If you don’t know who you are the devil will steal your identity! 

When we think of temptation we may relate to the anecdote of satan, a physical presence in the form of a snake, tempting Eve to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden. Eve is enticed and tempted by the captivating fruit that she desires, but in which God told her was forbidden.

I want to talk to you today about a not so obvious temptation; one that is hidden but its bite is as viscous as a snake’s. It’s very subtle, often times catching you off guard and causing you to act out of character.What I’m talking about is emotional temptation. It’s a type of temptation that the devil uses to break your peace. It is when he assigns demons, thru people, to harass and entice you to react negatively or cause you to lose control.

Satan knows your weaknesses. Most temptations are physical: lust, adultery, stealing, alcohol, drugs. e.t.c. But what I’m speaking about in this text are inward temptations: fear, doubt, anger, rage, vanity — to name a few. Temptation that deals with your emotions. Satan often sends his messengers through people to break your confidence, question your looks or abilities, aggravate you, get you flustered and frustrated; which causes you to deflect. By theory you’re a nice person but you have been so severely tormented and harassed by satan’s tempters, it causes you to forget who you are. It causes you to forget your inner beauty, good manners, compassion and dignity.

Some of you don’t even know who you are anymore. You’ve been hijacked by the devil! You used to be loving, kind, and gentle, but because of the circumstances of this life, you’ve turned inward: feeling victimized, feeling sorry for yourself, and letting bitterness take hold, in which you then give back to the world.

If you don’t know who you are the devil will steal your identity! Emotional temptation by the enemy causes you to momentarily be used by the devil by losing your temper, retaliating, and seeking vengeance. After the damage has been done the end result is embarrassment and degradation, then satan leaves just as quickly as he came and you’re left wondering what just happened. You were a pawn to do satan’s work. If you are not wise you will fall into his trap every time, causing destruction upon yourself. If this is your weakness you must be very mindful and prayerful regarding this area of your spiritual walk. Ask God to give you discernment and give you wisdom every time you’re provoked emotionally, not to let satan use you.

Beloved, we have to use common sense as well. If it doesn’t look right, sound right or true, if it doesn’t feel right, it’s sent from the enemy! Walk away! Or if you are in an environment where you can’t walk away, remain silent or try to ignore the offense. Resist the urge to respond, argue, fight. If God leads you to speak on the situation, do so tactfully and kindly then leave the rest to God. Resist the urge to retaliate or seek vengeance. Vengeance is the Lord’s.

Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. Romans 12:19

He will take care of the person. You may feel violated, taken advantage of or victimized. Resist the urge to defend yourself from emotional temptation, otherwise you’re walking into the fire. It will take disciplining and training yourself in order to not be provoked by condemning or confronting situations.

Through subjective life experiences, you have learned to respond to situations a certain way; whether good or bad. Pray that God breaks the bad habits. Further develop your good habits.

Signs you’re dealing with emotional temptation:

-Easily agitated

-Defensive

-Always angry, upset

-Holding a grudge

-Closed off from people

-Withholding love

-Used to give freely now holding back

Ask God to remind you who you are, then ask Him to remind you of your first love: Him! If you don’t have a personal relationship with God ask Him to show you how to love like Him; if you do, ask God to help you fall in love with Him again, only then can you love people despite the devil working through them. We must be reminded how the Bible says we should love:

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NIV)

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

Print this out! Hang it on your mirror, refrigerator, dresser. Get these verses into your spirit, Beloved. Live it, don’t just simply read it! Only then will you be able to look contempt in its face, walk away with peace in your heart and let God fight your battles.

-Puah Neiel

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A FORK IN THE ROAD

A Parable…

Two men were headed down a road. The first man, his road was rocky, dusty, hilly and the landscape was barren. Unsure that he was traveling on the proper road, he periodically checked his road map and sure enough he was always on the right road. The days were long and cold. He was often famished and went days without food until he found a rest stop along the way. Whenever fear encroached his mind, he screamed out in despair, ‘this journey is too long and difficult, I can’t make it!’ As he wept, thoughts of his long awaited love comforted his mind. That was the strength that kept him going.

