life, Spiritual, success

Humble Beginnings

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Everyone desires to be great. As a matter of fact, greatness is the undertone of every conversation. Various books, movies, and articles have been written about how to be successful. The definition of success for individuals is being skewed by that which society defines as success. Persons that are not yet at the pinnacle of society’s definition of success  are feeling the weight of the waves of pressure to perform. The heights of the waves have gushed over them leaving them sinking into the dark deep hoping not to drown in their own despair. Appreciation for humble beginnings is almost a thing of yesterday. Instead of praise, the slow, long and tedious process of humble beginnings is acknowledged with a curse.

Appreciation for humble beginnings is almost a thing of yesterday. Instead of praise, the slow, long and tedious process of humble beginnings is acknowledged with a curse. However, if we stop allowing society to define success for us, then the pressure to perform will lessen. We will be able to enjoy the journey knowing that success lies in the journey and not the destination as it has been depicted.

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We often tend to forget that in the process of small beginnings we learn how to have humility. That may not seem to be rewarding, but its value is priceless. I say this because pride always comes before destruction, however, with humility comes greatness. Humility  is like  fertilizer to  our heart which results in us having a right spirit no matter our current circumstance.

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Additionally, small beginnings teach us to have the proper work etiquette and how to be grateful.

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When we are able to work with a cheerful spirit, knowing that doing the work is a blessing in and of itself. Then even God Himself will rejoice to see the work being done. This should cause us to rejoice knowing that if God is pleased He will reward with bountiful blessings.

Are you in a place of small beginnings? do you have the right attitude in this season of your life? Have you been grateful while putting in the work? Do you have a patient spirit or are you filled with anxiety of moving to the next big thing? Today ask God to examine your heart as it pertains to the “small beginnings” areas of your life so that you will be able to enjoy the journey and be rewarded greatly.

3.20.17 Dr.R.A.

life, success

Birthday Thanks

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I am a birthday person. Today, I am particularly thankful that I have lived to see another year. Every year since I was a child I would look forward to my birthday. I believe this was something that was instilled in me by my parents. Especially my mother, as she would make much to do about my birthday. Honestly, I felt like a princess growing up as it pertains to my birthday.

So now that I consider myself to be all grown up, I have taken on the role of a queen. Generally, I do not make plans for my special day as that is usually situated by both family and friends. However, this year was different. No, I did not plan a party for myself or sent secret gifts to myself at work. Instead, I was contacted by an employer for a position that I applied for an interview. The interview was to be scheduled on my birthday. Initially, I thought I should reschedule but instead I confirmed that I could make the appointment.

I woke up this morning with the perspective of giving myself a job for my birthday. As such, I got dressed and went on an interview for my birthday. Now what I did is not the typical thing to do for a birthday but I believe it was worth it. I don’t know if I will get the job but I was thankful to have the opportunity to “make my case.”

I have decided to make everyday count. So what better way to make a day count and do something that my future self will thank me for than going on an interview for my birthday?

I hope that all of us will have a mindset to do something that we will be thankful for in the future, even if it is on our birthday.

03.13.17 Dr.R.A.

 

life, Spiritual, success

Push Out from Land

 

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After working for extended hours to accomplish a goal exhaustion can set it. Especially when we have not accomplished what we desired to achieve. We begin to feel like all of our efforts and time has been wasted. We find ourselves at the brink of giving up and throwing in the towel altogether. This feeling is not uncommon or unique to us as all persons who have obtained success had to cross this juncture. Noticed is said CROSSED. It simply means that they had to get beyond this point and continued to achieve their desire.

The Bible tells of a story where the disciples had toiled all night and had caught nothing. For those who may not know (although I believe that everyone does) were fishermen by trade. They had spent all night trying to get a catch of fish and was unable to accomplish their desired task. Weary and tired they decided to go back to shore and call it quits. Just then they were told by Jesus to push a little off from land. Regardless of how they felt they obeyed. That same moment the acquired a catch that was so great that their nets began to break. They had to call for surrounding boats to get some of the catch.

Pushing off from land means they had to leave the place when they were comfortable. Comfortable feeling sorry for themselves. Comfortable giving up. Comfortable living below their privileges. Comfortable not achieving their goals.

It is time for us to push off from land. There is a great catch is waiting to be obtained. Where you have to push to your feet may not be able to touch the ground, but the depth is necessary for the overflow. It is time to push off from the shore. Abundance is waiting!

 

3.9.17 Dr.R.A.

Spiritual

Forced to Turn Around

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On this journey called life, we are often encountered with roadblocks. Usually, there is no advance notice that there is construction taking place along the route until you are at the precise location and see signs for a detour. These digressions often lead to frustration because one has to take the scenic route,  usually longer to arrive at the destination. Additionally, the new route is often filled with traffic and other drivers who are trying to figure our how to get to their destination. This leads to a delay in the speed at which one can travel. If we are not careful, our attitudes can influence us to quit altogether and take on the task another day, which may or may not happen.

As it is in the natural, so it is in the spirit. Whenever we are on the pathway to our promise, we never like to become interrupted. Delays and scenic routes are definitely not welcomed. Almost immediately we feel the urge to resist. Although we may not appreciate or understand the need for a change in our course the fact of the matter is that we have to change direction and should be more willing to accept change. What? Yes, I said it, sometimes we need to be more willing to accept change, especially in the direction we are traveling. Why? Because it will not affect our promise.

In the book of Numbers, we are told a story of the children of Isreal traveling to the land which the Lord promised. Along their journey, they need to pass through the land of Moab to get to their destination quicker. The Moabites came out in numbers to deter them from walking through the land. The Israelites tried to bargain with the Moabites by letting them know they will pay for anything they have consumed. Nevertheless, the Moabites insisted that the Israelites could not walk through the land.

The Israelites now had a decision to make. They were either going to remain in the wilderness and never obtain the promise, or they were going to turn around and find another route. The choice to turn around was not theirs. The fact remains they were being forced by the Moabites to turn around. They were not given advanced notice that there will be a detour ahead. They just had to turn around when they arrived and head back in the direction from which they had traveled.

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Sometimes the enemy will force us just like the Moabites did to turn around. Now what is important is that they still had a promise of getting the land of Canaan as their inheritance. The fact also remains that although they had to turn around, they still received the promise. Additionally, because of the actions of the Moabites, the Lord promised to wipe them off the earth.  This should further encourage us that when the enemy comes out against us on our journey to the promised land, we will get there even if we have to turn around and the Lord will fight our battles thus taking care of our enemies.

Turn around if you must, but do not let roadblocks become barriers to your belief in obtaining the promise.

3/8/17 Dr.R.A.

Spiritual

Value of Wisdom

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We live in an era where knowledge has increased exponentially. Accessing knowledge regarding any subject matter can be done in seconds. Everything we desire to know is at our fingertips. We evolved into a generation of knowledge seekers thinking that having knowledge is the pinnacle. However,  although knowledge is good wisdom is better.

So what is wisdom? Well, basically wisdom is the application of knowledge. It is that which causes us to have a better and easier life. Wisdom is to be valued above all things as it is profitable.

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Widom is the greatest achievement that one can gain. It positions us to achieve the desires of our heart.

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Wisdom is a shelter. It also gives us the right perspective in life and provides us with the power to live. Knowledge without wisdom is like having an ax, however, the blade is not sharpened.  Using such an ax will not only make that which we are trying to accomplish more difficult but it will also cause harm to our body. The Bible states in Ecc. 10:10 that “using a dull ax requires great strength.” It admonishes us that the blade should be sharpened. The text further tells us that the value of wisdom is that it helps us to succeed.

We all want to be successful in life but the only way to accomplish that is to value wisdom.  Today our prayer should be “Lord cause my wisdom to increase.” It is time for us to examine our life and see whatever is lacking and ask God to supply.

3.6.17 Dr.R.A.

Spiritual

Where God Guides

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Sometimes it is hard to wrap our minds around the direction that our lives are taking. Especially when we have committed our lives to Him (God).  The path often seems meandering, mountainous, deserted, arid, etc. The environment often causes us to wonder whether or not we are really being led? Whether we should continue on the path? Whether we should quit, look for another route or just turn back. Our minds are usually filled and overflowing with questions as we do not know where we are heading but blindly walking by faith. At times we question whether or not even our needs will be met as the landscape screams there is not supply here! However regardless of what it seems like if we could dare to continue on the path, we will see that wherever God guides He truly does provides.

The Bible tells of a story regarding a prophet, the servant of God who was doing the will of God and in a place of famine. The famine was so severe that the brook dried up where he was located. Knowing the condition of the environment the Lord instructed him to Zarephath where a widow will supply his needs. This was strange as the famine also existed in Zarephath. As a matter of fact, when he got there the widow who was to provide for him only had her last meal for herself and child. Looking from the outside, we may say that is a crazy instruction. How can someone who has nothing herself take care of all your needs?

Nevertheless, he did not allow his intellect to prevent him from obtaining a blessing or being a blessing. He followed the instructions of the Lord. When he arrived, he instructed the widow what she should do, which was to bake him a cake first. Of the little that she had that could only make one cake to share with her child he wanted a cake first. Preposterous we may say! Nonetheless, she in turned obey the prophet of God and had more than enough for the remaining duration of the famine.

The moral of the story is that wherever God guides He provides and wherever He leads He supplies needs.

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If God is leading you and the path seem dark and treacherous have no fear. I know sometimes it is easier said than done. But remember, the will of God will never take you where the miracles of God cannot be done for you. Trust Him and obey. His promises do hinge on your obedience. Obey and receive your miracle!

3.3.17 Dr.R.A.

life, Spiritual, success

Steps to Success

 

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There are usually many steps to climb before reaching one’s goals.

All these steps are filled with a range of emotions. One can sporadically burst into tears or laughter at each location due to the intensity of emotions. These steps can be classified into four categories, namely DENIAL, BARGAINING, TESTING, and ACCEPTANCE (DBTA).

At the denial stage, we generally tell ourselves that whatever we are trying to accomplish cannot be done. We frequently use phrases like “I can’t do it,” “I am not good enough,” “I am not smart enough,” “I won’t do it,” “It makes no sense,” “It is too difficult.” At the stage, our eyes are covered whether by blindfold or scales, which needs to be removed so that we can see clearly. The truth of the matter is that all we need to do is exert a little effort and we will see the results we desire.

The second stage is the bargaining phase. We admit to ourselves that we want to have what we desire and seek advice on how to accomplish our goals. We inquire how to do it and gather as much information as possible. It is at this stage that we discover various strategies and become empowered to devise methods of accomplishing our goals. Plans A, B and C is developed at this level.

Thirdly, is the testing phase. This step is filled with trial, errors, and disappointments. It is at this stage that our language changes from “I will try” to “I can” and then ultimately to “I will do it.” This is the final step before accomplishment.

Finally is the acceptance level. This is the stage that we realize that what we once thought was impossible is now very possible. At this point, we can sing and dance to “Yes, I did it.” This stage is where we gain the confidence needed to be a role model to others. We become solidified in our thoughts that if we are able to do then someone else can also and we become inspired to help those who are still at the base of the staircase.

The key thing to remember while at any level is that you can do all things through God as He is the One that gives strength. Also, He is the one that gives knowledge and wisdom. Everything we need can be found Him. Never forget that when things seem impossible for you that nothing is impossible with God. At your lowest point, you are positioned for higher and greater things. The DBTA’s are really just steps to climb (though steep they may seem) to accomplish your goals and see the manifestation of the desires of your heart.

