlework, and I learned to do many other crafts from the instructions in library books.

Throughout childhood, I was way too sensitive, felt too deeply and cared too much. I had no real friends except my cousins and my Girl Scout troop. I had no dreams or aspirations, except making it through the day in relative peace and calm. These traits followed me all through high school.

In adulthood, my loyalty to God, friends and family served me well as a Born Again Believer. I still do not need many friends, but I am merciful, caring and loyal to all of my acquaintances. I am still easily embarrassed and shy. I feel overwhelmed in a group and I prefer talking to people one-on-one.

However, God impressed on me the importance of stepping out of my shy persona and allowing His Spirit to minister to people through me. Ironically, He called me to serve Him as a greeter in social gatherings, and as a Pastor’s wife, living in the limelight under microscopic scrutiny.

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for using these years of my life to transform me with the mind of Christ. My penchant for perfectionism made me, and everyone around me, tense and uptight, until You mercifully delivered me from that demonic plague. You taught me that doing my best was all that anyone could ever expect from me. Then, You took it one step further and encouraged me to walk in Your Spirit as You transform my life.

Thought for the Day:
In Christ, our old personality is dead and we no longer live for our self, because the Spirit of God abides within us and we are buried in Christ and raised to walk in a new life. – 2 Corinthians 5:17; Romans 6:4