Spiritual

Opposition or Opportunity

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While travelling on the railway of life opportunity is often clothed in opposition. This often leads to us becoming frustrated and wanting to change direction, instead of remaining on the course. However, sometimes in order for us to truly become victorious then we must push through every hindrance with the power that we have been endued with.  This simply means that we must persevere to be successful and bring into manifestation all the things that God has revealed or has been prophesied to us. It, therefore, means that we cannot let opposition cause us to loose our inheritance.

Many of the heroes of old had to face and relentlessly persevere until they obtained that which was promised. David for instance, although he was anointed as the king of Israel, had to wait until Saul was dead before he could sit on the throne. During this period of wait, he had to run for his life, hide in caves and even pretended to be mad. And to add insult to injury, so to speak, the very people that he was fighting with turned against him, he had no one to encourage him. In that seemingly hopeless situation, he encouraged himself in the Lord. And in spite of all these obstacles, he held on to the promise of God until it manifested. He used the eyes of the spirit and saw every opposition as an opportunity. He mixed the word with his faith until he had the victory over every situation. Also, Joseph was given a vision that others were bowing down to him. When he shared it with his family the despised him and plotted to kill him. They later changed their mind regarding killing him and instead sold him into slavery. He became the head slave and thought that things were looking up when he was lied on. This lie got him thrown into prison with seemingly no hope. However, God rescued him just like he promised and promoted him just like he said because he chose to hold onto God’s word.

Like David, Joseph and others did, it is our responsibility to mix that word (rehma word) with faith. Mixing these ingredients is like baking a cake. When baking a cake the ingredients must be properly mixed together to get the desired finished product. While mixing the word (promise) with faith do not let people or anything prevent you as it is their responsibility run you away from what God has ordained for you. Keep you eyes on God and hold onto the word that He has spoken. There is always a gulf or crater between what you have heard and who you are and who you have been destined to become. However, hold on and P.U.S.H. (Pray Until Something Happens). After all, what shall separate you from God? Look at every opposition as an opportunity and act accordingly /o that you can obtain your inheritance.

08/21/2017 Dr.R.A.

life, Self Esteem, Spiritual, success

Misfit

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Have you ever felt like you were a misfit? Have you ever been in a situation where you have even been told that you are not the right fit? Do you stick out like a sore thumb in your social arena or family?  Have you ever felt or been made to feel like you are a square peg trying to fit into a round hole? Well, you are not alone!

Often when we feel or have been made to feel like a misfit due to society’s standard or our associations, we think that we serve no real purpose or even worst are not valuable. Negative thoughts cascade through our minds and the will to break-free of the strongholds that disempower is nowhere in close proximity.  However, I dare to let you know that this is not true. You are very important! You are valuable! You were designed with a purpose in mind. In fact, your creator called and fashioned you to be royalty. You were formed to be holy and peculiar, to stand out and not be conformed to the standards and imaginations of this world. Don’t believe me?? Well, the manufacturers manual is filled with case studies of those who were considered to be misfit heroes.  Not only were they misfits but they were viewed as broken, barren, undone, unworthy, not good for anything, etc. But the beauty in these stories is that it did not end with them remaining in the state that they were viewed. Instead, like a butterfly, they were transformed from their seemingly ugly cocoon stage to a masterpiece of beauty.

Misfit heroes like David, Joseph, Moses, Jabez, Ruth, Rahab, and Jesus stories turned around. David who was deemed only good enough to attend to the sheep, yet in the end, he became the king of Israel. Joseph was hated by his own family, sold into slavery and imprisoned for being lied on. Yet in the end, he became second in command to the leader of Egypt. Moses had to be placed on a river in a basket, separated from his birth parents, and run away to the backside of the desert to save his life. Yet, in the end, his story turned around, and he became the deliverer of the nation of Israel. Jabez was named one who makes sorrowful as his mother gave birth to him in pain. Yet in the end after crying out to God, he was blessed, and his borders were enlarged. Ruth was an Edomite, an outcast, and had lost her husband. Yet in the end, her story shift from being an outcast and she married one of the wealthiest men. Rahab was the ultimate cast away as she was a harlot. She was looked down on because of choices that she had made,  and was often scorned and talked about by those in her hometown. Yet, in the end, her family was saved because of her, and it was through her lineage that the Savior came.   Jesus was born in a manager, he was looked upon as only a carpenter’s son and was questioned as to whether or not anything good come out of Israel. Yet in the end, he became the Savior of the world.

Today you may be faced with the challenge of not fitting in, but do not worry, you were born to stand out. Do not let the pressures of wanting to be a part of something causes you to conform and change who you are. You were born to be the best version of yourself. Go ahead and be the authentic you. Yes, you may be quirky, not educated, highly educated, slim, wonderfully plump, not popular, not wealthy, or whatever you may view as your downfall, but you are you. You are designed to prosper and to be successful. Take the limits off yourself. You story regardless of the trauma that you have endured has not ended. Your best is yet to come. Shine forth and be the authentic you that you have been called to be, that the world is waiting to see.

08/17/2017 Dr. R.A.

life, Spiritual

Wait

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No one likes to wait. Waiting generally gives birth to anxiety and heightens our level of frustration. There is a story of a man who was praying to God for patience and told God to give him the patience needed in a hurry. When I first heard the story I laughed but having gone through various situations in life where I had to wait and wanted the “waiting period” to end in a hurry, I can identify with the man in the story. In fact, there were times when I had to wait and my countenance was  unbecoming. Truth be told I did not possess an excellent spirit in those circumstances.

One would think that it is only waiting for extended period of times that would cause one to act out of the character of Christ. But I beg to differ and state that based on my own experiences that sometimes when I acted out of character I was not waiting for an extended period of time. Sometimes I became agitated because I thought someone was taking too long to order their food. Other times I became irritated because I thought traffic was moving too slowly. I chuckle because although we like to act like we behave godly at all times, it is far from the truth. Unfortunately, sometimes I become irate while driving and have come to understand how people have road rage. I wish I could say that was the height of my bad character trait as it relates to waiting, but regrettably I admit that these traits get carried over in my spiritual relationship.

I realized that sometimes while I waited on the manifestation of the promise of God I became frustrated and often questioned His will and ability to work in my life. There are times that I have failed to understand His sovereignty and perfect timing. I have cried, sulked, and lost hope that He knows what I am going through and has my best interest at heart. Sometimes I have questioned whether or not I will see the expected end that He has promised. In the waiting period I have even asked Him if He remembers that I am on still on the planet, as there seem to be no answer to my prayers. During those periods thoughts often cross my mind questioning whether He will do what He has promised. In those weak moments skepticism and cynicism gushes through my spiritual veins like blood as it is being pumped from my fearful heart. I have however, learned that I am not alone in this waiting game. As a matter of fact there has been many heroes whose stories have been told in the Bible about their waiting process. Therefore, I have been comforted as it pertains to waiting as we will all have to do this at some period in time. However, I still need to perfect by countenance to having an excellent spirit during the waiting period.

There are many examples of how to wait with an excellent spirit in the Bible.