The second man, his road was paved with a white line to follow, for he did not have his directions. He was told that he was supposed to travel a straight and narrow road. Along this man’s journey he was upbeat and optimistic that he would arrive at his appointed time. He even whistled while he walked. Along the way, kind hearted strangers stopped alongside the road and gave him food to eat and water to drink. But like the first man, there were long stretches of time when he didn’t have any food to eat. This was grueling for the second man, for he loved to eat! Nonetheless, the second man kept on his journey. It seemed as if the miles were getting longer and longer. The second man had walked so much he had worn holes in his shoes. He began to complain, ‘surely there must be a better way, this journey is too difficult to travel.‘ Nonetheless, he continued on. As day turned into night, the temperature dropped to below freezing. The man tried to sleep under a tree that he saw along the desolate highway but he could not rest because he was shivering uncontrollably. Out of anger, he cursed the road! He cursed the weather! He cursed his shoes for failing him! He even cursed God! He exclaimed that he was going to make it no matter what! He endured that bitter cold night and was back walking on the road early the next morning. The second man walked and walked.

Both men came to a fork in the road on their respective journeys. There were two signs posted.

One sign read:

The terrain on this road will get rockier, there will be hills on this road and there will be stretches of darkness and bitter cold weather. But rest assured, you will reach your destination sooner and arrive at a most beautiful and peaceful place! 

The second sign read: 

This road will take you a round about way to your destination. It avoids the pitfalls of the first road. This road is safer to travel than the first road. This road will eventually expand into a wider more comfortable road, with smoother terrain to walk on and it has beautiful idyllic scenery. However, traveler beware: YOU ARE TRAVELING AT YOUR OWN RISK!

The first man was given specific directions on which way to go, he did not want to get lost so he chose the first road, though he feared what was to come ahead. 

The second man was given the exact same directions. As he reached the fork in the road, he was exhausted and panting for breath. Looking up, he stood paralyzed contemplating the signs. This journey was long-g-g. He was famished, tired and exhausted. After much thought, he decided to take the easier road. Though it may take longer to get to his destination, he surmised he had walked long enough already and needed a break. He decided to take this road to ease his pain, heartache, setbacks and despair. It was going to take longer to arrive at his destination, but he was excited about the beautiful description of the roads’ idyllic scenery and eagerly awaited when he would be able to smell fresh flowers, see green flourishing trees and drink fresh water from glistening springs. So the second road he chose.

The first man started down his road of seeming despair. The second man sprinted down his road with ease. The first man had indeed experienced all that the sign read. With cries, tears, restless nights and dark days, somehow he managed to continue on. For he knew that his Beloved was with him in Spirit. In his mind’s eye he envisioned seeing his lovely GRACE.

The second man, on his journey down the road, was so in awe of the ambiance and beautiful landscape. He stopped many times to pick flowers, eat of the earth’s fruit and bathe in its waters. He enjoyed this road so much that as it got broader and broader; as the sign dictated, he got lost along the way. That was ok for him because he could not believe how beautiful the path was that he had taken and often congratulated himself for choosing the right road. He excitedly proclaimed, ‘I could walk along this road forever!’ forgetting the promise that he had made to the Love of his life. He was enamored with what he saw, what came to him freely and because of the ease and comfortability on this road, he felt as if he could live here forever. The more he walked, the more he lost track of time. He was in a different world and he ate of its fruit. He picked berries off trees, he feasted on wild mushrooms, he ate sap from the maple tree. ‘This is heaven,’ so he thought. As he trotted on, he began to notice that things were subtly changing; more and more down the road, dramatically changing. The grass began to wither, the flowers began to die, the birds were no more chirping. The beautiful sun shifted to the dark of night. He knew he had gotten lost but he did not think that he was that lost. ‘I’ll find my way back on that beautiful road,’ he said to himself. He had been walking for days and days. A chill would shiver his bones and the night would blind his eyes. He began to worry that he may never find that road again and more so, frightened that he was too far away from reaching his destination. But he kept reiterating to himself that he had plenty of time and had strong confidence in HIMSELF.

As he furthered along, vicious, growling wolves leaped out from behind a set of bushes! The second man was terrified that he would be their next meal. Fearing for his life, he ran as fast as he could in sheer terror. He found a tree and climbed it as the wolves blindly ran by. Further along as he was walking, he fell into a shallow covered hole in the ground. Struggling to free himself, he grabbed hold of a broken tree branch and pulled himself out. As he sat there, blood drawn scratches burning his body and covered in mud, he cried. ‘If only I could have chosen the first road surely I would have reached my destination by now!’ The man begrudgingly got up and continued on his journey. Nearing a wooded area, he was chased by a bear! The bear clawing him almost in two, he wrestled with the bear and miraculously escaped from its grip. Now he was bloody, bruised, scratched up, muddy, and fighting for his life! His strength was faint. He realized he was not as strong, smart, and wise as he first thought. He realized he was in a living HELL!

