Five Necessary KEYS to Unlock Just About ANY Door

Have you ever stopped to think about keys? What are they for? I’m not talking about keys as in wise principles that one would do wise by which to govern his or her life. I’m just talking about the natural keys like those on a keychain. What do they do? When you find this out, you’ll know how important it is to have and to apply the keys to success to your life.

While having one of my intriguing talks with God, this subject came up. And I thought to myself about what keys are for. Keys are for unlocking locked doors – not just doors, but only locked doors. Keys denote access granted to an area where access is often denied for most others. If you have a family living in your home, you likely have a few keys for JUST the older family members. You want THEM and JUST THEM to have access to the area which is your home. You want JUST THEM having access to the objects and amenities in the home. You don’t give a key to your home to EVERYONE WHO ASKS .

Why is that? Why are there locked doors in buildings? Why are there car locks? Locks are meant to keep access to a minimum. Locks are meant to keep MOST people out. Locks are meant to keep important things safe within a confined area. Locks keep things as they were when you first left the car and home. Locks give you peace of mind that while you are in the store, your things will still be in your car. That while you sleep, no one will have stolen all of your furniture when you awake in the morning. That while you are out of the office, no one has gone through your confidential paperwork. Locked doors have a purpose.

And so because locks are so important, we know that we must have certain keys to have access granted to certain things. Well, there are certain places in God and in ministry and in your career and in your love life that you want access to. There are certain places you want to go and certain things you want to do and particular people you want to meet. But you will NEVER get there without certain KEYS. Not talking of natural keys here, but talking of behaviors and personality characteristics that you must have to get to certain places. NOTHING ELSE will get you in that locked place BUT a key.

Let me share with you a perfect example that happened recently. This past Sunday morning, I invited my guy friend to my church. But he was very sleepy from the night before. (And he also happens to be the HEAVIEST, DEEPEST sleeper I know. He can lay his head down and close his eyes for a few seconds and he will be out COLD.) Well, I invited this same guy to my church and so I came by to pick him up. His phone calls were not working, so I text him. I do not have a key to his apartment. I beat that door like it stole something. I even kicked the door. I waited outside on the steps. I grew very angry. I prayed that God would miraculously awaken him. I even prayed that God would give him the urge to urinate so that it would wake him up and give him a chance to check his texts. I even called the dead phone a few more times in hopes that maybe the phone would begin to work for me. Ask me if any of these things were successful in opening the door for me…

A C C E S S   D E N I E D !

I couldn’t arouse him with a loud, blaring phone ring. God didn’t wake him up for me. He lives on the third floor of his apartment building, I assure you guys that I kicked and hit that door so hard that I KNOW I had every neighbor in the first, second, and third floors peeping out of their peepholes frightened as to what was this loud beating sound on a door. No matter HOW bad I wanted to get in that apartment, that guy would not wake up to unlock the door. I even thought that maybe he was avoiding or ignoring me because he did not want to go to church. I thought that maybe even he had passed out. I even grew afraid that he might have died in his sleep. THAT is how hard you can know that I was knocking and praying for him to open that door!

Now I’m sure I sound desperate and crazy to you guys now, but I believe God let that experience happen to me for a reason. Even as I drove off to church ALONE, I said to myself, “Mistye, God let this happen for a good reason.” But I had no idea it was so that I could have a great anecdote to put in my note about keys to successful living!

(Side note: The good news is that the guy eventually woke up and we found a later church service to go to that same day.)

I say all that to say this, NO MATTER HOW BADLY I wanted that door to be unlocked for me, it would never unlock just because I did not have a key. There was no way I was going to be let in from within apparently, so it would require me having a key to get in.

Ladies and gentlemen, there are some things you want to do in God that you will NEVER get without keys. I don’t care how badly you want it, I don’t care how much you pray for it, I don’t care how much you wait for the door to be unlocked, I don’t care how much you scream, I don’t care how much you knock, and I don’t care how much you cry; you will NEVER get in without the keys in certain situations. So without further ado, let’s hop into some keys that I will include in this note:

1. Diligence/Consistence – When you are diligent in how you operate DAILY, people see that. They may not comment on it to you, but they are watching. And when an opportunity arises, and they are looking for someone to upgrade to the next level, who do you think will be chosen? A diligent person or a person who is riddled with inconsistencies? The person who never calls in sick, or the person who calls in every 4 days? If you cannot be proven dependable on a lower level, who will trust you with harder tasks on the next level?