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The story was told in the Bible of Hannah who was barren and was waiting on God to bless her with child. During her period of waiting she was ridiculed, tormented, and mocked continuously by her adversary. In this story however, we never read that Hannah cursed her adversary or acted out of character because of what she endured. Instead, Hannah took her burdens to the Lord in prayer. She lengthened the cords and straightened the stakes of her faith in God. She choose to starve her fear and doubts and allowed her roots of confidence in God and His ability to go down to the water table where her trees of fruitfulness could grow and produce much fruit. In essence, she ensured that through prayer her faith was anchored in God. By doing this Hannah received that which her heart desired the most.

The Bible admonishes us to wait on the Lord and how to wait. Psalm 27:14 “wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord”. How are you waiting on the Lord? What is your attitude while you wait? Are you abandoning your reliance on God as you wait? Are you saying…

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Remember:

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Additionally, when you wait you can be assured that your strength will be renewed like the eagle. Moreover, when you wait on the Lord and possess good courage He will strengthen your heart. Also…

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Prayer: Lord we ask that You help us to wait on You patiently. Continue to woo us until our love is made perfect in You. We know that when our love is perfected that all fears will be cast out of our beings. Teach us how to live in You. Help us to be confident in knowing that we will see Your goodness in our lives while we are living on this earth. Amen.

08/15/2017 Dr. R.A.

Spiritual

Real test of Love, Maturity & Greatness

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Love is a word that is used very loosely in the society in which we live. People consistently profess their love to one another, but at the first instance of proving that professed love, they vanish like a magician’s trick.  The biblical definition of love as expressed in the book of Corinthians is almost nonexistent like a unicorn or purple squirrel. That is because in our society people practice loving each other momentarily when all is going well. However, as soon as the sky turns bleak they run. The Bible, however, teaches us that loves endures ALL things, believes ALL things, suffers long, think no evil, is not easily provoked, etc. It is in practicing these things that we will develop maturity.  Getting to a place of maturity is necessary to achieve greatness. As strange as it may seem age does not constitute a person’s maturity. Maturity is hinged on a person’s ability to consistently display the characteristics of love as defined biblically. As such life has a way of creating perfect opportunities called ‘challenges’ to test our level of maturity to determine whether or not we are ready for greatness.

The true test of love, maturity, and greatness comes when we are able to make the hero out of someone who has done us wrong (lie, neglect, backbite, backstab, character assassination, etc.). Whenever we are faced with such challenges, we initially think it is impossible to do good to those individuals much more to make a hero out of them. Truth be told we often think of ways to get even with them, or secretly wish that what they have dished out to us will be served to them in a greater portion. Giving them a dose of their own medicine so to speak. However, that is not what is being required of us. We are being required to show that person love and even make a hero out of them. Jesus laid the perfect example for us in that He was rejected by the Samarians and instead of saying what horrible persons they were He told a parable (the good Samaritan) & made then the hero. In doing this Jesus depicted that he epitomized love, maturity, and greatness.  Jesus did not allow the fact that they were not able to realize the greatness that he possessed or that they did not show him love or acceptance to deter him from doing good. He remained in the character of who he was – the embodiment of good.

This teaches us to have our eyes aligned with the focus on God and who He has called us to be and not ourselves. We have to realize that not everyone has the capacity to celebrate and affirm our greatness. As such we have to learn to love and forgive others as God would. Not holding grudges, shaking off negativity. Let negativity not impact us and cause us to act out of character.  Instead, let it be like water poured on a duck’s back. Don’t allow it to let you loose sight of who you are and who God has called you to be. As you do good to those who have hurt you God will elevate you and cause every desire and dream to come to manifestation. Trust God and wait on Him and you will mount up with wings like eagles.

Prayer: Father sometimes the fantastic opportunities that You have given to us to display You can be challenging. However, in those moments of weakness, we ask for Your strength to superimpose ours. Let us be a reflection of Your love, maturity, and greatness. We desire to be more like You and therefore ask that You continue to mold us into being what You had in mind. We submit ourselves to You completely. Keep our eyes fixed on You so that we do not become distracted by the world’s definition of what greatness or love. Have Your way in us. Amen. 

6/27/17 Dr.R.A.

Spiritual

Trust God when it doesn’t make sense

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Life has a way of screaming emphatically to us that it does not make sense to trust God. As believers, we often think that as we make a request to God, that instantaneously our request should be granted.  The fact that our prayers are seemingly not answered in the blink of an eye can lead to frustration and further resulting is a skewed concept of who God is.  This is because we make a request for help in what we would consider a bad situation and instead of receiving the help needed from God, He allows the circumstances to get even worse. In fact, our most severe problems become outright impossible to be resolved. As such, our mind begins to formulate questions regarding God’s location, His character, His nature, and sometimes even His very existence. We start to wonder whether or not the promises of God is true. We deliberate as to whether or not God really cares.

We feel like we have been brought to a precipice and are being forced to plunge headway to our death. However, it was said that if God brings us to the edge of a cliff and tells us to step off, either of two things will happen. One, He will catch us when we fall or two, He will teach us to fly. Either way, we will be safe from harm.

I want to remind you that although your current situation may be deafening with the thought that it does not make sense to trust God that you are not alone and that it will all work out for your good. How do I know this? Well, from the lives of the patriarchs of old.  The Bible tells us a story at the beginning about a man named Noah. Noah was asked to build a boat to house animals and people as it was going to rain. Now in Noah’s days, it had never rained before. Building a ship to protect both animals and individuals from something that had never happened before just does not make sense. The ark took years to construct, and one can only imagine the ridicule that Noah endured as He built this ark expecting rain. As if that was not bad enough it did not begin to rain immediately after the ark has been constructed.  Noah could have felt like it just did make sense to trust God to build the ark after enduring all the ridicule and looking stupid throughout the process.  However, as soon as all the animals and Noah and his family were safely in the ark the floods came. God proved to Noah that His words are true and that it pays to trust Him even when it does not make sense.

As a child, I used to play a game where a person would stand behind, and I would fall back into their arms. There was no fear or uncertainty within me as to the ability of that person to catch my fall. However, as I grow older and bigger, I became more apprehensive to play that game as I became aware that it is a game of trust. To fall back unreservedly into the arms of someone behind without looking requires us having faith in that individual. Is it possible that God wants us to fall back into His arms without reservations? Could it be that our situations moved from bad to worse and from worse to impossible because God wants us to trust Him even when it does not make sense? I must admit that having that kind of confidence will expose us to ridicule, loneliness, pain, hurt, etc. But is it possible that God wants us to trust Him even when we are feeling lonely, hurt and unpopular? Won’t you trust God when it does not make sense in your impossible situation?

Prayer: God in our most desperate time of need when we feel like it does not make sense to trust You we are asking for Your wisdom and direction. We pray that all the doubts hidden in our hearts will be vanished and replaced with faith in You. We request that the knowledge of who You are, and that You have our best interest at heart and will work everything out for our good will be reaffirmed in us. Empower us to fall back in Your arms without hesitation or reservation. Amen.

Dr.R.A, 6/18/17

life, Spiritual

What are you gravitating towards?

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There are so many things in life that vie for our attention. The gravitational force around these things can be so powerful that if we are not careful, we lose sight of our purpose. The distraction can be so hypnotic that we become lackadaisical, weary, complacent and just wanting to fit into society’s mold. The pull to be normal beckons and we find ourselves effortlessly drawing closer and closer to its magnetic field. Little resistance is made as we wander away from opportunities because they are wrapped in problems/challenges. We encamp at the base of the mount as its steep and rigorous sides exclaim “it’s too difficult to try and climb.” Additionally, the need to take others along the journey dissuade us from continuing the path.  Excuses, excuses fills our backpacks. And whenever asked or pushed to continue the route we simply pull one out.

