The devil, he’s the hardest working man in show business. Where ever you turn there he is tempting you, taunting you. Trying to make you question your faith so that he can swoop in and get you to abandon your faith and switch teams. A good number of times he meets u[ with that lost soul who either doesn’t believe or has had something happen that makes them waiver and question their faith. I know because he has tried to shake mine. It is not always easy to simply let go of the worry and sorrow and say to yourself God has me. To turn away from temptation and believe that no matter what you are going through at present it is nothing compared to the abundance of blessings that the Lord has waiting for you at the end of the road. The devil knows he can tempt you, that he can make you question your faith but that he will never, on his best day, have the power to shower you with the blessings that the Lord will rain down on you if you simply stay the course. That’s why he’s out here with his nose in everything, attempting to nurture the evil and doubt with-in us to prevent us from reaching that end of the road where the Lord awaits us. He is especially active in the holiday season, looking to take advantage of the lonieness and sorrow many us may be experiencing having suffered through the loss of a love one or difficult times we may be going through. But the holiday season is a time to remember that the Lord gave us his greatest gift of all, his son. He gave us his son so that Jesus in his death would set us free from eternal death. God saw fit to make the sacrifice of His only Son, Jesus Christ, as a seed sown for the harvest of our souls for eternity and so we could be redeemed into the family of God. And with that in mind I simply laugh at all the tricks the devil tries to get me to question my faith. My faith is strong My Lord God is strongest so the devil can move on look for another soul to try and turn because he is wasting his time trying to turn mine because this soul knows that God got me and that’s all I need,
An angel walks in a room with a Christian who celebrates Christmas. A Jew who celebrates Hanukkah and a African American who celebrates Kwanza. The angel quickly looks around and says Happy Holidays to everyone. At that moment an individual in the corner sighs loudly. The angel turns to the man and asks is there a problem sir? To which the man responded well since you asked there is. I’m so tired of you liberals and your war on Christmas. What wrong with just saying Merry Christmas like we did in the good old days. The angel looked at the man and laughed and then politely said sir it would seem it is you and not me who is waging war on Christmas. Me? Responded the man shockingly. Yes you said the angel for on the day Jesus was born an angel like myself told all those in the manger I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. He did not identify only a selection of people to wish great joy he wished it to all. We are all God’s children and he wishes that as his children we love each other and respect each other faiths. If you choose to turn a cold shoulder to or belittle those who wish happiness to all then it is you who are soiling the true meaning of Christmas.
I have recently taken to a form of prayer and mediation. I find a quiet place, sit up straight and plant my feet firmly so that the positive energy of the world flows up through the ground and through my body. I endeavor to clear my mind of all distractions and close my eyes. I visualize myself relaxed and smiling as the hand of the Lord touches and begins to heal me. Heal me physically, heal me mentally and heal me spiritually. Then I pray these words
Heavenly Father I ask that you lay your healing hands upon my heart so that it is made stronger and able to carry the blood of life that you have blessed us with through out my entire body. I ask this Heavenly Fatger so that I may live a long life to shout your praise to all who will hear me. I ask this Heavenly Father so that through the special gifts you have bestowed upon me I can share them with others so that they too can see your greatness and be motivated and inspired to help others reach for the stars. I ask this so that I can be an example to never give up your faith and trust in you even when it appears things are not going as well as they would like in the moment. I ask this Heavenly Father so that I may awake each day blessed with the senses you have so blessed me with in order to take in and appreciate the beauty and wonders of this magnificent world you have created for us. I ask this Heavenly Father so that I may continue to enjoy the fellowship and love of family, friends and even strangers who you have so seen fit to place in my path as I travel this spiritual journey. I ask this Heavenly Father because in my faith I know that while man can help me to maintain my health, my mind and my spirituality only you who can truly heal my mind, body and soul. I ask all of this in your name Heavenly Father. Amen
Then I open my eyes pause for a moment to allow the energy of the Lord to travel through my body. After a brief moment of silence and reflection with the energy of the Lord flowing through me I close my eyes again and say the following: “The Lord is healing me I am getting stronger every day.” I repeat this for 5, 10, 15 minutes whatever I am most comfortable with that day. When I am done I remain sitting quietly letting the power of the power of the Lord flow throughout my body. Finally I stand up and go about my day relaxed, renews and emboldened by the knowledge that I am in God’s world and in his world nothing is impossible.
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 to 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 over extended life style, 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? Her answer as you may have guessed 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. Constantly 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 went to look at my long neglected African Violet in hopes in 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 simply 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 literally be nothing.
I looked at the African Violet and took the steps need 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 now 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 you offer your praise unto him you will soon see that your situation will in time begin to brighten.
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 a multitude of 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 truly the Lord is great and he has blessed us with many remarkable opportunities for us to claim in his holy name.
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. While my colleagues continued to take training courses to strengthen their skill sets and keep pace with the new 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 a number of employees including a supervisor in my division. Not being able to hire a new supervisor I was tasked with the responsibility of the direct supervision of that unit. 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 and 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 we think 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 our 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 heardethe word of truth, the gospel of your salvation,and believed in him, fwere sealed with thegpromised Holy Spirit, 14 who is hthe guarantee4of our iinheritance until jwe acquirekpossession of it,5 lto 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.
Did you really think you could break me.
That you could convince me that earthly possessions were more valuable than spiritual ones.
That you could strip me of my compassion for others by exploiting inherent fears and prejudices that reside within us all.
That you could drive a wedge between me and my savior.
That you could 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.
It is He who forgives me of my sins and loves me unconditionally not you.
It is he who I give praise to not you.
It is he who thank each day for allowing me to wake to this beautiful world that He created not you.
It is He who am a child of not you
It is He who has blessed with the promise of eternal life not you for as it is 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.