Posts Tagged "prayer"

More God in 2013: Five Ways to Make Room for Him

Posted by on Dec 31, 2012 in Being Single, Being Smart, Fine Oil Initiative, Uncategorized | 1 comment

More God in 2013: Five Ways to Make Room for Him

“New year, new rules, new regulations!” that’s what my Grandfather used to say. Every year to his children. So I’ve been told.

I’ve made a list of the things I’d like to accomplish this year, and I noticed one thing. Everything I’m lacking going into 2013 can be resolved if I make more room for the Lord in my life. Think about it. The areas where we struggle most are the areas that we’ve submitted the least to God. What’s more is that it’s NOT His will for us to continue to struggle. But He is limited because we do not grant Him access.

Here’s are five simple ways you can be more successful in achieving your goals whether you start tomorrow, or the next day, or the next day.

  1. Dedicate the first three days of every month or one day a week to fasting. Limit your diet during this time, and focus on feeding your spirit through reading and meditating on the Word. Spend at least 5 minutes in prayer a few times throughout the day. Also turn off social media, television, radio, email, and your phone to the most feasible extent. Your goal is to hear from the Lord during this time. Let Him share what’s on HIS heart.
  2. Take communion daily with family during dinner. Or weekly. You don’t have to wait until the fifth Sunday at church. Matza bread and grape juice are sold on the Kosher aisle of your local grocery store, but you already have bread and water in your kitchen. Communion should be a solemn and worshipful experience. Before coming to the table to partake examine yourself. As you partake of the bread and wine, meditate on how Christ’s death paid the price for every single one of your needs for peace, provision, and health. (Disclaimer: If you’re willingly living in sin, don’t do this. 1 Corinthians 11 tells us why.)
  3. Memorize a new Scripture every week. While you’re memorizing be sure to meditate as well (Joshua 1:8). Choose something relevant to your life experience and make a conscious effort to share it with others in a casual way. Placing sticky notes around the house will help with this. You can also use a dry erase marker to write keywords on your bathroom mirrors.
  4. Give financially OUTSIDE of your church. We tend to give so much of our money to the church we have nothing left for alms. Follow your convictions regarding tithing and such, but purpose in your heart to be a blessing to people you pass who are in need. Help someone pay for their groceries when you’re standing in line. When you’ve come back from Costco, call up someone you know is struggling and offer them some food. God will provide for YOU! It is our duty as a church to provide for the poor.
  5. Master the art of silent prayer. I know many are against the idea of contemplative prayer, but we can’t all shout and say “Lord God” after every three words. I don’t know about you but I face challenges every ten minutes on the eights. Learn to commune with the Lord in your spirit. As believers we should be able to quiet our minds enough to hear from God even in crazy situations. But practice makes perfect.

I know your Facebook friends are telling you that you can lose weight if only you had more discipline, or you can manage your money better if you tithe, but start here. Let the Lord guide your path. Make room for Him and everything else will fall into place.

Selah.

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

 

Alana

Photo credit: Creative Commons License Christian Holmér via Compfight

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Married to a Madman

Posted by on Jul 24, 2012 in Dating & Relationships, Family, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Married to a Madman

Driving down Laburnum, I watched my baby girl sit in a beautiful white dress as she gazed out the backseat window. My son was several miles away ready to be picked up. I was in the passenger seat wearing a just-above knee length sundress. He was driving my car leaning against me with his right arm down my leg. This woman’s husband was touching me and was in full and total control of me and mine. How did I get into this situation?

A nasty storm cloud booms over us, and in the distance I see a tornado descend from the clouds. I start to pray and rebuke the cloud commanding it to go back up in to the sky. It yields to my prayer, and we continue driving. I asked him to prepare to pull over in case we ran into a tornado. I asked him to drive faster so we could rescue my son. All he did was leisurely drive the long route, never acknowledging my requests or concerns. He just kept rubbing my leg.

His actions made it abundantly clear that he could not care less for the emotional pain that I was suffering. He seemed to be enjoying it. He didn’t care when a smaller tornado hopped a building to our left, went directly over the car, and landed on a building to our right. He didn’t care that our son was miles away and terribly afraid of tornadoes. I tried to make conversation with the little one to ease my mind, but she was even too afraid of him to speak openly.

