Diamond in the Rough

A DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH

Just because its hard doesn’t mean that it’s not God. – Sister Kathy

It’s a blessing to fellowship with other brothers and sisters who are striving to live for God and dedicate all of the actions of their lives to Him. I’m not a morning person, but on this particular Saturday, it was much easier to get up for the 6:00 a.m. prayer service at church. I had been wrestling quite disturbingly with God regarding a particular matter. I believed that He had showed me something that should come to pass. God is never like man, and He will never lie. I thank the Lord that I had known this from my relationship with Him. So I thankfully, by the grace of God, never doubted that. Nonetheless, something that I believe that He had shown me that should have come to pass, all of a sudden, looked as if it would not come to pass. Suddenly, it faced an arresting halt. It was a painful time. My spirit squirmed and squeaked and agonized in this moment. I looked at God with confusion and frustration. I asked Him, why is my spirit still holding on to this thing, when it does not seem as if it will happen? At the prayer meeting, after we all prayed for others and for our wills to be dedicated unto God, we stood around talking to each other. We were mainly discussing the trials of the world and encouraging each other in our own walks with Christ. Without me disclosing any information regarding my current personal spiritual battle, Sister Kathy said in a seemingly random manner, “Just because it’s hard doesn’t mean that it’s not God.” Yes, this should be common sense as some of you who are reading this may be saying. Sometimes we know things in our heads, yet they take a while to travel to our hearts and spirits. A delay from God is not a denial from God. Yes, He is a dynamic God and the things that we do will contribute or take away from His Perfect Will being done in our lives. However, we cannot assume that because we face an obstacle in our God given purpose that we have hit a permanent wall. In fact, quite the opposite is often true. God will use our defeated obstacles to bring glory to His name, and for others to see Him through us and find His love. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:4). We should not look at evidence of the flesh, things on this earth in order to decipher what the end will be or what God’s Will is in our lives. He is far greater and more powerful than that. We can be led and can live our lives according to the flesh and what we see in this earth; however, it will grossly limit what we will have. Our divine inheritance, we will not receive, because we will be focused on what’s in our eye’s length, never having the courage to look above and beyond to what God has for us.

The road less traveled, according to a poem by Robert Frost, always appears to be the hardest one to take. It is far more difficult to look for an alternative door than to simply walk through the door in front of us. My mom worked day and night to save money and move us out of the “projects.” For those who do not know, the projects, also known as the ghetto, is an area where subsidized housing exists. The government pays at least partially if not all of the housing costs for the family in a segregated area. What is grossly wrong with projects is that they are always projects set up to fail. In Networking 101, we learn that our networks are very indicative of the success that we will most likely have in this world. In the projects, the networks have no earthly power. It is a place that breeds pessimism, low achievement and subcultural segregation. My mom fought hard to get us out of there. I have to be honest, as her child picking up tremendous responsibility because of her dedication to work. I did not always understand and definitely did not appreciate her efforts at the time. I didn’t understand the “big” deal. I did not know why we needed to move and leave my “friends.” However, I thank God that she saw the bigger picture. I thank God that I got out of the norm that was designed for me—one of teenage pregnancy, welfare living and limiting myself to one or two occupations. When our lives run into situations that God did not create, often we have to fight ten times harder to get out of that situation. Whether God created the situation or not, does not mean that He is not in it because it’s difficult. Sometimes we have to plow through it anyhow. We have to see what the end will be. Others have to be inspired by us plowing through to see what the end will be. I pray that my mom’s courage was an inspiration for someone else; as I pray that our determination is always after God’s Will and ultimately results in His glorification.

Jonah was simply living his life as a prophet in God’s chosen land, Israel, when God called for him to go to Ninevah, an area known as a habitation for the spiritually lost. Jonah did not want to go there. He felt as if he was better than that, (2 Corinthians 10:4). We should not look at evidence of the flesh, things on this earth in order to decipher what the end will be or what God’s Will is in our lives. He is far greater and more powerful than that. We can be led and can live our lives according to the flesh and what we see in this earth; however, it will grossly limit what we will have. Our divine inheritance, we will not receive, because we will be focused on what’s in our eye’s length, never having the courage to look above and beyond to what God has for us.

