Ten nuggets of wisdom for your Saturday (Part 3)

Pray that the Lord opens your eyes wide enough so you can see how He is orchestrating the concert of your life. He always has all the players in place and all the music tuned to His divine purpose.

Angels are God’s police force. They pull you over when you go too fast. They don’t give you a ticket. They give you a warning.

The Holy Spirit is God’s mouthpiece to men. He never goes silent. We are the ones who tune Him out.

Truth is like a pile of gold. It enriches your soul and it increases your mind’s value.

Pain can be longer than temporary but the Lord’s relief can be longer than permanent.

Naysayers can sound like burning cotton in your ears. Let your words back sound like soothing honey for their fears.

Negativity feeds on negativity. Let your positivity feed on the Lord’s ability.

God is watching you from the inside out.

Set time aside for the Lord and you will gain quality time for yourself.

There is nothing that can’t wait when you trust the Lord.

Suggested reading: Job 12:12; Psalm 37:30; 1 Corinthians 1:25

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How to deal with negativity

I was in a meeting yesterday at the end of the day where the negativity was so thick that you could cut it with a knife. People were angry, bitter and mad. They were very upset with the way things have been run in our school and they used our meeting time to voice their bitterness. I have noticed that negativity feeds on negativity. Give it an inch and it will take a mile. After one person said something negative, it opened the door for more negative comments. It wasn’t even the goal of the meeting. Negativity wasn’t on the agenda but it found its place there very easily. People came loaded and they had already thought about what they were going to say.

Now I am not here to criticize them or blame them. I just want to show how negativity can take over our emotions in such a powerful way that we give in to it at the drop of a hat. What was also interesting is that people enjoyed being negative and felt like what they said was helpful. I watched and saw the spiritual atmosphere go from “ok” to “really bad” in no time. My point is that negativity is rampant and it’s familiar. At times it is comforting to some. Where should we stand when it comes to negativity? Should we embrace it? Should we vent it out of our system from time to time? My answer is that we ought to give negativity no room in our house. When it comes knocking on our door it should see that our home has a “Do not enter” sign.

Negativity is enemy to the things of the Lord

Negativity is the expression of criticism of or pessimism about something. Negativity doesn’t come from a good place and it certainly doesn’t come from God. The Holy Spirit and negativity are not friends. If you look closely at the fruit of the Spirit, you will see that no part of the fruit is negative or pessimistic. Now the question is, what do we have in our spiritual fruit basket? Do we have positive fruit, do we have negative fruit or do we have a combination of both? I would think that a lot of people have a combination. Most people have a fruit platter that tastes both sweet and bitter. The problem is when we get used to the bitter taste of the fruit and we love it, we set ourselves up for more negativity to come in. I want my fruit basket to be delicious, sweet and tasty. I am not a fan of sour grapes and rotten tomatoes. If we focus on the fruit of the Spirit and we make an effort to maintain the good fruit, we will more easily reject the bad negative fruit. People say that we are what we eat so then we should eat good spiritual fruit and we will be good spiritual people.

The danger of expressing negativity

As I said earlier, negativity is an expression. It has to be said, it has to be expressed in one shape or form. The Bible has a lot to say about the power of our words. There are consequences linked to what we express. If we express positivity, we reap positivity. It we express negativity, we will sow negative seeds that can destroy our spiritual environment and poison other people’s soil as well. When the temptation to express negativity comes, we need to have a plan in place that will rid us of the negative expression. I say this often but if we stay close to the Lord, we will stand far from the evil in this world. There is no way that we can spend a lot of time with God, with His Spirit without being positively impacted by Him. When negativity comes around, we should hit it with a verse or two or with a positive comment. I like to rebuke it and refuse it. It talk against it and I reject it. You can’t help what you hear most of the time but you can choose what you are going to express. Negativity is not only expressed in words so it is good to also watch what our body language says and what our attitude displays. Speak the Word often and the Word will become a part of you.

I did feel bad for the people in attendance at the meeting yesterday because I know how terrible it can be when you are unhappy and you are mad at the world. I intervened at the end and I tried to give a positive spin on things. I don’t know if my words fell on deaf ears but I did what I could. You and I can be the positive agents that will influence our worlds with God’s good fruit and with His love. Let’s speak up with love and let’s be keepers of positivity in Jesus’ name!

