Tag Archives: blessings

You may try, I may waiver, but you shall not break the bond between myself and the Lord

I have been blessed in my lifetime. From the moment I was born, the Lord has watched over me, guided me, and protected me. The last year has been challenging for me health-wise, but thanks to the grace of the Lord, I have been granted the strength to face the recovery process head-on. Despite all my blessings, there have been times when I feel unhappy and alone. When this feeling is creeping into my soul, I clear my mind of all things and talk to the Lord. It is during these moments of reflection that I lean on my faith. Evil will look for the smallest of openings to pounce on you. Evil knows that we are only human, and no matter how deep our faith may appear to be, our spirituality can be stripped from us. Evil will endeavor to grow a moment of unhappiness into a lifetime of bitterness and doubt about the Lord’s love for us. But as I talk to the Lord, I give him praise and thanks for all he has blessed me with. I pray that he will give me the courage to reject the thoughts evil is attempting to poison my mind with. I open up my heart and allow the Lord to touch my soul and guide me away from the darkness and back toward the light. It is then I can feel the power of the Lord. I can hear Him say to me, my child, I know you are not perfect, I know you may have moments of doubt, but I also know where your heart and soul genuinely reside, you have shown this to the world through your praise of me. You are now and will forever be my child, and I love you unconditionally. I will guide you. I will protect you. I will help you strengthen your faith so that no one will be able to break the bond between us.

An Interview with God

I have a friend with who I occasionally get into some heated debates about God, religion, and faith. During one of these debates, he asked if God exists why is he so secretive. Why doesn’t he just let us all know he exists so that the fighting and killing that takes place in his name would cease. I told him it is because God’s existence is not for us to have tangible evidence of, though when you look around, concrete evidence is everywhere, God’s presence to you is based on faith. However, his question made me wonder what if God did talk to us all directly today; What would we ask him? What would he reply? I thought about it some more, and below is what I believe an interview in today’s world with God might sound like.
Host: Good Afternoon, everyone thanks for tuning in to an extraordinary broadcast our special guest today is none other than the creator himself – God. Welcome to the show.
God: Hello everyone. Thanks for taking time out to listen in today, I know it’s been a long time since I’ve directly communicated with you, but I felt that with the way things have been going lately on Earth, now’s as good as time as ever to talk with you.
Host: Well, we are very excited to have you here. So let’s jump right in with the question everyone wants to know the answer to. The proverbial elephant in the room, so to speak; Who got it right? Which religion is the correct one?
God: Jumped right in you did. I am well aware that you’ve all been trying to find the answer to that question since, well, almost the beginning of your time. Which religion is the right one? Whose God am I? Whom do I favor? Profound questions all, and the answer you seek is a straightforward one. May I have a drum roll, please? The answer is, all and everyone.
Host: All and everyone? I think I speak for our listeners out there when I say I’m not sure what you mean by that.
God: I mean, I did not create religion; I created you, and in creating you, I gave you the beautiful gifts of intellect and imagination. It is with those gifts that you created religion. I never cared how you chose to imagine me or what doctrines you chose to build your faith around. No, all I asked is that you treat each other with love, compassion, and respect. Sadly since the very beginning, many of you have chosen not to that, and even sadder, you have chosen to use me as the reason for your destructive and violent actions. For that, I have been greatly saddened.
Host: But if that’s true, why would you let us continue to travel down that path of destruction.
God: That was not my choice to make. Lest you forget, I also blessed you with free will, the ability to live your lives as you saw fit. Yes, by allowing you to exist with free will, there have been innocent souls who have perished, and those they left behind have had to grieve. However, would you have found your existence to be more enjoyable if I scripted your life on Earth from the moment you were conceived to the moment you died? That nothing you did, no choice you made mattered? That you were simply actors in a play for my amusement?
Host: Well, when you put it that way, I guess not.
God: I didn’t think so.
Host: Let’s go back to something you said earlier that you were saddened by the acts of violence committed in your name.
God: Yes, that is true.
Host: So, over time, has that sadness ever turned to hate? Have you ever regretted creating us?
God: You know how it is said I created you in my image. Well, that means a lot of things, and to be honest, we don’t have the time today to delve into what that entirely means. But concerning your question, let me give you an analogy. A child is born to a mother and a father. They raise that child and instill in them what they believe to be guiding principles of right and wrong. The child grows and begins to develop their own identity and make decisions for themselves: decisions that are morally wrong, decisions that bring great harm to others. While horrified and saddened by the child’s actions at their core, the parents still love the child. Their love for their child is unconditional. It is that unconditional love of their child that is but one of the many ways you are an image of me. While I may be saddened by some of your decisions at my core, I can never stop loving you, for you are all my children.
Host: What about those that question your very existence? That has to anger you a bit.
God: Well, that very question presumes that I am vain, and let me assure you I am not. If I were, I would not have given you free will to decide for yourself if I do or do not exist. If I were, I would strike down with vengeance all who do not believe in me. Yet millions walk among you today who do not have faith. No, as I said earlier, my only desire is that you love and treat each other with compassion. If you need to believe in me to do so, that is fine. If you do not believe in me but do so, that is fine as well. But rest assured, I take no satisfaction in the knowledge that you fully believe in me but show no love or compassion for your fellow human.
Host: What can we do to be better? How do we stop the hate?
God: Again, that is not for me to say. Your destiny is yours and yours alone. I have provided you, above all my other creations, intelligence and the ability to reason—the power to communicate with each other and to create wondrous things. I have instilled with-in each of you the ability to be compassionate and the compelling emotion of love. Each of you is born with the guiding principles on what is right and wrong. But it all comes back to free will; as humans, you must want to walk in the light. You must want to sacrifice some of your own personal wealth and happiness so that, as a people, you benefit as a whole.
Host: That won’t be easy. We have never shown in our entire existence that we are capable of doing that.
God: It is because you have rejected the most basic concept.
Host: That is?
God: I created you as a people, one people. Yes, you may look different, but that is but on the surface. You are all my children; you are all the same. When you can truly grasp that, only then will you be able to love one another in the way that I truly had imagined you would.
Host: Maybe one day we will, but we’ve come so far down the road I am afraid we never will be able to achieve that level of understanding, and that must sadden you.
God: It does, but I have a great belief in you. After all, you are my children. You may not be there today, but you have so much potential that I know one day you will get there. After all, you have only been here but the blink of an eye. There is still much growing you have to do.
Host: Well, it is comforting to know that you believe we have a chance. I know you are busy and so we’ll end it there. Thank you for making this rare in-person appearance; we’ll try as a people to do better.
God: I know you will.

