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.

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

Pursue

In hot pursuit of who You are

Seeking Your face and not just the blessings of Your hand

Acknowledging my need for so much more of You

Your character and nature

My eyes affix to You

My ears attuned to heaven’s frequency

Refusing to allow the world to distract me with its pleasurable woos

My desire is to daily be transformed

By the power, You have given to become

Therefore. I intensify my prayer life and the reading of Your word

While additionally, putting on the armor stipulated

So that I can stand no matter what I encounter

I desire more

So I will continue to fiercely pursue You

Until I awake in Your likeness

 

5/10/2017 Dr.R.A.

via Daily Prompt: Pursue

Daily Post, Spiritual

None

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Who is like the Lord?

Who is like God?

Who else but God can make crooked paths straight?

Who else but God can dry up rivers and seas?

Who else but God can mend a broken heart without surgery?

Who else but God is from everlasting to everlasting?

Who else but God can keep you alive in a burning furnace?

Who else but God can keep you alive in a den of hungry lions?

Who else but God can quench a thirsty soul?

Who else but God can give peace that passes all understanding?

Who else but God can set shrubs on fire, and the bush is not consumed by the flames?

Who else but God knows your every thought and sees your every tear?

Who else but God knows your uprising and downsitting?

Who else but God can satiate every desire?

I could go on and one but I say None

None to all of the above.

 

5/3/2017 Dr.R.A.

via Daily Prompt: None

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.

life, Spiritual

A Crown of Life

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The society in which we live is saturated with the notion of everyone being royalty. Almost everyone refers to themselves as queens/kings or princess/prince.  Yet although this is being professed the fact still remains that they wear no actual crown in this life. However, there is an opportunity to obtain a crown to wear. This crown will require us to “go through.”

To hear that one has to endure testing and temptations does not sound very enticing.  If the question should be asked who wants to undergo intense periods of testing, no one will volunteer. Nevertheless to obtain this crown then one has to endure these things. God designed this training regiment to build us up in our most holy faith. As such, the Bible declares that we should count it all joy when we fall into diverse temptation. It is only through these difficult periods of suffering and our faith being tested that our need for patience/endurance is developed.

Developing endurance is very critical as we as when endurance is fully developed we will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. And who really does not want to perfect and complete? Who does not want to have no need of anything? I am in no wise saying that enduring testings will be easy, but I say, it is doable. When persons join the army or the navy, then they usually go through a period of rigorous testing, and if they do not quit, they get the honor of serving their country. It is the same way with believers if we do not quit then we will receive a crown of life. Then we can definitely declare without the shadow of a doubt that we are royalty.

Do you find that you are currently going through diverse testing and temptations? Has the trials and temptation been so overwhelming that you want to quit? Do you love God enough to endure the testing phase? Would you like to one day receive a crown of life?

Prayer: Lord life can become so overwhelming at times because of its various testing and although we want to serve You wholeheartedly our flesh becomes weak. We are frail and sometimes are not able to withstand the fierce winds that are blowing. As such, we ask that You take our weakness during this phase of testing and give us Your strength. Empower us to endure these diverse temptations so that we can obtain a crown of life. Lift every spirit of being overwhelmed and give us the clarity that we need to see the purpose. Help us to fix our eyes on You so that we do no sink in these troubled waters. We ask for Your divine provision and guidance. Your word admonished us to ask if we lack anything and so we stand on the principles of Your word and look to You with an expectation to receive. Do in our lives only that which You can do and we say thanks. Amen.

4/13/17 Dr.R.A.

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.