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.


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.


Gift of Peace

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

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

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

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

12.05.16 Dr.R.