We allow fear to disarm our shield of faith. While authorizing doubt to keep the sword of the spirit in a shield. The whisper of the enemy persuades us to think that the promised inheritance is sour. Our need for comfort having feasted on the menu of the world causes us to remove the belt of truth that girds our loins. The desire to feel the wind in our hair coax us to remove the helmet of salvation. Shame convince us to cover the breastplate of righteousness with a cloak. The turmoil within and without robbed us of our gospel of peace shoes. Aimlessly and passively we stroll along life’s meandering path.  Not taking into account that we are being robbed of our present and future. Our eyes fixated on the accomplishments and victories of yesterday, yester-months and yesteryears. While our zeal, passion, and flames for that which is ours have been blown out by the winds of life. Procrastination becomes the way of life as our attention has been captivated by the glitter of an easy and simple life. We are completely unaware of the urgency to become that which we have been designed to be, so that we can achieve our heart’s longing desire. Instead, we are just being led by the pull of life’s magnetic field.

As you walk this journey called life what are you gravitating towards? Are you gravitating to the familiar when you have an opportunity to walk in the faith field? Are you leaning towards the base of the mountain when the advantageous circumstance exist for you to be on the top of the mountain? What has compelled you to slacken your pace to progress? What it is that has paralyzed your desire to accomplish? What is pulling you or has pulled you off the path that you have been destined to walk? Have your emotions kept you bound?

Yes, walking by faith is lonely, cold, dark and scary but the benefit that lies ahead cannot be compared to anything. Can you not hear the sound of endless victories beckoning to you? They are echoing your name. Their sound waves are penetrating the gravitational force field around you. You were not meant to abound in this lowly place. Muster up the courage and vigor needed to step out by faith and be the “called,” be the “chosen,” be the “king” that you were designed to be. Don’t let fear paralyze you from achieving what God has designed for you to inherit. There is nothing dim as it pertains to the plans that God has for you. Your future is shining bright with white light and waiting for you to step in. You have been designed to possess your promised inheritance. Break loose from the force field of worldly desires and gravitate to that which God has prepared for you.

Prayer: Father, today we ask that the magnetic field of the desires of the world be shattered from our lives.  May our skewed perspective of being normal be realigned, so that we will recognize how awesome it is to be the peculiar people that You have called us to be. Increase our desire for more of You and more of the things of Your kingdom. Open our eyes so we can clearly see the advantages in following hard after You. Let our emotions be grounded in You. Amen.

6/13/17 Dr.R.A.

life, Spiritual

Going through the Valley

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As children of God, we often view the valley as a very negative place to find ourselves. However, we need to take a different outlook at the valley and our valley experiences. We need to note that it is in the valley that our souls are restored and we are comforted. It is also the place where our Lord (the good shepherd) leads us beside still waters and allows us to rest in green pastures. A valley may be defined as a depression with predominant extent in one direction. Though some may see this negatively there is a positive side to it as this clearly shows that in the valley we are aligned and focused, with only God in our view. This situation is ideal for Christians as it enables us to give birth to a deeper relationship and closer walk with God.

The width of some valleys may be very vast and as such the goal of reaching the stream that flows may seem hopeless and impossible. It may seem like our souls will never be restored or refreshed, our hopes and dream may never come to pass and the storm will never end, as the shadows of death creep in.  The streams may be completely dried up at the location where we knew it once flowed in some of the valleys that we go through. At this point, it is clear that alternative actions need to be taken instead of becoming discouraged. What we really need to do is begin to dig. Throughout the Bible, we see men digging, some dig wells, while others dig through walls like Abraham, Isaac, and Ezekiel. The important thing was not what they dug but the fact that they dug, as some resulted in the appearance of water, while others found a door, and others a place of refuge. So remember to dig – dig wells so that when the rain falls you will be able to have water to sustain you.

In Psalm 84:6 David admonishingly states “who passing through the valley of Baca (weeping) make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools”. This evidently shows that during our time of weeping we need to dig wells. Do not place limits on the number of wells you dig, because the more wells there are is the more that will be available for filling. Just like the woman who was told to gather as many pots as possible to pour oil into, I say dig as many wells as you can.  We also need to take note of the fact that there are never two valleys in succession; it is always two mountains and a valley, so dig wells as you walk on through your valleys. In 2 Chronicles 20: 26 the Bible noted that the children of Israel assembled themselves in the valley of Berachah (blessings). So as you journey from your valley of weeping to your valley of blessings dig wells in abundance to your need.

As you dig don’t forget to send up praises because your praise represents the vapor that is necessary for condensation so that the rain can fall. Job 36:27 states “For he maketh small the drops of water: they pour down rain according to the vapor thereof.” I know that it is hard for us to send up praises during a difficult situation or through valley experiences, especially when it seem like our days are filled with dark clouds even when the sun is out, but praise God regardless of the situation and how you feel. The amount of praise that you send up is directly proportional to the amount of rainfall that will occur. When the praises go up then the showers of blessings will come down. It was Paul and Silas who praised God while they were in jail until the doors opened and they were set free. So praise God regardless of the situation. Hallelujah!!!!

6/6/2011 DR.R.A

life, Spiritual

How to react to being cursed

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Sometimes the enemy launches attacks from every side forcefully. These attacks usually occur when we are still adjusting to the place where we are called to be. This reminds me of a scene in Kung Fu Panda 1 where the Panda was dreaming of being the chosen one and was under severe attack from every angle. He had to be very alert as he wards off the enemy’s attacks. There was no time to rest or even to have the pity party ‘why me”. Instead, he had to be vigilant in fighting until he came out victorious. However, in real life, we do not always approach the attacks of the enemy in this manner. The attacks may occur very suddenly and have various impacts.

The intensity of these attacks can leave us in a state of confusion and vulnerability. We do not know how to face the future as seemingly our world has turned upside down. Sometimes even those who love are aloof and indifferent. Those that we thought were in our corner has proven to be nothing but a mirage.  We find ourselves pondering the next step that we should take. It is in those moments that we should ensure that we do not rely on our emotions but instead look to God. Although this may seem difficult to do we should look to God for guidance each step of the way. Knowing that He has everything under control.

The infamous David found himself in a similar predicament. He had now taken the throne as the king of Judah and was still in the adjustment phase. He had recently been relieved of always running and hiding from Saul who was trying to kill him as Saul was now dead. One would have thought that he would be able to rest and strategize how to get the remaining portions of the nation of Israel. However, his beloved son Absalom decided to plot against him, steal the kingdom and now had the king on the run.

Thinking of all that he had been through to this point he could easily say “I am tired” and throw in the towel. He could have thought the price to pay for being king of Israel is just too much and quit. He could have also ordered to have his son killed by one of his mighty warrior guards. But he decided to run for his life and the life of his men. While on the run a supporter of the former King Saul decided to curse David. Not only did he curse David verbally, but he also threw stones at him and his men. Shimei made David aware that what he was experiencing was because he was evil and that God was paying him back. It got so bad that Abishai wanted to go over and cut off Shimei’s head. This seemed like the right thing to do. After all, David has suffered enough to be who he was called to be – King of Israel. Nevertheless, David’s advice was to leave Shimei alone and allow him to continue cursing as God was the one who permitted him to do so.

