What do you do when the world is going crazy? How do you handle it when nothing makes any sense? You sanity is challenged by the world’s insanity. I’ve come to believe that confusion reigns where there is an absence of God. By absence, I mean distance between you and God. By not seeking the kingdom of God first, you invite chaos into your life. Simply say, hello world.
I have found myself many a time wandering through life like the Israelites lost without a clue. In today’s world that is not as difficult as it seems. A minister friend of mine recently reminded me that being a Christian is a full time job, believe it or not. You don’t get summer vacations and definitely no spring breaks. Yep, you also work nights and weekends.
My point is that you can never get too full of yourself thinking you are doing God’s will. The reason I say this is that the devil is vigilant. When you get tired, the devil has a bed for you to sleep in. When you’re thirsty, he’s got just the right thing to quench it. When you lose focus, guess who has the right thoughts to fill your imagination? If you’re not careful, one day you’ll wake up thinking you’re close to God and find out Satan is your new sidekick.
I believe there is good news in that once God gets your attention, He has ways of letting you know that it’s your time to get busy again. There is work to be done by you on you. For me it’s Psalm 23. You know the part that’s says “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me?” This came to me one day when chaos reigned in my life and confusion was on the creep. You know once you find the Lord, these things have a way of forcing you to at least try and rely on Him. So when I found myself surrounded by chaos, God came knocking with Psalm 23. It’s the “with me” part that hit home. Somehow God wasn’t with me or I wasn’t with Him. I had let Him fall by the wayside and you can guess who was more than willing to ride shotgun.
My point is with just a little faith God will let you and the devil know, somebody is in His seat and to be honest about it, He ain’t havin it.
I found myself face down in prayer one night wondering what the hell was going on. I wanted to be okay but I wasn’t until I reframed the thought to wondering what the heaven was going on. I then remembered Psalm 22, the part that says, “All the ends of the Earth will remember and turn to the Lord and all the families of the nations will bow down before Him, for dominion belongs to the Lord and He rules over the nations.”
I could then immediately close the expanding gap between me and God. I again submitted all I had, and all that I was, to Him. Peace of mind can be a powerful thing. Now and again, you need to remember God is able, particularly when you think your situation is impossible. It’s then that you know it’s the impossible that God has already set you free from. With a little faith and Him by your side, He can do it again.
May God bless and keep you always.
How often do you recognize that you’re in a battle every day? For me, sometimes I forget that I am the trophy in the war between God and the devil. It’s just hard for me to believe I could be that popular, or that valuable.
My understanding is that it’s a life-and-death game here and my only weapon is my faith. It’s also a 24/7 conflict, and I don’t know about you, but I’m not as relentless as Satan and I must admit my guard is not always up. On some of my best days, focusing on the Word is next to impossible and I’m sure that’s when the devil is on top of his game. This is when being a trophy comes into play. On other days, when I’m “in my right mind” and on top of my game, I understand the devil wants to embarrass, humiliate and like a scorned lover, hurt the Lord. What better way to do that than to steal, degrade, ruin something that God loves… me. In your case that would be you.
It’s hard to think of myself as being that important. It’s hard to consider myself as the pivotal piece in an eternal game of spiritual chess. So I guess without always knowing it, I am vulnerable. Like a child who unknowingly wanders off into a swamp, he or she has no idea of the dangers lurking there any more than you or I really know what awaits us each and every day of our existence. Injury and death are but steps away. That’s how I feel sometimes. To be blunt about it, I’m lost. I know if I’m not diligent and consistent, the devil will take me out and celebrate at the wake. Hence, I know in order to at least be competitive, I must train. But like the weekend athlete, I don’t really want to work that hard. I just want to be left alone. I don’t want to play today. Can you see how that frame of mind can get you killed? Can you see how your reluctance to step foot on the field can spell trouble? Whether you want to or not, like Job, you don’t have a choice.