Suggested reading: Colossians 4:6; Ephesians 4:29; 1 Peter 3:10

Building a fortress of hope

If you are getting discouraged for whatever reason today, I am here to encourage you to keep going. Obstacles and hurdles have a way of finding a place in our lives but it doesn’t mean they will stay forever. I know it’s hard to hear when you are facing them but hope is still there. God can remove all obstacles and He can get you through anything. Today I want you to look up and stand strong knowing that your hurdle is going to go away eventually. I understand that the waiting time is difficult but in those times we can find hope. It’s not easy to find because our issues just seem bigger than life but God has relief and peace ready for us to experience even when the going gets tough. I have found my way back to peace in the middle of the worst chaotic moments of my life in most recent years. How? I have built a fortress of hope and that fortress protects me from all storms as long as I stay inside and as long as I don’t open the windows so to speak. Let me tell you more about the fortress.

Building your fortress

A fortress is a place of safety where one can hide and feel protected. Some people see money as a fortress. Some people see intelligence as a fortress and other people see relationships as a fortress. My relationship with the Lord is the base for my fortress. He is my refuge and my protector. He is my fortress for sure but I also have another layer of protection, another compartment of my fortress. This other section also stems from Him but it requires some activity on my part. It is not something I have created outside of God. The fortress I am talking about is the numerous tools the Lord has given me to help me deal with life. One of these tools, prayer, is a powerful layer. It is the foundation for the bricks that make up the walls of my fortification. Without prayer my fortress is weak. Without prayer my stronghold can collapse anytime. Prayer reminds me that I am not alone in the fortress and the founding Father of my habit of safety is with me all the time. Build your fortress with prayer and you will stay hopeful.

God is a fortress that can withstand all things

Once the layers are in place, I remain comforted and surrounded by God’s presence. It is so important to build a fortress based on God because there will be times when life throws things at us that leave us vulnerable and we need a strong protection. If we don’t have that foundation, we can feel disconnected from God and walk away from Him. When things are not going well, running to God is the best solution but problems tend alienate us from God unless we have that fortress. In my fortress of protection resides a stronghold of hope. My hope is in the Lord and since I spend a lot of time communicating with Him I am highly “infected” by Him and by His attributes, hope being one of them. I live in a stronghold of hope that keeps me strong and that keeps me going. Build a fortress in the Lord. Let hope be a stronghold in your life. Make prayer the foundation of your habitation and you will stay protected against all fiery darts of the enemy. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). Start building your fortress of hope today!

Suggested reading: Psalm 91:2; Proverbs 14:26; Jeremiah 16:19

Every day is your Valentine’s Day

If you are in a relationship, you probably wish that every day was Valentine’s Day because of the extra attention you might be getting today. If you are not in a relationship, you probably wish today wasn’t Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day is a commercial holiday aiming to celebrate love, that some refer to as “Love Day.” I know people who don’t wait until today to show love and they actually express their love every day. I know the One who shows His love every single day. He loved us even before we were conceived. The Lord is the author of true love and as the creator of the best thing ever, He is never stingy with His display of affection for us. The thing is we might not always see it or pay attention to it. His love is supreme and it comes free of charge because Jesus paid the price for us. In God’s eyes every day is Love Day. If we could be aware of it more, we would be able to get through the day better. His unconditional love is here to stay and it’s not just for you and me; His love is for anyone and everyone. No exception!

God’s love hanging on the cross

God so loved the world that He gave His only Son Jesus so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish. The sacrifice on the Cross is the most beautiful expression of love and it is meant for all humankind. God loves everyone so much that He orchestrated the only offering that could save the world and bring salvation. Think about how deep that is. Think about how much love was displayed on the Cross. It was more than a symbol. It was a reality that can cover anyone who ever walks the earth. Jesus was on a Cross suffering for everyone. Love was hanging on the Cross covering every sin, every transgression and every iniquity. The Cross is a symbol of love and that love is real. It is more real than the chair you are sitting on and yet it goes unnoticed a lot. Today and every day is a good day to recognize God’s love for us and for everyone.