I must admit that David’s statement left me flabbergasted. Although he had the power to do something about being cursed by Shimei he made the decision to leave things in God’s hand. He trusted in the Sovereignty of God. David even further stated that “perhaps the Lord will see that I am being wronged and will bless me because of these curses today.” 2 Samuel 16:12. He was giving God total control of his experience while hoping that God would reward evil for good. David gave the perfect example of how to handle being cursed.

So, in case you missed it in the ramblings, here you go. When being cursed, you should:

  1. Keep on walking. Focus on where you are heading and do not become distracted by the words or the stones that are being thrown at you. Never give up on the promise that God has given you. Even if it means that you have to walk through hell for your promise, keep on walking.
  2. Do not listen to the ill advice of supporters. Those that are surrounding you in your crisis moment and are aware of all that you have been through may provide incorrect advice because of your position and history. Do not give heed to ill advice. Two wrongs never make a right.
  3. Trust the Sovereignty of God. Nothing that is happening to you is taking God off-guard. He is in control of your life and knows the beginning from the end. Nothing is happening to you by chance.
  4. Allow God to fight for you. Although it may seem easy to fight for yourself allow God to fight for you. There is no victory like the one that God wins.
  5. Expect God to Work on your behalf. Your situation may seem dark and dismal. You may feel like you deserve what you are experiencing. However, never give up hope in God. Always expect Him to turn your situation around. God has a way of rewarding evil for good.

Prayer: God we are asking you to give us the tenacity that is needed to keep walking until we receive the promise. Help us to keep our eyes focused on You and not give heed to the distractions that outline the pathway. Fortify our bond of trust in You. Help us to always look to You with expectation, regardless of what our current experiences. Guard our ears so that we can clearly hear Your voice and heed to Your good advice. Amen.

5/26/17 Dr.R.A.

life, love, Spiritual, success

Dangerous Obsession

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Having desire and passion is a good thing as these are necessary to propel us to achieve success.  However, sometimes if we are not careful we can become obsessed with things, people and even places, which hampers us from seeing clearly and making good decisions. This is because all of our thoughts are consumed by that which we desire. This state of being if not checked will lead to our demise.

The Bible tells a story about a man named Amnon who was in love with his brother’s sister Tamar. This feeling of love soon developed into obsession as she was all he would think about.  He was so desperately obsessed that he became sick and it was evident that something was wrong.  His thoughts became skewed as he thought he would never be able to have Tamar. With the help of a “friend,” he devised a plan that would allow the king to send Tamar to his house to make food for him and feed him.  After she had made his meal, he sent his servants away and asked her to feed him. When she attempted to perform his request, he grabbed her and began forcing himself on her. She pleaded with him not to do this evil thing but instead advised him to ask the king for her as she was certain his request would be granted if that was what he desired. He would not give heed to her advice, however and raped her. His obsession would not allow him to hear the good reasoning. He was blinded by his dangerous obsession.

After he had done this evil, he hated her more than he loved her and had her thrown out of his house. Her brother saw her crying and hid her but hated Amnon because of what he did to his sister Tamar. Eventually, Tamar’s brother killed Amnon because of what he had done to his sister Tamar. Had Amnon not been so dangerously obsessed with Tamar he would not have been killed by Tamar’s brother.

What is it that has consumed your thoughts? Who is it that has consistently captivated your thoughts and heart? Have you become bitter because of situations that you have been through that has caused pain, humiliation, disgrace, etc.? What is the cause of you becoming dangerously obsessed?

Today ask God to turn the search light within your heart so that whatever has caused you to become obsessed can be addressed before it leads to your detriment.

Prayer: God today I ask You to help me to acknowledge the things, places or people that have consumed my thoughts. Empower me to release the pain of the past and accept healing for the present. That which has hampered my growth in You I ask You to strengthen me to walk away from it. Open my eyes that I may clearly see that the things of this world that I have been dangerously obsessed with are not worthy to be compared with the things of the Kingdom of God. Empower me to flee from the allurements of this world that will captivate my spirit and eventually cause me to die. I commit my thoughts into Your hands and ask that You help to think only on things that are just, honest, lovely and of a good report.  Help to think upon things that adds virtue to my life and give praise unto You. Amen.

5/17/17 Dr.R.A.

Spiritual

Comfortable being a Slave

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If the question was asked who would like to be a slave, I don’t think anyone would volunteer. Yet, knowingly and unknowingly we become slaves, to things, people, ideas, situations, etc. Additionally, sometimes we even become comfortable being a slave to these things. What?? Yes, sometimes we become comfortable with being a slave. Do not be alarmed you are not the only one, as all these things are common to all men/women.

The Bible tells the story of the children of Israel who for years lived as “princes” in the land of Egypt because of Joseph. However, Joseph died, and there rose up a Pharoh who did not know Joseph and thought that the children were only fit to be slaves in the land of Egypt. Initially, the children of Israel were comfortable being slaves. Even though the conditions that they were living in was not favorable, they were not in a hurry to get out of Egypt or to stop being a slave. Yes, they were crying out for deliverance, but they were still comfortable with being a slave. In fact, when liberation presented itself to them in the 390th year they were so content that they rejected it because it did not look like what they thought it should look.  This resulted in them spending another 30 years in Egypt and did not receive emancipation until the 430th year. Even after the children of Israel left Egypt they were so accustomed to being slaves that they kept disobeying and complaining all throughout their journey through the wilderness.  Physically they were free, but they were slaves in their minds and preferred to be slaves as they often expressed that they would much rather be in Egypt than traveling through the wilderness. They were content with being slaves.

We too like the children of Israel sometimes find ourselves in circumstances that have enslaved us. These conditions are often far less than favorable, but because of fear, we become captives. Some of us are trapped in dead-end jobs, and instead of stepping out we try to convince ourselves that there is nothing we can do to change our situations. We pretty much refuse to step out. Why because we are comfortable being slaves to our circumstances. As such, we find all kinds of reasons to justify why where we are is exactly where we will be forever. Some of us are in abusive relationships, addicted to drugs, alcohol, and pornography. Yet we will not make a step towards freedom as the cost to be free seems more than that of being a slave to our situations. Yes, we are crying out, but the action required for deliverance seems too much to take.

I can’t help but wonder, however, if we could come to a point where we are sick and tired of being slaves. A point where our desire to be free is more important than the cost of our comfort. Coming to a place where we realize where, who and what we are a slave to and saying enough is enough, it’s time to be free.

Prayer: God of the Heaven armies we ask that Your light will be shed in the deep recesses of our hearts. Show us where, who and what we have been slaves to and reveal to us the steps needed to take so that we can be free. Empower us with the ability to break free from that which enslaves us. Help us to walk out of our comfort zone so that we can step into the liberty that You have died for us to live in. Break away complacency and procrastination from us. Please place a spirit of urgency within so that we will do what it takes to live in the place that You have designed for us. Amen.

5/13/17 Dr.R.A.

Daily Post, Spiritual

Bitter

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Whenever we encounter hurt we feel like we have no choice but to react negatively. This, however, is a very jaded and twisted perspective as we all have the power of choice.  We can choose to be better and not become bitter over a hurtful experience.  I am not saying that it will be the easiest thing to do, but with a little effort, one can achieve what seems impossible at the sight of raw pain.