The Bible is full of references about those who would be seduced, abducted, tricked and persecuted for not being true to the Word of God. God himself expresses frustration at times about those who would willingly forget, or unwillingly choose not to remember who he is and whom they belong to. I’m here to tell you the consequences can be catastrophic. So what’s the answer when you just not feeling it? I humbly submit, get into the Word. What’s the answer to being lost in the world? Again, get into the Word. I’ll let you come up with the particulars of what getting into the Word means. Might I suggest this does require a real sense of understanding about the dangers of being vulnerable? I have found one of my best tools in understanding this is to acknowledge when I’m out of sync, that I’m actually out of sync. At this point I can become deliberate in my efforts to regain my spiritual balance. I’ve found that most people when they are determined, they cannot be distracted. These are qualities you certainly possess and they have been fortified each and every time you know your faith is being tested. Recognition, understanding and discipline come to mind. Together, focused on the Word, they guarantee your victory and eventual humiliation for the devil. Sometimes it just takes the will to win.
May God bless and keep you always.
There are those whom I know who constantly tell me that we live in a world in which Satan has some juice. Now, I am not in any way talking heresy here, but some even say the devil rules the physical realm we live in. He is purportedly in charge to some degree. He was banished here for a reason you know. You can draw whatever conclusions you wish about this. My question is, How does one function in a world supposedly ruled by the devil? For some of you, who have difficulty in focusing on the devil, substitute the word evil. You might find it easier to come to grips with living in a world governed by evil and fraught with temptation.
Now what is your challenge, as a believer, when it comes to how you choose to live? I would point to Jesus’ temptations in the desert when Satan promised Christ all that this world possesses. This offer, I’m sure would make a lesser man or woman salivate at the prospect of riches, power and dominion over all that he or she sees. Christ’s response was to renounce the offer and the one doing the offering, after which, the angels came and attended to him. My second example would be when John wrote to believers in Ephesus, where he explains that they should not love the world or anything in it. As a matter of fact, if you fall prey to lust and pride, you are obligated to recognize these as worldly and not Godly things. To me, it appears that in order to effectively handle a world where things are stacked against you, one needs help. That help apparently comes from a belief system that reinforces the fact that we live in a world today that is a temporary trip to the eternal existence of tomorrow. The devil runs this place, and that’s okay because we’re just passing through. It’s like coming upon an accident on the highway. Everything can be viewed through your windshield without you getting hurt. But if you’re not careful, outside forces can wreck your life as well. So continue to drive carefully and have a nice day.
I understand better now what some ministers have tried to preach that the Bible is a roadmap that can guide you through treacherous terrain, as long as we acknowledge an ever present evil along the way. Be confident in that the mapmaker knew whathe was doing when he made this map. Rely on its accuracy and you’ll be fine. As Christians, remember temptation is everywhere, and as long as we don’t fully succumb to it, peace is still ours to enjoy. We simply cannot love the world more than we love God; can’t happen. We can neither be led by our passions nor our addictions. Our faith in God must be at least as relentless as the devil’s assault on our senses. If you allow me to go back over my own personal journey, then I have to admit to you that I had to realize this journey is but a means to an end. The destination is the only reason to take this journey in the first place. I guess what I’m saying is, pack well. Bring all those things you’ll need. A little faith can’t hurt. I’m told love is a must-have, and please do not forget the map, because without it, you’ll surely get lost. Remember three things; 1) your destination , 2) this ain’t Oz, you ain’t Dorothy and 3) the devil ain’t playing. Until you get serious, you won’t know how really short this trip is. It’s short, but believe me it’s truly intense. But this journey called life we’re all on, if you get it, good journey.
If you don’t, may God bless and keep you always, really.
In re-reading a book given to me by a close friend, a question was posed that I think defines the role of any want-to-be Christian. Regardless of when, where or why you found religion, what are you doing about it now?
For me, the answer lies in the fact that faith is a verb, not a noun and requires an act of some sort. That act is supposed to be precipitated by the understanding what you do is based upon what you believe. For example, if you believe and, as a consequence know Jesus is who He is, then do you gossip, spread rumor, innuendo, half truths, or better yet, do your passions control your tongue or your predilections? Do you forgive and forget? Or do you forgive and never forget? How about that turn the other cheek thing?
It seems faith as a verb demands a behavior grounded in a belief in the eternal; in the fact that all things have a purpose far beyond the realm of today. Mercy, charity, love, all have a place in our everyday experiences that take us beyond our everyday circumstances. If your faith is so shallow that the only thing that touches your heart is just that, those things that you can see, touch and feel, then you’ve missed the point of eternal existence. Faith in the Almighty, literally means claiming (verb) the life that Jesus promised, a more abundant one.