The road was so beautiful in the beginning he thought, so sound, so pristine. ‘I have been deceived!’ he screamed, ‘Now I’m never going to get out of here!’ As he continued down a side road, he finally reached a sign. ‘Thank God!’ He excitedly yelled! The sign read: No Man’s Land. The second man’s excitement quickly turned into despair. Head hung low, the second man continued walking throughout eternity.

By Puja Nagual

Beloved, this parable was written to warn you of all the trappings of this world: success, fame, money, recognition and power. While it’s not wrong to want to be accomplished in life, one must not allow these things to become idols. The world will entice you with its beauty, extravagance, jewels and excess, but if you do not realize that you were born to serve God you will be greatly misguided in life.

Our souls desire God; our flesh craves the world. It’s when we replace God’s love with things, people, status that we get lost on life’s journey. If you choose to take the first road it will undoubtably be excruciating, painful and hard. You will cry a lot, you will face doubt, fear, anger, even rage but you must keep going; for there is a great reward at the end! The man that chose the second road only had confidence in himself and his own abilities. How many of us are like that? He felt that he did not need God or guidance for that matter, and thought that he could make it through life on his own. He started off well, but all that he had accomplished was taken away from him. That second man was worse off than when he first started.

I Admonish you, serve Christ first then all these things will be added to you; there will be peace that comes along with your blessings that no enemy can take away from you. I love you and God bless you all!

This parable is dedicated to my dear friend and future minister in Christ, Sierra Shields. For she wholeheartedly chose to walk the first road. 

New Year 2016 Prophecy Part 2

In continuation from the last post, I would like to futher explore what I feel God is speaking to singles this year; as well as those that are separated from a spouse or those who feel isolated within a marriage. 

I am a girl’s girl! I love having friendships and bonding with my fellow sisters. I love that women can come together in times of need to edify, encourage, and uplift one another. I love that my friends and I don’t take for granted the need to bond and break bread together. Oftentimes when we come together we cry, laugh, and share anecdotes of embarrassing moments, mistakes, regrets, courting and of course men! It is out of some of these very intimate conversations that I feel led to write on the subject regarding singles. While this post isn’t entirely for women, there are many men that may identify with and learn from this text. 

It seems as if dating and sex are the elephants in the room at many churches. There, I said it! Often there are ministries devoted to couples, single moms, youth, seniors, even prison ministries but a consensus that I find that is often lacking in many churches is a ministry devoted strictly to middle aged singles. Yes, there are some churches with singles’ ministries but sadly many of them are simply singles’ retreats that don’t address the underlying issues many single people face: dating, lust, and sex! 

Many singles are struggling in this area and sadly are resorting to fornication, pornography, lust, and masturbation while singing in the choir, ushering, and working in ministry because they feel their specific concerns aren’t being met corporately within the church. This is the most common area where many women secretly confide in me for answers. One woman told me she had been single for years and was simply tired of waiting on God! Sadly, she started a sexual relationship with a young man and it ended horribly. Beloved, God knows best! Wait on His timing! It seems as if this subject is taboo in church, which should not be. If there are any clergy reading this post, I admonish you in your prayer time to ask God how to incorporate a singles’ ministry into your church or if there is a singles’ ministry, ask God how to get to know the needs and concerns of its members and restructure a plan to meet their needs.  

First off, let me start by saying, according to the Bible, I believe single people should not have sex until marriage. But because of underlying root problems many singles are forgoing this belief whether because of agnosticism, pop culture, loneliness, peer pressure, or a need to feel loved and accepted. And that is what I would like to address today.

LET’S EXPLORE THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM

Beloved, many singles, even though some sit under sound doctrine at church are fornicating Saturday night but are Holier than thou on Sunday morning. Because of these dalliances babies are born out of wedlock, some are committing adultery, some are contracting STD’s and sadly, some are aborting babies to hide their sin. All for what? Love, loneliness, a need to feel wanted, a feeling of rejection? All of these key factors play an important role in this behavior, but the most important I believe, is rejection! Let’s delve exactly what rejection is and the ramifications caused by it. Rejection is a feeling of unacceptance and exclusion by another party or parties. In the spirit realm, it manifests as a spirit that attaches itself to people and if not recognized and cast out can cause many to live unfulfilled and loveless lives. Some people carry a spirit of rejection because of many different factors:

▪️Rejection in the womb.