And then I woke up thanks to a text from Twitter. (I am not that scandalous!) And in this dream I was this man’s wife, and my children were also his children. His wife is my friend. I love her dearly, but I couldn’t understand why I’d dream such a thing, so I inquired of the Lord.

Quiet and still, He always speaks. “This is what she feels like.”

And so it follows, this is how many women feel when they are subject to a man who is insensitive and controlling. Some of these men have scars from childhood, some from other types of trauma, and others still are just big ol’ jerks. I’ve been single since December 2009, and I’ve forgotten what it’s like to be in that place. But when I was married I knew it very well.

This is what I’ve learned about these challenging and often terrifying situations.

  • He can’t stop your prayer from working. Despite how godlike he thinks he is, YHWH will hear and answer your prayer. Continue to speak the Word and pray in authority over the enemies attacks.
  • Take your concerns to God first. Too often we go to our men complaining and expecting a change immediately. This is especially dangerous with the abuser or controller. Go to God first! And sometimes go to God only! Don’t give him an open door to manipulate you.
  • Keep moving through the storm, even if you have to go it alone. Storms are symbolic of emotional torment. Oh the tornadoes and tsunamis I’ve dreamed about over the years! Don’t sit in a storm and allow it to overtake you. Yes, we become tired, so MAKE time to rest in the Lord, and get right back to fighting. And by fighting, I mean praying… We wrestle against spiritual forces, not people. I remember one dream I had when Jesus himself showed up on a horse with his sword drawn. If He did it for me, He’ll do it for you.
  • Trust that God will protect your family. In the dream I was severely concerned about the safety of my children, and rightfully so. But God is powerful and loving enough to protect them in ways that I cannot. Abusers will use your fear against you. They gain power from seeing you hurt. Be strong, and allow your faith to override your emotion.
  • Free yourself from sexual and emotional manipulation. This is a tough one, but I suffered both of these for YEARS! Sex tends to be more emotional for women, and though I know your preacher never told you this… If your husband is abusing you sexually or emotionally (cheating, lying, neglecting, physical/verbal abuse), you really should pull back (not saying stop altogether) on the sex. Here’s why. There is a deeper spiritual reason he’s doing these things, and you need to keep your head free to think and hear from God. Anytime two people have sex, spirits are transferred and you’ll start to experience some of the nasties he’s dealing with. For maybe a year, my ex-husband was struggling with suicidal thoughts. I didn’t know this until I started having them myself. Once I pulled back, the truth came to light and I was able to deal with it more effectively, and we were able to reconcile. The worst thing you can do is continue having sex with him thus allowing yourself to be tormented by him and a host of demonic forces. Be spirit led.
  • Understand that your husband is not THE bad guy. Undoubtedly your husband may be allowing the enemy to use him, but remember who the war is against. If there is history of mental illness, trauma, rejection, abandonment, etc., etc., etc., then KNOW that there is healing available. God will show you whether you should choose to stay to see your honey delivered, or to leave. Whatever God reveals, DO IT! When I sought the Lord as to whether I should remain married, He said to me “You haven’t had enough yet?” Eeep!
  • If you find yourself taking on his abusive traits, then you’ve stayed far too long. If you’ve learned to lie, cheat, steal, cuss, abuse like him, then you missed your exit time and you need to seek another ASAP. I know the church teaches us that God hates divorce, but your soul is FAR more valuable than a relationship. I believe that many people go to hell for an eternity because they were unable to forgive wrongs they suffered within marriage. If you are being poisoned, then get out and save your soul and the souls of your children.

It is not my intention to break up families, but to save souls. If you’ve ever been subject to someone who is reckless and uncaring, then you know the feeling of being insecure. And as women, we want to love them out of that place, but sometimes, we can’t. And so, it is my prayer that God’s will be done in your homes and in your hearts.

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

 

Alana

 

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Why Can’t I Move Forward?

Posted by on Jul 23, 2012 in Being Saved, Being Single, Dating & Relationships, Guest Posts, Uncategorized | 3 comments

Why Can’t I Move Forward?

Over the past few years I have really enjoyed Mac products.  Macbook, Mackbook Pro, Ipod, Ipad, IMac, Iphone, etc; I just love the way that they work!  A few years ago Apple came out with an upgrade that allowed you to take off apps that you would have open.  You could now close down your twitter app or your weather app.  You could close down the ESPN app or a game app that you had open that allowed your battery not to drain as fast as well as allow your device to run faster!  So that once you close out things that you no longer have use for it allows your device to run a lot smoother.