2. Obedience – Obedience is key! People want to know that before they let you through the door to the next level, that you will continue to be obedient to their wishes. If you will not obey the rules of coming in to work on time at a lower position, then why would they promote you to be in a higher position with more responsibilities? You don’t respect their wishes at level 1, you REALLY won’t respect their wishes at level 3. And that is why you will remain at level 1.

3. Politeness/Manners – In most professions, the friendlier competitor will beat the unfriendly competitor. If you are unfriendly with the interviewer, and the other interviewer laughs, smiles, and compliments the interviewer, all other things being equal between the two, the friendly person will get the job offer. Stank attitudes will keep you at stage one. Just smile even when you’re sad! Just laugh at the jokes, even if they’re corny! Just give them a compliment when you see they’re trying even if you’re not impressed. Who gets more tips? The rude waitress or the courteous one?

4. Humility/Easy-Going/Forgiving – It is key that you must let some stuff go. You must forgive and forget some stuff before God elevates you. If you get offended by someone stepping on your shoe, do you really expect God to call you to Africa to do missions where you may face REAL and intentional attacks, natural and spiritual? Christians, we must be able to let some stuff roll off of our backs if we ever hope to be used in a mighty way in God. This here key is important to me because everytime someone did something I didn’t like, I would leave their church or quit the job. And you can never advance in an area that you abandon. And so God is teaching me how to agree to disagree while enduring a challenging situation. And while I endured, I got elevated. If Satan can keep convincing you to hold a grudge against people, you’re burning the same bridges you need to cross to go on to success. It doesn’t always matter if you’re right and if the person should apologize, the key isn’t “be in the right”, the key is to humble yourself and forgive and be easy-going so that you can be the bigger person and transcend the offense so that God can use to on a higher level.

5. Integrity/Trustworthiness – As I said in Key 1, people are watching you whether they inform you of it or not. People are DESPERATE for people they can trust. They know that there is a shortage of people with integrity in this world today. And as I said, locked doors are to keep UNTRUSTWORTHY people OUT and to keep valuable stuff IN. And so of course an immoral, deceitful person can not be trusted with access to a locked door. Make up in your mind today to live a life of integrity. SHOW people that you can be trusted with their valuables. And once you get the access, don’t betray them, but keep your integrity because it takes a long time to gain someone’s trust and mere minutes to lose it all forever. Do right even when you THINK no one is watching, and you will be elevated in due season!

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If You’re Good at Making Excuses, You Can’t Be Good at Anything Else

“He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” – Benjamin Franklin

One of Satan’s most effective devices that he uses against Christians is E X C U S E S. And he often disguises these excuses as “good reasons”. If you give me enough time to give you good excuse, I can talk you out of doing ANYTHING. Just imagine how powerful Satan can be against the Saints if he can just get us to stop doing stuff for the kingdom?

This device of Satan has turned me into the Queen of Procrastination. Ask me what my dreams are, and I can tell you them all. But then ask me why I haven’t gotten started on them, and soon will come an onslaught of excuses! I hate to keep saying, “The Devil made me do it,” but don’t think Satan won’t do whatever is in his limited power to stop you. He has no problem whispering little excuses in your ear to prevent you from executing God’s will on the earth and even from carrying out your own personal dreams.

Take me for example. I want to be a Christian family and marriage counselor. I love learning and talking about interpersonal communication and relationships. I love watching the dynamics between two persons. I’ve been interested in this for a long time. I love seeing people become more intimate in their relationships with others. So this is one of my dreams.

B U T…

You had to know that an excuse NOT TO DO was soon to follow. When I ask myself why I haven’t begun to pursue my dreams by applying to a college, applying for FAFSA, and taking the GRE if need be, I come up with a lot of seemingly GREAT excuses! I don’t settle for okay, decent, or good excuses, I only want GREAT ones. Here’s some of the ones I “like” to use: #1 If I do become a marriage counselor, who’s gonna want counseling from me? I’ve never been married before!” #2 I’ve been studying tough for the GRE, but that math section has me beat. What’s the use in taking the GRE if I’m just going to fail it? I should only take the GRE if I know I’m going to make a decent score on it. #3 Master’s level programs often require one or two recommendation letters on the application. I don’t know who would want to do a recommendation letter for me! #4 And since I would prefer to go to a Christian university, they will likely ask for an official of my church to write a recommendation letter for me. Well, I haven’t served faithfully in my church, so I have no one to write a letter for me. So the college wouldn’t accept me anyway!” #5 I just signed a year-long lease and the school I want to go to is out-of-town. So that means I have to wait a year before I can get into school anyway. #6 I just got this new job, and I want to pay off my two credit cards before I rack on yet more debt from a SECOND degree’s tuition. I haven’t even paid off my Bachelor’s degree student loans yet! I should wait until I pay off some more debt. #7 I don’t want to waste anymore time in the wrong field. I already wasted four and a half years in a major that I don’t even want to work in. What’s the use of going to school to potentially waste two more years? #8 You know the news had a story about how so many people have graduate degrees and are yet finding that there are no jobs for them in this economy. What’s the use of going back to school then? To get in more debt? To waste more time?

