Overcoming Life’s Hurdles

Mental, emotional and physical pain and stress, loss and grief, and wounded individuals put us at risk for reaping negative results in life. In addition, unresolved childhood trauma increases the effects of our current distress. ( http://www.theophostic.com )

With repeated trauma, we can even develop various degrees of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and we view the world as a painful, alarming, treacherous place.

Separation through death, divorce, rejection, abandonment, etc. will affect our future relationships. We lose our sense of safety and security and may even live in continual fear and insecurity.

Our breathing is shallow, which affects our lungs, diaphragm and heart. Stomach, heart, lung and nerve issues cause us problems. Our mind can even affect us with physical symptoms, which have no physical source.

On guard in every situation, we are in a constant state of “fight or flight”. This makes us combative and easily angered when we feel vulnerable and helpless.

A lack of trust causes us to build thick walls around our soul. Then we feel lonely, disheartened, hopeless and overwhelmed. We may even blame our self for what happens to us.

Attempting to prepare our self for the unexpected, we delve into worse case scenarios to prepare our self for any contingency; yet, we only provide our self with a false sense of power and protection from future trauma.

When events in our life are going well, we tend to rely less on God and more on our self. We have the idea that we deserve God’s love and blessings, because we are so good.

However, with this attitude, we will never feel totally secure in life. We will live in constant anxiety, because we fear that if we fail in some area, we will lose His love and be lost for eternity.

The opposite is actually true. God loved us while we were still sinners, is our everlasting Savior and continues to love us unconditionally (Romans 5:8; 1 John 1:9). He is the same yesterday, today and for eternity (Hebrews 13:8).

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for allowing us to fail and to learn from our mistakes, to suffer trails for Your glory so that people can see our love for and trust in You regardless of our earthly status. Teach us to rely totally on You and not to pursue the world or the flesh.

Remind us to stop depending on our self and to begin to depend solely on You for every step we take (Proverbs 3:5-6). Help us to do only the works, which You ordained for us to achieve, rather than asking You to bless our works (Ephesians 2:10).

Thought for the Day:
When we rely on God’s Holy Spirit for direction and strength, we listen to God’s Spirit, step out in faith, and find all the resources we need to achieve all that God ordained us to do.
– Philippians 2:12-13, 4:13; Matthew 7:7-8

Are Our Habits Helpful?

The habits we develop throughout life control our thoughts, choices and behavior. Some of them cause us to sow to the wind, and then we reap the whirlwind (Hosea 8:7). Others prevent us from trusting in God, since we think that we can serve Him in our own strength. Habits should not control our life. That’s the job of God’s Spirit.

God will reveal the habits in our life, which are idols, and give us the power to lay them down at His feet (Philippians 2:12-13). We relinquish our habits and follow the leading of God’s Spirit each moment of our day. As we submit to God, we can resist the devil and he will flee from us (James 4:7). We are no longer drawn to sin and bad habits, which destroy our life.

After Jesus rose from the dead, He “lead captivity captive” (Ephesians 4:8; Luke 16:19-31). He freed the Old Testament Saints from separation from God and led them into the heavenly realm (Psalm 16:10; Acts 2:27-30). Jesus is now our Advocate (1 John 2:1). He frees His New Testament Saints from Satan’s deception and sin’s temptation. He enables us to relinquish our habits good and bad.

We do not depend on good habits to accomplish God’s will for our life. We live in the Spirit and we walk in the Spirit as we further God’s Kingdom while we live on this earth (Galatians 5:16-25). We follow God’s presence rather than human effort and habits. When God’s Spirit abides within us, we are His children; and where He leads us, we will follow.

Prayer:
Father God, remind us to meditate on Your Word, to listen to Your voice and to walk in Your precepts. We no longer need habits when we have the powerful and active Spirit of God to shape our thoughts, words and deeds. Thank You for involving Yourself in every area of our life and for providing for all of our needs with Your glorious riches (Philippians 4:19). Show us where we fall short of Your glory and help us to walk only in Your ways (Romans 3:23; Deuteronomy 5:33).

