Belief Beyond Boundaries
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. - Apostle Paul (Colossians 3:23-24)
I think about how different working experiences are when just one or two people, or even a manager, on a work team keeps with this mentality. I have worked on teams where people looked out for mostly themselves, owners and managers were stingy, and the paycheck was the extent of the reward.
Still, while working in retail, I experienced a full time cashier with a grandmotherly demeanor, named Bernice who would periodically bring treats for her fellow workmates, speak with compassion to everyone, and always had a smile on her face even when things got hectic. Customers would line up 6-deep, while ignoring other cashiers, just to experience her warmth and caring attitude. That is not an exaggeration. She was the definition of hospitality and people flocked to her.
If you find yourself on a demotivated team that needs building up, it is in the spirit of Christ that we can seed a transformation on our work teams. Through generosity, caring, patience, kindness, understanding, and love for our fellow human beings, we can inspire those around us to see the power of the Lord when we act out his teachings while at work. Let’s ask ourselves the following questions:
One of the dimensions of wellness described by Dr. Swarbrick we discussed in one of my recent blog entries, “Degree #3: Personal Wellness” is Occupational Wellness. There is inherent value in the meaning and satisfaction derived from one’s work. It is through Christ that we shortcut the process and find instant meaning in our work that could otherwise feel monotonous or like an endless loop when we are still on the road to our career destinations. I assure you, the place you are now, in your current journey, can be as much or more fulfilling than the destination itself when we work in the name of the Lord.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” - Jesus Christ (John 13:35)
Do Not Be Afraid
You may recognize Franklin D. Roosevelt's famous quote, "The only thing to fear is fear itself." He spoke this during one of the most challenging times of our nation's history, The Great Depression. It was a dark time when the world seemed to be unraveling and hope seemed far away. It can be easy to let our current circumstances define us, and depending on our perception, these fears are created in our minds offering us nothing but limitation and lack. Fear is the ultimate destroyer of dreams. So how do we overcome it?
Commit to Your Vision
You need to sincerely ask yourself this question: "If I didn't reach my dream, because of an excuse or a fear I have, would I be okay with that?" If not, it may be time to reach down deep and find the courage you need to overcome your limitation. Will you pick up your cross?
"For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline." - 2 Timothy 1:7
Through Love You Can Do Great Things
Love overcomes fear. It is true that when we love something with our whole heart, what would normally seems like a challenge is suddenly transformed into a purpose through focused intention. There are countless stories of everyday people doing incredible feats out of a spirit of love they may not have had the capability of doing otherwise. It is when we transform our own dreams and ambitions into acts of service and love that we too can have access to this great power God has gifted to us. This, my friends, circumvents fear altogether.
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us.” - 1 John 4:18
So how do we cast out fear? LOVE! Although there are other tactics to simply dealing with fear such as preparation, understanding where our fears are coming from, and other mental work, it is truly our inner motivations and purpose that will drive us through it. When we forget our purpose, it is simply too easy for fear, insecurity, and distraction to creep in, diverting us from what we are here to do. I hope this brings you encouragement, friends. Have a good day!
How Should Christians Meditate?
Meditation is a word that gets thrown around a lot these days. Many times, it is referring to Eastern meditation, however, Christian meditation can prove to be quite helpful, even more so than Eastern meditation, but like any kind of spiritual activity, it does take some discipline in some regard in order to get the most out of it. Let's go through the steps.
Step 1: Relax and Fill Your Mind
In order to relax, either sitting comfortably or lying down, close your eyes and take some time to simply breathe in and out, focusing on the exhale. With eyes closed and slow relaxed breathing, relax each part of your body individually such as your arms, hands, legs, feet, head, face, and chest. Shake out any feelings of tension. After a couple of minutes, slowly integrate worshipful praises to God, either in your mind or audibly, focusing on his glory, his wonder, his love, and majesty. He is the creator of all. Picture this love in your mind, whether it be light, a hug or embrace, or however it presents itself to you.
Step 2: Bring Something to Reflect on
Whether it be a psalm, a prayer, a biblical law you'd like greater clarity on, or a challenge you'd like wisdom about, meditate on this as you continue to feel the gratitude and wonder of God. If your mind becomes distracted, simply acknowledge the distraction and bring yourself back to a state of gratitude and love of God. If you find yourself falling asleep, you can try sitting in a different position or take joy in the fact that you may have needed some well-earned shut-eye.