Bitterness occurs when we allow hurt to fester within our hearts. We meditate and regurgitate every detail of what caused pain.  This causes our heart to become sick and eventually our bodies as poison (hurt, anger, malice, envy, hatred, revenge, etc. ) is being pumped through our veins. So how does one know if they have become bitter? Well, I am glad you asked.  Below are a few indicators of a bitter person.

  1. Holding a Grudge: Forgiveness is not a priority for a person who is bitter. Bitter persons like to hold grudges and nurse the wounds that have been incurred. So if you find yourself nurturing hurtful experience, then chances are you are bitter. If you find yourself constantly talking about what has impacted you, then you are bitter.
  2. Always Negative: Bitter persons are unable to see anything in a positive light.  The glass is always empty for them. There is always things to complain about even when there is nothing to complain about. If you find yourself complaining always complaining chances are you are high on the bitter radar.
  3. Skewed Perspective: Bitter persons think that someone is always looking to hurt them. They are very suspicious of everything and have the attitude “me against the world.” If you think you have to defend yourself against the whole world, then you are bitter.
  4. Attention Seekers: Bitter persons love attention as such they will act out to get the attention they are seeking.  No matter how minor an incident may be, they will make a mountain out of a molehill.
  5. Being Jealous: Bitter persons are usually jealous of others and childish. They seem to think that others have what they want. They feel like they are more deserving of what another person has. If you find yourself constantly comparing yourself to others, then you are a bitter person.

So now that you are aware of some of the traits of a bitter person how can you overcome bitterness? Well, the answer is simple. After doing a soul search and acknowledging your location on the bitter radar, forgive. FORGIVE, FORGIVE, FORGIVE and then forgive some more.  Forgive and let things go. Forgive when it hurts until it hurts and let it go. In doing this, you would have freed the individual(s) that has caused harm and also free yourself. You will become a better person for having done this. Remember the Bantu proverb which says ” a bitter heart eats its owner.” Forgive! Let it go and release you from the prison of bitterness.

5/8/2017 Dr. R.A.

via Daily Prompt: Bitter

Spiritual

Your Hair will Grow Again

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Life is filled with choices being served as a dish on a platter. This results in us constantly making decisions, whether right or wrong. These decisions sometimes have a way of sapping our strength, leaving us extremely vulnerable to the attack of the enemy. Unfortunately, sometimes our choices may even lead to our ultimate demise as they have ripple effects.

As we grow older, these decisions become harder to make as we become more aware of the consequences of our choices. However, the pressure to perform or to prove that we are grown can tip the scale to the left. Therefore, supplying us with a greater degree of influence for making wrong choices. As everyone wants to be their own superhero and advertise their independence.

This is not unique to our dispensation. As a matter of fact, it was quite prevalent in the days of old as depicted in the Bible with stories about the patriarchs. Some of these choices made by these patriarchs were good and showed great rewards. Whereas, some decisions were wrong and proved to be very costly.  Regardless, however, because of their desire to serve and please God, He had a way of working things out in their favor.

In the book of Judges, we learn of a man named Samson who although was chosen by God and dedicated to Him from birth seemed to be prone to doing only that which was wrong because of the lust of his eyes, lust of his flesh and the pride of life. He placed a downpayment on temporary pleasure with his future power which was extremely dangerous and costly. The consequences of his choice left him blind, head shaved and imprisoned by his enemies. This left him in a position of shame, ridicule, bondage, pain and loss.  From the perspective of his enemy, all hopes were lost for him. As a matter of fact, he may have believed for a moment that there was no hope left and this would be his destiny. However, somewhere in the pitch darkness his eyes and heart got fixed on God, and he began to pray.  The change of perspective and his spiritual disposition resulted in his hair starting to grow again. His strength was regained with every strand sprout until his strength was matchless.  He then was able to destroy his enemies, essentially taking back everything that the enemy had stolen from him.

Maybe like Samson, you feel despondent, and your life is filled with despair because of the decisions that you have made. Maybe like him, you are experiencing ridicule, shame, pain, broken heart, sickness, insecurity, drug addiction, promiscuity, loss (financially, emotionally, physically, etc.). Maybe you feel like all is lost and there is no reason to continue to live. However, I say to you that your hair can grow again. Regardless, of what you have done if you fix your eyes on God, your hair will begin to grow again. This is not the end although it seems like the end. How do I know this? Because things always work out in the end. The fact that your heart is beating is proof that there is still hope for tomorrow. Therefore, if it has not worked out it only means that it is not the end. God can make a way out of no way. He can turn every crooked path straight and every Red Sea into dry ground.

It does not matter how deep you have fallen. You could be beneath the deepest depth of the sea, God can still reach you if you are willing to be pulled up. It does not matter how sick you are. The only thing that matters is if you are willing to be made whole.  You may want to disqualify yourself because of the numerous times that you have fallen, but remember that a just man falls seven times but gets back up. All you need to do is be willing to get back up. God has a future plan for you that is filled with good and not evil to give you and expected end.

Prayer: God, please let Your light shine in the deep dark areas of our heart. Let failures, weakness, insecurities, hopelessness, etc. be exposed so that Your people can regain strength. Let our hair begin to grow again. Open the prison cells that we have locked ourselves in because of bad choices that we have made and set us free to fulfill our purpose which is to worship You. Clothe us in Your righteousness as we ask for Your forgiveness. Help our eyes to affixed to You from this day forward. Amen.

4.27.17 Dr. R.A.

life, Spiritual

Discouraged- Now what?

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The vicissitudes of life have a way of breeding discouragement in our lives. If this feeling of despair is not handled effectively, it can lead to our detriment. This is because discouragement can cripple us and prevent us from accomplishing our dreams. It has a way of making us want to take a break. Making us want to hit the pause button on life (if one existed) and catch our breath before we continue on the journey of life. Additionally, sometimes to be quite frank, discouragement has a way of making us want to throw in the towel and just calling it a day. It makes us want to hit the stop button and never hit play again, causing all the sounds from the music of life to end.

Discouragement may be defined as the loss of enthusiasm. As we all know enthusiasm comes from the Greek word “entheo” which means “in God.” This simply means that when we are discouraged, we have lost our grip in God.  Discouragement shows that God is no longer at the center of our focal point but rather has been replaced by whatever “boisterous winds and waves” that is causing turbulence in our sphere.

Becoming discouraged is very common to all humans, and its causes are too many to mention. Therefore whenever we find ourselves in this state, we should not become alarmed. Instead, we should employ tools that will cause us to break free from this prison and get back into the game of life and enjoy the music.

The Bible tells a story of a woman named Hannah who was barren. She had married the man of her dreams, and he loved her like none other. He would always show her ways of how much he loved her. Yet all this display of affection did not satisfy as she could not bear children. Although, Hannah’s life seemed perfect in regards to love and material needs she had an adversary named Peninnah who would taunt her for being barren. This made Hannah very discouraged, so much in fact that she no longer had an appetite for food. Additionally, nothing her husband said brought any comfort to her. She could have remained in her state and become bitter and become consumed by the “woe is me” syndrome, but she took a different approach.  She instead decided to pour herself out to the Lord. At a time when everyone was rejoicing and being merry, she made a sacrifice unto the Lord and pour out the anguish of her soul. This was being done so emphatically that the priest noticed and thought that she was drunk in the temple. However, in the end, we know that the Lord heard her petition and granted her request.