3/1/17 Dr.R.A.

Spiritual

Got Faith?

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If the question regarding having faith was asked the answers would vary. However, the truth is that all of us have faith because we were all given a measure. Some of us choose to exercise our faith in God whereas other exert their faith in people, things, places, etc. But the bottom line is that we all have it. Now we should all know that the biblical definition of faith is “the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.” Basically, faith is to trust completely in a person or thing. To see results, however, requires a certain amount of faith.

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In Matthew 17 a story was told of a boy who was demon-possessed and could not get deliverance not even from Jesus’ disciples. When the boy was brought to Jesus, He rebuked the demons, and they left the boy. The disciples pondered as to why they were unable to do the same thing.  Jesus responded, “You do not have enough faith!” What? How could the disciples been walking with Jesus all this time, performing miracles and do not have enough faith? Preposterous one might say.  But the fact of the matter was that they did not have enough faith even though they were a follower of Christ. Why did they not have enough faith? Maybe their faith had been eroded by life’s challenges. Whatever the reason was we don’t know and could offer several speculative assumptions. Nevertheless, the fact remains that they did not have enough faith.

One may think by Jesus’ response that great faith would be required to perform such a task. But that was not the case. Jesus continued speaking and stated that if the disciples had faith as small as a mustard seed they would be able to command the mountain to move and it would be removed. If they could have faith as small as a mustard seed, then nothing would be impossible. A mustard seed if one of the smallest seed and that is all the faith that is required to see desires manifested. Remember with that amount of faith NOTHING is impossible. What do you need to have faith for?

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Prayer today: Lord whatever circumstance stands before us like a mountain I pray that we will exert the faith to speak to these situations so that we can see them removed. May we stand upon the principles of Your word knowing that you cannot lie. May the things that we have long desire to see manifest in our lives suddenly. Today we are forwarding all our issues to you and releasing doubt and fear. Amen.

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2.28.17 Dr.R.A.

 

Spiritual

Horses, Chariots vs. a Name

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As humans, I must admit that we are more inclined to trust in things that are tangible. We like to have the assurance that we can see and feel things to believe in it. This is because it gives a certitude that the thing actually does exist. Due to this fact, we sometimes are prone to suffer from misplaced trust.

The Bible in the book of Psalm states “some trust in Chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” Now for some, it may seem logical to trust in chariots and horses rather than a name.  Chariots have wheels and can travel at what could be considered high speed. It represents prestige, wealth, and status. It also speaks to durability. Horses, on the other hand,  speaks to strength, balance, and speed. Whereas what does a name speak to? Well, what we have to bear in mind it is not just any name that our trust should be placed in – it is the name of the Lord our God. The name speaks to identity. However, when it comes to God, there is much more in His name than identity.

The name of the Lord is a strong tower where we can run into and be safe from all harm. The name of the Lord our God is a refuge and fortress. The name of God is strong, mighty, powerful. At His name, every knee shall bow. At the mention of His name demons tremble and flee. The name of the Lord is all encompassing. Whatever we need we can find it in His name. Additionally, if horses and chariots are what we need, we can find it in His name also. The cattle on a thousand hills belong to Him. He is the one that gives man knowledge to gain wealth. therefore, we should put our trust in the name of the Lord and not in material things. Come on, do not let things that you have acquired cause you to have misplaced trust. Never esteem the gift above the giver of the gift!

Chariots can be destroyed or stolen. Horses too can die or become stolen. However, the name of the Lord our God remaineth forever. There is stability in God! He is the giver of all good gifts. Put your trust in Him!

2/27/17 Dr.R.A.

Spiritual

Lies

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If any of us should say that we have never told a lie before then, we would know for sure that that person is a liar. People tell lies for different reasons. Some persons lie because they may be afraid of the repercussions of their actions, whereas some persons lie to make themselves look good. As a matter of fact, individuals lie so much that classification of lies has been developed.

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Some persons, however, lie for seemingly no reason at all, they could be classified as habitual liars. Their new names should be Pinocchio.

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Telling a lie whatever our justification maybe is just wrong!

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Telling lies is like putting a band-aid on a gunshot wound. It may seem to help but leads to greater harm. As temporary solutions usually result in permanent problems. Telling lies about ourselves is wrong. However, telling lies about others is even more dangerous.

The Bible lets us know that “Telling lies about others is as harmful as hitting them with an ax, wounding them with a sword, or shooting them with a sharp arrow.” Proverbs 25:18

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 All of the above scenarios create great harm to an individual and the probability of the person dying from these actions is substantial. There is no need to lie about others to “tear them down” so that we can build up ourselves. Our goal should always be to lift up others. In building ourselves we should build others also. Therefore we should endeavor to speak the truth always.

There is a little memory gem that I learned from my grandmother. Something I have implemented in my life over the years. It says “speak the truth and speak it ever, let it cost what it will. For he who hide the wrong he does, does the wrong thing still.” It simply means that no matter what the consequence one should always speak the truth. If we lie then we will continue to do wrong.  It is a fact that whenever a lie is told then another has to be told to cover for the first. It is like a chain reaction of lies that will be unleashed. As such, to relieve ourselves of unnecessary burdens speak the truth. SPEAK THE TRUTH ALWAYS! Speak the truth also in love!

2.21.17 Dr.R.A.

Spiritual

Storm

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Not everyone has had the privilege or misfortune (depending on the outlook) of being in an actual major storm. I am not just referring to a tropical storm or thunderstorm. I am making reference to storms like hurricanes. The ones that preparation has to be made for to increase the chances of survival. However, due to technology, we can see the effects of these storms and imagine what the impact of the encounter. The thing about major storms is that there is a timeframe in which to expect the occurrence. Not all storms, however, give that allowance. Some storms seem to occur suddenly, catching us off guard. Especially the ones that happen in our lives. These kinds leave us flustered, angry, sad, disappointed, broken, bewildered, forsaken, hopeless, panicking, etc.  I believe it is the somewhat “suddenliness” of it that causes the wind to be knocked out of our lungs. In addition to them occurring suddenly some are of prolonged which further contributes to the devastation.

One of the essential core characteristics of storms is that they never affect just an individual. Usually the affect an entire community, family, state, country, etc. Therefore at least one other person is experiencing the exact impact. This may not seem comforting, but to the contrary, it is, because t lets us know that no matter what we are experiencing we are not alone.

We are not the only ones either who have experienced storms. The disciples in the book of Matthew experienced a “suddenly” storm that left them distraught.  This was a storm that was so fierce that the winds were breaking into the boat. Even though they were fishermen and had experienced storm before and should know how to navigate the situation, this one caught them off guard. There was something about this storm that disrupted their thought process and their entire emotional state, causing them to panic. What was the exact reason? I don’t know. It could be assumed that it was the fierceness of the winds that penetrated them. Or maybe it was the boisterous waves, Or because it occurred suddenly. Whatever, the reason clearly their axis had been tilted.

And as if the suddenness of their seemingly tragic situation was not bad enough, their leader was sound asleep. Whatever triggered them to panic escalated when they recognized that their leader was oblivious to what was happening. In addition, all they could conclude was that certainly, he does not care. That thought pierced them through like a two-edged sword.

Have you ever been in a situation where you were experiencing a major storm, and it seemed like God was asleep? The person you were following and trying to obey their every command was unconcerned with what happening to you. Have you ever felt like you were the stepchild to God? Have you ever felt like He was indifferent to your pain? Have you ever felt like His ears could not hear your voice no matter how loudly you screamed? Have you ever felt like no matter what you did you could not get His attention? Or get Him to attend to your need? He is just “sleeping in your storm?” Well, maybe you have been there. As a matter of fact, maybe that is the exact location of your psyche. If that is the case then I want to let you know that is not the end of your story. How do I know this? Well because it didn’t end there for the disciples either. And because it didn’t end there for them it will not end like that for you, because God is no respecter of person. What He does for one He will do for all.

The story continued and let us know that Jesus arose and spoke to the wind and the waves. He stated “be still ” and the wind and waves obeyed. Him. He will speak to your storms and cause them to be still just like He did for the disciples. You see the disciples were focused on the storm and not the fact that Jesus was in the boat. But if Christ is in the vessel, then we can smile at the storm as the songwriter rightly penned. So shift your focus. Focus on God, the master who can make all things work for our good.

God is never indifferent to what you are going through or to what you have need of. The Bible lets us know that if we being evil know how to give good gifts, how much more our Heavenly Father. He will speak to our storms and cause them to cease. Just have faith. It is getting ready to happen!!!!

 

2.16.17 Dr.R.A.

 

 

 

life, Spiritual

Reminders

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Some of us think of ourselves as superheroes. We get up every day and try to put out as many fires as possible and rescue as many people  as we can.  Although it may be a tiring and not financially rewarding job, it brings satisfaction to know our efforts helped someone have a beautiful day. Our lives consist of a constant  “ripping and running.” We do not focus on ourselves and our immediate needs but on others. Unfortunately however,  just like superman we have kryptonite that weakens us and our ability to perform. It is in moments like those that we are the ones standing in need.

I can’t honestly say that today was one of my weak days,  but it was one of those days that receiving a reminder filled me with gratitude.

So here is the story.  I came into my office to review my schedule for the day.  I did not do my usual greetings as I sat for awhile  diving into work. I had to leave the office for a brief minute and when I returned my light was off.  I  didn’t think anything of it as I knew that my friend had come to visit as he had not seen me as yet.  So I flipped the switch walked over to my desk and on my keyboard there was a note.  It was nothing I had not read before.  As a matter of fact I’ve seen the exact quote numerous times before.  I  read it quickly and was about to put it away when there was an urge to read it again.

This time I held the note in my hand and read it slowly.  It said “Good morning! This is God,  I will be handling all of your problems today.  I  will not need your help.  So,  relax and have a great day. ” I began to think of the many issues that I would love God to fix in my life some of which I consider to be mountainous. Some of  which although I’ve swept under the rug needed to handled as paramount emergencies. And to be reminded that God will be handling all those issues brought some comfort to me.

I re-read the part that says “I will not need your help.” I started to think of all the times I’ve tried to help God fix things in my life (only to make things worse) and chuckled.  I said okay God I will not help.  I’m leaving these into Your capable hands.

I shared this because reminders are good and necessary to have.   Not point out that we don’t know something, but serves to bring awareness to the forefront of our minds.

Today I’m grateful for reminders.

2.15.17 Dr.R.A.

life, Spiritual

How do you treat others?

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How do you treat the people in your life? Do you treat them with kindness or disdain? Especially the people that you think you do not need… do you see them and treat them as valuable or do you treat them like disposables? Is your lifestyle too busy to send a text to say hello or even pick up the phone and say hi? Is your life too complicated for the persons that God has placed in your life as a means of building and shaping you for who and where He has designed you to be?

How we treat others is a reflection of our person. As such we should endeavor to treat others the way we would like to be treated.  The Bible tells us to be careful in how we entertain strangers because we might be entertaining angels unaware.

A story was also told of a rich man and a beggar who both died but one ended up in Abraham’s bossom, whereas the other in hell. While they were alive the rich man never treated the beggar with kindness.  When he died the man who he scorned was the one he wanted to come and drop water on his tongue.  One moral of the story is that you never know when you will be in need and the same person you disregard maybe the same person who you will need their help.