A love that transcends all understanding

We sometimes omit that “God so loved the world” means He loved everyone and His love is the same for everyone. Stating that God loves Christians more than others is a false statement. He loves non-believers, Muslims, Hindus and people belonging to any religion under the sun as much as He loves you and me. To think that people believe that God favors one race blows my mind. His love sees no color. The only color He sees is red, the red from the blood of His Son. He doesn’t discriminate and He doesn’t have preferences. His love is above human love and it transcends everything we know about love. It doesn’t always make sense to us but it is the most sensible truth. We are the ones who should align with it and not the other way around. God doesn’t have to follow our human laws and rules of love. He wrote the Book. We didn’t!

With the Lord, every day is Valentine’s Day because He showers us with love all the time. If you are feeling lonely or unloved today, know that you are truly loved. You are loved by the One who died for you. It doesn’t matter who you are. The Lord loves you and He cares about you. You might not be getting a bouquet of red roses today but you are getting a powerful love from the One who bled red for you on the Cross. Every day is a new opportunity for God to show you how much He loves you. Get on the same page and accept His love. Get on the same page and accept that He loves everyone the same. Look at others the way He looks at them; no discrimination, no judgement and no favoritism. Every day is your Valentine’s Day. You are loved more than you know! Spread the love today and every day!

Suggested reading: John 3:16; Romans 5:8; 1 John 4:9-10

If you change the way you think, you will change the way you live

A lot has been written about the power of our thoughts in Christian circles. I find it fascinating and helpful. As a Christian teenager I didn’t know much about the mind and the need to renew it. I was under the assumption that God would just change my way of thinking through osmosis or through His power. Many people think that when you get saved your thought patterns are transformed and you are given a clean slate that is void of negative thoughts. Then bad thoughts come and they feel bad, guilty, ashamed and defeated. Some think they might not be all that Christian after all. Our minds don’t receive a makeover when we accept the Lord into our hearts. Our spirit gets a great positive remodeling but our mind is the same. It takes effort on our part to get our thoughts to line up with God’s. His Spirit does give us a hand but we have to meet Him more than half way. We have the power to change our mind. As we do, we will change our lives as well. Let me explain.

Our mind is a playground

Do you remember when you were a child playing on the playground? If there was no adult supervision anything was fair game. You could do anything you wanted and go wild. Our mind is similar to a playground. If we don’t supervise what comes in then anything goes. We can play nice with positive thoughts or we can “play wild” with negative thoughts. Just like a playground, anyone is welcome. The good kids and the bad kids so to speak can come in and play. This is just a metaphor but you know what a badly-behaved kid looks like. Sometimes that kid can appear to be an angel and when you turn your back he or she creates chaos. Negative thoughts have a tendency to do the same thing. They can sip in coated with good intentions and then they turn out to be agents of confusion and deception. We need to supervise our mind. Let’s take control of our playground!

The power of renewing our mind

The Bible invites us to renew our mind, our thinking. This implies that there is an active part required of us. We have to do something in order to see our thought patterns changed. I believe this is an ongoing process that we will always have to work on. Where do we get the power to change our mind? The power comes from the Holy Spirit. The best thing we can do is dig into the Word of God. There is power to transform our mind and our lives in His Word. If we want to know how God thinks, we need to spend time studying His Word and working in collaboration with His Spirit to learn and grow. There is tremendous power in fellowship with the Holy Spirit through prayer and praise. The time spent in communion with Him will impact our spirit and touch our mind. We also need to take a stand against the negative thoughts and rebuke them. I used to let every negative thought just come in and turn a mound of worry into a mountain of fear in no time. Now I refuse the negativity and I speak against it. I will not be a victim of my thoughts. I am a master of my thoughts thanks to the Lord. He is in control and He gives me control.

When we are able to control our thoughts by weeding out the bad ones and holding on to the good ones, our quality of life improves. Getting God’s perspective on life is amazing. Imagine seeing life through His lense. Everything seems new and anything is possible. Today I encourage you to prioritize renewing your mind and being active about it. Embrace the Word and give in to the Holy Spirit. When you think right, you live right. When you think positive, you live positively. Be an actor in the mind renewal process. God is still the director but He wants you to play your part!