Thought for the Day:
When Satan takes our circumstances out of our hands, then we can cling closer to God. When we relinquish our problems to His care, He is better able to provide for us through them. – 1 Peter 5:7

The Eternal Marriage

One of the great mysteries of the Bible is the connection between Jesus and the Church in a marriage. A husband is exhorted to love his wife in the same manner that Christ loves the Church (Ephesians 5:25). Jesus literally laid down His life for the Church. How many husbands actually do that for their wife? Most of them get frustrated with their wife’s idiosyncrasies and opt out of the marriage?

 

There is not a problem in a person or a marriage that cannot be resolved with intentional counseling and mutual submission. Except in life or death situations, no reason is good enough to justify divorcing one’s mate. It is a lazy, superficial, self-centered person who files for divorce. They are unwilling to work at becoming one flesh. A time of separation and a forgiving heart will help to iron out even the worst marital issues.

 

Reserving nothing for Himself, Jesus gave His life for His Bride before we even knew or loved Him. His love is unconditional, regardless of our behavior, attitude or expressions. He will never, ever leave or forsake us for any reason or in any way (Hebrews 13:5). Spouses are to follow suite and care for one another’s physical, emotional, mental, financial and spiritual needs despite the reception we receive from our mate.

 

The husband honors the wife as the weaker vessel, and he protects her from the pain and confusion of the world (1 Peter 3:7). He listens to her and cares about what she cares about. The wife respects and encourages her husband. She keeps his home and cares for his children. She supports him even when she disagrees with the direction he is going. Although she does have the option to separate for a time if she feels threatened in any way.

 

There is no man or woman alive who does not grab his/her toe when it is stubbed, or jerk away from something hot or cringe from a hand raised in anger. We are to protect one another in the same way that we love and protect our self (Ephesians 5:28-33). We care about each other’s needs, often anticipating them before the desire is even expressed. God will help us to work out every negative issue in our marriage if we totally surrender our will to His.

 

Prayer:

Father God, You give us a perfect example of loving a flawed mate. Israel failed You over and over; and yet, You continually loved her and honored Your commitment to her. Remind us to feel each other’s pain and confusion as if they were our own and never to break our marriage vows to one another, even when we do not like one another very much!

 

Thought for the Day:

There is no one that loves us better, or cares for our welfare more than Jesus Christ, our Kinsman Redeemer. – Leviticus 25:25; Ruth 1-4

Our Eternal Rest

As human beings, we get the values of life and death backwards. We will sacrifice the quality of our life for the quantity of life. We often live years past our optimal health and spend more money than we have to suffer endless procedures and live off dozens of expensive medications. Yet, what is the Biblical view of life and death?

Paul said, “For me to live is Christ, but to die is gain (Philippians 1:21).” In other words, He was happy to serve the Lord on this earth for as long as it pleased the Lord for him to do so; but once his usefulness was over, he was ready, willing and able to go home to be with the Lord. That was where his hope and rest lay. That is where we all gain the eternal rest from our labors.

The wise Solomon recognized that the day of our death is better than the day of our birth (Ecclesiastes 7:1); yet we humans rejoice at a new birth and cry at a funeral. Of course, the tears at the funeral are more for our self than the deceased, because of our separation from our loved one; but if we realize that, in Christ, we will live in eternity with that same loved one, then we do not sorrow as those who have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:12-18).

We toil all of our life to gain the things of this world, and then turn around and leave them all behind to people who do not value them as we did. They usually donate everything we worked so hard to attain to some charity resale shop to be sold at a fraction of what we paid for them. What is the sense in that? Why do we put so much stock in this world’s goods?

A home, transportation, food and necessary apparel with a hobby or two thrown in are enough for anyone. Yet, so many slave to have the best that money can buy. The entire focus of their life is to get that one more thing. Yet, nothing ever really satisfies their soul. Only a life dedicated to the service of God for His glory pays the real dividends that we are looking for in this life and in the next.

Prayer:
Father God, remind us to store up our treasure in heaven, where neither moth nor rust can destroy them (Matthew 6:19-24). Help us to use the wealth You give to us on this earth to help to lighten the load of those less fortunate than we are and also to help to further Your gospel to the far reaches of the earth.

Thought for the Day:
It is the simple pleasures of life that really mean so much and cost so little.