We are all valuable regardless of status, culture, color, etc. As Maya said,  people may forget what you do but they will never forget how you made them feel. Therefore,  treat everyone with love and kindness, just like you would like to be treated. Things can be replaced,  people can’t.  Don’t value things above people,  after all they are made in the image and likeness of God just like you.

2.7.17 Dr.R.A.

life, Spiritual

Don’t let the Blessings Break You

downloadWe often don’t acknowledge that the blessings we desire and God is able to give can break us. When we ask to be blessed we do not consider the implications of the blessing. We need to understand that to whom much is given much will be required. As such the blessings for which we pray may seem to be delayed but there is a reason for this delay.

The word lets us know that the blessings of the Lord maketh rich and addeth no sorrow with it. So because God is wise instead of giving what we ask for immediately he allows us to go through a process which causes us to be built and strengthened for that which He will bless us with. During the process we may become lonely, tired, angry, sad. We may even experience grief during  the process. However, amist the myriad of kaleidoscopic emotions, throughout the  process we will see glimpses of what will be endowed upon us manifested which will give strength to keep moving along the journey.

The process is necessary for us not to destroy ourselves. For instance, in the natural if you give a car to a six year old to drive, though it may seem like a blessing to him it will result in breaking/death of that child as he is not quite aware of how to properly maneuver the vehicle amongst other things.

We are not the only ones who have to endure the process. David before he was anointed king had to go through the process of being a shepherd. Before he faced Goliath he had to go through the process of killing lions and bears. Yes, all these things happened in the background out of the limelight. But when it was time for the limelight/ show he was already prepared as he had been rehearsing for a period of time. He was able to bear the weight of the blessings because he went through the process. Don’t get caught up focusing on  the limelight. It will happen.  You will get to be upstage and center. Go through the process and build spiritual muscles to bear the blessings that God is about to pour out on you!!!

2.2.17 Dr.R.A

Spiritual

Resist

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We often wish that the enemy of our soul would leave us alone forever.

However, that is just wishful thinking as he frequently interferes in our lives trying to ensure it is a living heck.

Notwithstanding, there is a way we can get rid of him.

Most of us are familiar with the text that says “resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

As a matter of fact, we have often tried to resist, and it seems like he will not budge.

It’s as if his foot has been crazy glued permanently in a specific area of our life.

Nonetheless, there is a way to get rid of him.

There is a way to cause him to run out of our lives.

The only way to get this done is to submit our lives to God.

If we yield ourselves completely to the authority of God then we will be able to withstand the action and/or effect of the enemy in our lives.

When we are totally surrendered to God He will give us the authority that is needed to cause the enemy to vamoose out of our lives.

Therefore, submit and get power to resist.

 

2/1/17 Dr. R.A

via Daily Prompt: Resist

Spiritual

Everything Going Against

 

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At times life can seem like everything is going against you. Everything is seemingly falling apart no matter how hard you try to keep it together. It’s like holding sand in the palm of your hand and watching the grains slip through your finger, regardless of your effort to hang on to them. In fact, sometimes you may even wonder if you have been cursed like Sisyphus, as life seems to be a constant uphill climb. For those not familiar with Sisyphus, he was a king who was punished for deceitfulness by pushing a stone uphill. The issue with pushing a boulder up a hill is that whenever it reaches the top, it would roll down and he would constantly be doing the same thing. These circumstances only lead to frustration which results in you feeling like you are the only one that has to undergo what you are going through.  However, I come to remind you that you are not and that everything is going to be ok.

Maybe you did not hear me so I will repeat:

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There was a man in the Bible called Jacob. He was not known for doing everything right. As a matter of fact, his name described his nature – trickster, deceiver. There was a point in his life where he also felt like everything thing was going against him. Genesis 42: 36 states “Jacob exclaimed, “You are robbing me of my children! Joseph is gone! Simeon is gone! And now you want to take Benjamin, too. Everything is going against me!” At this stage in his life, he was old and had lost the love of his life. In addition to losing his love, he lost his favorite child. As if that was not enough he was in need of food as they were experiencing famine in the land. In an effort to survive by acquiring food in a country nearby he lost another son and the only way he could get back that son was to send the only child that the love of his life left behind.  This was evidently more than Jacob could bear. He expressed in his anguish that “everything was going against him.” Little did he know, however, that it was a setup. It was a setup for him to be blessed beyond his expectation. Long story short – he was able to die of a good old age happy seeing all his children and even pronouncing a blessing on both his children and grandchildren.

Just like Jacob, you may feel currently that everything is going against you. Nevertheless, I am here to declare to you that it is only a setup for you to be blessed beyond what you could ever ask or think.  As Henry Ford says, the “airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” It is time for you to take off! The runway has been cleared, and all the setbacks were just fuel for your great launch. Get yourself together! Stop crying over what was lost! Stop pinning over what was stolen! Pick yourself up! You have been released for takeoff!  This is your moment to shine! Your worst days are behind you and your best days are before! Step into your season! It is your time to FLY!!

1.25.17 Dr.R.A.

Spiritual

Trapped in Castles

 

Like characters in a fairytale, some of us are trapped in castles/ kingdoms waiting to be rescued. From day to day we sit at the window and daydream of the one who will be brave enough to climb over hills so steep and through valleys so low to set us free. We muse about the one being so courageous that no adverse atmospheric condition would be able to detour. As we fantasize we become satisfied with our imaginations and retreat further inside these castle walls and wait for another day to repeat the cycle.

 The issue, however, is that unlike those fairytale characters we are the ones who build those castles/kingdoms. We build castle/kingdoms of pride, doubt, unbelief, fear, hatred, malice, insecurities, unforgiveness, etc. around our lives.   Only leaving a tiny window out of reach to glance on the outer world. Hoping that someone having conquered all the elements will be able to climb these high walls to the tiny opening where we sit awaiting salvation. We dedicate years of life experiences to lay a foundation and build walls so thick like the walls of Jericho in an effort to self-preserve. Only to find that our method of preservation has imprisoned us instead.  While we wait, we become disappointed because unfortunately, however, no one comes to the rescue or will come to set us free.

What? Yes, no one will come. I say no one will come because what we are looking for is within us. We are the ones that need to tear the bricks of these castle/kingdoms down brick by brick. We are the ones who knows the precise experience that formed a brick and instead of using the brick to build pathways we build walls – walls that hinder and imprison. These castles/kingdoms must come down in order to live purposefully and fulfill our destiny. Destiny cannot be fulfilled behind bars. Yes, like Joseph the experiences may have happened so quickly that we feel like we have been thrown into a pit and then into prisons without reasonable cause.Nonetheless, his story did not end there. His story ended with him fulfilling his destiny as a ruler over Egypt (sin).  Our destiny also is to be a ruler over sin. Therefore these prison walls must come down. How? Go to God in prayer.

Our prayer should be more of you (God) and less of me, make me who I’m meant to be. Expose all the experiences that formed brick for walls instead of pavement to Him. He can give us the power to demolish these castles/kingdoms. All we need in this life is God as He is everything. So surrender all to Him and watch Him order our steps to the greatness He has in mind (the expected end). Surrender and free yourself from being trapped in castles.

1.24.17 Dr.R.A.

Spiritual

Hope Again

 

 

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Sometimes the vicissitudes of life can weather our faith and obliviate our hope. Leaving us groping around wearing mask trying to hide all the pain and brokenness inside. We have become experts of wearing a frown upside down so no one can detect the numbness that ricochets through our inner being. Quick glances and brief greetings enable us to maintain our facade.However, if we were confronted with a stare then the glass would shatter exposing our inward fragility. The warmth of a genuine smile and the comfort of a hug would automatically disarm our defense. Such simple acts of kindness would remind us of care and prove that there is still hope.

Sometimes the value of hope is overlooked. However, it is very vital as it anchors even faith.  The Bible says that “faith is the substance of things hoped for” this simple means that hope is the root of faith. Hope causes us to have an expectation. It is the substance (expected end) of that which we have faith.

We often get discouraged from hoping because our view of hope is often twisted. We often view hope as a process. Therefore, when it does not work as we thought we give up hope. However, I came to realign your thoughts by letting you know that hope is not a process. Hope is an expected end.  As such, do not tranquilize your hope with maybe.When the process is not going as we think it should be we say ‘well maybe it is not meant to be,’ “maybe it is really not for me,” “maybe the time is not yet.” All plausible excuses I might add, as the process can cause you to become despondent. However, do not, I repeat DO NOT pacify your hope and move it from the expected end to where you are. Instead, I implore you to rehearse the promises in your mind. If that is not enough, then write it on a post-it. Put it in your house, job, car, etc. Keep it alive because it shall come to pass.

Yes, you are weary from all the ebbs.  As a matter of fact, it could be said that you are downright sick and ready to puke. Yes the prevailing situating don’t look like anything good will ever happen…yes, you have toiled all night and you are weary.  Nonetheless, hope. Hope again as your expectation is necessary to give birth to the miracle that is hidden deep within your emotions. Hope again and begin to write. Write the vision!!! Make it plain….though it tarry…it will speak and NOT lie!!. It is getting ready to happen!!! A covenant  (the expected end)has already been made!!!! Hope again!!! Hope changes everything, so HOPE AGAIN!!

 

1/22/17 Dr. R.A.

Spiritual

Check Your Attitude

 

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It is often said that life is ten percent of what happens to us and 90 percent of how we react to what happened. I believe this is true, as we have total control or rather should have complete control over our own attitude. Whatever we allow to sway our attitude is that which we have given power over our being. As such possessing the right attitude in right or wrong situations is within our control.

As we walk this journey called life, we will be faced with various situations. Situations where we feel incredibly cheated and feel the need to rectify. However, in these moments we should always rely on God to justify whatever we have experienced.

We all have heard about the notorious thief of the Bible Jacob. He had been so skilled in his craft that he had to leave home to live with his uncle because his brother wanted to kill him. While he was living with his uncle, he got to experience a dose of his own medicine. The only issue was that what he had supplied and that which he received was magnified. Nevertheless, because he was in a strange land and living somewhat at the mercy of his uncle, he maintained a right attitude. This “right” disposition allowed him to be blessed by God that both himself everyone around him could acknowledge.

He was thoroughly comfortable where he was basking in the blessings of the Lord until his eyes were opened and He was able to perceive his uncle’s attitude towards him.  In Genesis 31:2 the Bible let us know that “And Jacob began to notice a change in Laban’s attitude towards him.” It is quite ironic that while Jacob was “living at the mercy” of Laban and “slaving away” that Laban had no issue with Jacob. As a matter of fact when Jacob finally asked Laban for wages after working for him for years without wages, he changed his wages ten times. During this experience of being cheated knowingly, Jacob displayed the right attitude and Laban had no issue with Jacob. Until he recognized that Jacob was being blessed no matter his devices employed to cheat Jacob. His aim was to keep Jacob down. But as soon as Jacob’s blessings could no longer be hidden Laban had a problem. His attitude towards Jacob changed. However, what is important is that Jacob was able to perceive Laban’s change in attitude towards him and remained with the right attitude. He did not try to justify all he encountered. Instead, he depended on God who he had covenanted with to guide.

This I believe is very prominent even among believers, as whenever someone that we know was an “underdog” suddenly rises to the top our attitude towards them changes. Especially if we believe that they have become more accomplished. I say check your ATTITUDE!! Maybe the reason you are not more blessed is because of the attitude that you possess. STOP trying to keep others down. STOP using your power to try and keep them under your thumb, so that you can manipulate their every move because they are dependent on you.