The road less traveled, according to a poem by Robert Frost, always appears to be the hardest one to take. It is far more difficult to look for an alternative door than to simply walk through the door in front of us. My mom worked day and night to save money and move us out of the “projects.” For those who do not know, the projects, also known as the ghetto, is an area where subsidized housing exists. The government pays at least partially if not all of the housing costs for the family in a segregated area. What is grossly wrong with projects is that they are always projects set up to fail. In Networking 101, we learn that our networks are very indicative of the success that we will most likely have in this world. In the projects, the networks have no earthly power. It is a place that breeds pessimism, low achievement and subcultural segregation. My mom fought hard to get us out of there. I have to be honest, as her child picking up tremendous responsibility because of her dedication to work. I did not always understand and definitely did not appreciate her efforts at the time. I didn’t understand the “big” deal. I did not know why we needed to move and leave my “friends.” However, I thank God that she saw the bigger picture. I thank God that I got out of the norm that was designed for me—one of teenage pregnancy, welfare living and limiting myself to one or two occupations. When our lives run into situations that God did not create, often we have to fight ten times harder to get out of that situation. Whether God created the situation or not, does not mean that He is not in it because it’s difficult. Sometimes we have to plow through it anyhow. We have to see what the end will be. Others have to be inspired by us plowing through to see what the end will be. I pray that my mom’s courage was an inspiration for someone else; as I pray that our determination is always after God’s Will and ultimately results in His glorification.

Jonah was simply living his life as a prophet in God’s chosen land, Israel, when God called for him to go to Ninevah, an area known as a habitation for the spiritually lost. Jonah did not want to go there. He felt as if he was better than that, (2 Corinthians 10:4). We should not look at evidence of the flesh, things on this earth in order to decipher what the end will be or what God’s Will is in our lives. He is far greater and more powerful than that. We can be led and can live our lives according to the flesh and what we see in this earth; however, it will grossly limit what we will have. Our divine inheritance, we will not receive, because we will be focused on what’s in our eye’s length, never having the courage to look above and beyond to what God has for us.

The road less traveled, according to a poem by Robert Frost, always appears to be the hardest one to take. It is far more difficult to look for an alternative door than to simply walk through the door in front of us. My mom worked day and night to save money and move us out of the “projects.” For those who do not know, the projects, also known as the ghetto, is an area where subsidized housing exists. The government pays at least partially if not all of the housing costs for the family in a segregated area. What is grossly wrong with projects is that they are always projects set up to fail. In Networking 101, we learn that our networks are very indicative of the success that we will most likely have in this world. In the projects, the networks have no earthly power. It is a place that breeds pessimism, low achievement and subcultural segregation. My mom fought hard to get us out of there. I have to be honest, as her child picking up tremendous responsibility because of her dedication to work. I did not always understand and definitely did not appreciate her efforts at the time. I didn’t understand the “big” deal. I did not know why we needed to move and leave my “friends.” However, I thank God that she saw the bigger picture. I thank God that I got out of the norm that was designed for me—one of teenage pregnancy, welfare living and limiting myself to one or two occupations. When our lives run into situations that God did not create, often we have to fight ten times harder to get out of that situation. Whether God created the situation or not, does not mean that He is not in it because it’s difficult. Sometimes we have to plow through it anyhow. We have to see what the end will be. Others have to be inspired by us plowing through to see what the end will be. I pray that my mom’s courage was an inspiration for someone else; as I pray that our determination is always after God’s Will and ultimately results in His glorification.

Jonah was simply living his life as a prophet in God’s chosen land, Israel, when God called for him to go to Ninevah, an area known as a habitation for the spiritually lost. Jonah did not want to go there. He felt as if he was better than that,

Moving at God's Pace...

Peace is flowing in God’s river …  at His pace … —Dr. Lepora

Have you ever had a moment that you completely surrendered a decision or an act to God? In that moment you said, “God have your way. Have your way.” And you meant it when you said it. When we are able to totally surrender to God, there is a peace that comes over us that surpasses all of our possible understanding (Philippians 4:7). Oftentimes, we may not understand why we are so calm given the perceived severity of a situation. We may not understand why there are no tears falling even though what may be taking place or about to occur is very far from what we had originally planned. When we marry our own calendars, it places us in a painful bind when the days don’t fall the way that we would desire or people do not behave in ways that we would have predicted. There is a Jewish proverb that simply states, “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.” I don’t know if I would go as far as to say that God is laughing at our plans or desires. In fact, I think that it is quite the contrary. God wants His children to be filled with joy. He wants your desires to be pleased. However, everything is within His order. When we lived with our parents, they wanted us to be happy. I am not so naïve as to say that there are no bad parents out there. However, most parents have one thing in common: they want joy for their children. Our parents are not higher, kinder or more caring than God. God wants joy for us. Yet, just like our parents, God will not force His gifts upon you if you do not want to live in His House and live by His Rules. Yes, God pours grace all over us. Yes, he gives us mercy and lets it rain like water. However, there are often consequences to disobedience: the action and inaction that contradict God’s desires and requests. He has blessed us with self-will and allows us to drive to our own destiny for the most part. Sometimes, God will take His children out of the race before He will let us destroy ourselves spiritually. The spirit is far more powerful, meaningful and important than the body. He will allow His children that He loves dearly to lose their bodies before He allows us to lose our spirits, which is our direct connection to Him. If you box or wrestle with God, you will get hurt. Jacob, God’s wonderful child, wrestled with Him and came out with a permanent limp (Genesis 32:23-30). That is not to say that God will not answer fervent prayers or provide undeserving forgiveness and favor. However, you need to be on God’s side, not against Him. Otherwise, you may not be able to predict the possible consequences. We can ask for many things in God’s name and He will deliver. However, our requests cannot be against His beautiful and perfect will. Once you know what His Perfect Will is or is not, do yourself a favor and acquiesce.

