Living in the Moment

The Serenity Prayer, the whole prayer and not just the first paragraph, teaches us to live in the moment. This is the key to living a life full of the peace and joy of the Lord.

The next moment does not yet exist; five years ago only exists as a memory and can no longer really affect this current moment; unless there are unresolved issues from our past, which still haunt us today, and which God wants to heal.

The only true reality is now…this one moment in time. We may pass from life one moment from now; so living this current moment fully is imperative to our joyful existence.

The excitement about this one moment of time is that we do not have to wait for it. It is already here. We can make of it what we choose. We can live in God’s perfect will for every single moment of time (Ephesians 2:10).

As we pay attention to this exact moment, we take note of our breath. Is it shallow and tense or peaceful and deep? What thought is in our mind? Are we concerned about an issue or enjoying the presence of God?

What emotions accompany our thoughts? Are we angry, anxious, addled or are we basking in the love the Lord? How does our body feel? Is there pain, are we tired, do we have an unusual amount of energy?

As we learn to be present in the moment with our self, then we can take the next step of being present in the moment with God’s Holy Spirit. Abiding within us, He gives us creative options, inspirational direction and Godly wisdom.

Do not be afraid of paying attention to who you really are inside. You may not like yourself, but God loves you. So you have value, which you never explored or acknowledged, just waiting for you to discover.

We do not need a mask, addictions or an escape to deal with our negative emotions or circumstances. This only postpones the inevitable need to face who we really are. Take time to look in the mirror and to love your self.

Living in the present helps us to care for our own needs, as well as the needs of people God brings into our life. We will look deeper than the manifesting emotions, into our own heart and into the heart of others.

God will give us discernment about the true needs in our soul or in the life of our family, friends, acquaintances and even total strangers that we meet along the way.

God will show us how He wants to use us to help, heal, provide for, or to pray for these needs. As we walk in His Spirit every moment of every day, we further His Kingdom.

Prayer:

Father God, most of us have calendars that are so full of activities and responsibilities that we have no time to just “be” in Your presence. We rattle off a quick prayer as we rush out the door, but we have not truly connected with our self or with You.

Teach us to fully abide in each moment of time. Help us not to regret the past or fear the future. Remind us that You have a perfect plan for every moment of our life, and teach us to walk in Your Spirit through every one of them.

Thought for the Day:

God calls us to adopt the attributes of a little child – to trust the Lord without reservation, to be open to new experiences in life, to enthusiastically enjoy our current activities, and to joyfully, lovingly and freely walk in His Spirit moment by moment throughout the day.

– Matthew 19:14; Galatians 5:15-26

A Seed for a Miracle

The trials of life are inevitable. Tribulation even comes to those who walk uprightly before the Lord (Matthew 5:45). Paul learned two secrets through the things, which he suffered.

First, he learned to be content whether he had plenty or when he had nothing, when he lived in comfort or when he suffered deprivation, and when he saw the fruit of his ministry or when he simply planted or watered (Philippians 4:11-12; 1 Corinthians 3:6-7).

Secondly, he learned to count every trial and tribulation as a joyous event (James 1:2-18). I never understood this insane view of suffering; until the day that I suffered the dissolution of my family.

This was by far the worst thing that could ever happen to me. I can bear physical pain and death, but I was inconsolable from the magnitude of my emotional loss when I was literally cut out of my family circle.

God previously tried through numerous trials to teach me to surrender all to Him, to enter His place of rest and to have faith in His faithfulness (Proverbs 3:5-6; Hebrews 4:10-11).

Yet, through every trail I struggled, often in vain, to use my own human resources to remedy the situation. However, this time there was no repairing the rupture of my family unit through divorce.

This is when I learned the Serenity Prayer. I had no recourse but to hand this devastating trial completely to God to do with as He saw fit. What I learned from this situation changed my life.

Now when I experience a trial, I view it as a sidewalk. If I focus on the details of the journey, I experience fear and insecurity. If I remember that there is a seed for a miracle in every trial, I feel only hope and anticipation.

I look toward the end the trial with the eyes of faith (Hebrews 11:1), expecting to see a miracle just up ahead. I keep my mind focused on God’s Kingdom and His will for me in this trial.

I serve at the pleasure of our King Jesus. If He allows a loss or trial or tribulation in my life, it is for His glory and my good (John 9:3; Romans 8:28). I can count on Him, because He is always faithful (1 Corinthians 1:9).

God uses us in times of trial to share the Gospel with someone; to live through this storm as an example of Christ’s peace in us; and for God to form His character, the fruit of His Spirit, and Christ’s divine nature in us through the things, which we suffer (Galatians 5:22-23; 2 Peter 1:4; Ephesians 2:10)?

I count trials as a joyful experience now, as I focus on the eternal consequences and not the temporal aspects of each one. I look forward to the ultimate miracle, which this trial shall birth in my life.

Prayer:
Father God, trials also taught me that if I continually live in Your presence and walk by Your Spirit, I will experience far fewer trials than if You have to resort to trials to gain my attention.

Satan also uses circumstances to batter us with temptations and trials all throughout our life; but we thank You that Christ in us is greater than the god of this world (Job 2:3; 1 John 4:4). Remind us that Jesus already won the victory for us over every negative aspect of life (1 Corinthians 15:57).

Thought for the Day:
Trust your life to God’s capable hands.