Also for the “underdogs,” I say CHECK YOUR ATTITUDE!! Ensure that through your process of being “beneath” you possess and display the right behavior. If you do the in God’s time, you will be elevated. Remember, if you humble yourself then you will be exalted.

Lord, I pray that from this day forward we, your people will begin to possess and display the right attitude no matter the situations that we face. I also pray that the spirit of patience will saturate our beings and our faith in you will solidify, knowing that you are in control of our lives.

 

01/18/17 Dr. R.A.

Spiritual

Who is a Fool?

 

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No one likes to know that they are considered to be a fool. People generally pride themselves on being wise. This has resulted in an increase in the population level of education. We have become so consumed with becoming subject matter experts that majority of us are drowning in debts. The idea of having a degree and obtaining the things we desire seems to define who we are. As a matter of fact if we should be asked the question “who are you?” many of us would not be able to define ourselves outside of our possessions,  the various titles that we occupy and roles we play. Being counted among the wise is the order of the day.

I am in nowise against acquiring knowledge, especially from an educational standpoint. As a matter fact, the word of God admonishes us to be wise. It makes us aware that wisdom is the primary thing (the most important). However, the Bible does not define wisdom as it is defined by the standards of the world. Being wise according to the word of God begins and ends with the fear of the Lord. Not fear in terms of being afraid or terrified, but fear in terms of having reverence for God. It, therefore, means that if we do not esteem God and His words, then we are fools.

In the book of Luke, a story is told of a man who had great wealth and stated that he would tear down his barns and build bigger barns to store his possessions. This man was described as being a fool. Even though he had the status to be counted as a wise person and the knowledge to gain wealth, he was still considered to be a fool. Why? Because he did not fear God. As a matter of fact Luke 12:21 states “Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.” If one does not have a rich relationship with God then that person is a FOOL.

Today I want us to examine our relationship with God. Do you have a rich relationship with God? Do you speak to Him regularly throughout your day or do you only speak to Him when you are having a crisis? Are trusting Him completely with your life and allowing Him to lead you? Does God have the reigns of your life?

Do not let status and possession cause you to be counted among FOOLS!

 

01.12.17 Dr. R.A.

Spiritual

Shameless Persistence

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As humans whenever we are in need we do not like to make it known. If we should choose to reveal our need, then it will be to a very close friend or relative. Many of us would rather do without something than having to ask for it, and if we should be courageous enough to ask then we do not like to repeat such an action. As a matter a fact we become even the more reluctant if we are faced with opposition.

I have had experience in dealing with individuals who have been recently unemployed. These individuals become very discouraged because the tides for gaining employment has changed and requires multiple application to be sent virtually. This process often results in them not receiving feedback for a period of time which further encourage the feeling to quit. I have had to employ my tool of encouragement assuring them that if they continue they will get a positive response and that it does not matter the amount of “no’s” that they have received all that is important is that one “yes.”

Often we take the same approach in prayer. We believe that since God knows us and our needs, then we should only ask once and receive that which we seek. As such, I believe that many times our prayers are not answered because we give up too quickly. We allow pride and shame to settle in our hearts which blocks us from receiving.

A story was told in Luke 11 about a man who needed bread for his friend who had visited in the middle of the night. He went to his neighbor who was his friend and asked, but the friend responded “do not bother me. The door is locked for the night and my family, and I are in bed. I can’t help you”. This shows that there was a definite obstacle in the path of this man’s need being fulfilled.  He could have chosen to walk away because of shame. Nevertheless, the story continued letting us know that although this man’s neighbor would not give him bread for the sole reason of being his friend if that man continued to knock long enough his neighbor would give him whatever he needed because of shameless persistence.

Persistence means to continue a course of action in spite of difficulty or obstacle. Therefore, it seems like we need to employ the tool of SHAMELESS PERSISTENCE! Shamelessly pursue the course of action regardless of the challenges that we are faced with. If Hannah did not shamelessly persist in prayer, then she would not have given birth to Samuel. Yes, it was a fact that she was barren and her adversary continued to expose her insecurity and mock her. What she wanted seemed impossible to the natural man, however, she believed in the ability of God to do that which seemed impossible – therefore she received. She was even derailed by the priest when making her petition known. Nevertheless, she persisted, and she received her heart’s desire.

This year for answered prayer SHAMELESSLY PERSIST with the tool ASK.

A- Ask (for everyone who asks, receives)

S- Seek (everyone who seeks finds)

K- Knock (everyone who knocks, the door will be opened)

 

1.9.17 Dr. R.A.

Spiritual

Confidence

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We spend our lives looking to build relationships with others that can be trusted. At the initial state of meeting an individual, we approach them with caution. Every action and speech from that individual are under heavy scrutiny.  If they do something good we analyze what is the motive behind their action. Peradventure they do something we consider “wrong” then we “write off” that individual like a terrible accident. Life’s experiences have taught us to use amber lights when dealing with others. This could be classified as a natural instinct in self-preservation. We make considerable efforts to prevent our vulnerabilities from being exposed. Our preservation instincts have resulted in us manifesting the mantra ‘trust is earned not given’.  As such every person we meet is guilty until proven innocent.

This attitude has been so deeply ingrained in us that often when we approach God, we serve Him “prove who you are” on a platter.   We indirectly demand “prove that you love me, prove that you are for me.” At the onset of the slightest disappointment, we run away from Him and question whether or not He really does care. Although we may believe that this is the right approach to life I dare to say there is another way. The other way is to trust God without reservations and watch Him do exploits in our lives. Have confidence in God!

In the Book of Luke chapter 7, we read a story of a Roman officer who had a slave who was sick and near death. This officer heard about Jesus and miracles that He was performing. The stories that he heard build his confidence that he sent to ask if Jesus could come and heal the slave. When Jesus was on His way to heal the girl the officer sent some friends again and expressed he was not worthy of Jesus coming to his house as such He should speak the word and the servant would be healed. His trust in Jesus’ ability was at the peak that without having met Him or seen Him perform miracles, he was confident that Jesus could be relied on.  He had more confidence in Jesus that even those who had seen Him perform miracles after miracles.

My prayer is that as believers we will have confidence in God like this Roman officer – that we would possess”GODFIDENCE”. That we would dare to believe God at the very word that He speaks. Why? Because God can be trusted! His words will never return unaccomplished. Whatever He speaks will come to pass! Yes, at times we may have to wait for the vision to be manifested, BUT it WILL come to pass. No matter how impossible it may seem, it will come to pass. Yes, you may not have experienced Him working personally, but that does not lessen His ability. Have Godfidence and watch Him do it.

As we go throughout our day let GODFIDENCE be on display!!!

 

01/04/17 Dr. R.A.

 

 

Spiritual

Stand Firm

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It is human nature to build things as building represents growth and progress. However, when building there is a process that has to be adhered to in order for that which we are constructing to remain through the test of time. The most important step in the process I believe is laying a foundation. Laying a foundation requires much effort as one will need to get beyond the surface level and encounter dirt and grime which not everyone wants to confront. This process is crucial especially in building relationships. Relationships will not last unless its roots are anchored beneath the surface. Many of us like starting relationships but are not will to put in the effort that is required to maintain those relationships. Sadly, this type of behavior is transferred even in our relationship with God.

In the Luke 6, the question was posed as to why do we keep calling Lord, Lord when we do not do what the Lord instructs.  It proceeded to relate a parable of building a house one which had a foundation and done that did not. The one without foundation easily collapsed as the tides of life crashed upon it and was laid in ruins. The one which stood firm, however, had to follow a series of steps. The first step was to come – COME to God not leaving any part of ourselves behind. Bring ALL of our fears, dreams, hopes, insecurities, emotions, needs, etc., and lay them at His feet. Allow Him to examine all of the data presented and add, subtract, divide and multiply accordingly, like the master mathematician.  Secondly, we are to LISTEN to His teachings – give ear to the instructions that are being given as it will lead you into clear paths. Paths that will cause you souls to be refreshed and your life to flourish. Listen to His teachings as His words are like the honeycomb – sweet to the soul and health to the bones. Thirdly, is to follow the teachings – FOLLOW His words as they are a lamp unto your feet and a light unto your path. His words will empower you to live above sin and to live a healthy and prosperous life. Follow His teachings even in adversity as He will come to your defense and supply all of your needs.

To COME, LISTEN, and FOLLOW  will enable you to STAND FIRM when the floodwaters rise and crash against your house.

 

1/3/17 Dr.R.A

Spiritual

Character Developer

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… “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him. 1Cor.2:9

We live in a society where having good character seems to be a thing of the dark ages or even mythical.  Bad behavior paves the streets and low morals parades like a flag further demoralizing the value of character within our society. Instant gratification and self-idolization are constantly on display. The thought of enduring difficulty or pain for achievement is regarded as preposterous. Unfortunately, we take the same approach in our walk with God. Our perception of God and His nature becomes skewed according to our needs. We view God as a cosmic feel good machine whose sole purpose is to make us feel good by any means necessary. Whenever we do not feel good when we approach Him negative thoughts regarding His ability and nature brews within our minds. This approach to God and His ways will always hinder our progress.  God’s ways and thoughts are not like ours. We are more concerned about self-pleasing whereas God is more concerned about character development. What? Yes, you heard me. God is a character developer. He is about helping you become the best version of self – one who has integrity, compassion, wise, strong, honest, courage, etc.  He is about helping you become a person who is whole and equipped to fulfill His purpose for your life.

Fulfilling this purpose, however, requires us to often go through painful and difficult moments. These moments sometimes isolates, breaks and even shatter us. Yet it is these moments that are employed as tools in developing our character. These moments test us to see whether or not we will fall prey to the subtle beckoning of the seasonal pleasure of sin or stand firmly upholding the weight of integrity. The Bible says “eyes have not seen, no ear has heard, and no mind can imagine what God has prepared for those who love Him.” Simply meaning God already has all the things that will satiate our every desire but is preparing us through the hardship of life to be able to attain them. The difficulties we face evaluates our level of love, trust, and character. If we possess good character, then there is nothing good that God will withhold from us as we continue to walk uprightly. It therefore, behooves us to consistently display good character as character counts.

Since those good things are already prepared for us, the question becomes are we prepared for them? Are at a place where we can handle the blessings that God is anxiously waiting to pour out on us? Do we have the character needed to be good stewards of that which we will receive? Will we allow the character developer to have His way in us?

12/28/2016 Dr.R.A.

Spiritual

Do Not Quit! Do Not Faint!

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For I am on the verge of collapse; and my pain is always with me. Psalm 38:17

Sometimes the road that we travel on in this journey called life can be so painstakingly difficult. It may seem like a constant uphill climb where pit stops for refreshment are very few and far in between. Additionally, the frigid tempestuous wind that it is packaged with can result in one wanting to give up the climb. Thoughts of quitting outline the membranes  of our brains and we find ourselves at the point of exhaustion.

Quitting speaks to permanently leaving, which simply means that the task will forever remain undone.  Although this seems like the easier route, I dare to say that it is not. What?? Yes, I repeat, quitting is not the simplest way as the path is paved with regrets. “What if” and “I should have” are some of the songs that saturate the air, which is evocative, to say the least. As such, DO NOT QUIT!!! Instead of quitting press on until you reach your destination. Do not be afraid of living!!

