Reacting to Life

When we are attacked for our choices and feelings, we must fight with spiritual weapons, not carnal, human ones. Our warfare is not against a person, but against the spiritual powers, which operate behind the scenes and through people. Realizing who the real enemy is enables us to fight with the spiritual weapons the Lord gives us (2 Corinthians 10:4).

My father reacted to life as a bipolar, rage-aholic. In my younger years, I compliantly did as I was told; but with age, I learned his behavior and I stood up for myself. I used anger to protect my interests when anyone made a decision that affected me, or when they did not listen to my feelings or my needs, discounted or ignored me, or did not take me seriously.

After I surrendered my life to Christ, I still used anger to make people take me seriously. What I did not realize is that anger is not God’s way (James 1:20). Anger manipulated me into acting as a tool of the devil. He discouraged and wounded people through my outbursts of anger. The root of any issue goes deeper than human decisions, personalities, schedules and life choices.

With time, I learned to gain the person’s undivided attention and to express very firmly that my needs are either not negotiable, or that an alternate decision needs to be made that I am comfortable with. This is an effective method if the other person is spirit-led and listens to my needs, does not discount or ignore me, and takes me seriously.

Otherwise, I make it very clear, without anger, that I am upset about the decision being made; and I will make alternative decisions, which will provide for my needs. Divorce is never an option, and quitting a job before securing another one is not advisable. However, we can protect our self from another person’s upsetting decisions and behavior, by getting counseling and by using a time of separation to work out the opposing issues needing reconciliation.

Prayer,
Father God, remind us that we are all living in spiritual warfare (1 Peter 5:8). If Satan can use some decision to split a relationship, he will do it. Your Word tells us to turn the other cheek and to go the extra mile (Mt. 5:39); but after we do this, we often need to take a stand. Help us to journal our feelings, to pray about the situation, to ask You to intervene on our behalf and then to try to communicate our needs once again. Remind us that a period of separation for the purpose of reconciliation allows both parties to live apart for a time, to get counseling and to find a way to resolve the issue, which is causing them grief.

Thought for the Day:
Put the devil to flight and preserve your marriage and other relationships by preferring one another, never insisting on your own way, laying down both sets of preferences and finding a third alternative with which you can both live happily. – James 4:7

Alone With God

How often do we plan to spend some time alone with God, and some earthly distraction looms before us, demanding our undivided attention? We look wistfully at our little prayer chair or prayer closet or secret place and feel the draw of God’s Spirit on our spirit. However, the world pulls our soul – our thoughts, choices and feelings – away from our Beloved Father.

Whenever God claims our attention, Satan makes sure that our mind wanders and our affections are torn. We cannot even finish the train of thought in our prayers before demonic activity highjacks our attention. God longs to liberate us from the demands of our temporal life and to set us free to soar with Him in the spiritual realm. He wants to remove us from our busyness and give us His rest (Hebrews 4:10).

Martha, Jesus’ friend, was distracted by the duties in her world too. She demanded that Jesus order Mary, her sister, to help her to get dinner ready. Jesus told Martha that Mary already chose the best course for her time. There would be plenty of opportunities for domestic activity when Jesus was not in their presence (Luke 10:42). Our duties are always with us too; so schedule time alone with God.

God wants our undivided, focused attention with our vision and thoughts on nothing other than His face. Then God comforts us, inspires us, directs us and loves on us from the depths of our soul. We must jealously guard this time, setting it aside every day or even several times a day. We also commune with God without ceasing all throughout our day (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

Prayer:
Father God, You call some of us to the ministry of intercession, and Your Spirit prompts us to lift up certain ones in prayer. Yet, we also spend alone time with You, because in Your presence is fullness of joy and pleasure forevermore (Psalm 16:11). You mold us by Your grace and replace our carnal flesh with the fruit of Your Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). As we contemplate Your glory, You shape us into the image of Christ, our Lord (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Thought for the Day:
Much is accomplished in the spiritual realm when we make the time to spend in the presence of God.