So how do we really push through these dark clouds of discouragement? How do we pick up the pieces of the chips that have fallen and begin to build again? I am in nowise saying that it will be easy but it is very doable. With a little effort, one can push through and encounter astronomical breakthroughs. So how can this be achieved?

  1. Get Up. Move from the place that you are familiar with. Move from the area of your comfort zone. Often we become so comfortable with being discouraged that we just want to remain in that place. However, coming out is going to require some movement on our part.
  2. Let go of the crutch. Often we use things and people as a crutch and refuse to let go even when we are able to stand and walk on our own. Releasing the crutch will reveal to us that we are able to do the thing and achieve the goals that we thought would never come to pass. Take baby steps if you must but let go of the crutch.
  3. Pray. Do not be afraid to pour out the deep anguish and cry bitterly to the Lord. He is God and He will hear when we cry out to Him. There is nothing that is too insignificant or too major to pray about. Prayer should be a part of our lifestyle.
  4. Ignore the eyes. People will always be looking at you, whether you are doing good or bad. Learn to ignore the eyes and that include the voice. They may have all kinds of negative things to say about you as you are getting our of the discouraged state but press on as the reward is greater.
  5. Be thankful. Even before you receive that which you are hoping for be thankful. Being thankful even before receiving will show that you are resting in God. He is your father and the One who is more that able to supply all of your needs. Remember gratitude will determine your altitude.

4/23/2017 Dr.R.A.

life, Spiritual

Drop on Purpose

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Often when we think about receiving a blessing, we presume that very little effort needs to be exerted to obtain one.  This often proves to be a flawed perspective as often we miss out on great opportunities/blessings because we do not want to exercise the required efforts to receive. Moreover, we are of the mindset that whatever we are going to receive as it pertains to blessings will be placed in the palm of our hands. This is also a very erroneous view. Have you ever considered that your “blessing” may be falling at your feet? Also, is it possible that is it being dropped on purpose? Have you been missing that which is designed to sustain you because you will not bend to pick it up off the ground?

The Bible relays a story about a young woman named Ruth who lost her husband and went to a strange land to live with her mother-in-law.  She may not have been the most confident as she gathered leftover grains for herself and her mother-in-law to survive. However, while she diligently worked picking up these grains, her kinsman redeemer (Boaz) took note of her and inquire about her. He was a man who was very affluent and influential. Upon hearing her story, he advised his servants to pull some heads of barley from the bundle and “drop them on purpose” for her. Now one may think yes that is a blessing, but not one that is “big of a deal,” since she did not receive it in the palm of her hand. Additionally, she had to exert the effort of picking it up from the ground. It was not gathered together and placed neatly in a bundle for her to take home. Instead, it was being dropped on purpose a little at a time, and she had to bend and pick it up to receive her “blessing.”  It was deliberately being placed at a low place.

I wonder if we could adapt Ruth’s attitude and never be too proud to bend and pick up what is already laying around to bless us.  Is it possible for us to take our eyes off the lofty things, the get rich quick schemes and look at what is already laying at our feet to bless us? Could glancing at the ground instead of gawking at the cloud be more profitable now?

The Bible admonishes us to be clothed with humility so that we can be exalted. Furthermore, it requires us to serve so that we can be leaders.  These both show that there is a purpose to being in a lowly position. Besides, when we pick up what seem insignificant an even greater blessing awaits us. Do not be distracted by the position of that which you need. Bend if you must and pick it up as it is being dropped on purpose.

Prayer: God help us not to be too high-minded that it prevents us from receiving that which you have purposefully given to bless us. Let there be a shift in our perspective as it pertains to receiving. Help us to recognize that as our father you will drop that which we need on purpose. Strengthen us to exert the effort required to receive a blessing. Amen.

Spiritual

Thankful in the In-betweens

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Being thankful always is not the easiest thing to do, especially when things are not going according to our desires. It is difficult to stay positive or be grateful in the “dark times” in our lives. To be thankful during times of sickness, death, rejection, failure, etc. can seem impossible. However, truth be told there is always something to be grateful for even during those trials of life.

Unfortunately, sometimes we also struggle are not thankful when we have that which we desire. This is because our society’s culture is that of consumerism. It teaches us to find fault with what we have so that we can get a newer model with the latest improvements. Which leaves us constantly discontent and unhappy, not being able to recognize that there so many things to be grateful for even when we do not see it.

Having an attitude of gratitude even in times of despair can be very beneficial to our entire being.  Sometimes it is embracing a grateful spirit that will empower us to get through difficult moments. So how do we possess gratitude during difficult times? How to we remain grateful in the in-betweens of life?

  1. Be Intentional. Being thankful is not going happen arbitrarily. It is something that we are going to have to do on purpose. Especially on days when the sky is falling, and we want to complain about everything we have to purposefully display an attitude of gratitude. So in these moments, we have to intentionally count our blessings.
  2. Be Humble. When we are clothed with the spirit of humility, then we will be able to to be thankful for what we already possess. Sometimes because our vision is not aligned right, we tend to focus on what we do not have instead of the things we already have.
  3. Serve. When we learn to serve others instead of being served, we will discover the true joy. Serving others will also take our minds off our own issues as sometimes we will see that there are others who are more in need.
  4. Huddle. When we get together with others (family and friends), it strengthens us. It gives us a better view of the picture and helps us to recognize that we are not alone. Often why we become unthankful is because our peripheral view only consists of ourselves. We think we are the only ones going through what we are facing and that we have to bear the burden alone. However, we need to remember that no man is an island. We need each other, so spend time with family and friends.
  5. Break the mold. Find ways of doing things differently. When we get stuck in the same routine, our lives can seem mundane and that there is nothing to be thankful for. Breaking the mold will cause us to step out of our comfort zone and discover new things, people, and culture that can be very pleasing.

When we practice these things we will recognize that the in-betweens are not as bad as it seems. Additionally, we will understand that we are operating in a controlled environment. Remember the word of God admonishes us that we should be thankful in everything for it is the will of God as it pertains to our lives. Happiness may not cause us to be thankful but being thankful will make us happy.

4.11.17 Dr.R.A.

life, Spiritual

Fan into Flame

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Given the advancement in technology, it is easy to start a fire. However, there are key components that are required to keep that fire blazing, namely oxygen, fuel, and heat. If any of these elements are missing, then it will have an enormous impact on the intensity and even the existence of the flames.  Sometimes at the beginning stage of a fire, the flames are most vehement, but as time rolls on, it begins to dwindle until it eventually goes out.

The same scenario can be used to describe our passion for God and the things of the kingdom. As we continue along the pilgrim’s pathway, the flame that was once filled with zeal and passion begins to lose its intensity. This can be a result of many factors such as disappointments, sickness, broken heart, fear, etc. However, regardless of the circumstances that cause us to lose fervor, whenever it occurs we find ourselves in a perilous zone.