“Several excuses are always less convincing than one.” – Aldous Huxley

You guys, the list goes on and on and on. Just ask my friends and family. They will tell you that I keep on coming up with a very rational, yet very useless excuse NOT TO DO.

Here’s the thing about excuses, guys. After I repeat all seven of those excuses to myself over and over again, guess what? What has all those “great reasons” done for me? Did any of those excuses get me what I wanted? Did any of them change my life for the better? Absolutely not. After I recite my favorite excuses, I’m still left in a career I dislike at a job I don’t want to work at with a degree I don’t need.

Satan makes you think that using his great excuses will make you happier where you are in life. He wants you to think that if you keep applying his excuses, you will be content with your decision not to get into the ministry, with your decision not to go back to school, with you decision not to get training for a different job, with your decision not to apply for the promotion, etc. But this is not true! You’re still probably miserable! I’m not saying that contentment and appreciation for where you are in life right now is a bad thing, but what I’m saying is that no amount of great excuses will make you feel any better about something you already dislike. All excuses do is postpone your dreams. You’re still going to want to achieve those SAME dreams, even if you wait a year to start on them or even a decade. And waiting to begin will only make it harder on you because the things that are easier for a single, childless, mortgage-less, career-less 20 year old is MUCH harder to achieve for a 40 year old married mother of five children who is already ten years into her displeasing career and only ten years into paying off her thirty year mortgage.

Let’s apply this to dating relationships. Satan will give you so many excuses NOT to marry. #1 You know the divorce rate in America is 50% #2 You know they say that so many African-American men have HIV because they are closeted homosexuals who will only use his wife as a cover to make him look heterosexual. #3 You know people aren’t faithful in their marriages anymore. He’s going to probably have three affairs on you after you get old and saggy. #4 Watch him flip on you during the honeymoon. Sure he looks sweet now, but he’s gonna get like Ike on Tina on you soon after you marry him. So don’t get tied to him in a marriage. #5 (Here’s a funny one) The world is going to end in a few months or few years anyway so just stay single and focus on ministry work.

“It is wise…to focus your energies on answers – not excuses.” – William Arthur Ward

I’m not suggesting you rush into a new career or marriage, but I suggest you seriously think about these “great excuses/reasons” you hear popping up in your head. Ask yourself did they likely originate with God or Satan? With insecurity or confidence? With fear and doubt or trust in God? If Satan is giving you fearful reasons not to do, then it is because he is afraid of the success that is to come in your future and so he desires to stop you. Hear are some words of wisdom that I have heard a while ago which I have never forgotten: The purpose of fear is to stop you. It wants to stop you from dreaming, achieving, applying, trying, interviewing, speaking, etc. So one way you can know that Satan’s device is at work is if fear is your motivator. If you’re not going to do something, let it be because it’s the wrong thing to do, because God doesn’t want you to do it, because it is a bad idea/bad decision. Don’t let it be because you MIGHT fail, because you may be embarrassed, because it may cost a lot of money, because it may take longer than you think, etc. EVERYTHING MIGHT fail, is that a reason for everyone to stop moving? Everyone who became a doctor or lawyer had great chances of failing in law school or med school. They had high risk of failing the LSAT, MCAT, and bar exam. But there are SO many lawyers and doctors out there! So what if all of those doctors and lawyers had said in their head, “What if I don’t pass the test or class?” Then we would have a scary world devoid of lawyers and doctors! So scratch that excuse out. EVERYTHING that EVERYONE does has the potential of failing. But some people don’t use that excuse to stop trying, so why do should you think that it is okay for you to use an excuse that did not work for others?

I believe that God will use me in the ministry to a fair extent. I believe that I will lead thousands to Christ as was prophesied to me. I believe that I will give hope to so many people with the messages, insights, wisdom, and revelation God has been blessing me with over the past several years. I am excited about what God is going to use me to do for Him in the ministry. So I’m preparing for whenever He needs me. And so because Satan is threatened by the damage that I can evoke in his kingdom, he is sowing an excuse here and a reason there to get me NOT to do. A reason NOT to get into the ministry. An excuse NOT to go to theological seminary. An excuse NOT to open my mouth and say what God gives me to say. He reminds me that I am a woman and that many Christians don’t want to hear God’s message coming from a woman. He reminds me of my age and that many ministers began preaching a younger age than me. He reminds me of my fear of public speaking so that if I am offered an opportunity to speak, I will try to talk myself out of it. He reminds me that I talk too fast and that in times past I have stumbled over my words and stuttered when I was very nervous. He reminds me that I’m introverted. None of these excuses say that ministry is a bad idea, it just tries to scare me out of ministry.