 

P.S. Answer these questions to give yourself some food for thought…

1. When have you had to wait for God to answer your prayers? How did you feel when you received the answer

2. How do you feel when God’s answer is No to a request that you have made?

3. How do you maintain faith in God’s Word while accepting His answer of No?

4. Why is it important to accept God’s answer of No versus changing it to our own answer of Yes?

How do you measure your Spiritual Intelligence?

We mostly have heard people talk about mental intelligence. Intelligence that reflects our cognitive ability to do what we want to do. Emotional intelligence has also gained popularity reflecting our emotional state needed in order to accomplish what we want to accomplish. For example, a steady emotional state helps us to stay calm under pressure. Our emotional state is also often reflected in our relationships. How well do we get along with others, especially those different from us? How well can we partner and collaborate with others to produce a successful product or outcome, whether it is at work, church, at home with family or with an organization.

Another form of intelligence is Spiritual Intelligence. Many have talked about different ways to define spiritual intelligence. However, I define Spiritual Intelligence quite simply. Spiritual Intelligence consists of four factors:

1. Our level of desire to hear from God;

2) The work that we contribute to hear from God, how often do we pray, talk to Him? How often do we meditate, listening to Him? How often do we read His Word?

3. How well do we hear from Him? What is our level of accuracy? When we think that He told us to do something, how often are we correct?

4. What is our commitment to action when we hear from Him? How obedient are we?

Our mental intelligence is only as important as our Spiritual Intelligence. Our emotional intelligence is only as significant as our Spiritual Intelligence. How important is it to do something well with great skill and steadiness if it is the wrong thing to do?

P.S.  The desires of our heart and this world are fleeting, whereas whatever comes from God, whatever joy He gives to you- is forever (1 John 2:17).


Six Ways to Meditate

We often hear people talk about the benefits of Meditation. Meditation is very beneficial:

  • Meditation helps you to receive guidance from God.

  • Meditation calms you and helps to reduce stress.

  • Meditation lowers the risks of many diseases including heart disease and high blood pressure

  • Meditation decreases the impact of ADHD on performance and behavior.

    There are several benefits of meditating. However, we often discuss only one way to meditate.  We often think of someone sitting with their legs crossed and their eyes closed when meditating. This is definitely a good way to meditate; closing the eyes especially helps you to relax, in addition to taking deep breaths.  However, there are other ways to meditate as well.

  1. As mentioned earlier being still in solitude is definitely a beneficial way to meditate and help you to bring peace upon yourself.

  2. You can use God’s Word to meditate. You can select your favorite Bible verse or the Bible verse most appropriate for you in the moment to recite repeatedly in order to remind yourself, increase your faith on it or to call onto God.

  3. You can use music to meditate. Sometimes I’ll meditate on a certain praise song several times. For example, Captain of my ship by Oleta Adams is a beautiful song that reminds me of how beautiful God’s love is and how important it is to keep Him in control of my life. The melody of the song is just as soothing as the words. Music is a very powerful tool in meditation.

  4. You can use your body to meditate. By focusing on every part of your body you can meditate on the feeling in your toes up to the top of your head. This helps you to tune in to yourself. This type of meditation is often used when praying for healing of certain body parts unto God.

  5. You can meditate with movement. Some people couple meditation with Yoga in order to focus on body movements as a way to center the mind and emotions. You can also use walking or running as way to meditate on your movement and center your mind and emotions.

  6. Once you become really advanced, you can meditate doing anything. You can focus on God and being still during any part of your day, whether at work, home or in the grocery store. Meditating is exercising the muscles of your mind, spirit and emotions.

    P.S. Be still and know that He is God. Psalm 46:10