Step 3: Receive
Be ready to receive an answer or a response. Picture in your mind what that response looks like. When I pray for healing, I like to picture a Godly healing energy surrounding myself or another person in my mind. I also picture myself touching the hem of Jesus' robe.
Why is a state of gratitude and love so important?
The Lord works on only the highest wave lengths of energy. When we mediate in a place of gratitude and love, this propels us into this higher, more elevated, energy state that makes it easier for us to hear his voice.
What does the Bible say about meditation?
Pray in the Style of Jesus
Jesus said, "This, then, is how you should pray":
"Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." - Jesus Christ, Matthew 6:9-13
I want to take a moment today to discuss The Lord's Prayer given to us in the Gospel of Matthew. One day while reading this Bible verse I saw the word "how" when Jesus said, "This, then, is how you should pray." I got to thinking, "How do I pray?" and "Do I pray like this?" I felt like there could be a powerful message in the "how" rather than simply reciting this prayer. I was excited to uncover some "treasure" as Jesus would say, letting my meditation uncover what the Truth was behind this prayer. Let's take a look at each line and attempt to understand what is behind it and how this could impact your own prayers.
Our Father who Art in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy name
Prayer is an intimate moment with our Father, whom is holy and sacred. Even his very name has power and deserves reverence! Each prayer we pray should start in reverence and worship to the Lord God.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven
When we pray, we should reflect on the kingdom, but what does this mean? It means in our prayers, we should focus on the laws and covenants God has given us to help discern what we are asking for and if it lines up with his will. It is priming us to look at each request from a state of love, gratitude, and obedience to Him. Perhaps we can uncover truth about our own hearts and what our own motives are as well. Does ego need to be set aside? Are we harboring feelings of unforgiveness, envy, or malice? This will only serve to help us clarify what we are truly asking for. For example, if I am upset at someone and pray that God reveals to them how they have wronged me, I instantly must ask, "Is it me who is in the wrong and lacks forgiveness?" If so, I have revealed that I too must have some things to work out with God.
Along with an abundance of love and gratitude, one must also reflect on how they can be of service to the kingdom itself. How can you personally carry out the will of your Father in heaven? If you do not know, think about your skills and talents. Could these be of use to the Lord?
Give us this day our daily bread
Once we have expressed admiration and reverence to God and meditated on His will, we should then feel free to bring our requests to him from a heart of joy, faith, and expectance. Jesus uses the example of "bread," but why? In the Bible, bread symbolizes to us abundance from God. It was bread from Heaven (manna) that sustained the Israelites for 40 years as they wandered through the wilderness. Jesus is telling us that God will also sustain us and if we are in need, he will meet that desire in the way that serves us best. It is a reminder to us to have faith that our needs will be met with no problem and that we serve a faithful God.
Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us
If God will faithfully meet your needs, should you also withhold your sins from him? What is on your heart? Take a moment and acknowledge what you are struggling with. God forgives! You know this, but first, can you also extend the love the Lord gives you by extending that same love to others who may have wronged you?
Lead us not into temptation
Wait. Did Jesus just ask God to not lead him into temptation? Indeed, he did. Why would a loving father willingly send his own son into temptation? Well, it is so we understand the consequences of our sin, but the purpose of this phrase is to understand that, because of our faith, God will hear our prayer and allow us to forego the temptation altogether. Psychologically this makes sense, because when there is a sin we suffer from and ask God not to send us into it, we are admitting that what we are struggling with the fact that something is not good for us. This thinking reflects the first degree of spiritual transformation: Self Reflection. You can read it here. We cannot make change until we are first willing to draw the darkness into the light and accept that something in ourselves needs to change. Our prayers should allow us to not only ask for forgiveness, but also request that God helps you navigate around that which allows you to sin.
But deliver us from evil (the evil one)
This is an extension of asking God to not lead us into temptation. When we forego temptation in the first place, it allows us to not have to encounter the consequences that sin often brings. This is the beautiful mercy the Lord offers you. This is also an invitation to pray for protection from any schemes that Satan may send your way with the intention of thwarting your spiritual progress.