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

Healing Relationships – Part 1

There are four types of human relationships. We all fit into one of them, or a combination of several:
Independent – self-sufficient
Codependent – live for others
Dependent – despise living alone, have no personal identity                                 Interdependent – mutual, reciprocal relationships

These relational types describe how we relate to other people. If we are already functioning in interdependent relationships, we are healthy and have healthy interactions.

Otherwise, we are in needy, dysfunctional relationships, which are unhealthy for us and the other people in our life. Changing our beliefs about life and our self, and altering our attitude will bring needed healing to our soul.

In dysfunctional associations, we expect the magic of a fairytale existence; we pride our self in living as the martyr or savior; we give sacrificially and then feel anger and bitterness when we do not receive the love we believe we are owed in return.

In unhealthy relationships, our self-worth is based outside of our self, in people, places and things. We desire financial security, privacy, status in society, respect, degrees or popularity. We resent any change or adjustment required of us.

However, everything in life is fluid, temporary and undependable. We even disappoint our self. We cannot look to external values and relationships for our security.

When we concentrate on maintaining the status quo, we fail miserably every time we try. That is why the Serenity Prayer has grown in popularity.

Following its advice will ensure that we keep our focus on eternal matters, rather than on temporal issues, which cannot help but to disappoint us. We will also walk in God’s will each moment of every day.
Serenity Prayer:

“Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.
Amen.
– by the American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr

Thought for the Day:
Attempting to control our environment and relationships will guarantee that we suffer from stress-related issues, as well as to alienate those who mean the most to us.

God is in Control

There are many areas of life, which we desperately attempt to control, but they end up controlling us instead. Circumstances, people, illness, our supervisor, spouse, children, traffic, waiting in lines, etc. all influence our day in positive and negative ways. We often end up frustrated and hopeless because nothing we do will change the negative issues we are facing.

The best solution for these problems is to pray the Serenity Pray and to ask God to give us wisdom to know what situations we can change, and which we must leave in His capable hands. We can request that He give us the strength deal with the issues that He reveals are our responsibility and the courage to turn the rest over to Him with an attitude of acceptance of His will.

If we cannot change the issues, we can praise God for them, in them, and through them. For instance, our spouse is transferred to a city far from friends and family, and we and the children are resentful about moving. The only way to overcome the bitterness that is surely to follow is to realize that God has a new mission field for the family. A fresh place in the world to make a difference for Him.

The move is no longer a problem, not because we got our way, but because we changed our focus from carnal to spiritual, from earthly to heavenly. God cares about every aspect of our life. He is not unsympathetic about our concerns. He knows what we need, when we need it, and He will supply all of our needs according to His glorious riches (Philippians 4:19).

Prayer:
Father God, help me not to attempt to control life, but to live each moment of it in the center of Your will. When something or someone disturbs Your peace in me, remind me to keep my mind focused on You (Isaiah 26:3). Help me to walk in Your Spirit; and when something bothers me, give me the courage to lay down that idol at Your feet. I have the confidence that You will always either change me, or change my circumstances for my good (Romans 8:28).

Thought for the Day:
When negative feelings assail our soul, they are attempting to communicate that something is wrong within. We can ask God to show us the root of those feelings and the idol causing them. Then, we simply surrender to His control, as we wait for His provision as only He can supply.

Balancing the Soul and Spirit

Our spirit, the third entity of our existence (body, soul, spirit), is originally dead in sin, until we repent and come to Christ as our Savior. This starts a gradual process of total surrender to God’s will for our life. We no longer follow our heart, but listen to God’s Spirit instead (Jeremiah 17:9). The Spirit keeps us grounded and focused in comparison to the fickle and wayward emotions, which guided us in the past.

At salvation, Christ unites us with Himself in one Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:17; John 17:11, 20-23). Then, God’s Spirit fills us with His fruit (Galatians 5:22-23). We have a more peaceful and secure life now. Our spirit is filled with love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, meekness, self-control and faith, regardless of the emotions presenting in our soul. We can take the emotional wounds of our soul to Christ and allow His Spirit to exchange them with His fruit through our spirit.

Sometimes we still allow our soul’s emotions to dominate over God’s spiritual fruit in our spirit and to dictate our behavior. This is a common human malady. One of the goals of our Christian walk, however, is to surrender our soul’s emotions to God and then to walk in the Spirit and to express the fruit of God’s Spirit. Our spirit is not angry or depressed, our soul is. It is not hypocritical to be joyful, even when we feel depressed, or to show love to someone we feel anger toward.

This is part of the higher calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14). We cannot produce the fruit of the Spirit, only God can, but we must choose to exhibit them rather than negative emotions. We do this by walking in the Spirit all day long. Our spirit is always exhibiting the nature of Christ, the fruit of God’s Spirit, and can overcome the negative feelings in our soul

Negative feelings are a direct sign that we are not taking care of our soul. We feed our body food all day long, and we study the Bible to feed our spirit, but our soul needs care too. We do this by paying attention to how we feel. Then, use the Serenity Prayer Principle. If you can fix the situation causing your soul stress, fix it. If not, then submit that need or feeling to God for Him to heal or to fulfill.

Prayer:
Father God, our spirit is eternal and connects with Your Spirit in our inner man (2 Corinthians 4:16), our true spiritual self. You deliver us from the power of darkness and open the door for us into the Kingdom of Your Son (Colossians 1:13). We are Your emissaries to the world in which we live. Your love flows like a river through us to those You place around us. Remind us that our self-life is dead and we no longer live, but Christ lives in and through us (Galatians 2:20).

Thought for the Day:
God cares for us abundantly more than we could ever ask or think (Ephesians 3:20-21). He will meet the needs in our soul.