Monthly Archives: June 2015

Overcoming Loneliness and Isolation

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I was made a servant of the gospel by God’s special gift, which He gave me through the working of His power. Ephesian 3:7

The above verse is commentary from Apostle Paul, mentioning his implantation in God’s kingdom as a disciple of the most high. Paul says in the aforementioned verse, I was “ made a servant” of the gospel of Jesus Christ, not that he went in his own volition or was a follower of Jesus. Quite the opposite! Many who are familiar with Paul’s story knows that before his conversion from Saul, he was a diabolical opponent of Jesus’ teachings and followers of Christ. Paul persecuted and killed those who followed Christ and deemed to eradicate the movement of the gospel. It was on the road to Damascus that Jesus appeared to Paul and reprimanded him for persecuting him, closed his eyes of darkness and thus gave him the gift to see (Acts 9:4-15).

So what does this so called “gift” have to do with loneliness and isolation? In Ephesians 4:7, Paul says that each one of us has received a special gift in proportion to what Christ has given. You see beloved, God didn’t just strike Paul blind, I believe the blindness was a metaphor for Paul’s spiritual darkness. Paul thought he was doing a noble, lawful thing by persecuting followers of Christ. He thought he was preserving the current religious laws of the land. God shut paul’s eyes to show him the evil, wicked, and immoral life he was living through pride, self-righteousness, and murder. And God, through Ananias, revealed to Paul that the only way His eyes could be truly opened to the spirit realm and receive true sight is to be touched by God! (Acts 9:12). Even Ananias pleaded with the Lord that this man was too wicked and evil! But I love how the Lord says in Acts 9:15, “Go your way, for he is my chosen vessel to bear my name before nations and kings, and the children of Israel.

Beloved, God chose Paul as his disciple, opened his eyes to a deeper understanding of the things of God that most Christ followers at that time couldn’t comprehend, and gave him many spiritual gifts. One being a gift of deliverance (or exorcism), when he cast out a spirit of divination in a girl in the village whom merchants were using for profit. (Acts 16:18). But the irony is that with these spiritual gifts will come loneliness and isolation! Even on Paul’s spiritual journey there were moments of loneliness and isolation. Recall when Mark deserted Paul and Barnabas when they were spreading the gospel in Pamphylia, which later caused contention between Paul and his cohort Barnabas and they too would eventually part ways.

Ephesians 4:11

It was He who gave gifts to mankind; he appointed some to be pastors and teachers. (12) He did this to prepare all God’s people for the work of Christian service, in order to build up the body of Christ. (GNB).

How many of you God has given a gift and you denied it because of  your own personal dreams, goals, or worldly ambitions. Or, how many of you have denied His gift because you feel like you aren’t qualified to represent God like Paul, or do not have your life together. But does not God say in 1 Corinthians 1:27, that He uses things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful (NLT). More, some even deny the gift because of concern with pleasing spouse or family. 1 Corinthians 7:33 says, a married man concerns himself with worldly matters, because he wants to please his wife; and he is pulled in two directions. And more — this part many women do not want to hear: 1 Corinthians 7:34, says an unmarried woman or a virgin concerns herself with the Lord’s work, because she wants to be dedicated both body and spirit. There are so many woman who are depressed and feel alone because they want to get married and feel like God does not favor them because He has not given them a husband. I speak to many of these women and a common consensus, I find, is a lack of Biblical study, or even spending time with the Lord. Many, men and women, do not spend intimate personal time with Christ to learn His heart, His leading, His direction for finding a mate. They have a void within themselves, an emptiness that they think only a man or woman can fill when Jesus is already waiting at the altar; He already fell in love with you, but you’re trying to fill that love outside of Him! I wonder if women and men would concern themselves with the Lord’s work and be dedicated to Him in body and spirit first, how many would attract mates who are drawn to them because of their worship of Christ – because they are operating in their gift! Amen!

More, I find that the people God does truly call or give a spiritual gift, often do not want to go! It’s the ones that God does not call that are the ones that are happy to let you know with titles of a Dr., prophet, prophetess, a preacher a pastor etc. before their names. Sadly, some go to push their own agenda, or propaganda. But those that are truly called to proclaim the gospel, there can be, in the beginning, an inward struggle. It takes a letting go of the person’s plans, goals and ambitions; laying down of their life to follow Christ. Beloved that is not an easy task! The Bible says in 2 Timothy 3:12, that everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted! Who in their natural mind would want to sign up to be persecuted? That’s why it is a struggle for some! Beloved, the spirits that operate in this world are wicked and evil, you are going to be persecuted anyway, so why not for Christ? The devil will only give you temporary satisfaction. The devil makes deals. Whatever he gives you he wants to collect something else  for it in return!