Some people were rejected in the womb at birth. Some women who got pregnant didn’t want the child therefore spoke a curse of rejection over their child’s life, either verbally or emotionally. Some women tried to abort a child, but for whatever reason had the child. Some women put their child up for adoption. Many adoptees, even though some have been raised by a loving family, desperately search for birth parents because they still feel unloved and unattached–spirit of rejection. Beloved, rejection in the womb is a spirit projected onto a person from birth that if not cast out will cause a person to go through their whole life, unbeknownst to them, desperately looking for someone to love them.

▪️Rejection as a child.

 Some children were rejected by parents, relatives, or peers and it left an indelible mark on their emotional state. Some people felt rejected by their parents because the parents perhaps worked more on their jobs than spending time with them. Some people, their parents were in the home but only talked to them when scolding or beating them; or their presence was in the home physically but not emotionally–they didn’t communicate with the child.  These parents never told their kids they loved them or showed them any type of affection. In continuation, many people were told that they were not good enough, smart enough, pretty enough and that led to very low self-esteem. Some people were called names or teased by relatives or peers because of a birth trait, or physical trait that left them feeling insecure, indifferent or unworthy. Beloved, the spirit behind these hurtful words told them that they were not good enough. Therefore many have spent their lives trying to be accepted, trying to measure up, trying to seek the approval of people who’re often unworthy of them.  

▪️Self rejection

Beloved, many curse themselves with their own mouth because of what they believe about themselves. Because of bullying by peers as mentioned above, some will carry the insulting words in their mind well into adult hood, look into the mirror and pick themselves apart: I’m not pretty enough to get the mate I want, I’m not smart enough, I’m too fat among other self-hating thoughts that people tell themselves daily. Beloved, if you believe these things about yourself you will believe others share this same view about you and it is simply not the truth! There is a spirit of vanity in today’s culture that is causing many to measure themselves up against celebrity standards. Contrarily, some people fall on the opposite side of the spectrum. Rejection has caused some to exhibit a false sense of pride. No man or woman is good enough for them. They may be very attractive and have everything going for them, but this spirit of rejection drives potential suitors away because internally they really don’t accept themselves. It’s a spirit of perfection. How you see you is how others will see you, despite appearance. Beauty comes from within. People gravitate towards a beautiful spirit. Work on yourself internally first. Study what God’s word says about you. Psalms 139. Begin to speak life over yourself, not death. Proverbs 18:21. You have to learn how to accept yourself before anyone else will. Until you rebuke this spirit of rejection and accept yourself, you’ll never attract your divine mate because this spirit of rejection will chase them away. I also advise you to seek out deliverance ministries and allow men of God to lay hands, anoint with oil and pray for you concerning this area.  

▪️Many feel God has rejected them. 

Beloved, I have talked to people who strongly feel that God rejected them because parents abandoned them as children, they lost a loved one or a spouse cheated on, abused them and/or walked out on them. In their minds they think God is their enemy, that He has cursed them, or rejected them. That cannot be further from the truth. In this life we all have our share of heartache and pain, but many internalize theirs with a narrow-minded subjective view. Let this type of thinking go. God loves you and wants the best for you! Recognize who the real enemy is: satan. The Bible says he comes to rob, steal and kill. John 10:10. Some people refuse to believe that satan or a devil exists. He does, and sadly he is destroying many lives, some because of choices made or doors left open to sin, yet God is still getting the blame! Beloved, God gives us free will to choose. Some choose wrongly then blame God. God is speaking restoration this year. Restore your relationship with Him. Let go of the anger and animosity you feel towards God and allow Him to heal you!

GOD LOVES YOU

Beloved this spirit of rejection has destroyed many of lives. The need to be accepted has caused many women to turn to prostitution, the sex industry, drugs, and live lascivious lifestyles all because they have not dealt with the root cause of their problem. As well, men by trying to find love through money, status, wrong relationships and many sexual partners, but to name but a few.

GOD IS RESTORING SINGLES

God wants you to know that you are worthy! He loves you! He wants to restore you in this season. Get behind the root of your behavior; whether it’s low self-worth, loneliness, abandonment, or rejection. Find out why it is you behave the way you do in regards to relationships. When you do I guarantee God will meet you where you are and the healing will begin. You can’t take this word nonchalantly but run with it! Help him heal you to be able to love the way He created you to love: in honesty, purity, truth, and transparently.

