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.

Daily Post, Spiritual

Portion

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We live in a society that is very health conscious.  We are being advised frequently to watch our portion size and calorie intake to aid us with weight loss or gain.  A portion is a part of a whole which satisfies an individual’s crave.

In the book of Lamentations, we find the Prophet complaining about his condition. However, in the midst of his complaint he made a remarkable statement that he remembered the faithfulness of the Lord and how His mercies are new every morning. After which he expressed emphatically “then said I to my soul, the Lord is my portion, therefore I hope in Him.” The prophet believed that God was that which could satisfy the craving of his heart.

We too like the prophet sometimes finds ourselves in a position where our circumstances are so grievous that we cannot help but express our grosses. We feel extremely disappointed, hurt, angry, broken, and even hopeless. However, it is in those moments that we should be like the prophet and focus on the faithfulness of God.  Focus on the fact that you are in a new day that is filled with brand new mercies. The fact remains, that the condition that is causing you to gripe has not changed. As a matter of fact, it may seem like it will never change. But do not let your condition be your focus, but rather let the focal point of your life be on God, His faithfulness, and new mercies.

Regardless of your condition, speak to your soul. Encourage your soul to hope in God, because He is your portion. He is the one that is more than able to satiate the longing of your soul.  Additionally, you do not have to count your calorie intake with God. As such, you can consume as much of God as you possibly have need of.  And the more of Him that you consume is the more satisfaction you will feel. Let your soul know that it can take courage, as God will make a way somehow. It is a fact that you may not know how, when, or where He will do it. But God will make a way. If He did it before He will do it again. In your night season let your song be “the Lord is my portion”.

6/7/17 Dr. R.A.

via Daily Prompt: Portion

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

Daily Post, Spiritual

Trace

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Walking alone on this path wondering where You are

The darkness surround like a thick blanket

As I continue to trod the mountains echo my breath

With each new stride, fear tries to  conquer

Where are You? Where are You?

A little panicky I utter

Yet I keep on stepping

Because although I can’t trace You, I must trust You

You know the plans that You have for me

Your footsteps outline the path I should take

So I follow closely along with confidence

Because I know Your thoughts towards me are good and not evil

Therefore, I sashay and take comfort in knowing that You will bring me to my expected end.

 

5/31/2017 Dr.R.A.

via Daily Prompt: Trace

Spiritual

Replenish

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In between, in between

Seemingly delayed in the middle of chasing the dream

Detoured by life’s curves, potholes, stop lights, road signs, and speed bumps

Still trying to push through to make it goal

Navigating the highway of life has consumed my tank’s fuel supply

Not fully calculating for the traffic that was encountered

Flustered, frustrated and weary I feel

Therefore, I had to pull off the route to replenish the power

If it was gas that was needed, it could easily be acquired from the numerous pit stops along the route

But the need was greater, it required the power source

One with a unique socket designed for my plug

So kneeling in prayer, I could not help but cry out

Restore, replace, renew and replenish my soul

Replace all the grime that had accumulated with the wear and tear of my engine

Restore the joy needed for pursuing and accomplishing the dream

Renew sheer strength required to sustain the magnitude of sheer stress incurred

Replenish my entire being spirit being.

Lord, please fill up again whatever the lack

Replace, restore, renew and replenish my soul.

 

5/30/2017 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.

Spiritual

Vengeance

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Whenever we feel like we have been wronged, we have the propensity of wanting to get even. Our perception is somewhat twisted as we believe that the only way to feel good about what caused harm is to return the favor. Perhaps we may say it is our old Adamic nature or society’s culture that causes us to react this way. Whatever the reason we use to justify our actions does not negate that it is wrong. Instead of constantly repeating an eye for and eye behavior we should look to forgive.  I am in nowise saying that this is an easy thing to practice, but it is doable and will cause more joy than pain. Whenever we do not forgive we entrap ourselves behind the proverbial bars of steel. Yes, we may prevent ourselves from being hurt, but we also inhibit ourselves from experiencing pure joy.

As rewarding as vengeance may seem it will leave the soul void of untainted satisfaction. Remember hurting people hurt people as such we should view things through those lenses. Besides, if we retaliate on our own behalf, we robbed God of fighting our battles for us. Remember the word tells us that vengeance belongs to the Lord and He will repay. Allow God to fight on your behalf and to give you the ultimate victory.

Today examine the temperature of your spirit. Is it hot with angry and boiling over with vengeful thoughts? Is your spirit freezing cold so that you have become callous to individuals and situations? Do you need to defrost so that you can show emotions and be compassionate? Is your spirit temperature just right so that you can forgive those that has caused harm and repay good for evil? The Bible says that let a man examine himself to see if he is in the faith.

No matter what we have experienced and how hurtful it may have been it does not give us the right to do wrong and repay evil with evil. Instead, we should let go and let God fight for us. After all, there is not a victory like one that God gives.

Prayer: Lord help us to be able to turn the other cheek.  Break the stronghold of a vengeful spirit from operating in our lives. Strengthen us to rest in You. Empower us to apply the principle of Your word and forgive 70 x 7 in a day. Remind us that all things will work together for our good as long as we love You. Let us trust Your sovereignty. Amen. 

53/23/2017 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.