On the other hand, sometimes we find ourselves in an even more dangerous state – the state of fainting.  Fainting speaks to losing consciousness due to insufficient supply of oxygen to the brain. This refers to us continuing the journey, but not being cognizant of the experiences. Yes, it allows us to not feel the pain of the process of walking the path. However, it also blocks the joys from flooding our souls. I say it is a dangerous state because from the outside it seems like we are living, but we are just empty shells maneuvering. DO NOT REMAIN in that menacing place. I am in nowise saying that we may not experience being on the verge of being in such a place, as that would not be true. As a matter of fact, even the patriarchs of old have found themselves in this predicament. David stated that he was on the verge of collapse because his pain was always with him. Nevertheless, it was on this edge that he cried out to God. He also said that he had almost fainted unless he believed to see the goodness of God in the land of the living. The example that he has left for us is that we should continually cry out to God. Cry out to Him when we are weak and drowning in oceans of despair. Cry out to God when we are at the brink of falling apart, quitting or fainting. When we cry to God, He will hear us and deliver us from whatever we are facing. Now remember deliverance may not come in the way or the time that you are expecting, but God will deliver … so be alert.  Whatever you do, DO NOT QUIT and DO NOT FAINT!!  Cry out to God and believe to see His goodness in your life while you are alive.

12.19.16 Dr.R.A.

Spiritual

Be Not Weary

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2 Thessalonians 3:13 (KJV) But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.

Often when performing a task over a period of time, the zeal that we had at the onset evaporates. Many factors can contribute to the dissolution of this zeal, such as monotony, fatigue, familiarity, the need for appreciation and acceptance, discouragement, weariness, etc. Whatever the reason for the loss of passion, the fact still remains that what we once found pleasure in doing is seen as a mountainous chore. It is easy to think losing fervor only happens in our personal life but unfortunately, it is an epidemic that occurs in our jobs, family, relationships, education and even spiritually. Yes, Spiritually. So often especially in recent times, we hear of pastors committing suicide, members leaving the church and just walking away from their faith in God. This occurs because they have lost their zeal and became weary in well doing. From a religious perspective, we may want to deny that serving God at times can result in persons becoming weary. We may even dare to say that if it does occur then, there is something wrong with that individual. The pointing of fingers is not important; however, the crux of the matter is that weariness occurs and has the ability to have a grave impact on the individual.

The Bible admonishes that we should not be weary in well doing.   I believe that if the possibility for this did not exist, then it would have not been addressed in the word of God. But because it does, the word lets us know that we should not allow ourselves to slack off, be discouraged or become tired or worn out when doing what is right. Instead, we should be determined and consistently push to do what is right. Do what is right when we are being recognized and when we are being overlooked. Do what it right when we are being ostracized and when we are being included. We should do what is right in and out of season because we will reap if we faint not. We should not Quit.  We should not Faint. Rather, we should press beyond our limits and do what is right. The season of fatigue, discouragement, weariness, etc. will pass. How I know this? Because nature teaches us that seasons change. Change is the beauty of seasons. The season that you are in may last a while, but there is an appointed time for its end. Change is coming, and we should ensure that we are able to reap a bountiful harvest of goodness because we did not allow weariness to dictate.  Continue to sow seeds of goodness, faith, love, meekness, temperance, long-suffering, joy, peace, and gentleness. Be not weary in well doing.

12/16/16 Dr. R.A.

 

Spiritual

Dwell

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He who dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty,” Psalm 91:1

Whenever it is summertime, we often complain about the temperature being sweltering.  Often the heat prevents us from wanting to even venture outdoors. Whenever we are taking a stroll outdoors, we look for the shade to walk in as it takes away the direct penetration of the sun’s rays. As it is in the natural, so it is in the spiritual. Often the temperature in our spiritual climate can be filled with intense heat that we feel we are about to get a heat stroke. However, the master designer has already devised a plan for us to remain cool even in those extreme conditions.

The Bible admonishes us that “He who dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” This simple means that as children of God we need to dwell in the presence of God. The word actually said “dwelleth,” which from parts of speech let us know that is present continuous tense. As such, we are to live in the presence fo God now (present) and continually. The issue we face is that we like to go on vacation and often think that the presence of God is a place for us to go when we want to spend time away from home and work. However, that is contrary to what God wants for our lives – He wants us to live in His presence.

Not only does God wants us to live in His presence, but He wants us live in the secret place. A secret place is a place where only the privilege can enter. Yet, He wants us to enter the secret place so that the correct identity of ourselves can be reinforced. He wants us to know that we are truly a peculiar people, the apple of His eyes and so He beckons to us to come and dwell in His secret place. Come and dwell so that we can follow Him closely and be conformed to His image and likeness. Come and dwell so that all insecurities of safety can vanish. Come and dwell so that you can abide in fulness of joy and have pleasures forevermore. Come and dwell so that you won’t endure the heat of the sun, but instead be in the shadow of the Most High.

Spiritual

Finish the Task

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“This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Be strong and finish the task!  Zec 8:9

As humans, we are intrinsically goal oriented and have an innate desire to be the best representative of ourselves. We often contemplate goals that we would like to achieve and devise ways of accomplishing set goals. These goals vary in size, nature.  At the initial stage of goal execution, we are bursting at the seams with zeal and determination. However, as time progress the zeal that once consumed us vanishes like dew as the sun rises.  Changes in the atmospheric conditions of the goal accomplishing environment result in feelings of fatigue, weariness, exhaustion, discouragement, etc.  As such, many goals that were started are left unfinished. So many of us even die without attaining that which we set out to perform.

This is not unique to our generation as the scriptures make us aware that the chosen people of God faced similar situations. They had the goal of building a temple, but because the pathway to goal execution was paved with obstacles, they became despondent and quit working.  The Lord himself had to admonish them through the prophet to “be strong and finish the task!” He was making them aware that goal accomplishment requires strength. Strength is gained from lifting weights. One may not be able to benchpress or lift their body’s weight initially as it would take practice. This means that they would need, to begin with, a weight that they are able to lift easily without harming themselves, and slowly adding more weight over time. Sometimes in the process of increasing the weight, we may fail all together at lifting. I believe that failure is the determining factor that either breaks or makes us.

Failure is often viewed negatively. However, it is in failure that we learn vital lessons for success. Winston Churchill stated, “Success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm” Enthusiasm is derived from the Greek word “Entheo” which basically means “in God” This simple means that if we are rooted in God, then we will have the strength that we need to be successful at goal execution. Finishing the task would, therefore, require us to be consistent at working. The struggle of consistency is an issue that we have as humans. This is because we are cultured to think that everything should happen in the blink of an eye. Nevertheless, I dare to say all good things take time, so be strong and finish the task!

Finishing the task requires:

  1. Being Rooted in God
  2. Being Strong – add weight, burdens, task, etc a little at a time
  3. Being Consistent- go from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm

 

12/9/16 Dr. R.A.

Spiritual

Keys to Inner Strength

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16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Eph 3:16

As humans, we have a need for certainty as it produces a sense of security within our psyche. However, no matter how young or old we are, life teaches us that unpredictability and uncertainty are the components of its backbone. There are no guarantees in life and the only thing that we can be certain of is change. As such, knowing that life goes on is key to our development and success. This is important because we often think that we are about to die in our dilemma. But, as time rolls on it proves that life really does go on.

I know that when we encounter situations that break us and shatters the core of our being it ‘s hard to process the concept of life going on. It is even more difficult when we defined what was lost as the reason for our existence, as without that person , thing, etc. we grapple with the knowledge of who we really are. I have had many of those core-shattering experiences that forced me to examine who I am and to whom I belong. It is those moments, however, that I believe brings us back to our center – realigning us,  as life has a way of getting us off balance. In one of life’s teachable moments, I was told a story of a king who had asked a jeweler to give him a gift that would make him happy if he was sad, and sad if he was happy. This request weighed heavily on the jeweler as without producing this he would loose his life. For days he went sleepless until he prayed and asked God for a revelation as to what he should give the king. With God’s instructions, he made a ring for the king. Upon delivery, the king looked at it with a puzzled look, but when he read the inscription he understood clearly and knew it was the perfect gift. The inscriptions read “This too shall pass.” When I heard the story, it pierced me through like a very sharp two-edged dagger, because of the profundity of its  truth. I shared this because it is one of the keys to the developmental process of inner strength. Knowing that there will always be experiences reflecting the terrain of mountains and valleys. Your circumstances will change whether good or bad.

I also know that society and life teachs us to be guarded. However, if we are honest, we know that beneath our hard exterior that we sometimes portray is a soft interior filled with various vulnerabilities. Vulnerabilities that if exposed gets damaged easily, resulting in us locking our true selves behind invisible bars of steel. I also know that the only way for healing to take place if for the wound to be exposed to a physician who can administer the necessary drug, ointment, bandage or surgery, etc. Therefore, the final and most important key to developing inner strength is looking to God. We look to Him through prayer. The Apostle Paul stated, “I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.” God is the one who has an unlimited supply of whatever we could possibly have need of. If it is love that we need- the songwriter said: “His love has no limits.” If is is grace that we need it is also said: “His grace has no measure.”If we have need of power, it is also said: “His power has no boundary.” God is capable of empowering us with inner strength and supplying all of our needs. When we expose our vulnerabilities to God, He will administer the right care according to the need.

A brief recap of the Keys to Inner Strength:

  1. Look to God – Pray and expose your vulnerabilities
  2. Know “THIS too shall PASS” – circumstances will change
  3. Life goes on – you will not die in your dilemma

 

12/7/16  Dr. R.A.

Spiritual

An Opportunity for Great Joy

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It is a known fact as stated in the word of God that man (mere mortals, humans) that are born are of few days and full of trouble. It shows us just how fragile humans are and also that having severe problems frequently is a part of life. Yet, although this is no secret whenever we as humans face troubles, then we begin to panic. Fear set in and begins to paralyze us from accomplishing our goals. Hopeless thoughts of “woe is me” begins to flow through our minds like streams from an endless source. All that is seen by the mind’s eye is doom and gloom. Our immediate thought process is not “what a great opportunity for joy.” Something about the human psyche preclude us from associating problems with joy readily.  Honestly is tough to wrap our minds around problems bringing happiness or comfort. Nevertheless, the word of God admonishes us that when faced with troubles of any kind that we should consider it an opportunity for great joy. Troubles of ANY KIND – meaning no matter how much or whatever classification it falls it should be regarded as an occasion for great comfort. This alludes to the fact that problems in your health, finance, marriage, relationship, etc. are not what they look like; they are not harassment, agitation, hassle, tribulation, suffering, grief, heartache, misery, etc. Instead, they are KAIROS moments for bliss, euphoria, exhilaration, happiness and joy.

It is also a known fact that a lobster shell does not grow. In fact, whenever a lobster is in the growth process it gets to a stage where it is too big for its shell, and it is in a place of constant agitation. Now it could remain in that place of problem and remain stagnant or even die. However, because it recognizes that the problem of not being able to fit in its shell is an opportunity to get beyond its current size it gets within a safe place and get out of its shell and continue to grow until a new shell is formed on its flesh. Taking a lesson from the lobster, could it mean that when faced with problems all we need to do is to get out of our current shell and get to a safe place where we hide in God and grow until a new “shield of protection” is formed around the areas that are soft/fragile. Could it really mean that all the problems that we are faced with are just in our lives for us to grow and when growth takes place then we will be delighted?