After you have dealt with the root of your problem, you have to know what you want, you cannot be double minded. One minute you want to be married the next minute you don’t because of past hurts or fear. Whatever you want, be firm in that position and pray for God to bless you! God says make up your mind then I will bless you! Because of anger, resentment, pain, and past hurts, (some decades old) many people’s relationships have been stunted, wombs have been closed, hopes, dreams have died and weddings have been put on hold. Deal with the root of your problem, only then can God grow holy, pure, beautiful, loving relationships in 2016.

-Puah Neiel

How to understand your purpose

Learn to get in touch with silence within yourself, and know that everything in this life has purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given to us to learn from.— Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

A Prayer life that yields results  

With the current devastating events that occurred in Paris this past week, nearly everyone on social media shared hashtags to #Pray4Paris. I wondered how do I even begin to pray, where do I even start, as my heart was so broken at the loss of so many innocent people, as well as the heartache of my Parisian friends because of this malevolent tragedy. Immediately the movie ‘War Room’ came to mind. I remembered the movie to be an excellent pictorial that speaks to the strength and power of prayer. After viewing it, I was greatly encouraged by it. It taught me how to pray and reminded me to keep pressing in with faith no matter what the circumstances look like!
There were scenes I clearly identified with in the movie that reminded me when I too first started getting serious with God: when the protagonist went into the prayer closet to pray and found herself either falling asleep, eating or becoming distracted. Guilty!

How should you pray?

As a novice Christian there would be times I prepared myself to pray, sat in a room and my mind started wandering, I got bored easily, and lastly, I felt like I did not know how to even start praying. This made me wonder how many others  are going through this dilemma today.

When most people think about prayer, they may think about a scheduled time to talk to God, praying within the confines of their home, a house prayer meeting or prayer night at their local church.

In hindsight I too thought I needed to make time for God on a specific day, at a specific hour or pretty much only when I was going through something.

I would hear pastors, family and friends retort, “pray about it!” when trying times came. I Never quite fully grasped if I were praying correctly, was unsure if my prayers would be answered or was uncertain of how long to pray.

After many years of being a Christian I’ve learned a lot, have grown exponentially, and have learned how to perfect my prayer life.

We may think we know how to pray, but are we really utilizing (exploring ) the full magnitude of prayer? Which also includes waiting to hear from God.

Let’s examine the full gamut of a powerful prayer life. Firstly, prayer doesn’t just involve you talking to God and waiting aimlessly for an answer from Him or just waiting for a problem to be solved, but prayer is reciprocal. It’s giving and receiving; giving time to God whilst receiving and doggedly believing His promises found in His word. Receiving, in faith and hope, His leading, direction, and guidance. I have created the following list of what a well-rounded prayer life looks like:

1. Praying doctrinal prayers

That means praying God’s word (the bible) back to Him. Memorizing scripture and reciting aloud the promises God tells us in His word. Doctrinal prayers tells God that you believe His word and are standing firm on it until what you are praying for comes to pass. Moreover, it syncopates in the spirit realm that you know what the word of God says and you have hidden it in your heart. It is your spiritual sword. When the devil attacks you, you pull out your weapon and immediately go to war, as opposed to having to look for a verse while the devil is gaining precious ground. That’s why it is of utmost importance to memorize scripture. In these days and times you never know if you may find yourself in a precarious situation with no access to a Bible.

2. Pray wherever you are, at any time of the day

You don’t have to wait until you get home or set aside a time to pray, or wait a week to pray with your church! No! Seize the hour! Feeling overwhelmed at work? Step into the bathroom and pray! Faced with anxiety or stress on the job? Pray at your desk, take a minute to pray. Instead of taking a lunch break with coworkers which oftentimes entails being an ear to gossip, separate yourself and pray for that hour! Stuck in traffic? It’s a perfect time to pray! Maybe if more people took the time to pray in their cars we’d have less road rage. Treated rudely by a store clerk? Discipline yourself to pray before you react! I love the verse. “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). The Father is telling us, be indwelled with my love, peace, security; He’s telling us to shut out worldly chatter and reach in to Him; anytime and in whatever situation we are going through. He’s available around the clock. Amen! No matter how small or how big your need is.

3. Don’t pray in unbelief

As a neophyte, whenever I endured a painful situation I would shut down. I was so weak, distraught, knocked down, I could hardly utter a word out of my mouth. Slowly, I got to where I could pray for 5,10 minutes then eventually as I kept going, I was able to pray a little bit more. I had gone through so many bad things in my life, when I could pray, I prayed out of desperation. Quite frankly, not even believing what I was praying for and demanding God–while feeling helpless–to do this, or to do that. Telling Him He owed me for such a difficult life! Wow! Most sadly, I was praying in anger and unforgiveness. Beloved, we have to release these things and come before God with a pure heart. We have to wait on God’s timing, trust that the situation will work out in the best interest for us, and not judge by what we see. Lastly, forgive anyone who has offended you. Only then can you be assured your prayers are reaching the throne room! Amen!