Romans 11:29 says,

For the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable!

Amen! That means that when God gives it to you, He expects nothing in return! The “gifts” of God are irrevocable! Many people want to be in control of their own lives and the lives of others, so they turn to dealing in the occult to get gifts from the devil. You best believe whatever satan gives you he wants a return on his investment! Why do you think you read about so many people involved in these types of practices who commit suicide or murder, or perform other bizarre behaviors that are incomprehensible? Beloved, there is a spiritual realm and it is real! Granted, when a person submits to God’s call, as 2 Timothy 3:12 says, will suffer persecution because the devil will do everything he can to stop the Gospel of Jesus Christ; that will involve times of loneliness, rejection and isolation. Some people will simply think you have become too religious, some will now feel uncomfortable around you; feeling like they can no longer do things around you that they used to do in fear of judgement, and other times God will allow periods of being alone to teach you how to hear His voice; to teach you how to love Him, and to perfect your gifts.

Beloved, that’s why we must constantly do our part and work on our personal relationship with Christ. Work on learning His heart, what pleases Him, and learning His ways. If not, we will turn inward and blame Christ and develop and angry attitude towards Him simply because we don’t understand with our limited thinking. We will begin to blame God for our mishaps when the enemy is simply the devil, and not God!

As people called in Christ, God has given us a gift. In Ephesians 3:3, Paul says that God revealed to him the “Secret plan.” I love that verse because those die-hard followers of Christ know this secret! No matter how much they are persecuted by satan and his cohorts, they keep fighting because God has opened their eyes in the spirit realm. Like gifts, anyone can obtain the secret but some are too busy with the world’s system: money, recognition, power, wealth. More, some are just too busy with the ordinary day-to-day goings on of life to get His secrets or gifts to defeat the enemies in their lives! It has to be a strong desire to live holy and righteous and to want to know the truth of God to really receive this gift. Paul says in Ephesians 3:5, that God has revealed this secret by the spirit to His Holy apostles and prophets. Sadly, some people in church don’t have the gifts, though they sit Sunday after Sunday in their designated church pews only socializing with their inner church circles, while new converts are often isolated and lost in a new environment to eventually stop attending church altogether. Some are even so concerned about recognition within the church that they neglect their own family’s needs and do not even call or check on sick family members or neighbors in their neighborhood outside of their church, outside of their church ministry or without receiving recognition. Sadly, these have not yet received the gift! I say yet because beloved, I have been on both sides of the fence. I am so thankful to God that He has lifted the veil, and opened my eyes like Paul, and it is only because of deep prayer, and wanting God’s heart that He gave me true vision!

It is truly a gift to be sensitive to others’ needs. You never know what people are going through or if one day they may decide to take their lives because they feel like no one cares. Even if people may slight our greetings or invitations we must put our own feelings aside and not let a spirit of rejection enter our hearts and become embittered or angry. We must keep reaching out to God’s people, despite rejection. And this I will tell you takes much patience and diligent prayer. Somehow, we have turned into a me me generation. What are people doing for me, or how can this benefit me. I will be the first to vouch for this because I was this way for years. But what I had noticed was it was a generational curse passed down my lineage. It was a spirit of pride operating in my family and I was determined to break the cycle!

Moreover, sometimes God will allow loneliness and isolation so you have no other choice but to go to Him; so you have no choice but to cry out to Him! When God is ready to elevate you to the next level in your spiritual growth, He will remove the cushion of family, friends, and sometimes church members! It will seem like in the physical everyone is acting up or abandoning you, but in the spirit God is pulling up the weeds, planting new soil, killing the infestation of dead religion! — creating new fruit in you! A servant that is going to be used by God must first learn how to serve. Nowadays, everyone wants their 15 minutes of fame, everyone wants to be in the spotlight without first learning humility; how to cater to their brothers and sisters’ needs first. Sadly, with the resources of social media, I believe it is exacerbating selfishness, self-marketing and self-promotion. As humans we are so driven by our ego and the constant need of validation, recognition to prove ourselves, our worth or talent. Hard we may try, we still fall victim to the world’s propaganda and ideologies, when God calls us to be the exact opposite: to validate others, build up others’ self-esteem; help others to recognize their gifts and help nurture it! We look at shepherds as leading the flock, but in essence shepherds serve their flock: nurturing, caring for, and feeding each and everyone.