Whatever the issue you are faced with, I implore you to take another look at it. Let the scales fall from your eyes and truly see it for what it really is…a moment for you to grow and have joy. That broken heart, loss of job, loss of loved one, loss of a friend, failed exam, loss of a car, loss of a house or whatever earthly possession took place so that you can grow and have joy. I know that currently, your mind is echoing that this is how things will remain for the remainder of your days, but that is not the truth. Things are about to change as all you need to do it get out of that shell that is too small for you. Get out of that place of darkness that you have found your heart and mind – that shell is too small. Get under the ROCK and hide. Stay there and endure the process of being alone until a new shell is formed. God wants you to have a bigger shell, a larger sphere of influence, a greater impact on those you are associated with. He wants you to get to a stage where you can feed others. Joy awaits you- get out of your current shell that is too small- step into greatness – cease your Kairos moment.

12/6/16 Dr. R.A.

Spiritual

Gift of Peace

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27 “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. John 14:27

In a world engrossed with constant activity possessing peace becomes challenging. From the moment one’s eye open an imaginary list of things to do is presented on a silver platter. The race is on for not letting anything be carried over. Constant movement and rushing from place to place to ensure that everything on the list is scratched off before the day ends. The regular watching of the clock to evaluate time for completing a task further adds tension. Everyone trying to be their own super hero both for self-gratification and the satisfaction of others. Sometimes the pressure to perform can be overwhelming and deplete the reservoir of peace in our hearts.  This diminution often leaves us feeling fatigued, empty, abandoned, spent, miserable, downhearted, and downright wanting to throw in the towel. Matters can be further complicated when we feel like we are being left behind, as this produces feelings of bereft, abandonment, loneliness, anxiety, fear and hopelessness. What to do? Where to turn? Who can help in alleviating the stress? You think you are the only one in this situation, but that is not true.

In the book of John, the disciples found themselves in somewhat of a similar predicament where they had to evangelize the world and if that was not pressuring enough they were now being advised by their leader that he will be leaving them. One can only imagine the panic that took place in their mind as they tried to process what was being said. They must have wondered how on earth they were going to accomplish such a task with the rug being pulled from under their feet. An assessment of their environment showed that they were not the most loved and accepted. After all, what they represented was against society’s status quo. What will we do? Where will we go? Who will help us?  These questions highlighted their minds as they would no longer have a crutch to support. However, their leader spoke resounding tranquility in their hearts. Yes, I will be leaving you to accomplish a great task but I am leaving you with a gift. “I leave you the gift of peace of mind and hearts.The peace I give the world cannot give, so don’t be troubled or afraid.” He was basically, saying you have no need to panic or be alarmed because when I leave the comforter will come and because He will reside on the inside of you, there will be greater within you that whatever it is that you will be faced with.

The same promise has been passed on to every believer, the God of peace, whose peace surpasses all understanding is  on the inside of us. He gave us the gift of peace in our hearts and minds which means, He resides in our hearts and minds so we need not become discombobulated. He is the Creator of the universe, Who has and is orchestrating all things as it pertains to us. We are in His hands and He is constantly watching over us. He is our protector, provider and just about anything we could have need of. He is the great I AM, that which we have need of and more. Rest in His peace because there is nothing that will ever happen to us that takes Him by surprise. He is in control. He is Sovereign! He will never leave of forsake us! Let His peace saturate your emotions and your intellect. The peace that the world offer can only partially satisfy one component of us at a time. But God’s gift peace satiates every part of our being at the same time. Again I say, don’t let life’s circumstances causes you to become distraught or upset, instead, let His gift of peace saturate your emotions and intellect.

12.05.16 Dr.R.

Spiritual

Sacred Silence

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Pandemonium everywhere, tumult filled the air

Constant chitter chatter

Wheels turning, horns honking, pots whistling,

Wind blowing, thunder blasting, blades spinning

Birds chirping, snakes rattling, wolves howling,

Bees buzzing, dogs barking, children screaming,

Bells ringing, music playing, phones blaring.

It’s a ruckus, that’s what it is!

They say silence is golden

And so I ask “where oh where can it be found?”

It’s not in schools, churches, hospitals or homes

Definitely not in a nursery or in a monastery.

Is it under a rock somewhere far into a cave?

Oh sacred silence, be thou no longer hidden

Show thyself, so there can be peace

Demonstrate the beauty of your sacredness silence

Shhh….oh Silence!

via Daily Prompt: Sacred

Spiritual

Do-Over

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Trust GOD from the bottom of your heart; Don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for GOD’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He is the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all.Run to GOD! Prov. 3:5-6

Every now and again when the hustling and bustling of life activities come to a halt, we find ourselves in reflection mode. The choices that we have made rummage through the proverbial magnifying glass within our minds. It is within these moments that no matter how well established and successful we have become that secrets deep within our heart surface, and we admit to ourselves silently that we could have made better choices in some aspects. Better choices where success was at the expense of happiness; instant gratification at the expense of self-esteem and pride at the expense of love. There are areas where choice wounds cut so deep that although it’s been years the wound has still not been healed. It is in those moments that we furtively wish for a do-over. Although in the open we pretend that this is not applicable to us, behind closed doors we allow the light to enter the darkest room in our hearts.

Contrary to popular beliefs even stalwarts of old like Abraham, David, Paul, Jonah to name a few, had these pensive moments, but they allowed the light of God to shine in the darkness of their heart. They had a revelation of the “do-over” God. There are several keys required to unlock the doors of the do-over process. The first key to having a do-over is to ALLOW the light of God to shine within our dark areas. David stated emphatically in the book of Psalm that he wanted God to “enlighten his darkness.” After letting the light in, the next crucial step that we must take is to TRUST God. I say trust… really TRUST God. We often profess that we trust God, but when put to the test we fail miserably as we murmur, complain, whimper, whine, look for other options and sometimes even become stagnant. However, take God at His word and Trust Him from the bottom of your heart not trying to figure things out on your own. You see God can be trusted. He can be trusted even when we mess up. If we should go back to the beginning of the Bible, we read the famous story of Adam and Eve’s poor choice, which resulted in them needing a do-over. In their time of need, they did not run to God and asked for the do-over instead they tried to cover themselves and hide from the presence of God. However, God showed up consistently, and inquired Adam where are you? When they reluctantly admitted where they were and allowed the light of God to shine in, God introduced them to the “do-over” God. Proving that even in your mess God can be trusted.

The next vital key is listening. LISTEN to the voice of God. We are a generation who love the sound of our own voice. This I believe is the genesis of problems but that’s another story. To prove this point where we converse we often listen to respond to the individual and not to hear what is being said. Listening to the voice of God is key as it will keep us on track to our destiny. It is listening to our own voice and the voice of others that causes us to be hijacked and held as captives on our journey to our purpose. As such, we need to LISTEN to God’s voice, listen not to respond but instead LISTEN to FOLLOW. The voice of God not only guides, reproves and admonish but it also comforts. Whenever we fail to listen, just like sheep we end up falling in ditches and cannot come out unless drawn out by the shepherd. Therefore, LISTEN to God’s voice to get instructions for a do-over.

Finally, we need to run. RUN to God. Whenever we are faced with heightened emotions, our first instinct is to run. This I realize is a good thing as the reason it was embedded within us is that we can RUN to GOD. It is said that the reason we are given a leap year is that the calendar does not truly reflect God’s time and so it drifts. Whenever there is a leap year, we get to spring forward to where we should have been before we drifted. Just like it is in the natural we in our spiritual lives have often strayed from God and need a do-over that will cause us to leap into the place that was designed for us to be. As such, we need to run to God. Run to God like Joseph did when he was faced with the choice of satisfying his flesh. After all, the Bible did say that we should flee youthful lust. Run to God. Run like a deer runs into the water whenever it is thirsty or afraid. Run to God, as He is the only one that can give the ultimate do-over.

Now, never forget that the keys to a do-over are ATLR. Allow the light of God to shine within our darkness; Trust God; Listen to God’s Voice and Run to God.

12/3/16 Dr.R.

Spiritual

The Keeper

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The LORD is your keeper… Ps 121:5

We live in a society where rating is the order of the day. There are songs and clichés depicting an individual’s worth on a scale as it pertains to their looks, style, demeanor, etc. These superficially ascribed numerical values are somehow used in determining whether a person gets rejected or remains in our lives. This quandary has persons trying to “out do” each other in ranks in order to be the ‘keeper.’  Especially in the dating arena, performances are nothing short of being in a circus. If individuals were to be surveyed on what was their ‘ideal’, responses of acquiring a purple elephant that can fly and perform surgery at the same time, would seemingly be quite the norm.  Needless to say, this perfunctory assessment only intensifies the inferiority complex that burdens the psyche.

Although this cosmetic review has overcast our cultural environment all is not lost, as there is one whose words are absolute. David said  “the Lord is your Keeper” not in the sense of being more of a husband/wife material but rather that He is the One that protects and takes care of His own. He will never discard you. When you are being suffocated by fear, He is your Keeper. When you are paralyzed by the past and haunted by the present, He is your Keeper. When you are weak, feeble, timid, fragile, inadequate and just struggling in darkness, He is your keeper. He will never thrust you aside regardless of what number society or you have rated yourself. He is your Keeper.

In an era where discarding persons is like second nature, it is as easy as breathing; God will never discard you. He is your Keeper. He looks at you with His beautiful eyes, and He says you are a keeper! In your mess, you are a keeper! At your best, you are a keeper! He is the Keeper who never fails at providing constant care and protection.  So don’t look to man who is fickle to determine if you are a keeper. Instead, look to God knowing that He is the Keeper of all keepers, who amazingly thinks that you are also a keeper.

Via Daily Prompt: Culture

love, Self Esteem, Spiritual

Love Cost

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We are often of the persuasion that love does not cost anything. Because of this misconception we settle for less than what we deserve and truly sabotage our own dream and desires.

This settling causes us to live in a sphere less than our true potential. We allow ourselves to become options in the life of others. Their actions further cause us to devalue ourselves as ostensibly we have become fixtures that can be removed and put in place at their own convenience.  We then become stuck at the revolving door not seemingly able to enter another phase or exit the current scene.

We sacrifice our heart, time and the essence of our being for broken individuals because we believe that we have invested too much to walk away empty.  We try to cover our wounds with band-aids and gauzes, but the laceration is so deep that blood runs profusely, further depleting our lives. However, if we could get in a clandestine area for a minute and unmask we would realize that everything around us screams vehemently that there is a price to pay for dreams and desires.

Nature teaches us that in order for a seed to become anything then it has to fall into the earth and pay the price of death. For a baby to be born then conception has to take place, and the mother has to pay the price of housing that seed for a period of nine months. It is the same with obtaining an education, becoming employed and just about any facet of life. There is a price to pay.

God taught us that love costs… and the price is heavy… love costs life. As such, if we are to accept this love then we, in turn, have to pay the price. David stated emphatically “I will not offer God that which costs me nothing.” Grace isn’t cheap!!!  So then, why would we allow someone to get our love for free? Why do we not ensure that they pay the price, pay the price of responsibility and integrity? Why do we not let them know what our standards are and what it takes for them to be a part of our lives?  Are we too fearful of being alone that we settle for half of a man, and broken relationships, hoping against all hope that we will be rewarded eventually for our patience or investment?  Are we so desperate to receive a profit or to break even that we subject ourselves to being used and abused?

