“Spiritual Therapy”

Physical therapy almost always involves exercise of some kind that is specifically designed for your injury, illness, condition, or to help prevent future health problems. These exercises will improve your flexibility, strength, coordination, or endurance.

I remember doing physical therapy for my leg, and the therapist gave me different exercises to do that were to aid in my healing/recovery process. Initially, I challenged her because I wondered if she understood that I was in pain. My thoughts were, “Why would you try to make me use my leg when I need you to fix it first? Why can’t you just massage it and take the pain away? These exercises are uncomfortable.” She reassured me that for issues like mine, not using my leg, even though it’s less painful, could prolong the time it takes to heal.

Revelation:

In my spiritual walk I have experienced painful situations that I just wanted God to fix, to comfort (massage) me, and make me feel better; but He didn’t (not right away anyway). Instead, He allowed me to go through it, even though I felt like it was unbearable. This is my definition of Spiritual Therapy; it was designed just for me. I had to trust God, so I had to exercise my faith. The goal is for my spirit to grow stronger (and for the flesh to get weak and die).

God, Who is infinite in His Wisdom, knows that in order for us to grow, we must go through painful seasons; and believe it or not, many of our painful experiences aid in our growth process. So, if we are going to persevere, we must learn to endure, and we have to keep moving, if we don’t, it could take longer to move past the hurt. If you are anything like me, when you have been hurt, the last thing you want to do is use that part of your body that has been injured. For example, when I hurt my leg, I tried everything I could to avoid using my leg or putting any weight on it. Likewise, if my heart has been broken, the last thing I want to hear is “walk in love;” or if I have been betrayed, the last thing I want to hear is “forgive.” But, the truth is, if I don’t push past the (temporary) pain, I could remain in that hurtful place, until I can endure the healing process.

We must exercise our faith, by believing that even the uncomfortable, the hurtful experiences are working together for our good.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).

We must do our part! It requires work!

Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone (James 2:17).

We must seek God for insight and guidance that is specifically designed for our situation.

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths (Proverbs 3:5-6).

We must remind ourselves that the pain is only temporary and it is designed to improve our walk with God, strengthen us, and to build our spiritual endurance.

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us (Romans 8:18).

There were times during my Physical Therapy that I wanted to quit and not go back for the next appointment. There were days that the therapist made me so angry; but, I was reminded that I wanted my leg healed, to walk without struggle, so I made a decision to endure the process. I will admit there are still times during my Spiritual Therapy that I question God, that I feel like giving up, I throw adult temper tantrums, and I feel like I want to turn back; but there is a still small voice on the inside that gently asks me “So, if you quit, or turn back, then what?” Exactly! There is no turning back! Thankfully, those times are fewer and further apart, and I am better equipped to endure the pain now.

So, That Settles It. Embrace your Spiritual Therapy; it has been designed to strengthen you, give you Divine direction and patience. It may start out painful, but if you endure to the end, you will come out stronger; and you will be able to encourage others, with certainty, that they too can make it.

There is Purpose in the pain.

“What Are You Willing to Give Up for a Bowl of Soup?”

I recently received a call from one of my nieces, who’s in college; she had some questions about possibly joining an organization. After she did some research, she felt uncertain because of some of its practices; so she called me for Godly counsel (Proud Auntie moment). When I asked why she was still unsure if she would join or not if it would cause her to step outside of the Will of God, she was completely honest with me. She said “I know it’s wrong, but it looks so fun and a lot of people do it.” She knows joining could affect her future, but she acknowledged that her initial feeling was that she didn’t want to think about the future, she just wants to have fun right now.