If you are to be a shepherd for Christ, you must grasp this lesson. Get it! Ingrain it! If we are to be used of Christ, we must put ourselves aside; our egos, and serve God’s people! I’m not just talking about in church, but in everyday life. Serve your family first: call your family, check in with them if you haven’t heard from them in a while – not text or email, but be a compassionate voice on the other end of the line. Serve at your job by being a listening ear to a despondent co-worker. Serve a person on the bus by giving up your seat, and showing the love and generosity of Christ. Serve your neighbors by introducing yourself, and letting them know you are available should they ever need anything. Beloved, that’s showing the heart of God and using your gifts! Serve from a place of humility, lowliness, not self-validation, recognition; putting others before ourselves, their needs, wants – most, putting God’s love before our own need for love. It was once said, “whatever you need, give it away.” Beloved, that’s how you truly overcome loneliness and isolation. Give yours away! It’s hard, I know because we all want to feel loved and needed, but for some of us, God has made us self-sustainers and has given us his self-sustaining love that we grasp stronger than most. These that understand this love in a deeper more profound way, He calls to spread that love to others who feel lonely and unloved; those who are weaker in the faith.

The problem is we began to get jealous of God’s love for others and turn inward and ask, “what about me, Lord?” When God has equipped us with all the love we will ever need in Him! We just have to learn how to tap into it!

So today I look at my Christian walk through new eyes, a new perspective. God calls us to go out and feed His sheep, only then will we cure our own loneliness!

-Puah Neiel

A prayer for those called in Christ!

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Lord, help me be the person you want me to be. Lord, help me to know that I have a purpose divinely ordered by You! Do not let me succumb to peer pressure or what other’s think of me! Give me boldness and confidence to stand on truth, morality, righteousness and most importantly God!

Take away the need to please people! Help me to know that your voice speaks through me and has spoken through those before me and will speak through generations to come to keep the fire burning for Jesus Christ! 

Many are called, but few are chosen! Help me to continue to walk the straight and narrow path because many are distractions along the way; wide is the gate that leads to destruction. 

Amen! 

1 Thessalonians 2:4

We always speak as God wants us to, because He has judged us worthy to be entrusted with the Good News. We do not try to please men, but to please God, who tests our motives. (GNB)

My Fair Lady In London

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My Fair Lady In London

I’ll admit, upon making plans to go to London, I didn’t know what to expect of the city, or the people for that matter. I wondered would they be stiff-necked, haughty, curt, or snobby towards Americans. But after meeting up with old and new friends, those suspicions were quickly put to rest! My friends made sure we had everything we needed, took us around town and would not let us pay for anything! We were indeed treated like one of their own. Often pleasantly saluted as Madame, I felt like royalty, high-society; like a queen!

In retrospect, this seemed to be the theme from the very beginning of the trip, having been upgraded to first class and pampered thoroughly throughout our 6 hour Delta Airlines flight. The attendants were very gracious and above outstanding! It was as if God were saying, I got you! It was one of those times in life when it feels like Heaven’s window opens up and favor pours down on you! Sometimes life can be difficult, so when you are blessed unexpectedly you appreciate it all the more! So, I humbly sat on my throne and allowed myself to be pampered like the queen I am!

I love London! It is meticiously clean, picturesque, and quite idyllic! The backdrop is a mixture of 17th century Georgian architecture and 21st century cosmopolitan flair; with its Stucco art work, cobblestone streets, antiquated cab cars to its diversity, hip coffee houses, and high-end stores that line Oxford Street. The people are very stylish in more of a modern, romantic way. The women dress very feminine, while some gents remind me of old Hollywood: dapper with suit, tie and brimmed hats. The culture as a whole however, is a melange of old class meets new contemporary.

Another queen was also in town: Alexander McQueen! The exhibition, Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty at the Victoria and Albert Museum, archives McQueen’s 18 year contribution to fashion. The exhibit showcased in New York at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2011 to rave reviews, but I wasn’t able to see it then. It was rumored McQueen was an atheist, I wanted to see the exhibit to really delve the person behind the art. I love studying and examining humanity, researching the history of and delving the soul behind the exterior; how did one become the person he or she is, is very intriguing to me. I had seen some of McQueen’s fashion, but not in its entirety. McQueen’s work is a mash up of period pieces, avant-garde, couture, patriotism and goth. McQueen is of Scottish descent, but was born in London. He often used his art as a political platform; with collections aptly titled Highland Rape (autumn/winter 1995–96) and Widows of Culloden (autumn/winter 2006–07). Both explore Scotland’s turbulent political history. Highland Rape was based on the 18th century Jacobite Risings and the 19th century Highland Clearances. It was the first collection to introduce McQueen tartan, which are designs that pay homage to his native Scotland. The dichotomy of light and dark in his work is surprising at best; designs ranging from skulls and bones, to his juxtaposition of religious imagery. What I do love about McQueen is that his work is a very honest representation of humanity as it explores the duality of the frail human soul. He said it best when he said: “I oscillate between life and death, happiness and sadness, good and evil.” I am most attracted to his feminine designs, particularly his period pieces; capturing a time when women’s fashion was most elegant, feminine, and dainty; with cinched waists and chiffon skirts. I also like his dried flower dresses, and androgynous tailored pieces. I am not a fan of McQueen’s darker side of his work: head masks, goth designs, leather and chains. I admit, it is a bit much for me being a Christian.