The Apostle Paul was aware that this could take place as such he admonished Timothy to “fan into flame the gift of God.” What was the gift that God had given to Timothy? Was it fear? Was it timidity? Was it defeat? Was it hatred? Was it lack of self-control? No!!! Paul continued to “for God has not given a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind.” This simple means that if we find ourselves at any point being fearful, envious, malicious, hating, not having self-discipline, etc., then the spirit we are operating in is not of God. We were never made to live in fear, cowering in shame and defeat, overwhelmed by depression or oppression and trembling because of inadequacies. Instead, we were created to live in victory, consistently displaying His power, love and wise discretion.  Therefore, we should fan the flames by thinking about things that are praiseworthy, lovely, admirable, right, pure, true, noble, honest and of good report. Additionally, read and meditate on the word of God, and pray about everything.

Has your passion gone dim? Are you fearful of things? Do you have malice in your heart? This is a sign for you to draw closer to God and fan the flames of His gift.

Prayer: Lord, please help us to be confident in Your Word so that we can be confident and victorious in every aspect of our lives. Realign our thoughts so that we can focus on the things that promote growth within us and make us better individuals. Empower us to draw closer to you so that our feet can be planted on higher ground. Wherever our flame of Your gift has gone out, I pray that You will rekindle.  Show us the areas that have gone dim so that we can fan them into flames. Amen.

4/5/17 Dr.R.A.

 

life, Spiritual

Stepping into the Unknown

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It is often said there are no certainties in life except for change. I want to add to say that facing the unknown is also a guarantee. The longer we walk this journey called life, the more we will face the unknown. Whenever these situations present themselves panic often set in our minds. We start to hyperventilate because of fear, our heartbeat race and our limbs begin to feel incapacitated. However, stepping into the unknown does not need to be scary. All we need to walk into the unknown with confidence is God because He knows exactly what the future holds. Additionally, the best part about walking into the unknown with God is that He is a God that is loving, kind, merciful, who has good thoughts towards you, a God that will give you an expected end, and a God that can be trusted. Therefore we can have faith in Him and step into the unknown. F.Buechner states “Faith is stepping into the unknown with nothing to guide us but a hand just beyond our grasp.”

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In the Bible, we read about a young woman called Ruth who after suffering the loss of a loved one still clung to God and walked into the unknown. She made up her mind that she would follow her mother in law back to her homeland. Her mother-in-law tried to persuade her not to because she believed she had nothing more to offer her. Nevertheless, Ruth declared emphatically, “entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God.”

Ruth was completely unaware of what she was walking into. She was not familiar with the land, its customs or its people.  Notwithstanding she was trusting God to keep her safe and guide her footsteps into the unknown. The outcome of stepping into the unknown with God was beyond her expectations. She became the wife of a very wealthy man, a man of prominence (Boaz) and had children. She was also able to turn her mother-in-law’s sorrow into joy. Additionally, it was through her lineage that Christ came. She was given quite a legacy because she entrusted her life to God and stepped into the unknown with Him.

Looking at your life right now you may not be where you had hoped. Your life may have been filled with disappointments and broken dreams. You too like Ruth may have encountered loss and you may feel there is no reason to carry on. Those who surround you may be encouraging you to remain in your place of loss. They may be encouraging you to play your life safe and remain in your comfort zone. However, life only begins when we step out of our comfort zone.

What unknown situation(s) are you faced with? Are you allowing fear to cripple you from stepping into the unknown?  Do you have the courage to go wherever God leads so that you can receive the blessings that He has in store for you? Are you willing to step into the unknown with God?

Prayer: God please help us to be willing to let go of all our inhibitions and entrust our lives completely to you. Break off all the limitations from our lives and everything that will leave us feeling incapacitated. Breathe your strength and joy into our lives. Help us to recognize that as long as you are with us then there is nothing to fear. Empower us to walk confidently into the unknown with you, knowing that we already have the victory. Amen.

4/3/17 Dr.R.A.

Spiritual

Facing Fears

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Often when we are fearful, we have a tendency to cower and hide. Fear causes our nervous system to be flooded with endorphins. These emotions transmitted throughout our body cause us to sweat, our heart race (beating so hard like it is about to break free from our chest), the hair on our necks rise and our legs shake. Every member of our body seemingly shuts down with the exception of our emotions. This causes us to generalize fear as that which cripples hampers and prevents us from walking in purpose and possess that which belongs to us. However, what if we could look at fear from another perspective. What if fear could be viewed as that which propels, pushes, and catapults us into the place that we need to be? What if fear is the ultimate driving force? What if fear is the really the gateway to freedom?

Life is consist of both mountain and valley experiences.  Our perspectives often get skewed into thinking that there are more valley experiences than there are mountain top experiences. However, this is not the case as valleys are located between two mountains. Some valleys are wide whereas others are narrow which aids in our distorted view. Nevertheless, no matter how long, wide, short, narrow or dark our valleys may be what we should never lose focus of is that God is always present. Psalm 23 states “even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death you are with me.”  Because God is there the death that we see is only a shadow which cannot exist without the light. As such, God who is ‘light’ is guiding our steps so that we do not utterly fall in the darkness.This does not mean we will not encounter pain or sorrow, it simply means that no matter what happens we are on God’s watch, and if God is watching us and is for us, then nothing can stand against.  Knowing this we really should not fear. Notwithstanding we do and blame it on being human. This action is not a thing of the present as it has been occurring since olden times.

The Bible tells a story about the children of Israel who we sent to spy out the promised land. When there returned of the twelve that went only two had a good report and believed that they were able to possess the land. The others cowered in fear and wanted to forfeit that which was already given to them. They opted to for “flight” instead of “fight.” Only two were able to see that there is nothing to fear but fear itself.

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Only two were able to see that what they feared was the gateway to freedom. Overcoming the fear would allow them to enjoy the blessings of the promise. Everything that they desired was on the other side of fear.

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Only two chose to move forward in spite of fear trusting God to make possible that which He had promised. Fear was their ultimate driving force to obtain the promise of possessing the land. They knew that if they “fight” they would win.

Are you aware that you were born to win, to prosper and to rise? Do you know that defeat is not a part of the expected end that God has for you? What is is that you fear? Will you use that fear to propel you to the place you were destined to be? Will you face your fear so that you can experience freedom?

Prayer: God you see all the things hides in the dark areas of our hearts and minds that haunt us and causes us to fear. Today we are asking that you shed your light in these areas so that the darkness can be dispelled and fear dissipate. Please empower us to use fear to propel us into becoming and doing that which you have called us. Remove the scales from our eyes so that we can see that fear is only the gateway to our freedom. Take full control over everything that concerns us and let your divine will be done. Amen.

3/30/17 Dr.R.A.

Spiritual

Let Go and Let GOD

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The phrase “let go and let God” rolls off the tongue easier than it is to actually be implemented in an individual’s life. Often a believer will confess that they have let go and profess that they are allowing God to lead but as soon as there is a bump in the road then panic sets in.  Understandably so as it is quite challenging to let go of the tangible and rely on that which seemingly is intangible. Life’s unpredictable circumstances have taught us to hold on to the experiences that we have gained. We never know when the tide of our lives will change and as a result, we often find ourselves in a quandary grasping at straws and gasping for air.

All the experiences can be deemed memorable. Some leave us feeling like we are floating on a cloud of air somewhere in the exosphere because of the joy and the bliss that they bring. Whereas the excruciating pain of others cannot adequately be explained by our limited vocabulary. Regardless of the occurrence, however, we have learned to cherish each experience and categorize as either a lesson or a blessing.