Using Jesus' prayer model, a personal prayer could look like this:
God, my heavenly Father, whose name is Blessed and Holy; I look forward to your kingdom and feel grateful to do your will here on earth. Lord, sustain me and grant me favor as I make my requests known to you. Forgive me from sin and keep temptation away. Protect me from the evil one. I also agree to forgive those who have caused me pain as well, gratefully extending love and kindness to them as you've shown to me.
In Your holy name, Amen
To sum up, an alternative prayer outline that you can use to formulate your own prayer could look like this:
If you don't currently keep a prayer journal. I highly recommend it. Each day, you can record the topics you'd like to pray about and follow that outline as you pray. In time, you can review your journal to see how God has been working in your life.
The King's Mission
Friends, there is no ignoring that things have been getting strange around the world. There is a change happening and we cannot deny that. The threat of war for many people around the world is a true reality, destructive, satanic, culture is taking deep root in high places, where our previous blessings are being eroded away by corruption, and climate change can no longer be dismissed. I am here to dispel the spirit of fear and remind you that there is hope in the darkness.
If there was ever a time, now is the time to realize that you are chosen by God to do great things. I ask you now: What is a warrior if he never sees a battle? What is a sword if never touched by the flame? Do not be afraid.
During times like this, a regular routine of purposeful activity is absolutely essential to keep our eyes looking forward. Establish daily bible reading time, meditation, and a few active goals to keep. The kingdom needs you to stay focused on the King's mission. Devote your life to it and keep moving forward with absolutely precise focus. Like a child who grows into an adult and does away with childish things, we too must put away all that does not serve the King's true purpose.
As the warriors of Christ, when the enemy comes near, we do not slink away in fear, but rather draw up our sword and hold fast to our shield, which is the word of God. Let him be our fortress and strength.
Degree #2: Separate Yourself
"Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word."
"Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings."
1 Peter: 8-9
Sometimes in life, the hardest thing is giving up something that is not good for us. In a post about Degree #1: Reflect on Self, the first of 8 Degrees of Spiritual Transformation, I discussed looking within to discover all the things that are holding you prisoner. Degree #2, Separating Yourself, implores you to take action and begin the process of overcoming habits that prevent you from growing spiritually. I want to remind you that all of us struggle with this. It is, unfortunately, part of the human experience, but we must ask, how sweet is the light when we have escaped from the darkness? There is something truly remarkable, even beautiful, when a soul recognizes it is in darkness and seeks the Lord in full humility. How much more can that soul appreciate the mercy of God when, truly, its wings have been burned by the raging fire.
“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others." 1 Corinthians 10:23-24
I could probably go on and on about all the things that can hold people hostage, but the truth is, you know what these things are; things like addiction, bad habits, unhealthy choices, or sin, but nobody is here to make you feel shame. The important part is that you are taking steps to acknowledge, repent for mistakes made, and take action, but do you ever have sins in your life that trip you up at every turn? I'm talking about sins that seem like no matter what you do, you will never be able to overcome them?
First know you are not alone in that, truly. So what is a person to do if they feel the shame and guilt, but don't feel the desire to take action, because they know that something isn't good for them and even separates themselves from God and their spiritual growth? Sometimes its just too hard! Am I right? Friends, I'm so glad you asked.
"No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it." 1 Corinthians 10:13
So what is this way out? Friends, there is only one way to break chains and that is by leaning in close to the Lord and establishing a strong relationship with Him. This comes from regular Bible reading, meditation, prayer, and growing your faith with the one who knows you best. There is a reason why lives are transformed when they begin to acknowledge God's powerful potential and presence in their lives. So how does that actually work?
The Lord is transformative! The more you lean in to God, the more your heart, mind, and spirit aligns with His will. When you align with His will, your mind starts to contradict the old "self." Your old "self" suddenly wants new things...new ideas, new experiences, new growth and a new image. The "ego" that your old self possessed diminishes and you begin to think more clearly. Suddenly the things that felt right to the old "self" no longer feel right and you become convicted, not out of guilt and shame, but out of pure and true love of the One who created you. You now desire to do His will.
"So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit." Galations 5:16-25
Isaiah 9:2-7 (NIV)
2 The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned.
3 You have enlarged the nation
and increased their joy;
they rejoice before you
as people rejoice at the harvest,
as warriors rejoice
when dividing the plunder.
4 For as in the day of Midian’s defeat,
you have shattered
the yoke that burdens them,
the bar across their shoulders,
the rod of their oppressor.