 

Noah Washington is a pastor at Bladensburg SDA church in Bladensburg, Maryland. Join Noah for relationship tweets every Thursday on Twitter using the hashtag #RTalkThurs. For more great posts visit Noah’s blog http://www.washsworld.blogspot.com.

 

I can’t help but to liken this to many of our relationships.  One of the reasons that some of us are stuck, stagnant, and extremely slow with moving on is because we have so many people, or apps, that are open in our lives that have not been closed.  There are relationships that we have had in our past that we have become attached to so much that even though the communication, recreation, and interaction between us and the other person may have ended…our attachment to them continues to be open.  Something still jumps in our spirit when we see their picture on Facebook; we still catch an attitude when someone tells us that they have seen the person with another person; and we continue to think in our minds what we may be doing with the person if we were still dating them.

Some of you reading this have been thinking to yourself: why am I having such a difficult problem moving forward in my life, my relationships, and in life in general? Why is it that I sabotage relationships?  How come I only feel normal when people treat me negatively?  Why am I attempting to move forward while still attached to my past???  May I suggest that even though two people have physically gone their separate ways doesn’t mean the relationship has ended.

Before I give some solutions on how you can truly move forward, let me give some suggestions on why many of us cannot move forward:

  1. The relationship ended sooner than we wanted it to.  We thought that this was the person that we would marry and spend the rest of our lives with, but instead of a wedding they walked away.  Instead of a marriage, you guys moved apart.  So you can’t move forward because you are still mentally thinking…what if?
  2. You guys got physical in the relationship.  During the relationship, there was not just hugging and kissing, you guys actually engaged in sexual activity; maybe even on a regular basis.  Scripture teaches that sexual activity leads us to becoming attached to another person.  That’s why the Bible even cautions people who are married-to agree on when they will abstain from sexual activity for times of prayer and then return to it.  Engaging in sex with another person is meant to be addictive, that’s why its best reserved for married couples.  However, with couples who are unmarried, you may not be able to move on because you are still attached to the other person.
  3. There was some type of abuse in the relationship. Some people can’t move on because there was sexual, mental, emotional, or physical abuse in a past relationship.  This may cause a person to either withdraw from having future relationships OR jump into many relationships.  Some people pull away from relationships in fear that what happened to them will happen to them again while others seek out many relationships in hopes to find that one person that will treat them right!  Still there are others who won’t allow themselves to move forward in a healthy relationship because since there was so much abuse they strangely only feel comfortable in an environment that allows abuse to continue, these people are extremely hard to love because when you love them…they kick you so you can kick them back because abusing them allows them to feel normal.

This is not an exhaustive list, but just a few things that won’t allow a person to move forward.  Now, let me offer some things that a person can do so that they can positively move forward.

 

  • To fully break free, its probably best for the time being not to communicate with the person you need freedom from for the time being.  You need time to heal, and oftentimes healing will not take place if you are still communicating with them.  If you continue to communicate with them, you continue a “what if” cycle in your mind about a future relationship with them.
  • Lay before the Lord!!! I honestly believe that the only way to be fully free and move forward is to lay it before the Lord.  Ask God for forgiveness of anything that you did in the relationship that caused problems.  Ask God to remove the unhealthy connection that continues to attach you to the person.  While I believe God’s power can, the breaking point usually doesn’t happen after we lay this before the Lord on one occasion.  It happens after continued prayer, fasting, and dedication to His will and way!
  • Don’t get in another relationship until you a free from the last! There are countless people who believe that they can just jump into one relationship after another.  Since you are often not free from the previous relationship, you bring the attachment from the last relationship into the present relationship.  So much so, that the person never meets the real you…they get connected to the countless number of people who you are attached with.

 

Jesus told the Jews in the first century, whoever the Son sets free will be free indeed!  Don’t you want to be free today?  Allow Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit to free you in mind, body, and spirit so that you can be all that he has destined to be!

 

Sincerely,

 

Noah Wash
Follow me on Twitter: @washsworld
Check my blog: www.washsworld.blogspot.com 

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Overcoming Temptation: Tipping the Struggle Scale

Posted by on Jul 3, 2012 in Being Saved, Uncategorized | 1 comment

Overcoming Temptation: Tipping the Struggle Scale

We fall into two categories when it comes to temptation: “Struggling” and “Not Struggling”. To dig a little deeper those who are classified as “Not Struggling” are either totally delivered from a situation OR have no desire to fight against the very thing that’s keeping them bound. For those of you who see no wrong in indulging in your vices, this post is not for you.