Let the rewards of reaching your dreams motivate you more than the excuses of how bad failure may feel to you. Refuse to take anymore of Satan’s excuses. For every excuse Satan gives you not to do something, give him two happy reasons why you should. If he tells you that you shouldn’t get pregnant by your husband because the world we live in is so perverted and dangerous, tell him that you would love nothing more than to lavish all your love on and raise a child of your own. That you find it so exciting to raise a child up in the fear of the Lord and help that child to be successful and impactful in this world. Now which sounds more exciting? Not having a baby or having a baby? Yeah, the world is full of child molesters and gun-toting schoolmates, but what does that have to do with the joy of raising a child? Don’t let Satan’s fears prevent you from walking in the rewards of your carrying out your heart’s desires!

“Bad excuses are worse than none.” -Thomas Fuller

Five More of Satan’s Devices of Which Not to Be Ignorant!

This is PART TWO of my blog note on “Satan’s Devices of Which Not to Be Ignorant”. I had the first six devices in that note, and here are FIVE more. Please refer to that note for the intro which is at this link: http://wp.me/p21nNI-9T. No need for me to retype it here!)

F O R G E T F U L N E S S

One of Satan’s devices that he uses most effectively against believers is “forgetfulness”. There are two things that Satan tries to get believers to forget. #1 – The battle is already won because you are on the winning team, God’s team. And #2 – He wants you to forget the many battles that God has already won on your behalf in many times past. If he can get you to forget those two things, he can cause you to either BE defeated or to FEEL defeated. And sometimes perceived defeat is almost as bad as actual defeat. For example, imagine that you are 20 years old when your doctor tells you that because of your current state of health, it’s only a matter of time before you die. And then you live to age 90 all the while thinking every day of those 70 years that you have just days left to live. Even though the doctor was not telling the truth, the fact that you lived 70 miserable years made you live a defeated life – even though it was a long-lived, DEFEATED life. Satan can have you thinking that you are doomed, damned, and defeated every day of your life when all the while you are winning and blessed from the very beginning!

You need to know that in this life – if you are a believer – you are a winner. You are a winner NOT because you are a great fighter, but because you are on the winning team! God’s team cannot lose! So if you are on a winning team, you will win because the team you are on is destined to win. And Satan’s team is destined to lose. That’s common sense. The game was fixed before the world began. God set it up so that He wins and Satan loses. And whoever is with God will win, and whoever is with Satan loses. One of Satan’s tactics is to get you to FORGET that. And when you forget that immutable fact, you begin to walk by SIGHT and not by FAITH. So when it looks like Satan is beating your butt, you forget that you’ve already won and then you concede that you’ve lost. And also, Satan wants you to FORGET that the same God who helped you through similar, previous battles will be the same VICTORIOUS God to help you through future battles. God can’t help but to be victorious. He was victorious in your struggles then, and He will still be victorious in your battles later. If He did it before, He can do it again. Please remember to never forget that Satan’s job is to have you to get amnesia about your predestined victory! The battle is already won. While Satan is over here trying to have you worried and stressed about trying to figure it all out, God has already worked it all out.

“F O O T-I N-T H E-D O O R”  T E C H N I Q U E

Another effective strategy that Satan enacts in the believer’s life is what is known in social psychology as the foot-in-the-door technique. For example, because Satan knows that he can’t directly, flat out ask a Holy Ghost-filled believer to do heroin or murder which will ruin his life, he may try to do this technique in order to increase the chances of you doing a “bigger” sin. For example, door-to-door salesmen may come to your door and ask you to accept a free offer for six months of a free weekly magazine subscription. If they come to your door and say, “Hey, ma’am. Please cancel your subscription of your favorite weekly magazine and buy a lifetime subscription of our similar magazine today instead,” of course, you would say something to the effect of, “No, thanks. I like my current subscription just fine.” But if they’re giving you FREE magazines for half a year, why not? But I hope you wouldn’t be foolish enough to think that the salesman is only knocking at your door to give you free magazines. Of course not! He’s ultimately after getting you to commit the rest of your life to BUYING his company’s magazine after those free six months run out. But he’s wise enough to know that it will take the foot-in-the-door technique to even have a fighting chance.