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Forgiveness is the key to happiness

For the better part of a decade-plus, I let anger and bitterness fill my heart when it came to a particular family member. The reason for my anger is neither here nor there but suffice to say it was Ironic that despite the fact I was harboring a grudge, I knew that the result of their actions played out to my benefit. It laid the very foundation of the man I am today, and I am very proud of that man. Despite this indisputable fact, I continued to curse the decision and the way it was revealed to me.

Hebrews 12:15 – “looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled.”

Not acknowledging my bitterness and true feelings during this time robbed me of a family bond that should never be broken. My anger cast a giant shadow on my very being. The rift between that family member and myself by its very nature spilled over to that family member’s immediate family. In essence, I cut myself off from them while not acknowledging that I was doing exactly what I was doing. I missed the birth of many children and the growth of others. I became a stranger to an entire branch of the family tree. I can never put into perspective what those losses have had on me as a person, but I know it could not have been positive. Family is always family, and through anger and bitterness, I had forgotten that.

A recent health issue was the catalyst for me to re-examine and reenergize my faith. Through prayer, the Lord spoke to me and guided me to realize that the very lack of forgiveness is sin. That same lesson is taught to us in “The Lord’s Prayer.”

Matthew 6: 12-15

12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation,[1]but deliver us from the evil one.[2]‘ 14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

As explained in Bible.org href=”https://bible.org/article/issue-forgiveness-sermon-mount”>https://bible.org/article/issue-forgiveness-sermon-mount it appears that what Jesus is saying is that God, intending to love the unforgiving child, refuses to forgive him in an attempt to get the child to come face to face with His sin of an unforgiving heart. The person who is unwilling to forgive will soon meet his Equal. The goal of this is to re-establish the broken relationships between God and the people involved.

For me, this realization was like a bright light shining onto the darkness in my heart. The next day, I picked up the phone and called that family member to start the healing process and mend the rift between us. I expressed how wrong I had been and how I wanted us to go back to being a family again. It was an emotional call for both of us, but upon saying the words, I want us to be a family again I could feel the weight lifted. My heart had been released of the bitterness it had stubbornly held for over a decade. I understood that I had finally done the right thing. After all, a family is a family and nothing should break that bond.