Suggested reading: Proverbs 4:23; Romans 12:2; 2 Timothy 1:7

God can mend your situation

I have tried different venues to find peace or to find solutions to my problems. At the end of the day, I discovered that only God could fix my problems and give me real peace. We can venture into different alleys and look for the perfect fix but most alleys offer placebos they give you temporary relief and then all the negativity comes back with a vengeance. God is my permanent solution. He is my One provider of all things. He is the source of my joy, my peace, my love, my blessings and my growth. When the Bible says that God heals the broken-hearted there is no doubt that He can indeed do just that. A broken heart is a result of something that has gone wrong. Our heart is broken because something in our lives has been broken. There has been a rupture, a tear, a hole, a wound. God specializes in binding the wounds and mending what is broken. If you are experiencing a heavy and broken heart today for whatever reason, know that God can heal your heart and bandage your wounds. He is more than able and more than willing.

Facing the ruptures of life

When I was in college getting ready to enter the real world at the end of my academic career, I applied for jobs in D.C. I wanted to work for non-profit organizations. I was rejected by every single job I had hoped to get. It felt like something got broken. My hopes were mostly broken. I had high hopes of being part of the non-profit community that changes the world one project at a time. It hurt. I got discouraged and I was disappointed. The rupture that I sensed was like a break in my spirit. Hope was nowhere to be found. Once I turned to the Lord for comfort it was as if the Doctor had entered the scene. I exposed my wounds and my brokenness to Him and He started the binding process. His first revelation to me was that there was nothing He couldn’t mend and I had to have total trust in that. The more I gained confidence in what He could do, the more hope came back to visit me.

God can mend what seems irreparable

After trying for a while, I was out of options. Little did I know that God’s plan for my life didn’t involve non-profit work. I decided to go to grad school and God provided in an amazing way. He gave me a free ride through grad school with room and board and a stipend for several years. Just thinking about how He intervened makes my heart jump with joy. He did it all. He put the right people on my path and He opened doors that stayed open even when it felt things were going to crumble. With this new situation, healing of my broken heart took place. Joy rose up in me to a very intense level. Grad school is where He wanted me to be and He showed His favor and His love through the whole process. When I was done with grad school, I had the option to work full-time on campus for residential life. I remember distinctly hearing in my heart that I would have more options. My desire had been to become a teacher but that dream had been crushed by yet another rejection. This time around everything went very smoothly. I was able to take summer classes to get certified and The Lord gave me a job in a very good district. I have been there for 15 years now and I am loving every moment of it.

God can and He will fix your situations. I could write a book that would depict all the times my heart was broken and God mended it and fixed the situations. Situations when I had almost no money in the bank, when I was hospitalized or when I suffered spiritual attacks. Friend, don’t lose hope. You might be having a difficult time now but our God is stronger than all bad times. As you put your trust in Him, He will not only fix the problems but He will help you get closer to Him and get to know Him better. God will bind your wounds and you will forget that the trauma even existed before! Take courage this week. The Lord is with you!

Suggested reading: Psalm 34:18; Psalm 147:3; Luke 4:18

Ten nuggets of wisdom for your Sunday (Part 2)

1. Drinking the water of life is a daily necessity. The more you drink of it, the more life you have to offer. The Holy Spirit offers water for life. Drink His water and you will impact the world around you with love and life.

2. Standing on God’s Word is standing on solid ground. When the earth moves under your feet, you will not be shaken when you stand on His Word.

3. Trust the Lord with all your heart means don’t give room to doubt. Tell doubt that all the rooms are occupied and send doubt to another living establishment.

4. The refrain of your heart should be about Jesus being the Center. The chorus of your life should be about you expressing the Center of your life to the world.

5. One step forward and one step back means that you are learning. Two steps forward means that you are growing. Two steps back means that you need readjusting. One step at a time means that you are walking at God’s pace.

6. Don’t let the voices of the world dictate your interpretation of the Word.

7. Stay confident in whom the Lord made you to be.

8. God has a plan for your life that you should enjoy as a spectator and not as a director. Let Him direct your steps.

9. Drown your heart in Jesus. Saturate your mind with Jesus. Let Jesus direct your body. Coat your emotions with Jesus. You can achieve all that thanks to the Holy Spirit.

10. Don’t let the world give you your purpose. God has a purpose for your life that the world can’t always comprehend.

Suggested reading: Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 1:7; Proverbs 3:13