4. Pray in faith

The Bible says faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen, Hebrews 11:6. It takes a lot of courage to hope for something when you are in the middle of a terrible situation and can’t possibly see a way out that will end good. But the good news is–you ready?–you need to go through some bad things in order to perfect your faith and to stretch your faith. It is not something that can be taught; but practiced. The more things you go through, the more you begin to see how God delivers you out of them all! It is building your warfare muscles! So each forthcoming obstacle becomes a little easier to believe God for deliverance. You won’t be as frightened as you used to be when problems arise. You won’t worry and fear as much as you used to. But, it will definitely be a challenge! That’s why it’s of utmost importance to replace your words with God’s words, replace your thoughts with His thoughts. This will greatly encourage your faith.

5. Command your future

The Bible says that death and life are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21).When the devil attacks our mind with fear, worry and lies, we have to learn not to accept it as truth. No, we have to refute the enemies’ lies. We have to speak back to the devil and reiterate to him what God’s word says is true, not the contrary! Moreover, we have to prophesy over our own future! We have to learn to speak into existence the things that we want to happen in our lives and pray for God’s will regarding it! As opposed to speaking negatively, degrading ourselves or our family members or children; no matter how bad we think they are, we must prophesy over their lives with positive words. When you use epithets towards and talk down to your children, spouse or family member when they do something wrong, you are speaking a curse over them that will eventually manifest! Learn to speak life over every situation in your life!

6. Command joy, peace and love

One day after I finished praying, a gloominess came over me. I couldn’t shake the feeling and was really bothered that I had just prayed and felt as if a cloud were hanging over my head. So I started asking God what’s going on, I just prayed why am I feeling like this? So out of frustration I just started speaking over my life and commanding whatever that feeling was to leave! On my way out of the house I kept demanding the feeling to go, singing in the spirit and calling forth joy, peace and tranquillity to surround me! I thought, how many times are we attacked mentally and accept this feeling as we go about our day and tell others, “I’m in a bad mood,” or I’m not feeling my best,” when asked. No! Command your happiness! Don’t let the devil oppress you when you have a Loving Father who has already defeated satan and has passed on to you his inheritance of abundant joy and happiness! His inheritance of victory, power, and the ability to conquer any enemy that attacks you. I’ve learned that when I’m feeling sad or downtrodden, not to settle for that feeling, but change my spiritual atmosphere by simply confessing life out of my mouth! I then saw how God changed my prayer language from desperation to prophesying over my life!

7. Encourage yourself

I hate to say it, but the road on this Christian journey can be very lonely at times. You’re not always gonna have people who are happy for you, happy for your success, cheering you on and excited about your progress. More, there will be times when you need encouragement and no one will be there! Sometimes people will be just busy with their own life. Other times God will use this isolation to teach you to depend totally on Him. Moreover, We have to learn how to stop depending on people when we need to be encouraged, but depend on God to uplift your mood. He will always be there when no one else is.

8. Create and compile a prayer list/vision board

A prayer list entails writing down a list of people to pray for or things that you would like to happen or come to pass in your life, then praying over it daily. Whether it’s people in your inner circle or people you feel led to pray for or pressing situations in your life that you really need to hear from God. Likewise, a vision board goes one step further. The term vision board has become very popular as of late. It is simply creating a visual board of reference, kind of like a powerpoint presentation at an office meeting. It is a visual compilation of words, pictures, and ideas. People cut out quotes, affirmative statements, or pictures out of magazines, news papers etc. and paste it onto a board. It is their visual story board that chronicles their future dreams and goals.

9. Fast

It is of utmost importance to fast in desperate times of need; times when you need an answer, a breakthrough, healing or direction. I have found that when I had a pressing situation or needed direction on which way to go, when I fasted God always gave me the answer via a dream, sermon, person or made it clearly stand out to me in the Bible!

10. Worship

When I take notice of my prayer language, it often sounds like this: God please! God I need! God won’t you! God could you! God, help me! It’s I, I, I, I, I ! It’s like children, not fully grasping the concept of hard work and appreciation, but always asking their parents to buy them things.

