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?

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

     

The Danger of Multi-Tasking

The Dangers of Multi-Tasking

Often, we think that we are saving time when we multi- task. We see it as being productive, when we really are less effective and successful at what we are doing. We are spreading our efforts across many and taking out the best of all of them.

The other day, I caught myself feeding my baby while watching television and working on the computer, all at the same time. I found my energy feeling tension and confusion and realized that I was doing too much.

When we multi-task, we are telling God that He has not given us enough time to get what we need. Clearly, God has given me all that I need. So I need to be more appreciative of that when allocating my time.   

When we multi-task, we are hurting ourselves.

1. We are cluttering our minds and making it more difficult to hear God’s regular messages to us. We’re saying to God, “We got this.” We take control at doing our millions of things while we drown Him out. 

2. Secondly, we are not enjoying the moment. We need to stop and smell the roses. We cannot do that if we’re speeding by the roses, honking and blasting loud music all at the same time.   I was ashamed when I realized that I was doing so much while feeding my new little one, not taking that moment to enjoy the miracle that God has provided. We must assess what is important for us to do and do it and get rid of the unimportant distractions. In that moment, my baby was hunger so clearly that was the activity of importance. Watching TV and doing whatever on the computer clearly could wait.  

3. We risk making dangerous decisions when we multitask. We think that the hundreds of decisions that we make each day are small decisions, where to eat, what to eat, with whom to eat, what to wear… When we have no idea, in fact, how one “small” decision will become a large decision and lead to something else. They are not small decisions, but in fact quick decisions. That is why it is important to pray without cease, to constantly listen to God for direction. He may tell you not to have lunch with person who may want to do you harm. Or He may tell you to wear yellow on that day because you’re going to meet the love of your life whose favorite color is yellow. When we hear from God often, every message doesn’t make sense to us, nor does it need to do so. However, we need to listen. Multitasking makes that very difficult.

P.S. “It is useless; it is like chasing the wind. It is better to be satisfied with what you have than to always want something else.” Ecclesiastes 6:9

7 Benefits of Gratitude

We often hear people talk about gratitude. For some, it’s no more than a fluffy sentiment. For me, gratitude is a powerful tool. There are many benefits to experiencing and expressing gratitude. I say, you should always squeeze the lemon juice out of your lemons. We all have lemons in our lives. We all have those bad events, environments, or situations that are less than desirable, to say the least. What is true, however, is that there is good in everything, just as there is lemon juice in every lemon. We have all heard people referencing the phrase, seeing things as a glass half empty or half full. The fact of the matter is that sometimes we see the glass as not half empty or half full. Sometimes we see it as mostly empty or mainly full. Regardless of the situation, there is always a way to identify the blessing in anything.  I want to talk about seven reasons why we should always express gratitude and be thankful. Though, I am sure that there are far more than that. However, I am going to discuss seven of them.

Firstly, gratitude is a gift that you give to yourself. When you are thankful you put a smile on your face, because you are letting the joy inside of you that is connected to the positive that you have received. You can receive something positive but refuse the joy that can come with it. People do it every day. Gratitude allows you to experience that joy. For example, you can have a puppy that has accidents in your house three times a day. You may experience misery from the puppy’s accidents throughout your house as it gets trained. Or you may exercise the power to focus on how cuddly, the puppy is, how loyal the puppy is to you, or how the puppy warns you of danger. You may experience joy thinking about the companionship and security that the puppy provides. However, it is up to you to receive that joy. The same applies to your personal relationships. You can appreciate your spouse and be happy for the companionship that you receive. Or you can only choose to focus on the dishes left in the sink. If you have a loved one who is ill, you can focus on their sickness and their pain or you can focus on the time that you have with them to say whatever you want to say and hear from them whatever they want to say. You can focus on the hugs that you can give them and the warmth that you can provide for each other. Gratitude is a gift of Joy that you choose to give to yourself.

The second reason for gratitude is the gift that you give to others. When someone says “thank you” to you, it makes you feel a certain way. It makes you feel appreciated and sometimes even loved. It validates your actions. It rewards your efforts. That is a gift that you can give to others.

The third reason for gratitude is to receive the lessons that gratitude teaches you. In all bad things there are lessons. In all good things in life, there are lessons as well. We usually only want the good things in life. However, often times when we get the good things in life, we are lazy about learning the lessons that come with them. Sometimes, it takes the bad things for us to accept the lessons that we need to learn. Sometimes the bad things are the only ways that we can experience the best joy possible. For example, when we miss a flight, and spend the night in the airport hotel or even the airport itself, it helps us to appreciate our homes that we often take for granted or our loved ones that we see every day. Gratitude affords us the opportunity to realize that it could have been worse.

The fourth reason for gratitude is to make the world a better place. When you pass gratitude to others, they are your witness of how beautiful that behavior is and they pass it on to someone else. It creates a harmonious chain of love. You teach others how to show love in a simple way. When you are around children, you teach children how to show love in a simple way. Gratitude is one of the easiest ways to reciprocate love and positive feelings.

The fifth reason why gratitude is so important is because it helps you to smell the roses and enjoy life more deeply and more often. When we appreciate what we have, we spend more time with it; we spend more time with them. We stop and smell the beautiful roses in our lives, whether the roses are actual roses made up of different colors, red, yellow and white, or the roses metaphorically represent family members and friends. We appreciate what is in sight; we spend more time enjoying those roses and less time chasing after the wind.

The sixth reason why gratitude is so important is because it helps us to get more in the future.  The more we show our appreciation for gifts that God gives us, the more gifts he wants to give to us. Just as when someone you love shows appreciation for something that you give, you want to give them more, because you know that it makes them happy. So open your arms to more gifts by expressing your gratitude to God today.

The seventh reason that we should express gratitude is because every single breath that we take is a privilege. Not one month, one day, one minute or second is promised to any of us. Just as we celebrate the miracle of a baby being born, we should celebrate every breath that we get to take on this earth. Every breath is a gift from God. We should continuously thank God for the gift of each breath, because we want to continue to receive the gift of breath, which is life.
Please show your gratitude every day. Start your day by giving God thanks. This is the day that the Lord has made. We shall rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118:24).