For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12) NIV.
When the enemy has waged war against you, there are occasions where we are not on guard. The Bible tells us to be ready at all times this can apply to so many areas of our life even in the church, but there are times when we are off guard. The spiritual forces will attach itself to friend’s, or family it does not matter especially when the enemy comes to kill, steal and destroy by any means necessary. Therefore, as a body of believers, especially those of us who are on assignment for kingdom business. The Apostle Paul explains further why believers need God’s mighty armor if they are going to stand firm. It is because the battle waged is not against human foes but evil spiritual powers in high places. The supernatural, powerful, and cunning nature of the opposition makes the use of God’s armor necessary.
We must remember to watch as well as pray because when things happen to us, the enemy is doing what the enemy does. Admittingly, I have been caught off guard, at first I become infuriated at the person who the enemy has attached themselves too. But once I pray and spend some quiet time with God and stop asking why is this happening to me, I am reminded it is not flesh and blood; I should not take everything personal they are just a vessel for the enemy. I tell my congregation, do not allow the enemy to use you, stay in your word, increase your prayer life, learn how to sacrifice through fasting, so the enemy cannot use you. There is no time to be caught off guard, and even though the battle belongs to the Lord, we must do our part in drawing nearer to God and activate the power of the holy spirit and know that no weapon formed against you will prosper. Weapons will form, but will not prosper. Someone shared with me that when the enemy is busy in your life, it is a sign that you are busy doing kingdom business, so the enemy is your barometer, if you’re not busy doing kingdom business, you will not have to worry about the enemy, so put on the full armor of God and get busy because it is harvest time. God Bless.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters. (Colossians 3:23 NIV)
There were times when I went to my business and thought to myself; these students are getting on my nerves, I do not have to put up with this, I can go work in a hospital with less headache. It was thought, but it was nothing that I let come out of my mouth. The class was a little unruly, but the business was not, I did not have “a mutiny on the ship.” I would then shift gears, and begin to think about how God had blessed me with this assignment and everything is not about money. It became paramount that I did the best that I could, for one, that God would get the glory, two, so that I could sleep well at night because my business is not grant funded and if I was providing a much-needed service, I was determined to do the best job possible. Point number three, I was training people to take care of the sick and the elderly, and I wanted my training program to have a good reputation, and it does; to God be the glory. I believe that I have kept these three components’ over the past twenty years since opening the training program in 1997.
There were times that I needed to focus on God, instead of the class, so that I could give the best of myself. On occasion, there was a spoiled group. There is a scripture that says in doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you. The scripture means returning good with evil. Regardless of how they conducted themselves, I needed to show them complete professionalism. The students would eventually humble themselves and see that I was serious about the importance of entering someone’s home, nursing home and hospital and taking care of a vulnerable population that depends on you to care for them with morals values and ethics. The scriptures also state, finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. My good thing was making sure the sick, frail and elderly were going to have someone to respect their property and their person. I thought about my frail senior’s as good things that gave me the most joy. There is a song we sing in church that says “when you have done the best of your service he will say (meaning God) well done.” Look for the well done from God, not man. God, bless you.
And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (1st Corinthians 13:13 KJV)
This past week I had the opportunity to speak at the 33rd Nyack NAACP interfaith MLK Day service. One of Dr. Martin Luther King’s primary themes during the civil rights movement was conquering love with hate. The Beetles wrote a song that said: “All you need is love, love is all you need.” The Bible says in 1st Peter Above all, love each other deeply because love covers over a multitude of sins; this seems easier said than done. When you have experienced love, it might be simpler to understand the call for love. I am not talking about Eros love, which is the physical, sensual intimacy between a husband and wife. It expresses sexual, romantic attraction; I am writing about agape love. Agape is used to describe the love that is of and from God, whose very nature is love itself: “God is love” The type of love that characterizes God is not a sappy, sentimental feeling such as we often hear portrayed. God loves because that is His nature and the expression of His being. He loves the unlovable and the unlovely, not because we deserve to be loved or because of any excellence we possess, but because it is His nature to love and He must be true to His nature.
I believe it takes more energy to hate people then it does to love people, and of course, it is easier to love those who love you back; it is tough to love those who treat you mean for no reason at all when they have never taken the time to befriend you. I even struggle with this, as Michelle Obama says: “when they go low, you go high.” We are all work in progress, but we must strive to love the unlovable and sometimes reach out of our comfort zones and smile at someone and speak to someone and on occasion get to know someone who has pre-judged you. Sometimes we must remember it is nothing we have done directly to them; it could be a person’s experience, where they displace their hate or dislike on you. Everyone was not raised the same way; not everyone comes from a home where love was flourished upon them. Many people have not gone to a place a worship, where the love of God is taught and preach. We must not take everything we experience personally it is not a reflection of you. Continue to show forth the love of God because the word of God lets us know that the greatest gift is love and God is love. God Bless.
“For the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10b (NIV)
One thing I enjoy about my relationship with Christ, I do not stay in a sad place for long. I have even been able to laugh at situations that should have brought about tears. There have been times where a good cry was cathartic, but I did not have a dark cloud of despair lingering over my head for an extended period. There will always be good days and bad days; there will be times when life brings about so much excitement and moments in life when we will say to ourselves when will this nightmare be over. In church, we sing a song that reflects that our joy does not come from things of the world. Therefore, the world cannot take our joy away. If you turn on the news, there are so many people who are in despair, feelings of hopelessness and sadness. I am encouraged by my faith in God that trouble does not last always and because of my relationship I have victory in all situations that I might go through in life, because sometimes what is meant for evil turns out to be for good when you have a relationship with Christ. The Bible tells us to 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.
In the book of Nehemiah, the people of God were upset because they were far from obeying Gods laws. Ezra, who was the official religious leader, told them because the day was holy, they should be joyful; celebrate and share their food with those who were in need; this is pleasing to God. Sometimes taking your mind off your situation and focusing on sharing and caring for someone else can bring about great joy. I can remember having a productive day as a Registered Nurse in a critical care situation, and when the shift was over, I felt so joyful I walked to my car on clouds with joy in my heart and a smile on my face that I could bring some comfort and care to someone who was in a vulnerable situation. The joy of the Lord is powerful, and this is one reason out of many I encourage you to develop your relationship with Christ. God Bless.