“People find my things sometimes aggressive. But I don’t see it as aggressive. I see it as romantic, dealing with a dark side of personality.”

—Alexander McQueen

Nonetheless, I really admire McQueen’s artistry: from the cut of his designs to his over-the-top runway shows to his extreme range as a designer. The conflicted human nature that we all struggle with within ourselves, tells its story of the precarious dance between light and darkness through his work. McQueen was a dark soul, I’ve come to learn, through seeing the extent of his body of work at the exhibition. It’s quite intriguing that a mind can conceive such feminine and elegant pieces such as those designed for Princess Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, then go to the opposite extreme with very dark, torture chamber, insane asylum designs as those that were on display at the exhibit. There was a war raging in him between good and evil; and sadly evil won when McQueen took his own life in 2010. To be highly esteemed in his career, an indomitable artist, and an icon in the fashion community–McQueen won 4 British designer of the year awards and international designer of the year award 2003–and to end his life is such a travesty. The mind can’t logically understand it, but the spirit realm can: it takes no prisoners! Either you’re on God’s side or on the side of darkness; you can’t serve both! Beloved that’s why I write this blog to emphasize having a personal relationship with God and putting Him first in your life. You can attain fame, fortune, and material things, but without God it is meaningless. The human soul was created to serve God. Period. He is the only thing that will satisfy the lustful cravings of the flesh. But humans go from one pursuit to another trying to fill a void in their soul that only God can.

In continuation, no royalty goes about their day without proper tea time! I always knew there was an inner Brit in me, I love my tea time and High Tea at The Wallace Collection Museum was just what I needed after an early start! My childhood imaginary friends and tea time dates came to life as I sat at a table with friends; each with individual tea pots, enjoying crumpets at early noon! The Wallace Collection Museum is a five-star museum, that also houses a restaurant with reservation seating.

More, we visited River Thames, the Serpentine River and Gallery, Princess Diana’s memorial site, Hyde Park; which is considered one of London’s Royal Parks, the City of Westminster, South Kensington and the Victoria area. And, quite fitting for a queen, we visited Buckingham Palace. We didn’t go in, as we were told it wasn’t open for visiting this time of year, but I admired its royalty from afar! I love London’s architecture, it has an old Europe feel. The Georgian buildings derive from the Georgian era when the buildings of that period were named after specific kings who reigned at the time: George I, George II, George, III, and George IV. The Prince Albert Monument has quite an astonishing view; with its high pointed structure and gold statues. Its grandeur is reminiscent of a mini castle! Prince Albert married Queen Victoria, his first cousin, in 1840 and was a staunch proponent of the abolition of slavery. The Victorian era is a period that derived from Queen Victoria’s namesake during her reign from 1837-1901.

Later in the evening we strolled down to Chelsea and Soho, which are parts of town that are synonymous in New York and London. London’s Soho is a replica of New York’s Times Square with its high energy, bright lights, tourists, restaurants and bars, and souvenir stores like Hershey’s M&M’s store.

Continuing, a trip to the UK without church or London theater would not be proper would it! We attended Sunday services at the beautifully Byzantine designed Westminster Cathedral. Its breathtaking architecture was replete with Jesus fixtures, stunning religious artwork, and literature of the church’s long history in the UK. Although I was not born when the Beatles were at their peak, I got to live vicariously through the live stage version of Let It Be at the Garrett theatre. I admit, I am a reformed hippie, and just vibing along with “all we need is love, let it be, come together, imagine, and I wanna hold your hand,” was just the antidote I needed to go back out into the world and spread peace and love!

I also learned some of the King’s speech while I was there! The Brit’s call their underground subway the tube; in which a lovely British speaker reminds you to: mind the gap, before stepping onto or off a train. Their elevator is called a lift. And men are informally referred to as Blokes.

In conclusion, I really like London! The city is very cosmopolitan, it’s easy to get around on foot without having to pay for cabs, and the people are very welcoming and friendly; each time we asked for directions, strangers were more than gracious in helping us. This queen will definitely be going back to London to hob nob among royalty!

Check back soon… pics to come!

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