5 Every warrior’s boot used in battle
and every garment rolled in blood
will be destined for burning,
will be fuel for the fire.
6 For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
will accomplish this.
I don't know about you, but chapter 9 of Isaiah gives me chills! Though this was written many many years before Christ was born, it illustrates two things. That a child would be born (Jesus) and that he would reign on the throne of David, bringing his kingdom to earth. Only half of this prophecy has come to pass since Jesus came to us, but friends, we are living in that second time.
As followers of Christ, it is time for us to pick up our spiritual shields and get ready for the Master's return! I can hear the footsteps of our King coming now. For all those walking in darkness, there are days coming when they will see the light. Jesus, himself, tells us that it is never too late to come to the Father. Signs are happening now. The Euphrates River is drying up as prophecy foretold in Isaiah 11. Fresh water is now running into the Dead Sea, causing fish to live in it again as foretold in Ezekiel, chapter 47.
I hope you are ready for the biggest spiritual awakening in history, because it is already happening. We are His spiritual warriors.
Followers of Christ will soon be desiring to come together to usher in a new era! Our eyes are opening and He is calling on his true followers, speaking to them in dreams, visions, and prophecy about what is coming, myself included. He is telling us to prepare the table for the wedding banquet.
How do we prepare you ask? We must begin to seek righteousness and unity with other Christians, coming under one banner (Isaiah 11). Christians must love each other with the love of Christ, no longer separate from each other, divided by denomination. We must put down all the the destructive forces that we already know will work against us and embrace all that he taught us, bringing his Kingdom to this world, here and now. I cannot know how long all this will take to happen, but I sense the closeness of it. Christians are being called on a mission. For those of you who feel that calling, I invite you to come along with me as well.
Through living a lifestyle of obedience to God, staying organized, and paying attention to his voice, which calls us, we can fulfill his purpose for us. Stay with me as we meditate on his will while also applying it to our lives in a practical, goal-driven way.
My Father's Kingdom
Friends, Jesus is calling you into the new Kingdom today. If you are a Christian, you are already saying "Aren't I already a part of the Kingdom?" I cannot say, because the truth is not all Christians have realized the Kingdom, because the Kingdom is a state of being. That means you must wake up and realize your true calling as a member of Heaven here on Earth. Jesus says, "For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:20 ...“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." Matthew 7:21 Jesus is inviting you into Christ consciousness.
In the future, a time will come when members of the Kingdom will need to come together more than ever before. The people of Christ will need to rely on each other for more than just fellowship. They will need to feed each other the food of the Spirit, protect one another, mentor each other and care for one another like one cares for their own child. A Noah moment is coming and we must not be taken off guard when that moment comes so we may be a unified front against a culture that will no longer be serving, but rather, consuming us.
We can no longer be lone warriors when, together, we are so much stronger. God has granted us the power to change the direction of this country and even this world. The power has been granted to bring this entire nation back under the authority of God and not man, for it is in God our trust must reside.
I am asking you now, will you make a commitment today? Will you commit to living the life Jesus taught us about? Will you join me in reaffirming your position in my Father's Kingdom?
In this Kingdom, we will serve each other our labor, our time, and our skill. We will establish, in Christ, His values as our true government and he will be our King. We will no longer settle for corruption and greed as our method of operation. We will no longer compromise the will of the Lord for counterfeit institutions. We will teach each other, support each other, and love one another just as our master taught us. We will show the world what can happen when we come together to pray sincere, faithful prayers. Even as the world may deteriorate around us, we will stand strong, united, and a force for good. No matter what church you belong to, if you are awake, you are part of my Father's Kingdom, because the true Church is not made of wood and stone! It is within you who have been stirred to pick up the cross and follow Him now.
Today God is calling you to a position of apostolic servant leadership. Wherever you are in your life, its time to use whatever authority you have to bring the Word of God to those around you. Do not fear! You cannot fail when the Holy Spirit is within you, because you have a divine calling. "Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." Ephesians 6:17
If you have the means, may you be called to start community centers, Christian businesses, Bible studies, mentorship programs, join town boards, city councils, Christ-led events, take on leadership roles and become more involved in your churches and communities. Today is the day to enter the light and step into the anointed calling God has placed on you. "As for you, the anointing you received from Him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as His anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him." John 2:27
The Love Letter
I had a vision of when the Lord made you. He simply breathed one breath and you came into existence. Think about that for a moment; He loved you so much that he called you into existence! All souls come from Him. He is the source. When you were born, your spirit came to rest in the body you now occupy. You are a beautiful love letter wrapped up in an envelope sent here by God himself.
"Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being." -Genesis 2:7
Recently in social media circles, you may have heard the term "awakened." What is "The Awakening" or rather what does it mean to be awakened? First, do not confuse this with "woke" culture. Being "woke" describes an alert to injustice in society, especially racism. Some may see being woke as an awakening of sorts, but being "awakened" generally refers to a spiritual awakening. I would describe awakening as a mental awareness of how your life and spiritual viewpoints stand against the context or framework of your spiritual belief system. Once this happens, a person may decide to change in some regards to bring their newly created ideals into alignment with what they discern as their personal and perceived spiritual belief system. In Christianity, we attempt to intuitively discern, through spiritual study, the will of the Holy Spirit.
First, why is it important to become awakened? Before one receives any sort of awakening, they will naturally live in accordance to what the world, in general, has taught them. Whether it be how to act, how their parents raised them, school conditioning, passive spiritual beliefs, behavior as perceived from the media, and other influences. In essence, before awakening, you live in the rules and belief systems of all that surrounds you. Once you become spiritually awakened however, you suddenly have a framework in which you can perceive the cognitive input you've been receiving for so many years. In essence you've been a sponge all these years, soaking up the belief systems of everyone surrounding you, but now you seek to wring out the sponge in a sense. This allows you to begin the process of purging toxic ideas, mental processes, and illogical societal conditioning from the paradigm in which you now view the world. You may become less materialistic, less selfish, more kind, loving, and more patient. You are now looking at the world from a different lens, a more skeptical one. You now question whether new information coming in aligns with your new belief system, whether it comes from friends, relatives, or even the government or commercials you see on television. Can you understand how awakened individuals doesn't necessarily match the interests of the government or corporations agendas?
The truth is, a capitalistic economy, such as the U.S. relies on greed to operate. It requires citizens to see the world through a materialistic vantage point so they buy more and capitalism also requires corporations to be greedy in order to be as competitive as possible. Over time, this creates a culture that views the world from an inherently selfish view, causing inevitable corruption. In a pure capitalistic society, all deeds are done only by those who are paid for it. Without individual awakening, the culture of materialism means each and every person in this culture will act only in accordance with what benefits themselves. Awakening is the vital force that breaks this anti-humanitarian destructive force.
So how does a person become awakened? If you are Christian, it is as simple as surrounding yourself with positive influences and relationships that support the teachings of Christ on a daily basis. Whether it is through Bible study, going to church, reading devotions, or listening to Christian radio, you will slowly and methodically deprogram and purify the chaotic influences of the world from your mind. From there a necessary process begins. The actual awakening to Christ and His Kingdom.
When the Lord starts working in your heart, in my experience, an interesting thing happens at first. The bulldozer rolls in to knock down all the mental prisons that have been holding you hostage for many years. There will be so many moments of absolute joy, which will drive you, but also moments of sadness as you deconstruct all the "false" teachings you've learned, that used to feel right, and begin building new constructs that align with your new, and more Christ-like, mind. This is where you will realize the beautiful mercy of God and learn His forgiveness as well as understand forgiveness of yourself. At this point you're emerging from the wilderness and wondering what to do with all you've learned. By becoming more involved in church and your community, you will more smoothly adapt to your new-found growth. This is truly what being born again looks like.
That is why we need people who are willing to wake up to a new reality. For too long, we've allowed the powers-that-be to dictate how we should think, but...the Kingdom is coming and it starts with you, because the Kingdom IS you. When you transform, the world transforms and brings us one step closer. Kind of exciting isn't it? Welcome home.
If you are not a practicing Christian, I have a special note for you. When Jesus walked this Earth, he came with the Spirit of God within him in order to show us how to apply God's commandments as given to us in the old testament of the Bible. Through His sacrifice by dying on the cross, He redeemed all those who believe in Him and repent of sin so they may never have to taste death whatsoever. If that reaches your heart, pray to Jesus and ask Him into your heart now so you may also find eternal life.
Ephesians 2 (NIV)
1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh[a] and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.