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.

Daily Post, life, success

Collaboration

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As individuals we all have ideas. Some believing that their ideas are more superior to that of others. However, if we could have an open mind then we will see that there is real no inferior or superior idea.  All that is required is for us to come together and collaborate our individual ideas to form a grand one. People thought that Thoms Edison was crazy when he thought about creating a light bulb and even more so when it took him over 3000 tries to get it together.  Although his idea was a great one it required collaboration with others to get it done. He and his team had to engage in a graceful dance to see the dream fulfilled.

Remember: Collaboration through teamwork will make the dream work.

5/15/17 Dr.R.A.

via Daily Prompt: Collaboration

life, success

Micromanage

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There are various leadership styles all of which serves their purpose if implemented correctly with the right personality type. Some persons, however, do not need to be in management positions as they will drive away good employees leaving the organization to suffer. Some leaders I would say are gifted with the ability to micromanage. They hire professional employees to get a task done and use their gift to chase individuals away while their plastic smile is painted on their face. For those “gifted” leaders I say stop it!

STOP IT!!!!

Stop using your gift that does more harm than good to create hostile work environments. Stop abusing your position of power to prove how effective you are as a leader. Allow people to breathe. Allow them to do the job they were hired to do. No one likes to be stifled so just stop it. If you want to kill an organization, create your own and use your gift. Maybe then you will realize how your gift is really not a gift.

 

5/3/2017 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.

life, Self Esteem, Spiritual

Beautiful Scars

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You look at me but what do you see?

Pain,  ashes, fear, shame, mourning, regret, mistake,  failure, and lost identity

You assume that you have the 411 on me because of what you heard on the street

When I pass by, you blatantly stare disdainfully with the intent to intimidate

Sorry to inform you that your information has been outdated

As a matter of fact, it is ancient history

And to stay with the current then you need an upgrade and an update

You see the scars you see is only skin deep

And there are deeper dimensions lying beneath the surface

You think the scars have disfigured and completely deformed

But you cannot comprehend just how beautiful they truly are

As all these scars have been transformed

You see my pain has been enveloped in joy

My ashes has been exchanged for beauty

Strength has replaced fear, gladness has been traded for my mourning

I could go on and on but the credit does not belong to me

It belongs to a man that I met who showed me my true identity

It is His love that drew me out of the pit of despair and planted me firmly into His purpose for my life

He loved me through my bad and  my good and He keeps on loving me unconditionally

The thoughts He has for me did not change because of my past and neither will it because of my present or my future

When I showed Him my scars He was not ashamed and shifted my paradigm from being that way

He showed me that He also had some scars as He was beaten and nailed to a tree just for me

And so we laughed together as I discovered that we are both beautifully scared.

 

4/20/2017 Dr.R.A.

 

Daily Post, life, Spiritual

Climbing

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Using both hands and feet

Climbing over hills and mountains so steep

Mountains and hills that seem impossible to climb

Like fears, doubts, hurt, past failures and even lies

Lies uttered regarding my demise

That want to take over and layer the foundation of the thoughts in my mind

Yet I persist

Although sometimes I feel like I am being punished

Suffering bruises due to slipping while missing my grip

Nevertheless, I muster up the courage to persevere

Using every ounce of strength from within

Knowing that glory awaits at the top of my mount

I place a downpayment using my faith as currency

Trusting to believe that I am who You say that I am

And I will achieve everything that You have destined for me

4/16/17 Dr.R.A.

via Daily Prompt: Climbing