God is the Resolution

As a new year is beckoning us one can’t help but ponder the challenges, obstacles, twisting and winding roads that have met us. Some are still paralyzed perhaps, by this past year’s events. Maybe you have experienced a personal loss; whether it was the loss of a loved one, career, home or quite simply…hope. You may be tempted to carry into the new year the burdens of yesterday; a quite heavy load that oft times seem impossible to carry. Sometimes even wondering where was God through those sleepless nights and unbearable days.

According to Matthew 28:20 God says “…Lo I am with you always.” He was right there by your side! So I ask you, my brothers and sisters to perhaps think about your situations from a different perspective. Was there a common theme related to the pain, struggle, and hardship you endured this past year? Perhaps there was an area in your life God needed to bring to your attention. Maybe God allowed it to prune, refine, and complete you.

The theme that was a constant challenge in my life this past year was in the area of relationships. It seemed like I was being attacked on every side and in every aspect of my relationships; whether personal, family, or professional. After tirelessly, and frustratingly trying to work things out in my own strength I was humbled to my knees in prayer. God began to show me things about myself that I had not submitted to His will. In each relationship God used the other person to show me a mirror reflection of myself! The traits that I often had problems with in others were some of the same traits God was trying to perfect in me. Wow! And, on the other hand, I also struggled with character traits in others that were the extreme opposite of mine! Nonetheless, I could see how God allowed those situations to make me aware of my own behavior. When I realized the things that I was doing out of habit, stubbornness, or selfishness it was truly a wake up call! It wasn’t comfortable going through that season but I’m glad that I did! I learned a lot from those experiences and am very thankful God showed me what was in my own heart!

So I now ask you to revisit your trials and tests from the previous year. Now that you are looking at them through spiritual glasses, were there trying areas in your life where maybe God was building your character or maturing you spiritually? Spiritual growth often comes in the form of pain. It’s in those tough times that you learn how to depend on God. You strengthen your faith muscle when God delivers you out of trial after trial! Hallelujah! That’s how you get your spiritual wings and begin to fly! The more trials overcome, the closer you are to being free. Let’s go into the new year soaring!

~HaPpy NeW YeAr!

Prayer: Your Spiritual Sword

The fighting is intense. Warfare is heavy on both sides. In the midst of battle you gaze around only to see your allies succumbing to their injuries. The enemy is relentless, taking no prisoners. You struggle to maintain your defense as your adversary encroaches your territory. Suddenly you are standing face to face with your foe. You study each other meticulously, your eyes are intently gazed on your opponent; you wait for a slight move to go in for the kill. Methodically, you reach down to pull out your sword. Your hand settles upon an empty holster and you realize it’s not there, in panic you struggle to find a displaced weapon. The enemy, seeing your vulnerability smirks at your unpreparedness and pushes his dagger through your heart, rendering you spiritually dead.

Though the aforementioned seems to tell of a gruesome scene from a Hollywood movie, unfortunately it is the fate we suffer when we don’t arm ourselves with prayer. The devil rages a formidable battle against us when we don’t go to God and allow Him to defend us against the pestilence that walks in darkness. 1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour.” As Christians, prayer is our weapon of artillery against the powers of darkness. In Romans 8:36, Paul admonishes, “…For your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Beloved, when we don’t spend the necessary time in prayer, we are blindly walking into defeat, persecution, and spiritual attacks unequipped.

There is a war raging around us everyday in the spirit realm and we must go to the battlefield suited up. Ephesians 6:11-18 tells us to, “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.”

Furthermore, when we accepted Jesus Christ as our savior, we entered into a covenant relationship with Him. A relationship requires effective communication from both parties in order to grow and become a successful, healthy union. A relationship with God can be thought of as a relationship with a spouse or significant other. When you are in love, you are concerned about the welfare of the person, you think about them every minute. You want to talk to them everyday and can’t wait to see them. Our relationship with Christ should be the same way. We say we love God, but yet most Christians go days, weeks some even months without humbling themselves on their knees and reverencing God as the Lord of their life. God desires to commune with us; He desires us to come to him with our cares, concerns and the matters of our heart. Unfortunately, many Christians neglect this most important part of their Christian walk, delegating it only to a tragedy or personal loss. Many flock to church Sunday after Sunday awaiting a word regarding God’s direction for their lives. They then return back to the monotony of a prayer less, defeated life, acceding to attacks, torment, and mental bondage. While God does speak through pastors, He desires a personal relationship with us. The only way you will ever know God’s will and desire for your life is to get to know him intimately. How do you do that? Pray. We must get into the habit of praying daily, disciplining ourselves to set a time everyday to communicate with God. Beloved, if we are to be victorious as Christians we have to get our prayer life in order. If we are to conquer the demons of depression, stress, anxiety and worry we must take a stand this day and commit to prayer. It is a sacrifice. Many have families, children, work, and/or school responsibilities that may impede their time. It will require diligence in getting up earlier or staying up later to pray; it’s ideal to wake up early in the morning before everyone awakes or late at night while everyone is sleeping so there will be no interruption. More so, other areas of your lives may have to be compromised i.e. sleeping less, or less time at the gym, or hanging out with friends. In my personal experience when I seek the Lord before I start my day, I am able to handle stressful situations more readily, I’m not as easily agitated, and there’s a lasting peace that resides in my soul when I come out of the prayer closet. It’s only a joy that God can give you! On the contrary when I don’t cover my day with prayer I’m easily agitated, feel exposed, and quite simply, just don’t have the same measure of contentment. Communing with God in the morning is the best time to pray because it sets the tone for the day.

As Christians it should be our desire to want to know the heart of God and to be able to discern His voice when He speaks to us. Beloved, if we are to train our ear to become sensitive to the Holy Spirit, we must establish a consistent prayer life.

Moreover, when you pray you are standing in proxy for your sisters and brothers around the world. This is not only our personal battle; it’s a Holy war! When we pray we are stopping the hand of murder, violence, war, preventing an unforeseen accident, sending aide to the less fortunate, and saving the lives of our brethren that are being persecuted for the Gospel’s sake. I implore you, pick up your sword, bend your knee and let’s get ready to battle!

By Puja Nagual

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