I chuckled because I can totally relate. I had a similar internal dialogue recently. I had to ask myself “What Are You Willing to Give Up for a Bowl of Soup?” Sounds funny right…

One day when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau arrived home from the wilderness exhausted and hungry. Esau said to Jacob, “I’m starved! Give me some of that red stew!” (This is how Esau got his other name, Edom, which means “red.”) “All right,” Jacob replied, “but trade me your rights as the firstborn son.” “Look, I’m dying of starvation!” said Esau. “What good is my birthright to me now?” But Jacob said, “First you must swear that your birthright is mine.” So Esau swore an oath, thereby selling all his rights as the firstborn to his brother, Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and lentil stew. Esau ate the meal, then got up and left. He showed contempt for his rights as the firstborn (Genesis 25:29-34 NLT).

Recently, I have been murmuring and complaining about some things that I thought I had to have now, and that I couldn’t live without. I felt like I couldn’t wait any longer. Then I heard it clearly, “What Are You Willing to Give Up for a Bowl of Soup?” NEVER MAKE A MAJOR LIFE DECISION BASED ON TEMPORARY DISCOMFORT!

Have you ever felt like you needed something or someone so desperately that you would die if you couldn’t get it; you know, that person or thing that you would give anything to have right now? Are you willing to compromise to get it? Are you willing to give up something that should be cherished to get it, i.e. dignity, self-respect, integrity? Do you feel like you have no other choice but to disobey God to get it? If so, you know firsthand what it feels like to consider selling your birth right for a bowl of soup. Yes, I said birth right; see, we have to remember every good and perfect gift comes from God (James 1:17). No good thing will He withhold from us if we walk upright (Psalm 84:11). It became our birth right once we accepted Christ and became born again Believers; so we don’t have to worry that we won’t get it, it’s already ours; we just have to be patient, obey (walk upright), and trust God for His timing.

The truth is, Esau probably would not have actually died if he didn’t eat right then, but he was only focused on that moment. He didn’t take into consideration the future he was giving up. He was so concerned with instant gratification that he forfeited his destiny. This should serve as a wakeup call for us. Let us remember that our birth right is not just for us; it’s for our families and loved ones, our children our descendants. It’s kind of a Big Deal, so let’s not discount it or take it for granted and hand it over to the “deceiver” just because we can’t see the Big Picture right now.  Remember, we are lured away by our own lusts; so sometimes all the enemy has to do is dangle it in front of us like a carrot in front of a rabbit, and we won’t stop until we get it, no matter the cost (James 1:14).

If you feel weary, like you can’t do it; be encouraged. Remember, Jesus was tempted too.  We thank God that Jesus didn’t give in; because He resisted temptation, we all have a right to an Abundant life!

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry. During that time the devil came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.” But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”Then the devil took him to the holy city, Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say, ‘He will order his angels to protect you.
And they will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.” Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your God.” Next the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.” “Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.” Then the devil went away, and angels came and took care of Jesus (Matthew 4:1-11 NLT).

So, That Settles It; the next time you feel like you won’t make it if you don’t get what you want when you want it, before you do something that could cause you to risk aborting the purpose and destiny for yourself and your lineage, ask yourself, “What Are You Willing to Give Up for a Bowl of Soup?”

“In Too Deep”

There was a movie back in the day, starring Omar Epps and L.L. Cool J, entitled “In Too Deep.” The storyline is about a new detective who believes that he is the answer to the drug/crime problem in the neighborhood where he grew up.  He decides to go undercover to try and get close to the man in charge, whose name happens to be “god.”

Many others had attempted this same operation prior to this new detective, but none were successful; either because their cover was blown, or because they couldn’t take it any longer and had to be removed.  However, this young detective was able to not only get in, but get close to “god;” so close that he begins to act, think, speak, and look like “god.”  Even his commanding officers state, “He’s In Too Deep; no one has ever gone this deep before, and it’s because he has become so much like “god.”

In spite of the numerous people who have been working for “god” longer, there was something about this undercover detective that allowed him to be moved up in rank quickly, until he is now at the right hand of “god.”

Then, quite naturally, there are those who feel more entitled to this prestigious position, so they try to bring accusations against the detective, but were unsuccessful because he was now “In Too Deep,” “god” trusted him.  He has now taken on a new identity; so when a woman insists that she knows him and that he is a cop, “god” wouldn’t hear of it.

