What God Values

This morning I read a very interesting devotional which stated that we should be more concerned with having a meek and quiet spirit as opposed to decorating our outward body. In today’s society, the standards of fashion demand concealers, foundations, mascara, vibrant lipsticks, high profile jewelry, and designer clothing and accessories. As we focus on making corrections to our faces, and adding vibrant jewels; our mirrors reflect a painstakingly masterpiece, in which we are well-pleased. The worldly values that we uphold and participate in, provide a stark contrast to the modesty in dress and avoidance of outward adornment mentioned in the Word of God.

In fact, our behaviors indicate that our values are misaligned with God’s values. We are unable to apply as makeup, the intangible qualities of the fruit of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control. We are unable to purchase a meek and quiet spirit that reflect obedience to God. “If we live in the spirit, we are to walk in the spirit.” Galatians 5:25 What are the changes that you need to make to align your values with God’s values? We are guaranteed an ever truthful reflection when we look deeply into the spiritual mirror of the Word of God.

Breaking the Spiritual Growth Plateau

“Come out from them and be separate says the Lord… 2 Corinthians 6:17

During my career, one of the most difficult days was Wednesday-known as Hump Day. The expectation was to push even harder because there were only two days left in the work week. Since statistics prove that Friday has the lowest level of productivity; Wednesday’s were quite vicious for catch up work along with the daily goals for that day. I often day-dreamed of how beautiful I would feel on Friday at 5 pm as I struggled to meet the grueling deadlines on Wednesdays. However, my wishes for better days and a lower standard of productivity for the third work day of the week, never came into fruition. Now, as I think about my previous dread of Wednesdays; I have a couple of time management resolutions that would have changed my outlook, and increased my productivity to coincide with my times of peak energy. Also, I could have collaborated with co-workers to find out their secrets to success on managing the hardship of (relentless-work) Wednesday.

Many times we reach a plateau in our spiritual lives. We just cannot figure out the answer for getting over the hump. We pray, study the Word, attend church, exercise, eat right, and practice kindness; but, still feel as if something is missing. The solution to overcoming our stunted spiritual growth may link to how we utilize our time. We have received the gift of 24 hours to serve God through various activities. With the daily distractions we face, it is easy for our secular activities to overpower our spiritual activities. God admonishes us to separate ourselves from the hustle and bustle of the world. In addition, time with the Creator includes more than praying, studying, and attending church. Have we included helping others in their time of need, or is our time solely devoted to self? The gift of our time is necessary to facilitate spiritual growth. Develop a Spiritual Time Log. Give 1-2 hours a day in the pursuit of non-self activity. With a few time management changes, we can say good-bye to our “spiritual plateau” and reach our fullest-spiritual potential.

 

Life is Still Simple

Stress; technological advancements; increased racism and violence; health epidemics; ageism; natural disasters; financial bankruptcies, and the list grows as time passes. One can easily become despondent if he or she focuses on the conditions of their environment. Will things ever get better? Many transition to less populated areas to get away from the stressors of life. Although, living in a peaceful environment has its positive benefits; we require additional actions and resources to simplify our lives.

The answer to a simple life is Christ. Belonging to Christ changes everything. Peace, joy and the comfort of knowing that, “All things work together for the good of them that love the Lord”, is only available through a spiritual connection with the Creator. Make the move today, and you will never have to relocate again.

Don’t Worry-Be Happy

Don’t Worry-Be Happy was a popular song many years ago by the singer-Bobby McFerrin. The song was simple with a jubilant melody and repetitive lyrics. It conveyed the message that everything would work out alright. The society that we live in promotes self-reliance under the guise of pre-planning the future for your life. By always remaining one step ahead of what may happen tomorrow, you will not be caught by surprise. The pressures of completing the tasks for today; thinking about the duties for tomorrow; and wondering about the future, has left us in a perpetual state of worry and unhappiness.

What is the resolution to alleviating the never-ending pressures of life? Believe it or not, the Written Word actually concurs with the concept of Don’t Worry-Be Happy. In Matthew 6:34, we are admonished to “…don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” (NLT) The step to a worry free life is to pray when you awaken, and give your daily activities to God. Do not be surprised if your plans do not coincide with God’s plans. Smile, while humbly accepting His divine intervention. He has your today, and your tomorrows from beginning to end. Go ahead, don’t worry- smile, and be happy. Sonya Johnson-Ruiz

Watch the Who, What, and Where

I adopted my cat when she was 6 months old. She was raised in an inside environment until we relocated to Texas. Her first tree climbing experience was traumatic for both of us. For about an hour, she sat on on branch and loudly meowed in distress. I called my husband at work and informed him of the situation, hoping that he would come to the rescue. He immediately told me that she would figure it out. I began to call her name and slowly she came down the tree grabbing onto the branches with her claws. I nearly fainted, the day she brought me a baby bird as a present. My husband did come home from work to remedy the situation by rescuing the bird. Although, my cat was raised inside all of her life, when she was exposed to the outside environment, her innate qualities surfaced as a skillful hunter as she fearlessly climbed trees and chased birds.

The Bible tells us that we were born in sin and shaped in iniquity. Even though we were created in the image of God, our natural desire (innate) leans toward sin. The individuals we associate with; the television programs that we watch; the sensual music we listen to; and the places we visit have a direct impact on satisfying our desires for worldly pleasures. It is a conscious decision to choose situations that compromise our Christian-Christ like values. The choices that we make will either develop our sinful nature or sinless nature. Being aware and overcoming our natural desire is only accomplished by praying and watching the who, what, and where situations in our lives. Once we acknowledge our innate sinful desires, we canavoid the choices that we would normally make.

It is only through Christ that we can choose the who, what, and where, that will develop our spiritual skillfulness.

Preparing for Eternity

img_20171024_102927_1631541433674.jpgWe now live in a society filled with darkness. The peak of racial tensions, heinous crimes, and hatred have resurfaced in a manner that will discourage the most devout Christian. However, prior to Jesus ascending to heaven, He left a message of encouragement for all believers. John 14:1-3 tells us: Let not your heart be troubled you believe in God believe also in me. In my father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself; that where I am there you may be also.

Regardless of the circumstances that surround us, when we ask for God’s unconditional love, we are able to view life through spiritual eyes. Prepare for eternity by loving others, and focusing on the promise of a perfect life where love will be present forever.