I’ve struggled. In some ways, I’m still struggling but I’m definitely not falling like I used to. So you’re in good company, and I won’t tell your secrets if you won’t tell mine. Here’s what I had to learn about myself in regards to my weak (read “sinful”) areas.

But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. James 1:14-15

Lust brings forth sin and sin brings forth death. And lust, in this case, is not just a sexual term. Lust is any desire that takes you outside of God’s perfect plan for your life. It may be sexual, abuse of substances or people, cursing/cussing/complaining, gossip… fill in your blank.

So how do you tip the struggle scale to your favor? Start here.

 

READ YOUR BIBLE!!!

If I don’t offer any other steps, this piece alone is sufficient. Prayer does not work once you’re “in” the situation because your will is already compromised. The only way to stand in trying situations is to strengthen your spirit by reading the Word of God. As your spirit becomes stronger, your will becomes more aligned with God’s plan for your life and your desires start to change. You won’t see yourself or those shameful situations in the same light after some time. The Word is a lamp to show us where to go (and where not to go) and a light to make the truth evident. If you don’t read your Bible, you’re navigating your life in the dark!

 

Know your weakness & avoid it. 

Remember God does not tempt us (James 1:13). Temptation comes from within us. For example, put a fine chocolate-y, muscle-y brother in front of me, and I might be tempted. Pour a glass of Crown Royal and dangle it before my eyes, and I won’t blink twice. My lust is not for alcohol, so I cannot be tempted by it. I plead the fifth on the former situation, however. So until I’m able to stand, I should not put myself in those situations. So many folk have criticized me by saying “Don’t you have any self-control?” Well, no, I don’t. And bless God, I’m honest with myself and therefore I can avoid trouble.

 

Check your fellowship.

Somewhere in the Bible it says that we should not fellowship with brethren that we know are fornicators (in the KJV) and acting against God’s ordinances (1 Corinthians 5:11). By brethren the Scripture refers to those who identify themselves as Christ-followers. There is a two-fold purpose here. We cannot condone the continual sin of a person who calls him or herself a Christ-follower, so they must be given some space to allow God to change their hearts. A STRONGER reason is that eating with a person (and fellowshipping in general) is a way in which soul ties are formed, and wherever there are soul ties spirits and desires will transfer. (Bad company corrupts good manners, don’t you know?) Though your friend may not be malicious, the enemy certainly is. You’ll have to limit your ties with such a person to preserve your own soul.

 

Love God MORE!

Who I am to tell you what you should or shouldn’t like? Feelings in and of themselves are not evil, but actions are what bring  judgment. You might like to smoke a little “reefer” (that word makes me snicker), but you have to love God more to find your freedom. There are times in our walk when we find ourselves halfway between a place of sin and a place of prayer. Just choose to love God more, and He’ll handle the rest. Remember where sin abounds grace SUPERABOUNDS!!! (Romans 5:20– This is truly one of my favorite Bible verses.)

 

Consecrate yourself.

No one likes to do this, but nothing will break your nasty habits better than fasting and praying. I can fast for 3 days and see major changes in my most basic desires. Sometimes you have to literally starve your desires, and you do this by overruling your flesh with your spirit. BE HUNGRY FOR GOD!!! This also means that any influence that glorifies your lust issue should be cut off until you can handle it. Personal example… I haven’t watched music videos or listened to most secular music regularly in years because I cannot handle its content. It drives me want to sin, so it must go! A proper fast will bring about a lifestyle change ultimately transforming your desires so you don’t even want to do the same things anymore.

 

All of these steps will help you to resist the enemy as opposed to falling and repenting multiple times. Just last week, I had all these crazy thoughts come to mind that didn’t seem like my own. I wasn’t able to rest because I was so busy thinking and worrying over small things. I heard in my spirit “Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). So I rebuked him and all the thoughts went away. The enemy is legally obligated to run from you the moment you choose to shut him down. You are not helpless. You do not have to succumb to his advances.