Satan is wiser than your average door-to-door solicitor. He knows that he will not likely have you willingly and knowingly commit to living a lifetime of sin for him and for the destruction of your flesh and soul. So he will apply this foot-in-the-door technique. He will offer you some bait for free while he slowly pushes open the door later for more costly offers later on. The free stuff he offers you puts a crack in the door, and then later, because you’re already so well-acquainted with his mess, he knows that the next time he knocks, you’ll open the door a little wider. If you let the free magazines in your house for half a year, why wouldn’t you pay a low price for the same magazine you accepted already? Satan knows that Christians are too wise to pay for anything he’s offering, so he’ll make it  a more easily acceptable gift TEMPORARILY. But you better know that he will come back later to get his due. Don’t even open the door! Treat him like you’d treat your local Jehovah Witness or Mormon when they knock on your door early one Saturday morning! Act like nobody’s home!

“M A J O R I N G   I N   T H E   M I N O R S”

Sadly, this one brings down many a believer. You can know Satan is at work when you find yourself “majoring in the minors” (which by default will have you “minoring in the majors”). Do you ever find you or many in your church home or denomination doing this? An example would be this: Does your pastor spend inordinate amounts of time telling his congregation what clothing and accessories and hairstyles to wear? Does he rant and rave every Sunday about men wearing cornrows and dredlocks? About women wearing pants or shorts? About men wearing earrings? About women wearing their hair short? Well that is a perfect example of one who is majoring in minors. Minors in this instance are little, almost insignificant details that have no bearing on one’s salvation. Well, even though these minors don’t bother God much, Satan will have many Christians fixated on minutiae details. I understand why some pastors may TOUCH on this topic. The bible does say in the new testament section that it is shameful for men to have long hair. The bible does say that women should not cut their hair because their hair is their glory and their covering. The bible does say that a woman should not wear that which pertains to a man. (HOWEVER, THAT LAST ONE WAS WRITTEN IN THE OLD TESTAMENT written for Jews under the MOSAIC LAW. This is not for the new testament believer, which is not to say that Christians should cross dress like transvestites!)

But I believe you get my point. God is not in heaven pulling his hair out because a Christian male has dredlocks. And to those of the Church of Christ denomination, Jesus is not dejected and losing His mind because a church used musical instruments in praise and worship on Sunday. And to those of the apostolic persuasion, angels are not mourning because a girl got her split ends clipped. So stop losing your mind over minors! And it doesn’t end there, guys. Satan’s mind is on bigger things because if Satan can cause you to major in a minor, he has likely effectively caused you to minor in a major. What I mean is that if you are spending 99% of your evangelism telling a woman that she needs to wear skirts and dresses to church, then that only leaves AT THE MOST 1% of the time for you to witness to her of God’s love and mercy, of Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross, and of the work of the Holy Ghost in their unregenerated soul. THOSE are the majors. Most of your speech in soulwinning and disciple-making should be about LOVE, GRACE, MERCY, FORGIVENESS, TRANSFORMATION, REGENERATION, etc. But you don’t have time for the MAJORS when you’re still spending 90% of your time on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and Blogger accounts fixating on how Christians should be Calvinists, or on how Christians should renounce all secular music, or on how Christians should be paying their pastor a tenth of their paychecks. Satan is laughing while you are stuck in the minors. Don’t let him win in this regard!

“T H E   S M A L L E R   P I C T U R E”

This here’s a good one that gets a lot of Christians upset with God! How many of you have lost the faith or gotten angry with God because of a bad diagnosis from your doctor, the loss of a loved one, or serious, long-term financial woes? Well, you can know that Satan has unleashed a tactic on you that I will refer to as “The Smaller Picture”. This is the opposite of the common phrase, “The Bigger Picture”. When something catastrophic happens to us, most people IMMEDIATELY take on the smaller picture. We think of only ourselves. We get into a pity party – which is totally understandable. We get disappointed, sad, and wonder why God has allowed such tragedy to hit us or our family. Especially if we know that we’ve been doing all we know to do to please the Lord in our lifestyles. We would understand getting a liver failure diagnosis if we were hard drinking every night at clubs. We would graciously accept lung cancer if we smoked tobacco, weed, crack, and meth on a regular basis. We would cope with losing a husband to another woman if we cheated on him every night. But what to do when you’ve been living holy when disaster strikes?