One day when I went to pray yet again for that problem, I just felt so guilty of this behavior that I just started worshipping God. Even though my heart was heavy, I had just started thanking Him for what He had already done for me. I think that’s why God doesn’t sometimes immediately answer prayer, oh how forgetful we are and take his blessings for granted. Sometimes as humans we take, take, take. To have a balanced, healthy relationship, it involves giving, thanking and appreciation. We have to begin to thank God for His many blessings and deliverance in our lives. We have to thank Him for our health, strength and mobility, among many other ways He’s blessing us. We have to tell God that we appreciate Him and what He has done and is doing in our lives. Thank Him for being a true and living God whom we have the benefit of being able to talk to on a daily basis! Thank Him for being our friend!

Beloved, to fully grasp this type of prayer life, it may take many years. I’m still trying to discipline myself in some of  these areas.

-Puah Neiel

Red Hook Summer: Christian Movie Review

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First off, the characters in Spike Lee’s Red Hook Summer looked as real as if you had stepped out of your front door, caught the subway and made your rounds through the no holds barred city of New York. Lee did a good job in the casting process: no over sexualized, glam puss, pretty boy actors/actresses here. The Female characters were maternal, womanly; like ladies I grew up around. Their presence emanates an old school grandmotherly type of protection, wisdom, and guidance.

The male characters seemed to be plucked right off of NYC’s streets; ripe with unabashed quirkiness, eccentricity, zeal, Martin Luther King righteousness and ’round the way B-Boy demeanor and dialect.

One of the Protagonists of Red Hook: the good Pastor Enoch (Clarke Peters), has all the passion, community involvement, and heated sermons of a street corner ‘hood preacher’, with such optimism, social justice, and fervor that riles up the emotions of the congregation, that the pastor could easily be mistaken a demagogue. He is perfectly cast; from his slicked back afro, peremptory voice, to the flawless execution of the dichotomy of his character.

New comer Jules Brown embodies the role of Flik Royale, Pastor Enoch’s grandson. Jules’ portrayal of character Flik is quite monotone, with the exception of culture/religion clashes with his grandfather, and adolescent banter with character Chazz.

Chazz, played by Tony Lysaith, is a spunky, rambunctious, outspoken girl whom befriends Flik. Chazz’s character is Akin to a throwback 1980’s era, popular 5th grade school kid, who all the nerd’s wanted to be friends with. What I personally like about Chazz is that she is headstrong, a thinker, much a philosopher for a kid her age; not to mention a little mischievous, which drives the story and adds a few good laughs! Contrarily, with better direction Chazz’s performance could have been much more solid.

Lee is a little more preachy in Red Hook compared to his previous movies, however it is eloquently executed through the diatribes of the good Pastor Enoch. The writing is a collage of new age pop culture, Sunday morning church sermons, pressing concerns of the inner city neighborhood, to the history of Red Hook, Brooklyn. Although, some topics of discussion seem outdated. Lee’s polemics is ever present in his current piece. While Red Hook draws you into a seeming adolescent romance between Flik and Chazz, and visually stimulates with colorful visages and homage to the city; the plot hits you like a wielding baseball bat swung by a bullied, abused, and fed up kid! While the movie is fluidly moving along, it comes out of nowhere and jars you: BAM! just like that!

A stiff-necked religious church lady would easily turn into Esther from Sanford & Son at the subject matter’s in-your-face reality! The audience gets to hear the other side of the story, which was a well acted and executed scene that left one not knowing whether to cheer for its redemptor or feel sorry for the Pastor. In the scene that follows, I felt that Lee didn’t need to expound in detail the horrid visuals via a flashback.

Overall, the movie had quite a few loop holes, loose ends, and left many questions unanswered. The acting was mediocre at best, with the exception of a few stand out performances: Clarke Peters, Nate Parker, and my personal best: Coleman Domingo.

Some of my friends were disturbed by the movie’s subject matter, but I have personally experienced it first hand. It leaves so much frustration, anger, and lifelong healing to the persons affected by it. Though uneasy to watch, it is realism! And, it’s happening on a much too frequent basis. Maybe this movie will allow the “doers” to see themselves outside of themselves, to provoke change. Moreover, the soundtrack, which was recorded by the real, Lil’ Piece of Heaven Babtist Church choir, nostalgically takes you back to the old time Gospel Hymns. After reading this review, I would advise you to see the movie at your own discretion.