I think back to a certain relationship when the person kept wronging me in the same way over and over again. After some time, sorry didn’t mean anything to me because I realized he was making a choice to give in to temptation. How much more does God hurt when we continually choose our lustful desires over Him, knowing that in the end we’re still broken and unsatisfied?

Selah.

What’s your personal struggle?
How many more times will you allow yourself to be defeated
when you’ve been given the commandment to overcome?!
And what good thing is waiting for you on the other side of victory? 

 

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

 

Alana

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Sixty Down: He Keeps Saying “No”!

Posted by on Jun 18, 2012 in Being Saved, Being Single, Fine Oil Initiative, Uncategorized | 8 comments

Sixty Down: He Keeps Saying “No”!

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A few of you watched my first video which included the announcement of a year of no dating. For those of you who haven’t seen it, here’s the link.

In these sixty days, I can’t say that I’ve been terribly lonely. I can say that I’ve already begun to see myself differently and I’ve learned there’s so much more to life than the happiness that only exists (apparently) in romantic relationships. Like family. And money. And peace. And the abiding presence of God.

I would not have believed this if not for the hell I’ve been through the past two months.

In the effort to not over-share (i.e. embarrass anyone), I’ll just say that I’ve had to stand. And by “stand” I really mean kneel in prayer seeking God’s will and provision for me during this season. I’ve had to call on others to hold me up because, at times, my faith just wasn’t enough.

So instead of telling stories of grief and heartbreak, I’ll share those of minimal disappointment… with a moral and happy ending of course.

Maybe six weeks ago I started looking for a new home. My apartment is lovely, but I miss having a big, spacious kitchen with granite countertops where I can make lavish cakes and dinners to feed my friends and family. But I didn’t find a single house that I liked. The seller pushed and pushed and even put a great deal on the table, but I heard a quiet “no.” So on I went to look at homes elsewhere. Found one, fell in looooooooove, and came darn near close to signing the paperwork. Again, a “no.”

I couldn’t understand why He kept telling me “no” but since God seems to know what He’s doing, I passed on both opportunities. Just two weeks later, I found out a third of my monthly income had been lost to someone else’s mishaps.

What if I had signed that contract? Selah.

I relied heavily on that money. Double selah and a “Lord, forgive me.”

With little money in the bank and no guarantee (from what I could see in the natural) of any more coming in, I was excited to hear about a job opportunity– and when I say opportunity, I mean the job I’ve been wanting for the past two to three years. I knew God was telling me “no” but I wanted to be sure, so I checked in with my mentor. He made it easy for me to write an apologetic email thanking the folks for considering me, yet respectfully declining.

Then…. (oh I’m not finished yet)…

My daughter became ill. I don’t know what kinda bug she picked up but baby girl went from having a mild case of pink eye to having a roaring temperature of 104 degrees. Her body temperature was as high as my bank account was low. God gave us favor with the doctors because with the loss of that aforementioned income went the insurance too. But I had to face a real challenge when I heard the cost of her medication… $84 for the full prescription. There was exactly $60 in my wallet. I purchased half the prescription and a bottle of ibuprofen and walked away with only twelve dollars in my wallet. I cried at the checkout counter, yet God showed me mercy. By the third day, I noticed that the pharmacist had given me 3 full doses instead of two and a half!! God bless that man!!! After a few days of pushing liquids and analgesics down her throat, baby girl recovered.

All this with minimal family support due to other circumstances which I cannot even bear to mention here…

I’ve come to a place where I realize that God’s “no” is not a denial of what I want, but moreso the way in which He protects what He wants for me. Had I signed those papers, I would’ve ended up with a house that He didn’t want for me and unable to pay for it.

What did bother me was that I wasn’t hearing any “yes’s”. Well today I heard more than a few! I can’t share at this point, but I will say this…

When God says “no”, rest assured that He’s protecting a “yes.” Obey Him! Trust Him! Lean on Him! He will say yes at some point, and be ready to obey. If you can’t yield to a “no”, then you won’t go with a “yes”!

There is nothing in this life that we will lose for Christ’s sake that He will not return and multiply to us. Can you even imagine the house he has for me? The job? The husband? No??!! Neither can I…

And that’s the point…

For the scripture says, Whosoever believes on him shall not be ashamed. Romans 10:11

Sixty-down. Three hundred to go…

Looking back, when did God’s “no’s” protect you?
What’s keeping Him from saying “yes” in your toughest situations?

 

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your (and my) future,

 

Alana

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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