We have to keep sight of the bigger picture when disaster strikes. We have to remember that God lets nothing occur without purpose. I’ve heard of SO many examples of how God has lead people to change laws or begin support groups or sponsor scholarships after a tragedy has hit them or their family. And these people are your average good citizens who suffer in these ways. And instead of wallowing in their pain as they are expected to do, they turn their suffering into a support group and they turn their misery into ministries. This is because they saw the bigger picture. When they lose a daughter to that daughter’s abusive boyfriend, they find a way to change legislation that enforces stricter laws against domestic violence. When they have a son who is shot to death in the streets, they create a neighborhood watch group to meet weekly to protect the streets. When they lose a mother to cancer, they begin to save money for a yearly scholarship for a child who has lost a parent to cancer. Susan B. Komen did not die in vain, her sister Nancy G. Brinker promised her that she would do everything in her might to end breast cancer forever. Komen’s family has raised so much money for breast cancer research and awareness because of their family tragedy.

Now some people will internalize their pain and just feel sorry for themselves until they die. They will refuse to convert their pain into productivity to help save and extend the lives of others. Don’t let Satan do this to you. Don’t let Satan let you trade in the bigger picture for the smaller picture. The bigger picture makes sense of your pain. The smaller picture makes God look cruel. The bigger picture makes you help hundreds or thousands of others who will go through your current situation. The smaller picture makes you suffer in vain. You pain is not without purpose. God trusted YOU and your family with that tragedy. Don’t let Satan make you undependable to God. God really is relying on you to minister to others who have gone through, are going through, and who will go through your pain.

“E X T R E M I S M”/”R A D I C A L I S M”  D E C I S I O N-M A K I N G

I’m using these two words differently than the political definition you might be used to. When I say extremism or radicalism, I am referring to someone going too far in the opposite direction because of one painful fact that they have difficulty coping with. For example, if a man marries a man because two women he dated broke his heart. Or if a man refuses to ever work another job because he had a bad experience with a boss/coworker/client. Just because of one, three, or even ten bad experiences, some people will go to the EXTREME and make very dumb decision. This is a strategy that Satan uses on believers and unbelievers alike. I know of two unbelievers who were raised in the church but who – because of this satanic strategy and others – have left the faith. Satan had them going to the EXTREME about things. For example, if they know of ONE pastor who was exposed for raping a child, they would make that one offense apply across the board to all other Christian pastors. They would see a news report on the one pastor and would conclude that EVERY Christian pastor must be secretly molesting children. They might have personally known a pastor who misappropriated church funds to buy a Bentley for his own personal greed, and then they would concur that EVERY SINGLE PASTOR in the world is using the tithes and offerings to buy personal objects. And because of ONE PASTOR, they are willing to go to hell.

Satan will have you living a life to the extreme. He’ll let you have one bad experience and will then whisper in your ear some mess that will have you running off the deep end. If you experience a church hurt, don’t get DRASTIC with your decision-making because of it. For some people who’ve been hurt by a Christian pastor, instead of them logically saying, “Man, that pastor was a bad man. He raped someone./He embezzled church funds. I’m glad all pastors aren’t like that. I will try to find a pastor who lives a life of integrity,” they say, “See, that’s why I don’t go to church. ALL them pastors want is to use their members for sex./ALL them pastors do is spend the members money on their greedy lusts. I’ll never set foot in another church again,” It is basically insane to assume that every pastor rapes women or steals money just because one, ten, or even a hundred pastors raped someone or embezzled money. That is how you can know Satan is at the root of it. God nor logic would ever say that because ONE human did something, every human of a similar occupation will do it. Just because ONE Caucasian police officer is racist against blacks and does racial profiling does not mean that EVERY Caucasian cop is racist. Even if you can name 100 racist White cops does not mean that every single White cop that has existed, that does exist, or that will exist will be a racist cop that racial profiles against blacks. If you believe that, Satan is at work in your mind and it is only a matter of time before he brings you down. Don’t allow him to set up shop in your mind with this foolishness. ONE does not translate into ALL. One hundred of a thousand does not translate into ALL. Let’s be rational and shut the devil up. Just because you know of ONE church/pastor that did wrong does not mean that ALL churches/pastors do wrong.

These are just FIVE of MANY of Satan’s devices mind you. Satan has SO many tricks up his sleeve for us! He’s no one-trick pony! He gets creative with his devices. Again, please read the first note for the first six devices that I believe God has been gracious enough to expose to me. And Lord willing, there will be at least two more notes on this topic in the near future. Be blessed, and do not forget these devices!

