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

Daily Post, Spiritual

Apprentice

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Always a student never a master

Constantly learning this trade called life

With no guide book or recipe to follow

I boldly place one foot before the other

The scenic routes and adventures are indeed breathtaking

Exposure to various cultures is quite enlightening

Although sometimes I feel like I have attained

Situations occur which reminds me there is still changes to be made

An apprentice is what I will always be

As indispensable skills, I continue to pursue

Not focusing on wages received

So that with the dawn of a new day I can never be replaced

While all the while discovering life’s true meaning.

5/1/2017 Dr.R.A.

via Daily Prompt: Apprentice

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.

life, Spiritual

Stepping into the Unknown

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

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

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

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

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

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

4/3/17 Dr.R.A.

Spiritual

Let Go and Let GOD

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

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

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

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

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

 

2/29/17 Dr.R.A.

 

Spiritual

Keys to Inner Strength

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16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Eph 3:16

As humans, we have a need for certainty as it produces a sense of security within our psyche. However, no matter how young or old we are, life teaches us that unpredictability and uncertainty are the components of its backbone. There are no guarantees in life and the only thing that we can be certain of is change. As such, knowing that life goes on is key to our development and success. This is important because we often think that we are about to die in our dilemma. But, as time rolls on it proves that life really does go on.

I know that when we encounter situations that break us and shatters the core of our being it ‘s hard to process the concept of life going on. It is even more difficult when we defined what was lost as the reason for our existence, as without that person , thing, etc. we grapple with the knowledge of who we really are. I have had many of those core-shattering experiences that forced me to examine who I am and to whom I belong. It is those moments, however, that I believe brings us back to our center – realigning us,  as life has a way of getting us off balance. In one of life’s teachable moments, I was told a story of a king who had asked a jeweler to give him a gift that would make him happy if he was sad, and sad if he was happy. This request weighed heavily on the jeweler as without producing this he would loose his life. For days he went sleepless until he prayed and asked God for a revelation as to what he should give the king. With God’s instructions, he made a ring for the king. Upon delivery, the king looked at it with a puzzled look, but when he read the inscription he understood clearly and knew it was the perfect gift. The inscriptions read “This too shall pass.” When I heard the story, it pierced me through like a very sharp two-edged dagger, because of the profundity of its  truth. I shared this because it is one of the keys to the developmental process of inner strength. Knowing that there will always be experiences reflecting the terrain of mountains and valleys. Your circumstances will change whether good or bad.

I also know that society and life teachs us to be guarded. However, if we are honest, we know that beneath our hard exterior that we sometimes portray is a soft interior filled with various vulnerabilities. Vulnerabilities that if exposed gets damaged easily, resulting in us locking our true selves behind invisible bars of steel. I also know that the only way for healing to take place if for the wound to be exposed to a physician who can administer the necessary drug, ointment, bandage or surgery, etc. Therefore, the final and most important key to developing inner strength is looking to God. We look to Him through prayer. The Apostle Paul stated, “I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.” God is the one who has an unlimited supply of whatever we could possibly have need of. If it is love that we need- the songwriter said: “His love has no limits.” If is is grace that we need it is also said: “His grace has no measure.”If we have need of power, it is also said: “His power has no boundary.” God is capable of empowering us with inner strength and supplying all of our needs. When we expose our vulnerabilities to God, He will administer the right care according to the need.

A brief recap of the Keys to Inner Strength:

  1. Look to God – Pray and expose your vulnerabilities
  2. Know “THIS too shall PASS” – circumstances will change
  3. Life goes on – you will not die in your dilemma

 

12/7/16  Dr. R.A.

Spiritual

An Opportunity for Great Joy

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It is a known fact as stated in the word of God that man (mere mortals, humans) that are born are of few days and full of trouble. It shows us just how fragile humans are and also that having severe problems frequently is a part of life. Yet, although this is no secret whenever we as humans face troubles, then we begin to panic. Fear set in and begins to paralyze us from accomplishing our goals. Hopeless thoughts of “woe is me” begins to flow through our minds like streams from an endless source. All that is seen by the mind’s eye is doom and gloom. Our immediate thought process is not “what a great opportunity for joy.” Something about the human psyche preclude us from associating problems with joy readily.  Honestly is tough to wrap our minds around problems bringing happiness or comfort. Nevertheless, the word of God admonishes us that when faced with troubles of any kind that we should consider it an opportunity for great joy. Troubles of ANY KIND – meaning no matter how much or whatever classification it falls it should be regarded as an occasion for great comfort. This alludes to the fact that problems in your health, finance, marriage, relationship, etc. are not what they look like; they are not harassment, agitation, hassle, tribulation, suffering, grief, heartache, misery, etc. Instead, they are KAIROS moments for bliss, euphoria, exhilaration, happiness and joy.

It is also a known fact that a lobster shell does not grow. In fact, whenever a lobster is in the growth process it gets to a stage where it is too big for its shell, and it is in a place of constant agitation. Now it could remain in that place of problem and remain stagnant or even die. However, because it recognizes that the problem of not being able to fit in its shell is an opportunity to get beyond its current size it gets within a safe place and get out of its shell and continue to grow until a new shell is formed on its flesh. Taking a lesson from the lobster, could it mean that when faced with problems all we need to do is to get out of our current shell and get to a safe place where we hide in God and grow until a new “shield of protection” is formed around the areas that are soft/fragile. Could it really mean that all the problems that we are faced with are just in our lives for us to grow and when growth takes place then we will be delighted?

Whatever the issue you are faced with, I implore you to take another look at it. Let the scales fall from your eyes and truly see it for what it really is…a moment for you to grow and have joy. That broken heart, loss of job, loss of loved one, loss of a friend, failed exam, loss of a car, loss of a house or whatever earthly possession took place so that you can grow and have joy. I know that currently, your mind is echoing that this is how things will remain for the remainder of your days, but that is not the truth. Things are about to change as all you need to do it get out of that shell that is too small for you. Get out of that place of darkness that you have found your heart and mind – that shell is too small. Get under the ROCK and hide. Stay there and endure the process of being alone until a new shell is formed. God wants you to have a bigger shell, a larger sphere of influence, a greater impact on those you are associated with. He wants you to get to a stage where you can feed others. Joy awaits you- get out of your current shell that is too small- step into greatness – cease your Kairos moment.

12/6/16 Dr. R.A.