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You may at times neglect your faith but it is never to late to renew it

When I first moved into my new apartment, I was gifted an African Violet as a house warming gift. I remember thinking how beautiful it was with its purple blooms. Now I’m not exactly known as someone with a green thumb, but the African Violet did not need much attention. You have to keep the soil moist to dry and allow the soil around roots to dry out before watering. It thrived in moderate to bright, indirect, indoor light. Pretty much, it was set and go and enjoy its beauty.
In the beginning, I made a point of taking great care of the plant; it was, after all, easy to do. I also found myself looking at it as a source of relaxation and motivation due to its striking color and amazing blooms. Just by looking at it, I could feel my spirits being lifted as it seemingly gave me a sense of purpose.
As the months went by, the good times were plentiful. Success seemed to be around every corner. With success, I found myself spending more time at the office as I endeavored to continue, which at the time was a rapid rise up the corporate ladder. When I wasn’t in the office, I was out networking and enjoying the social scene. During this time, I neglected my beautiful African Violet that had provided me with so much inspiration. Then as fast as the success came, the economy took a downward turn. Cutbacks were on the horizon. I survived the company purge, but the rise up the corporate ladder came to a dramatic halt. The large bonuses that I had foolishly incorporated into my budget to finance my overextended lifestyle dried up. At the same time, my girlfriend, who I believed loved me, answered the question New Edition once asked. Can you stand the rain? As you may have guessed, her answer was no, and she told me it was over. She made up some excuse about us growing apart, but it was pretty obvious the distance between us only widened as my bank account lessened.
I fell into a funk. Depressed, I cut myself off from most of the world. I frequently asked myself, why is this happening? Spend many a weekend laying in bed with no desire to get up and embrace the day. One day, I looked at my long-neglected African Violet, hoping it could once again inspire me with its beauty. When I looked at it, I saw it had stop flowering and its leaves had turned yellow. I immediately understood that it was my failure to water it and cultivate its soil because I was so busy enjoying the good times, that was. Responsible for its current condition.
I had taken it for granted and assumed that it would always be there in all its beauty as an inspiration when I needed it.
Your faith is like the African Violet; it does not require super high maintenance. But it does require that we not neglect it. Not cultivate and continue to strengthen it in the good times and expect that it will merely be there for us in times of angst. We must continue to take steps along our spiritual journey, praising the Lord for the blessings He has bestowed upon us in good times. Strengthen our belief each day so that we do not turn away from the Lord and egotistically pat ourselves on the back for achieving such success, forgetting that without the Lord, we would be nothing.
I looked at the African Violet and took steps to restore its beauty. Watering it, cultivating its soil, ensuring that it received the proper amount of sunlight. Soon its beauty began to return. It started to bloom once again. New bright and vibrant green leaves took the place of the ones that had turned yellow. My renewed commitment to the African Violet brought me a new and stronger plant and, with it, a new source of inspiration. Now each day, I look at it in all of its beauty and go out and embrace all that the world offers me, good and bad.
As with the African Violet, you can renew your faith by recommitting to the Lord. The Lord does not hold grudges and His blessings are always there for you. As you restart your spiritual journey and offer your praise unto him, you will soon see that your situation will begin to brighten in time.

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Happy Monday

Good Morning and Happy Monday
Let us sing with praise yet another opportunity to see a new week and continue our spiritual journey. As the new week begins, remember that there are many new and exciting opportunities waiting for us. Many of them hidden from us in the dark, waiting for us to find them; it is with an unstoppable faith in the Lord that we will find that we are blessed with the vision to shine a light on these opportunities and bring them to fruition. For indeed, the Lord is great, and he has blessed us with many remarkable opportunities for us to claim in his holy name.

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It is not a test for the Lord it is a test for ourselves

Not to toot my own horn, but I was considered a rising star in my career. Having achieved success at every level, I quickly rose through the ranks. At the same time, my colleagues continued to take training courses to strengthen their skill sets and keep pace with the innovations and technologies. I chose to skip these training classes. After all, I was a star, and what was a trainer going to teach me that I didn’t already know. Sadly due to an economic downturn, the company was forced to lay off several employees, including a supervisor in my division. Not being able to hire a new supervisor, I was tasked with the responsibility of that unit’s direct supervision. Upon taking over, I realized that much of what I thought I knew had evolved beyond my current level of understanding. Production levels began to suffer, people above me began to question my leadership. Self-doubt started to creep into my psyche. My bitterness toward the company began to mount. How could they put me in this position? Were they setting me up to fail? Then one day, my mentor came to me and said instead of moping around, being bitter, and blaming the company, realize that things were going so well for you it was easy to take your talents for granted you forgot what made you so successful. Recommit to your craft, he said, take those training classes, brush up on the new technologies. Strengthen your area of expertise, and you’ll see things will turn around. Taking his advice, I put my nose to the grindstone, enrolled in the training classes, researched the new technology available, and talked to staff to get their feedback on what we could do to increase efficiency. With my renewed energy and strengthen skill set, it was only a matter of time before the numbers began to turn around, and today the division is turning a profit at an all time high.