Six of Satan’s Devices of Which Not To Be Ignorant

Be Not Ignorant of Satan’s Devices…

Satan would love for the world. and these deluded people to think.    that these people represent Christ

For so long, Satan has gotten the upper hand of me. He’s defeated me in so many ways in which I was not even aware that there was a battle. The bible tells us not to be ignorant of Satan’s devices. So that tells us TWO things: 1. Satan has scheme/plots/plans/devices/strategies under his belt. 2. These devices can be unknown/secretive/clandestine/covert.

Just think in the natural world. When a team is playing basketball or football, they have a play book. This book is to be 100% confidential as far as the other team is concerned. The other team should not know the plans of the opposing team. The plans are supposed to be kept secret so that the team can ultimately DEFEAT the competitor. The other team is to be IGNORANT of the schemes in the other team’s playbook. They can know that the play book exists because I believe every professional team has a playbook, but it is the job of the coach to make sure that the play book does not fall into the wrong hands.

The same goes with covert operations in a war. The enemy is not to know what the other country has under its sleeve as far as attacks are concerned. That is a rule in war.

Well that’s how it goes with Satan, but let’s give him more credit than that. His tricks are FAR superior than the schemes and plays of sports teams and armies. Remember, Satan has been studying human nature since the very beginning. I’m talking about the FIRST TWO HUMANS WHO EVER WALKED THE FACE OF THE EARTH were deceived by Satan in his FIRST attempt! He was good at what he did then, and who are kidding, Satan can only have gotten better at it with time. Some speculate that it’s about 7,000 years later since Adam and Eve were around. Seven millennia and billions of people later will give you a lot of time to practice!

I thank God for the bible. The bible records many of Satan’s devices. If you look through the Old and New Testaments, you can see records of how Satan brought people down. Be not ignorant of His devices. KNOW the enemy. Learn his ways. You should be able to see him coming from a mile away. The older I get in the faith, the more I spot him further away. It used to be that I couldn’t see Satan at work until the damage was already done. But God and the Holy Spirit are making it so that I am PREVENTATIVE against his attacks by knowing which situations Satan works best in and by knowing how he operates. We already know that Satan works through our fleshly lusts and desires, but let’s look at some more unforeseen ways that you would not likely suspect. Satan already knows that seasoned Saints already know to avoid alcohol, drugs, parties, secular music, sex without one’s husband and wife, sexual images, profanity, etc. He knows most Christians can’t be outsmarted by those obvious temptations. So he works in other ways to bring down those in the church. I pray that you all are blessed by this note.

D I V I S I O N

Reading the bible has shown me that God loves the number ONE. He likes when we work as one even though we have many “body parts” and many gifts and ministries. Romans 12:4-5 talks of there being ONE body of Christ. Romans 15:6 talks of Christians glorifying God with ONE mind and ONE mouth. 1 Corinthians 1:10-13 and 1 Corinthians 3:3 talk of how there should be no division and that we should be of ONE and the same baptism, “thing”, mind, and judgment. 1 Corinthians 10:17 talks of us being ONE body and ONE bread. 1 Corinthians 12’s chapter talks of how we are ONE body. 2 Corinthians 13:11 talks of us being of ONE mind. Galatians 3:28 say that we are ONE. Ephesians 4:4 talks of ONE faith and ONE baptism. Philippians 1:27 speaks of us having ONE spirit and ONE mind. Philippians 2:2 talks of us being of ONE accord and ONE mind. Colossians 3:15 talks of being of ONE body. I Peter 3:8 tells us to be of ONE mind. God clearly LOVES when we operate as ONE!

All the aforementioned bible verses prove that God wants us thinking and operating as ONE. But for some reason there are at least 33,000 Christian denominations. How does ONE spirit, ONE mind, ONE faith, ONE baptism, ONE mouth, ONE accord, and ONE body end up in at LEAST 33,000 denominations? Do you think that GOD has anything to do with that high number of division? Absolutely not. Where division is, you can know that Satan is at work. All the talk God gives us of ONE in the New Testaments helps us to know that all these divisions are one of Satan’s devices. When unbelievers hear that Christians disagree in at least 33,000 ways with regards to Christian doctrine, worship, theology, soteriology, and methodology, it makes them mock us. They can’t figure how we all read the same bible that has the same truths and yet can’t agree on the ONE thing God meant in the bible. One of Satan’s devices is division. I’m sure you’ve heard of “divide and conquer”. Well that’s one way in which Satan works. He knows he is POWERLESS against Christ’s ONE huge Christian body. But when it comes to many (33,000?) smaller bodies, he can work well in that. And he has.