One thing the movie did leave me with is the commonly quoted: Galatians 6:7-8. What you sow, goes out and circles around in the spirit realm like a boomerang until it eventually comes back to you. Even though you may have repented and God has forgiven you, you will still have to live with its consequences, so choose wisely! 

 -Puah Neiel

Gumbo religion

Many people today are deeply hurting, broken and unhappy with their lives. They are hopelessly trying to find a place of peace, rest, and acceptance from a hurting world, searching in vain for a spiritual paradigm to anchor their lives. Some, even Christians are borrowing from this religion or that spiritual practice or the latest new age book—promising to know God. They are trying to concoct their own secret formula, or a panacea for true peace and happiness. Many know God, but they think He is far away from them, unreachable. They think maybe if I go down this road, turn right on this lane; stop at this street or avenue maybe I will find God. I can imagine many saying “Maybe He will hear me if I go to this place, bless me if I say this chant, repeat affirmations everyday, stay positive, think positive, just maybe I can reach through to God.” There are also those who were never introduced to any form of God or religion for that matter, and know that there is more to life than what the physical senses ascertain, so they are desperately trying to find something to fill an empty space in their life. Maybe this person is you. Perhaps you are persuaded to study a family member’s religion, or maybe you saw a temporary change in a friend through his/or her spiritual discipline.  Or perhaps you read about the next “hot” new age trend and decided to give that a try. After years of “trying out,” you became exhausted and discouraged. The last religion that you tried was full of hopes and promises but, yet again you ended up being burned, resigning to the fact that there is no God. This merging of spiritual doctrines is what I call a gumbo religion: a lil’ Christianity here, a dash of Buddhism there, a sprig of yoga, a pinch of Hinduism.

As the ubiquitous quote by Peter Marshall states, “Unless we stand for something we shall fall for anything,” relates quite relatively in this text. Joshua 24:15 God says, “choose this day whom you will serve.” It’s time to stop straddling the fence. There is only one true and living God: Jesus Christ. Stop playing the harlot with other religions and get to know the SAVIOR. He’s the only one that can save your soul! You have tried the world’s way, now try God! Psalm 34:8 says, “Oh taste and see that the Lord is good.”  If you don’t know Jesus Christ and would like to accept Him in your life at this moment get a Bible and read aloud Romans 10:9, ask God to come into your heart. Beloved, the time is now to get serious about the things of God.

Revelation 3:16 says, “So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of my mouth.” Saints, I truly believe this is why many Christians are not hearing from God. God is calling us into a deeper relationship with him and to serve Him only.  Isaiah 43:11 says, “I alone am the Lord, the only one who can save you.” That is the truth coming directly out of the mouth of the Holy One. He commands His followers to “take up his cross and follow me,” just as He commanded the disciples in the New Testament (Mark 8:34). Saints, we are living in the days where the tides have turned back over to that of Babylon in the Old Testament. We are in the midst of spiritual warfare against an ungodly, idolatrous, perverted nation that has no reverence for the things of God. God is loudly blowing His Horn, grievingly calling soldiers in the kingdom to fight His holy war. God is petitioning us to put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:11-18). Saints we are coming up against some perilous times and God needs soldiers who are going to press in, and fight through the darkness, pestilence, and demonic forces that are operating in the spiritual realm.

Many are verbally proclaiming to be walking with Christ, but Matthew 15:8 says, “These people draw near to me with their mouth, and honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me (Vs.9) and in vain they worship me…” The resulting fruit is Christians who have no compassion, no love, no peace, are uncaring, and unloving.  And I tell you these are spiritually dead! Beloved, it’s time for a revival! It’s time to be on fire for the Lord!  Stop hiding behind the label “Christian” and ask God to come into your heart so you can have a deeper, more profound relationship with Him. You will never know God fully through a mediator (new age book, pastor, friend, counselor). Ask God to have a one on one relationship with you, and that you would be able to know Him intimately. Ask Him to speak to you, to walk with you daily. Saints it’s good to go to church, but you will only be victorious in Christianity when you have a personal relationship with God; when you know His voice, His promptings, and let Him lead your life. That’s when you find victory in Jesus, Amen! When you press in to get to know Him. When you walk with Him daily that’s when He’ll guide you and teach you and tell you His will for your life. When you become proficient in Hearing His voice and assiduously obey His commands for your life, that’s when you’ll enter into His Rest. Hallelujah! For He gives His beloved rest! (Matthew 11:28) Saints it’s a peace that surpasses all understanding, a resting place, a shelter from the pressures of this world. Try Jesus! He’s all you’ll ever need!