This was not easy for the undercover detective because he had to make sacrifices too.  He had to be separated from his family, some of his friends, and loved ones.

This is true in the Spiritual…

Your primary focus is getting close to God, at all costs (Psalm 65:4).

You may have to go “undercover;” meaning who you are is no longer important; people don’t need to know who you are, you want to get to know God; and you want to lead them to God (Matthew 16:24).

You will be tested/tempted by those who don’t believe you are worthy to get close to God, who believe you are a threat to their spotlight; even though your focus is on Him(Matthew 16:1, Mark 8:11).

Many have gone before you, but were unsuccessful because they took their eyes off God and placed their eyes on the people/problems/situations surrounding them. But, there’s a hunger and a thirst on the inside of you that only God can quench; and you won’t stop until you get close to Him (Matthew 5:6).

You are In So Deep that you now look, sound, and act like God; even those who once knew you now don’t recognize you (1 John 2:6, John 3:30).

Because you are now In Too Deep, you are promoted, by God, not by man.  (Psalm 75:6-7).

People don’t believe that you deserve to be promoted (and it happened so quickly) and will try to bring accusations against you, but God will defend you in the presence of your accusers. So, even when people try to bring up your past (even if it’s true), God won’t hear of it because you have a new identity in Christ now. (John 8:1-11, 2 Corinthians 5:17).

But, you must sacrifice too because you may have to separate from family and some friends and loved ones because they can’t go where you are going (Luke 14:25-27).

It is important that I reiterate that THIS WILL NOT BE EASY; and once you get In Too Deep, there is no turning back. You will get frustrated (emotional rollercoaster is an understatement); you will think you made a mistake; you will get angry; you will doubt; you will want to quit; but quitting is not an option. You are In Too Deep. Now, God is nudging you and compelling you to go deeper; that “Many are called, but few are chosen.” You have been chosen, hand-picked by God Himself. THIS IS THE REWARDING PART (Matthew 22:14).

So, That Settles It; Many want to know how you could get In Too Deep, when others couldn’t?  Simple: Because your focus was always on getting close to God, NOT position, prosperity, or people!  That’s the secret. And even though you feel like giving up, there is something on the inside of you that will not let you stop now. Even though all hell is breaking loose, there is a small faint voice whispering, “You’re almost there.” Anybody want to go In Too Deep?

“Head-on Collision”

My 40th birthday is this Saturday, May 13th. Over the past few weeks I have been reflecting on my life, and I realized that there are many things that I have not done because of fear. I have allowed fear to control many of my life decisions up until this very moment. If the thought of something scared me, I would not do it. If I feared that I would fail at something, I would not try it. If I started something and it looked as if I was failing, fear would cause me to quit.  Fear of the naysayers being right when they said “I would never make it,” has prevented me from going forth in my purpose with the tenacity that I should.  Fear has prevented me from trying new activities, traveling, and stepping outside of my comfort zone long enough!

So, for this great milestone birthday, I have decided to stage a Head-on Collision between my faith and the fears that have kept me paralyzed. The way I see it is if I’ve already been paralyzed by fear; what’s the worst that can happen? Is it possible that I could fail? Yes, but, on the other hand, what if I don’t fail?  What if my faith prevails?  Or what if I fail, but my faith is enough to encourage me to know that failure is a part of life and living, and it’s not the end of the world? What if I learn from my failures and because I choose not to allow fear to hinder me, I try again and I do it better the next time?

I have decided that the best gift I can give myself is the gift of truly living and enjoying life, even if I have to do it afraid. There is something inside of me that is fighting hard to keep me mindful that I don’t want to get to the end of my life and regret what I never even attempted, simply because I was afraid.  Instead, I’d rather come to the end of my life and laugh or shake my head at some of my failures, but take solace in the fact that I at least tried.