Unfortunately, however,  the more we tend to hold on to these experiences (whether positive or negative) is the more we lose the ability to let go easily. These experiences sometimes leave us imprisoned in open door cells. I say ‘open door cells” because when opportunities present themselves instead of leaping and possessing that which is ours, we talk ourselves out of walking the course of destiny. We would rather settle for the bliss already experienced not realizing that there is greater joy ahead. Or nurture the pain of the past. Although either choice may bring some degree of comfort, it will hinder growth, as real growth can never occur in comfort zones. It is, therefore, imperative that we let go.

Psalm 46:10 profoundly states “be still and know that I am God…” If we should examine the phrase “be still” it originates from the Hebrew word raphah which mean to let go. The essence of this chapter is encouraging believers that no matter what the circumstances are we should let go and let God. Let go of all out inhibitions, fears, our vast range of emotions, intellect, etc., and let God. We can do this with confidence knowing He is God and that He will be exalted.

Prayer: Lord, please help me to let go of whatever causes me to be imprisoned in open door cells. Help me to realize that there is so much greater that you have in store for me, waiting for me to trust you and divinely walk into destiny. Empower me this day to start making steps to (even if they are baby steps) to walk out of these confinements so that every limitation can be destroyed. I confess that I am ready to let go and let you have complete control.

 

2/29/17 Dr.R.A.

 

life, Spiritual, success

Achieving Greatness

 

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People are often misguided into thinking that to achieve greatness then selfish desires must be on display.  From an early age, the passion for aspiring for more has been ingrained into our psyche. We want a higher salary, corner office, lofty titles, etc. as the perception of having these things will validate our identity. However, our source of identity is never found in the things that we own. Our source comes only from the One who formed and fashioned us when we were in our mother’s womb. Additionally, greatness we desire is not obtained by achieving these things.

Many books, articles, and speeches have been given on how to achieve greatness.  Most follow the concepts that have been outlined by Margret Thatcher namely:

  1. Working Hard
  2. Raise the bar higher
  3. Quitting is not an option
  4. Stand up for your ideals
  5. Take action

Although these principles if applied may enable one to reach their goal of obtaining material things. These actually does not indeed allow one to become great. Greatness in its truest form can only be achieved through selfless service. Now I know that with technology most individuals are trying to prove just how selfless they are by helping others and recording or live streaming their actions. Sometimes these things are done to get notoriety which does not please our Maker. True selflessness is not focused on gaining a platform but loving and serving others where they are even if there is no spotlight.

The Bible states that whoever wants to be a leader must be a servant. God’s ways are always different from the ways of men. To be great then one has to submit themselves to God’s leading. Our thoughts have to be transformed by God so that we can know His will for our lives and be pleasing unto Him.

Do you want to be great? Well, give yourself completely over to God and let Him lead. It is within reach, just ahead if we allow Him to direct our path.

Prayer: Lord help us to surrender our lives completely to You and Your leading. Let the spirit of obedience rest on us so that we will walk in the precepts and statutes that You have outlined. Help us to surrender our emotions to You so that anxiety does not subdue us. Remind us continually that Your ways and thoughts are higher than ours. Strengthen us to resist the values of the world and the pressure to conform to its ideologies. Empower us to pursue the kind of life that You have created us to obtain. Amen.

3/26/17 Dr. R.A.

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.

Daily Post, life

Unfurl

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As the petals unfurl

Your beauty is revealed

One by one they spread

Depicting order and majesty

Your magnetic force pulls admires

Animals and humans alike

You do not compete with others

Because you know that your splendor is divine and unique

So with humility, you continue to unfurl

Until your grandeur cannot be unnoticed

Bring joy to those who behold the beauty you display in this world

08/18/2017 Dr. R.A.

via Daily Prompt: Unfurl

Daily Post, life, Spiritual

Solitary

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Sometimes life has a way of eroding things that seem to have been connected to us

This result is us feeling like we have been sentenced to solitary confinement.

We feel like we have been transported to a sea-stack surrounded  by water

At the onset, we loose sight of the fact that we have been positioned for greatness because of the isolation that is felt.

But I dare you to take another look.

You have been “isolated for intimacy with the Creator

The water you are surrounded by is His word

Take a dive,

Emerge yourself in His word

Allow Him to develop the greatness inside in this alone time

Cause in the fullness of time the treasure that is on the inside will be revealed for all to see.

08/18/2017 Dr.R.A.

via Daily Prompt: Solitary

Daily Post, life, Spiritual

Grainy

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Grasping our dreams can sometimes feel so grainy

The tighter we hold the faster it escapes our grips

Like sand falling through an hourglass

Leading us to panic, as we are not able to see our way clearly

But if we could relax and just breathe

We will see that things are not falling apart as it seems

Instead, they are falling into place

At the end of one thing, even a great thing

Is the beginning of something greater

And as times rolls on

It will be clearly revealed

That God was really just busy

Creating your masterpiece

08/16/2017 Dr. R.A.

via Daily Prompt: Grainy

Daily Post, life, Spiritual, success

Willy-nilly

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One, two, three,

On your mark

Get set

Go

The race of life has begun

All goals are plainly in sight

Requiring only for us to push ahead

Fanfares on the sidelines are only distractions

To win we must ensure to keep our focus

The temptation to look to the sides is great

But we must not give in if we want our impact to be significant

So with eyes on the prize

Our mode of operation is not willy-nilly but rather methodically

With our game plan in order we accelerate at full-throttle

Knowing that with God’s help we will achieve the goal.

08/15/17 Dr.R.A.

via Daily Prompt: Willy-nilly

Daily Post, Spiritual

Glaring

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Pull me closer

Take me deeper

Intimacy is what I seek

Look deep within

Pour out more of Yourself into my empty vessel

I want more so much more

I realize You are all that I need

Unveil the mask

Remove the scales from my eyes

Transform me into Your image and likeness

Shine Your light into my darkness

I want to me a glaring reflection of all that You are

A dazzling representation of Your true light

08/11/2017 Dr. R.A.

 

via Daily Prompt: Glaring

Spiritual

Mountains #Cliff#Faith#Solitude#Deliverance#Holiness#Possession#Bible

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Hello everyone happy sunday hope you had a restful weekend?

Mountains are significant in the Bible and not only does scripture use them in a physical sense but scripture also uses mountains in a symbolic and prophetic sense as well.

When you’re on a mountain top you think of yourself as being closer to God due to being so far above sea level. Thereare many people in the bible that encountered God on mountain tops.

What’s the point of praying if we do not believe what we are praying about will come to pass? God wants us to expect His promises, provision, protection, and deliverance when we pray for them.
Sometimes we pray without any faith at all. First, we doubt the love of God and then we doubt that God can answer us. God isn’t happy when His children doubt Him and His love. Scripture teaches us…

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Daily Post, life

Carousel

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Set the stage

Lights, camera, action

We hurry on the carousel dream of life

Smiling faces

So many seating choices

All very colorfully appealing

Music soothing

All animals move up and down

Mimicking galloping

Masking the fact that we are going around in circles

When we will there be an awakening

When will eyes open to see that it is just the floor that’s spinning

When will we step off as there is progress to be made

Reality beckons for us to make a step

Step off the carousel dream

Pursue destiny while we are living

8/8/2017 Dr. R.A.

via Daily Prompt: Carousel