That life did not begin the day you were born and will not end the day you die; so says every so called Christian on the planet. But how you and I handle this short existence on earth goes a long way towards the quality of our after (this) life. “All things work together for good according to the Lord and those who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8: 28. The consequence of faith then means realizing and understanding that according to God’s purpose, our role is clear. One must act on the Word of God as given to us by Christ. One must live faith rather than quote faith. One must be church rather than merely go to one.
So often in scripture we are reminded that Jesus lived a life that was pleasing to the Lord, His Father. He was appalled at the use of “The Law” as an excuse not to fulfill the purpose of “The Law.” He accepted any and everyone, who believed in the Son of God as God. He therefore demanded appropriate behavior from apostles, elders, gentiles and sinners alike. The higher up the religious hierarchy, the more Jesus expected you to do for the not yet enlightened. The more faith you professed, the more knowledge you acquired, the more selfless you were to become.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that the dynamics of faith, over time, will dictate that your lifestyle reflect the importance of spiritual consequence rather than emotional or physical retribution. “Therefore brothers and sisters, we have an obligation…” Romans 8: 12. We must live according to the Spirit within us rather than by the passions that would otherwise corrupt us. As a Christian, don’t act like you don’t know the difference.
“We have different gifts according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophecy, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage…” Romans 21: 6-8. This scripture makes my point for me. Faith is by all means a verb, active in its pursuit of meeting every person on equal ground, resilient in its defense against the frailties of the flesh and honest in its understanding that life is eternal.
This physical world we live in is but an entrance exam for a universal reality planned and promised to us all. The good news is Christ already took and passed the final.
May God bless and keep you always.
There are times when it comes to this thing called spirituality that I make things harder than they really are. The thinking behind blessings has been one of them from time to time. This is about a simple a concept as you can get. Yet, I sometimes confuse the issue with abstract reasoning. I mean haven’t we all been taught that it’s better to give than to receive? Kindness and goodwill are attributes of all of God’s people, Christian or not. Mercy and forgiveness are true staples of the Christian diet. The result is supposed to be a reaping, if you will, of untold rewards for a life spent giving with little to no expectation of getting anything in return.
But here’s my point. Life takes over and we learn at an early age that life is cruel, unpredictable and if you don’t watch yourself, your kindness will be taken for weakness and your generosity something to be taken advantage of. Some will testify that life and the people in it will use you, let you down. Pain, more often than not, comes from an attempt to help somebody who doesn’t give a damn about you, someone you love who doesn’t love you back, situations you didn’t create but were drawn into. These are situations and circumstances that have made some good people go bad because, if the truth be told, people will protect themselves and their feelings at all costs. We have all learned how to survive. We’ve learned to do this in a world where it appears nice guys finish last, takers succeed and in order to win, cheating is rationalized.
Then come scripture, being saved and that notion of it’s better to give than to receive crops up again. One of my basics premise is that you don’t know what kind of mother you’ll become unless you have a child. Likewise, you don’t know what kind of friend you are until you have a friend. You can’t know the depths of your ability to love until you’re head over heels in love. The point is you don’t really know yourself until you genuinely share of yourself without fear, without restrictions. It’s the exact definition of unconditional love that I’m talking about. If you can give it, then you can appreciate it being offered to you. Now here comes that thing known as blessing. You cannot be blessed until you become a blessing. There is no chicken egg here. Being a blessing comes before being blessed. It’s just my opinion folks.
I mean it doesn’t appear to work for me any other way. If you go through life just existing based on your personal criteria for love, friendship, being in relationship to others, then what you’ll get is just that; life with strings attached. You can’t expect your prayer life to be answered if it only contains prayers of gimme. I actually believe if your prayers don’t include anyone but you and are only a reflection of the trials and tribulations of your life, then how does the saying go, “you’re blocking your own blessings?”
I think God shouldn’t have to ask you what have you done for Him lately. The reality of blessings is what have you done for someone else lately? It’s that made in his image thing. “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” John 12:13. Like I said, being a blessing uncomplicates a world full of contradictions. If you let yourself understand the concept of giving by being a blessing, then you are fulfilling a purpose preordained for all of us by God. I know; easier said than done. Just think about God being a blessing to you and you are automatically on the road to becoming blessed. How could you not?
May God bless and keep you always.