Look in the mirror … after all your sacrifice, do you like what you see?  Is it not the time to pay the price to be free?  Is it not the two that shall become one? Then why continue to be deceived about two halves making a whole?  Open your eyes…be true to yourself. You are more valuable than your experience, more than the things that you have been labeled. Stop devaluing yourself and putting yourself on the discount rack. Your shelf life is not expiring so don’t put yourself on markdown.  You are worth more… a lot more!!! YOU ARE WORTH MORE!!!! Pay the price…fall in love with you. Dare to love what you don’t like about yourself.  The persons that deserve to be a part of your life will be more than willing to take note of you, probe for your value and then pay the full cost.  Remember YOU ARE WORTH MORE…A LOT MORE!!!! 9/17/14

Spiritual

Pungent Words

Caustic seeds were sown in the soil of the subconscious heart.

They began to germinate and sprout as constant ridicule watered them

It almost seems like they grew overnight into enormous oaks providing a place of refuge and shelter.

Onlookers faces become disfigured at sight, but they are unaware of its genesis

Pungent, sharp, waspish, acrimonious are things they whisper under their breath

If only they knew it took a long time coming and these pungent words are just a mere defense mechanism

An armor worn with honor from the many battles won.

Yes, it may seem acerbic but, it’s an armor covering inner fragility.

via Daily Prompt: Pungent

Spiritual

Liminal

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In transition caught up in liminal space.

Not where I was, but not where I should be

Not who I was, but aspiring for who I should be

No longer holding on to what was solid, but rather reaching for what seemingly is air

Should be ecstatic about the growth so  far, but terrified that current condition may prevent me from grasping firmly on to what lies ahead

In between, in between the process that haunts like a bad dream.

Can’t help but wonder if gravity will prevail as suspended in air by sheer will power that defies the laws of nature.

Still can’t get caught up in thoughts of what may happen, rather focus on what is certain

Failure is not an option so I persist

If I die, I will die empty, so I stretch even the more

Allowing passion of hope to drive until I arrive knowing that it won’t make me ashamed.

Via Daily Prompt: Liminal

Spiritual

Sated Desire?

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Can desires be sated or is it a fantasy?

The quest begins with voluminous ideas of attainable possibilities which grandeur alone leaves you breathless.   Yet, every step taken requires tremendous effort that leaves you aching in areas unbeknownst and saturated with perspiration. Reality is obscured  in the blind spot of the peripheral view, as the passion of desire devours  logic.

Halfway through the course, fatigue sets in. Goal attained and effort is  weighed in the balance. Ruminations  highlight the  insurmountable cost. Blood, sweat and tears already  poured out. How to regain what seemingly is lost? Nothing! Absolutely nothing, but to continue to push forward.  The voracious appetite of gaining will not allow you to quit. So you break your own barriers and remove all the limits. Finally, you arrive but the satisfaction is temporary, as the clock is reset and the cycle continues.

Via Daily Prompt: Sated

Spiritual

Scorched Hope

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Hope in God starts as a bright spark. It is the spark that is necessary to get the fire blazing.  However, for flames to be produced, then it has to be oxygenated by trials and tribulations of life. It is fueled by unpleasant experiences that leaves us gasping for air at times. Unpropitiously, however, instead of keeping our eyes fixed on the Master we gaze on the boisterous winds and waves. This, unfortunately, results in our hope being scorched.

Scorched by intense heat of the vicissitudes of life which  leaves our hope dry, flaky, brittle and charred.  We no longer expect what God really has for us. Instead we begin to listen keenly to the wrong voice… the voice of the enemy and believe the lies that are even whispered.  Lies like “you are not good enough, you are not worth it, you will never succeed,  you will never be healed, you will forever have not enough to supply your needs, you are not lovable, etc. As the winds of life continue to blow, ounces  of your hope is also blown away … piece by piece. Eventually, all that is left is a tiny flicker deep within, and you are convinced it has no purpose. But I say that’s a lie.

That’s a lie because the Bible says “hope maketh not ashamed.” Yes, only a flicker is left, but it is filled with purpose, so hope again.  Come on you can do it! Hope against all hope! When you exercise that flicker, it will grow just like the muscles in your body when exercised. And the best part is that you will not be ashamed.

Read the word of God and let  it water that scorched area back to life. Remember the thoughts He has towards you are good and not evil, thoughts to give you an expected end. That which you hope for is what He wants to give. HOPE again!!!!

via Daily Prompt: Scorched

Spiritual, success

Pleasure Seeking

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Pleasure seeking is the order of the day. Almost everyone is seeking how to please only themselves. Hardly anyone to lend a helping hand unless of course, it brings glory to themselves.  Me, myself and I is the mantra that’s sung on the lips of many.  Whenever the concept is challenged, then a plethora of excuses justifying our actions flow like a stream from the lips. None to stand firm admitting that this cannot continue as it degrades humanity.

The goals sought are idolized causing the One who deserves glory to fall second in rank. Much effort is given to ensure satisfaction that vanishes like a vapor once it has been acquired. Then the cycle continues like hamsters on wheels we run until we obtain the “drug” that never satisfies like the first “high”. It’s a real conundrum that should only be a dream. Yes, seeking to find is a principle that we should apply, but why seek pleasure that is solely seasonal?

We need to remove the scales from our eyes and have our vision realigned. What we should seek is the kingdom of God so that “all these things” can be added to us.  It’s better to seek Him as it requires less effort and the rewards are unmeasurable. In His presence, there remains “fullness” of joy, and at His right hand, there are pleasures forevermore.  Yes, I said FOREVERMORE! PLEASURE FOREVERMORE at His right hand. Not the kind of pleasure that dissipates or is seasonal, but pleasure that is always there forever lasting. Won’t you seek that pleasure?

Spiritual

Success -Mythical

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To achieve success seems mythical. To achieve it one must be a lion with a unicorn horn and eagle’s wings as the pathway to success is never straight and filled with various obstacles.

Nevertheless, to achieve it we cannot focus on the pathway but focus on the goal. It must be embedded within our core that success can only be determined by the obstacles that we overcome. Some obstacles may just be small pebbles that we can easily pick up and throw over our shoulders whereas, others may mighty boulders that cannot even be lifted as such we may have to walk around them or climb over…needless, to say neither option is going to be easy.

To achieve success everything within you has to be employed. Yes, you may get tired and feel like quitting but, you will have to get past feelings and keep the goal at the focal point of your view. You may have to sing the mantra continuously as you climb the slope “winners never quit and failure is not an option”. While singing, your thighs will be burning, your back will be hurting, sweat will be dripping and lungs seem to consumed with the most vehement flame as it is difficult to even breathe… but continue to PUSH. Emotionally, you will be exhausted… but PUSH (PRAY, UNTIL, SOMETHING HAPPENS). You may slip and fall… but PUSH. It’s okay to rest for a bit…but get back up and PUSH.

I say PUSH because the rewards will far exceed the excruciating pain.  Not only that, if you don’t push you will never achieve as it will NOT happen by chance.  However, when you get there, you will experience the mythical joy of success. You will be among the few who can proudly tell the story of its mythical path.

via Daily Prompt: Mythical

Spiritual

Thankful in chaos

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“In everything give thanks for this is the will of God concerning you.”

Sometimes being grateful in everything can be a real challenge. Truth be told when you examine your current seemingly disastrous situation being thankful may be the last on the list of things to do.  Yet the word admonishes us to be thankful in these situations as this is the will of God as it concerns your life.  What? ?  This catastrophic chaos is in His plan for you?  Yes, it is! I’m not kidding you. That chaos is what He is using to develop you into He designed you to be.

In the midst of trying to make sense of the chaos, we tend to forget that the environment in which we operate as children of God is controlled.  So the thing that seemingly is chaotic is under God’s  control. As such, it doesn’t need to make sense. Therefore,  as difficult as it may be don’t panic.  Don’t panic breathe instead.  Come on breathe…inhale and exhale slowly, as you repeat the process let out a praise of gratefulness.

Be grateful because you are alive and you are loved!  You are loved even in the midst of your mess! Now that you are aware get your praise on.

via Daily Prompt: Chaotic

Spiritual

Percolate your Masterpiece

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A terrain of solid earth is what I see.

Beautifully contoured with hills, valleys, caves, and ravines.

As light hits the surface, various hues of chocolate are reflected.

Glamorous is an understatement of the majestic bare landscape tapestry.

If this is just the exterior, then what really lies beneath?

Is it penetrable or is it concrete?

The only one who truly knows is the Manufacturer of such a masterpiece.

So I gazingly looked to Him and said, please percolate me.

Percolate me, until You are all I see in every fiber of my being.

Daily Prompt: Percolate

Spiritual

Filthy Rag

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Not a spot that’s clean.

Not an area unblemished.

Everywhere that’s seen is tattered and tarnished.

Muck and grim protruding from within

 

Filthy, filthy, disgustingly dirty can only be viewed as completely unworthy

Mere mortals efforts to make it clean proves futile when examined by the One that’s unseen

No amount of alms given, no amount of good deeds can change the perspective of the heavenly King.

 

What can I do? Who can help? This really can’t be the absolute end.

I scurry around, frantic to find one that can cleanse such a one as my kind.

Alas, I heard a voice so clear, saying come my child only draw near.

I followed the voice with acuity until I but see my Savior with arms wide open.

 

Breathless, I ran into His arms,  to escaped the cold and embrace warmth.

Then He gently whispered, “You are now cleansed as you have been washed by the stream unseen”

I began to sob uncontrollably on His shoulders, as joy flooded my heart

I am no longer blemished,mucky, grimy, tattered and tarnished

My filthy rag has been made righteous.

via Daily Prompt: Filthy

Spiritual

Tart a Character Flaw??

It’s funny how we can appreciate tartness in pastries and fruits. We love it so much that there are many variations as it pertains to desserts. Ironically, however, whenever we come across an individual whose characteristics could be viewed as tart like reflex we become guarded.  However, I cannot help but wonder could that tart personality be blended with yours to form something delicious like the dessert you cannot have enough of?  After all, isn’t the tart also somewhat sweet? Maybe if our perspective were realigned we could see the tart for what it really is… not a character flaw but something rather really  delicious to awaken our taste buds.

Tart

Naked and Not Ashamed, Self Esteem, Spiritual

Naked and Not Ashamed

Gen 2:25 “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.”

This verse is well known and is usually viewed solely from the perspective of a husband and wife relationship. I am in no wise saying that the context in which it was written and exegeted was not for that purpose, but I somehow want to expand the horizon to this text. I truly believe that for life to have any significant meaning, then it has to be defined in terms of relationships. I say this because even before a person is born into the world, they encounter some degree of intimate relationship. As the baby is being developed in the womb, a bond is formed (intimate relationship) between the mother and that child. Therefore, as it disembodies the cocoon of safety, it cries as it experience’s the separation from the intimacy to which it was familiar. As I examined this text, I could not help but wonder if this is the way the Creator had designed for us all to cohabitate on this sphere called earth.