This story serves as a simile to our faith. When things are sailing along in our lives, we tend to take our faith for granted. But when faced with adversity, many of us ask, why me? Why is the Lord testing me? We become depressed at the situation and angry with the Lord. It is then that evil sees its opening and tempts us with the promise of a better day if we reject the Lord and follow it. When faced with this option, many of us are easily swayed to accept evil’s proposition. After all, if He truly loved me, why would He test me in this way? But what we fail to understand is that the Lord is not testing us for Himself; he is testing us for ourselves. As someone once said:

When God pushes you to the edge, trust him fully because only two things can happen. Either He will catch you when you fall, or He will teach you how to fly. 

The key part of that quote is the words trust him fully. In times of adversity, it a test for us to see for ourselves how strong our faith truly is. To see if we remember that our good times were the result of His blessings. To see if our faith is as strong as we believed it to be or does it waiver in times of adversity. If it does indeed waiver, we must, like I did in my career, put our nose to the grindstone and recommit to Him by taking steps along our spiritual journey to strengthen our faith. Remember, we are His children, and his love for us is unconditional. So much so that he gave us His only son so that we may be forgiven of sin. He loves us so that as it is written in Ephesians 13-14, He promised us eternal life.

13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee4of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it,5 to the praise of his glory.

Once come to the understanding that the Lord will never abandon us and that we should not question when He will provide us with the blessings required to overcome the adversity we are facing but accept the truth that as it is written, He makes all things beautiful in His time will we be able to prove to ourselves that we do indeed possess a faith that is strong and cannot be shaken even in times of adversity.

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It is He

Did you think you could break me?
That you could convince me that earthly possessions were more valuable than spiritual ones, strip me of my compassion for others by exploiting inherent fears and prejudices that reside within us all,
drive a wedge between my savior and me, cause me to abandon my faith and turn my back on him.
Look again and understand this:
My faith is strong in Him, not you.
He who forgives me of my sins and loves me unconditionally, not you.
He who I give praise to, not you.
He who I thank each day for allowing me to wake to this beautiful world that He created, not you.
He who am a child of not you.
He who has blessed with the promise of eternal life not you for as it is written in John 6:40
For it is My Father’s will that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”
It is because of Him, the Lord, my savior, that you could never break me.

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The path of the Unknown

I recently asked a friend what the secret to their success was? They replied that they were unafraid to walk the path of the unknown. Many fear that path and avoid it, but often, at the end of that path, opportunities are abundant. That may be the case, I replied but walking the unknown path is fraught with risk. While there may be an opportunity to advance waiting at the end, there is just as much chance that there will be perils that, when encountered, will set you back. This is true, my friend replied, but I have faith in the Lord, and as such, I have cast away my worry, and I step fearlessly onto the path knowing that He will guide me and bless me with the courage to face and the strength to overcome any dangers that I may encounter along the way. You see, they continued with faith. I know that the path may be that of the unknown to me, but I am not walking that path alone; I am being protected and guided by the Lord, and with Him, there is nothing to fear, and all things are possible.

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When there was nothing there was everything. There was the Lord.

As I awake today, I give praise to the Lord for yet another beautiful day and make no mistake, each day we are blessed with the ability to walk upon this amazing planet we call Earth is a beautiful day.
Have you ever wondered how our existence came to be? How have we evolved, our planet formed, the universe sprang out of nothingness? I have almost every day, and while I do not have the evidence of those who believe that our universe’s existence is simply a matter of science, nor do I dispute what science has taught us about the universe. I always come back to the question. What was there before that?
The universe started with a Big Bang. Alright, I’m buying that is probably true. But what was there before the universe exploded out of an incredibly hot, infinitely dense speck of matter? What was there before there was anything? Who or what set the whole thing in motion? Scientists will continue to theorize that question looking for the answer in some tangible evidence. There is no need to look for tangible proof for those of us with faith, for we realize the evidence is now and has always been all around us. We recognize that the world on which we walk, the universe that the world exists in, and our very own existence is simply too perfect to be explained away as the result of a set of unknown circumstances that happened in such a fashion that we were created. We accept that a higher power could only conceive such a complex and beautiful existence and that higher power is the Lord.
Our faith is a love for the Lord. A love so strong that when others question our faith when evil tempts us to abandon it when science mocks it, we do not turn our back on it and let it wither away. Instead, we are energized to embrace it, to strengthen it. Through our faith, we acknowledge that it is the Lord’s grand design that puts everything in motion. That it is only through the Lord’s blessings that we can use science to answer many of our questions about the universe, it is our faith that tells us that when there was “nothing,” there was everything because there was the Lord.

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