Both faith and fear are powerful within themselves; but only one can dominate. For 39 years, fear has reigned in my life, but after this Head-on Collision, faith shall reign supreme; and why shouldn’t it? I mean after all, faith is defined as belief and trust in and loyalty to God.  With God on my side, why should I fear?  With God on my side, I cannot fail!  The Lord has already assured us:

Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest (Joshua 1:9).

So, I invite you to witness this Head-on Collision, or you can join me on this exciting journey if you too are tired of living in fear. We shall go forth; and just in case fear tries to creep up and stop us, let’s remind ourselves:

The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me (Psalm 118:6)?

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me (Psalm 23:4).

Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness (Isaiah 41:10).

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid (Psalm 27:1)?

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).

So, That Settles It; This Head-on Collision is going to be life-changing for me. Fear will no longer sit in the driver’s seat of my life. Faith has taken the wheel! I shall enjoy the ride!

HAPPY 40th BIRTHDAY TO ME!

“Nevertheless”

The past few weeks have been quite challenging for me, seemingly almost non-stop. It seemed as if everywhere I turned, there was opposition; I was perplexed on every side. I even found myself questioning God, asking “Why He is allowing all of this to happen to me.”  Have you ever been there? You know, that place of uncertainty, that place where you feel stuck in-between the fear of the unknown and seeing the manifestation of the many Promises of God regarding your Destiny.

You want to quit, (but deep down inside you know that you can’t quit) and there are voices telling you that you should just quit. You get angry, you cry, you get angry again, you cry out in anger; but it seems as if nothing brings you comfort; and it doesn’t help that God is completely silent. He isn’t saying anything!

What do you do?

41 And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,

42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: Nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done (Luke 22:41-42).

That’s right! You pray and make your request known to God to remove whatever your “cup” is. You go before Him truthfully, telling Him how it hurts or that it feels unbearable; then you trust Him, you say Nevertheless, not my will, but Thy will be done.”  You trust that His Grace is sufficient. Then you get up, brush yourself off, and believe in faith that He has heard your heartfelt cry; and you continue worshipping Him and serving Him in faith.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).

Nevertheless means “in spite of.” So, in spite of what it looks like, Nevertheless… in spite of what it feels like, Nevertheless… in spite of God being silent right now, Nevertheless… in spite of no one understanding what I’m going through, Nevertheless… in spite of it looking as if my enemies are triumphing over me, Nevertheless…in spite of feeling inadequate, Nevertheless… in spite of wanting to quit, Nevertheless.  REFUSE TO QUIT! You may not feel any different initially, but confess it and believe by faith.

Could it be, that you are right where God wants you, in that place of Nevertheless, God I trust you?

Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him (Job 13:15).

Do you trust Him, even with your life?

What I am learning, as I mature in God, is that as He takes us from Glory to Glory, the harder the tests/trials seem, and the more distant (silent) He appears during the tests. That’s where your faith comes in. This is how you grow and mature in God (Endurance). So often, we have our hearts set on pleasing God (with works), that we lose sight of how we actually please Him.

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him (Hebrews 11:6).

I know some of you are probably thinking to yourself, “It’s too hard!  How can she tell me to say Nevertheless; she doesn’t know what I’m going through!” The same way I am telling myself. It is a choice; God gives us free will, we can choose to trust Him or not. But, there are two reasons that I choose to go forth with a “Nevertheless:” One – I reflect on times past when I felt unsure if He would bring me through, and I am reminded that He did (it may not have been the route I would have chosen, but it was for my good). Two – I can’t stand the thought of getting to the end of my life and wondering “What if…” So, for me, the choice is clear: I must do as the Seasoned Saints would say, “Run on and see what the end’s gonna be!”

So, That Settles It. Maybe you are facing a difficult situation right now, and you don’t see a way out; throw your hands up (surrender) and offer God a “Nevertheless,” and trust that He Won’t/Can’t Fail! Place your hope in Him.  I decree that the Joy of the Lord is your strength (Nehemiah 8:10).

And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love (Romans 5:5 NLT).