Naked speaks to being void of natural covering, not being enclosed in a scabbard. Whereas, ashamed highlights an individual’s feeling of being embarrassed or guilty because of their actions, characteristics or associations. Could it be that God really wanted us to dwell together without being covered by the mask that we hide ourselves in when interacting with each other because if they saw who we really were (our weakness enveloped in strength) they would stamp us as a reject? Could it be that we are capable of seeing each other’s “weaknesses and flaws” and yet still love? Love in the truest form as defined in the book of Corinthians, so that intimacy could be developed and relationships formed and solidified. Could it be that because of fear we clothe our persona in shame? Ashamed of our past and present experience and situations that we lived through, that formed us into the beautiful person that we hide because of the need to self-preserve!

You may not have noticed, but I said LIVED THROUGH. Yes, you LIVED THROUGH it, and you are STILL ALIVE.  Yes, you may not be the typical soft-spoken individual or the embodiment of perfection personified. Yes, you have struggled and are still struggling with external and internal forces, but you are ALIVE.

You being alive simply means that you need to step into the liberty to which you have been called to walk in. Being naked and not ashamed. Not living and defining yourself by the perception of others or the perceptions that you have of yourself because they have been embedded in your psyche as a result of society’s culture…but rather living naked and not ashamed. The Bible says that there is, therefore, no condemnation to them that are walking in Christ who walk not after the flesh but after the spirit. This simple means that there is no need to be ashamed of your past or present as those things are molding you into who you are. You see the “spirit man” is the real you…the authentic you. Break the limitation off and begin to walk into the liberty to which you have been called.  Walking in chains and bandages is exhausting.  Take them off!! Break free from the cave of limitations and self-preservation. There is a range of climatic conditions to experience outside of the cave. It’s time to self-actualize. It’s time for freedom walk… it’s time to let the authentic you come forth. It’s time to be NAKED and NOT ASHAMED!!!

11/15/16

love, Self Esteem, Spiritual

You Really Are…LOVABLE!!!!

Discovering that you are loveable can be such an invigorating experience.

To say this might seem strange, but if we were all to be honest and remove the mask that we wear to hide ourselves…oops did I say that? I mean to “protect” ourselves we would realize that there is really nothing to hide from in the first place.

When we view ourselves as unlovable we tend to try and attach ourselves to people who are not really worth the person that we really are all because we feel inferior to them and believe that there is something about their “superiority” that will cause us to feel “normal”.

However, to get to the point where all inhibitions that we have about ourselves and the reasons we think we don’t really deserve the “fairy tale” kind of love can be such a relief.

It is like being removed from the connection of a ventilation machine. It is like coming off of life support and being able to breathe on your own for the first time. Yes, I must admit it is scary. Yes, the first time that you do it will almost take your breath away. Yes at times it will be difficult that you will feel like your respiratory system is going into shock and will collapse. But if you keep calm you will realize that you are actually able to do this.

Why are you able you may ask? Well for the simple reason that God has given you the ability to and that it is a natural phenomenon that He has designed you to do on your own. Who would have thought that you would be able to accomplish such a significant task on your own?

Yes the feeling is overwhelming and at times you will not be able to make sense of it, but it is a delightfully delicious sensation. It is good because for the first time you are not being muzzled, choked to death or being stifled by anything or anyone that you mistakenly thought was your source and from whom you used to absorb some form of identity to yourself.

For the first time you are able to inhale and exhale so deeply and it feels so good….

God did that for you. Yes, He caused you to be alone so that your negative thoughts about yourself could be transformed to positive thoughts. And so that you can be conformed truly into the image that He has designed you to be….a child of the King!!!! One that is loveable in all of your shape, form, size, character, personality, etc.

So now that you have discovered that you really are lovable… don’t ever let the vicissitudes of life tell you otherwise!!!. No matter how continuously, loud and consistent that scream maybe … don’t let it cause you to succumb to its force. Stand tall and strong, knowing who you are!!!

 

Knowing that you really are oh so very lovable!!!!!

12/17/2013

Spiritual

The Reason I write

The Bible says to “guard our hearts with all diligence because out of it flows the issues of life”. This may seem very vague as there is no outline as to how to guard it…no series or steps and definitely no recipe as to how to produce the desired result.  This results in individuals taking the scenic route of various trial and error processes and if we learn from these “trial and error” then we become that much wiser and cautious to following this advice.  We eventually learn that when this advice is not keenly adhered to then indelible impressions are etched on our person. It for this reason that I write and pour out the issues within. 11/13/16

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Spiritual

Provoke

 

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Often when we hear the word provoke our thoughts automatically assumes something negative. We assume that something is being done to cause someone to feel angry or annoyed. I am not sure if it is the evil inclination in humans that causes us to assume the worst first.

Provoke by definition is to stimulate a reaction in someone. What if we could endeavor to stimulate good reactions in others by provoking them? Not exactly the first thing that pops in our thoughts right. However, it is very possible.

The Bible in Hebrews 10:24 states “and let us consider one another to provoke unto love and good works.” This simply means that our actions and words should excite, trigger, stimulate, etc. others to love and do good.

We have not been very cognizant of the fact that love begets love. The Bible says, that “for God so loved the world that He gave.” It was the giving of that love that causes us to love Him in return.  His action of love provoked us into falling in love with Him. Should we therefore not let our actions provoke others to worship God and to love others?

What are your actions provoking others to do? Are your words seasoned with grace? Does your lifestyle excite others to worship God?

Today let us examine our words and actions and see whether or not they stimulate others to glorify God, love and do good works.

Prayer: God, please help me to let the words I speak and my actions align in giving honor to Your great name. Let my lifestyle be true worship unto you. Let the light that you have deposited within me shine so bright that others are able to see You evidently in me and come and glorify You. Remove far from me any actions, thoughts or words that do not give honor to you. As I endeavor to please you more. Amen.

3/22/17 Dr.R.A.

 

 

 

Daily Post, Spiritual

Controversy

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The true nature of a person is not always seen is moments of comfort or convenience. Most persons tend to be extremely polite and friendly whenever things are going well in their life. However, whenever a person perceives that the “sky is falling” in their life, then their demeanor changes. This is the moment when what is on the inside of someone will begin to be revealed.

The Bible tells of a story about a man named Job who faced great misfortune of having lost all his riches and children in a day. As if his situation was not bad enough, he then lost his health and had his wife encourage him to curse God and die. His friends that initially came with the intent of comforting him started to have disputing conversations with him, accusing him of sinning. His true character, however, shone forth as he continued to give praise to God.

What controversy are you faced with today? What characteristics are shining from within? Are you able to still give God glory in the midst of a dispute?

3/18/2017 Dr.R.A.

via Daily Prompt: Controversy

life, Spiritual

Motives

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We all have different reasons that drive our actions. Some are more focused on helping others that are hurting. Their hearts are genuine and filled with goodness. Whereas, some are more focused on profiting from those who are hurting while pretending to help them. These individuals will pretend to be your friend so that they can be aware of what is happening in your life and then try to destroy you.

As individuals, we need to be very careful. We should be careful not only as it pertains to interacting with other people but also be mindful of our own motives for performing a task. Examination of self and motives should be practiced by everyone. Especially when the thing we want to do is what we consider major that may cause a spotlight to be focused on us we should examine our motives. Is our heart pure and genuine or filled with the deception of personal gain?

What is the driving force behind our actions? Do our actions give glory to God?

3.18.2017 Dr.R.A.

 

Daily Post, Spiritual

Luck

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Many individuals believe in luck. They think that finding a four-leaf clover or walking around with a horseshoe will bring the good fortune that they are expecting. Personally, however, I do not subscribe to the notion of luck. I believe that nothing really happens by chance, especially in the life of the believer. Everything is strategically ordered by God. So when good fortune takes places God is the One who ordered our steps at the correct time and season for reaping. He keeps blessing even when we are not cognizant of what He is doing. As such, we should speak blessing over each other. God bless is should be the thing that we utter instead of good luck.

03.17.17 Dr.R.A.

via Daily Prompt: Luck

Daily Post, Spiritual

Atop

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It took some time to get here

All the way atop

Blood, sweat, and tears

Joints ached, skinned bruised

Yet I continued to climb

Some slopes were very steep and slippery

My mind was filled with the uncertainty of how to maneuver

Yet I crawled when I was too weak to walk

As I was determined to get to the top

Finally, I saw the exquisitely magnificent view

The beautiful rays of the sun and gorgeous rainbow

I stretched my hands out and inhaled so deeply

Exhaling crisp, clean oxygen

I looked on knowing the journey has not end

As there is still higher peaks around

But my heart was happy to know that I have yet survived

I rested a little

Regaining my strength as I reminisced on the journey to the top

Anxiously awaiting the next adventure to the top

 

3/15/17 Dr.R.A.

 

via Photo Challenge: Atop

Daily Post, Spiritual

Immerse

Immerse me in Your love.

Until all my fears are cast away.

Let the warmth of Your love envelope me.

Until I can no longer feel the cold of the outside world.

Submerge me in You.

Until all anxiety recedes and vanishes.

Let me plunge deeper.

Until the fulness of You fills me.

Drench me with Your wisdom.

Until I become wise and operate in full understanding.

Saturate me with Your favor.

Until I am known and called as “the favored.”

More of You is what I need.

So  souse me,

Immerse me!

Until you fill every fiber of my being.

 

03/14/2017

via Daily Prompt: Immerse

Daily Post, Spiritual

Murmuration

 

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Murmuration generally relates to the sound that starlings make. It is a low continuous sound. However, murmuration is not limited to the sound of birds. It actually incorporates sounds which humans make. Sometimes we are placed in a situation where we are uncomfortable, and as such, we murmur. Murmuring is not a normal sound but rather one that can be considered abnormal. But what if that abnormal sound could be used in a positive way?

We could apply murmuration to prayer. To ceaselessly articulate that which is our desires to the One who cares. The One who can answer and supply whatever our needs are. To softly whisper to Him that which we are expecting and allow Him to give us the expected end. To never stop asking until we see the desires of our hearts before our very eyes. Let’s flip the script and begin to use our abnormality to produce something positive.

 

3.12.17 Dr.R.A.

 

via Daily Prompt: Murmuration

life

Versatile Blogger Award

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I am extremely late on this, but I have been nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award by Kayla over at essencentral.wordpress.com. Words cannot express how honored, grateful and flattered I am to have been witnessed in this capacity. I have only been blogging four approximately four months and as consistent as I would like. I invite all of you to please go visit Kayla’s page as she has only been blogging for a little over a month. I know you will find gems of wisdom. I want to say thank you.

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Slightly similar to other Blogger Awards, the Versatile Blogger Award is an award given by bloggers to other up-and-coming bloggers. It is designed to encourage new bloggers to keep up the good work and help people to discover new blogs. To all those I nominate I wish you the best now and always.

The Rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and leave a link to their blog
  • List the rules and display the Versatile Blogger Award logo in your post and/or your blog
  • Share seven facts about yourself
  • Nominate up to 15 bloggers of your choice and let them know

Seven Facts About Me:

  1. My laugh is my trademark. I do believe that laughter is medicine for the soul.
  2. I am a birthday person. Love celebrating my birthday and the birthday of others.
  3. I love music
  4. I love to sing. (Singing is not my gift. I am more of a shower singer lol)
  5. I am the only child for my mom.
  6. I love to read. Especially the Bible.
  7. I enjoy blogging as it relaxes me

My Nominations:

The Pleasure Project

TheNowLife

Lizalizaskysaregrey

Write a line

A Fractal Heart

Dream Big Dream Often

The Showers of Blessing

Writing With Hope

Becoming the Oil and Wine

 

Love you all!! XOXO