W R O N G   A G R E E M E N T S

Satan isn’t as powerful as we think. He can’t really do anything to us unless we ALLOW him too. He has to first get us to AGREE with him before he can wreak havoc in our lives. And do we not agree with him every chance he gives us to? He can have an evil spirit whisper in your ear that you’re gay, and without even thinking, you’ll agree with the evil spirit thinking that it’s your own mind telling you something that it’s true. And guess what? You won’t act on something that you don’t agree with. For example, I won’t murder someone unless I first reach an agreement in my mind that it would be a good idea to do so.

Remember in the wilderness after Jesus had a 40 day fast in Luke 4:3-13? Satan tried to give Jesus an idea. And if Jesus was like us and agreed with Satan, he would have acted on the temptation. But because Jesus has nothing in common with evil, he of course disagreed with Satan. Jesus was not ignorant of Satan’s devices. So what happened? Jesus rejected Satan’s suggestions and the bible says that Satan departed for a SEASON! Imagine that! Imagine a season in which Satan does not try to tempt you to sin! If you learn his devices well enough, you can possibly be free of Satan for a season! Many of us agree with doctors’ bad reports and say that because our parents and grandparents had a certain disease that we too must eventually get this or that disease. We agree with our haters’ opinions of us and say that we will not succeed in life. We agree with the 50% divorce statistic and say it’s only a matter of time before our marriages fail. And in many cases, it’s only after we AGREE with the enemy that chaos ensues. Stop making wrong agreements with Satan. It’s one of his devices! Look at what happened when Adam and Eve made a wrong agreement with Satan instead of with God about a particular tree:

WHAT GOD SAID: Genesis 2:17 – But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

WHAT SATAN SAID: Genesis 3:4 – And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall N O T surely die:

O F F E N S E

My pastor and first lady blessed me SO with this topic! I thank God for it even today. They taught and preached on it for several weeks. Offense is one of Satan’s most successful devices. Satan can work most effectively in an offended heart. If you are easily offended, I can accurately assume that you have much mess going on in your life between you and your family, friends, coworkers, church members, and spouse. I bet Satan used offense to ruin your relationships. Maybe your husband said that your chicken needed a little more seasoning. Maybe your coworker made you look bad in front of a boss by telling her a mistake you made. Maybe your mother showed favoritism to your brother over you. Maybe your best friend chose someone else as her maid-of-honor.

And maybe this all happened 20 years ago and you STILL are harboring resentment and bitterness about it. Satan likes people like you. If you can hold a grudge, Satan can use you. And he WILL use you. And I can bet your bottom dollar that he IS using you. Satan always works in an atmosphere of unforgiveness. Forgiveness is what God majors on, and so you know that what God loves is what Satan hates. Forgive quickly and thoroughly and watch Satan flee from all of your relationships. He can’t work well in a relationship that is flourishing with forgiveness! The thing about unforgiveness is that you can’t pray for someone you hate, you can’t love someone you hate, you can’t evangelize or preach to someone you hate. So when you are offended by and unforgiving of someone, it’s one of the ways Satan prevents you from being used of God to lead someone to Christ. If Satan can convince you to be offended, he has convinced you not to minister to someone. And so that enacts part TWO of his device. You may be the ONE person God was going to use to lead this person to Christ; but since you now are not speaking to the person and blocked them from your Facebook and Twitter, they may never hear or experience the love of God. You may be the only “bible this person will ever read”.

 Proverbs 17:9 – Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.

Proverbs 19:11 – Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.

I G N O R A N C E/P A R A N O I A/I N S E C U R I T Y/S U S P I C I O N

The reason I put these four words together because they are related because of the fact that all four lack or may lack one thing: TRUTH/REALITY. If you are ignorant of something, it means that you are unaware of the truth of its existence – unaware that it is REAL. To be paranoid is to believe that things that are not real are real. To believe that lies are truth. Paranoid people for example may think that the CIA is out to kill them or that some woman at her job is hating on her and trying to get her fired when that is so far from the truth; suspicion is related because it can make you paranoid. And insecurity is when someone believes that aspects of themselves are causing them to be inferior to others or disliked by others when that is not true. An insecure person may think that she must look bad if she walks in a room and a group of people start laughing. Or an insecure girlfriend may think that everytime her boyfriend’s phone rings that it’s his ex-girlfriend. Or an insecure boyfriend may think that everytime his girlfriend doesn’t answer the phone that she’s with another man. Insecurity has to do with imagining lies as being the truth.

Satan can destroy the trust in a Christian marriage by convincing one spouse that the other is being unfaithful. He can ruin the trusting relationship between a pastor and his congregation by making the pastor believe that some of his members are thinking of leaving his church because they dislike his preaching all of sudden. Satan can cause trouble between a coworker and a manager because at the next meeting, the boss may say there is a new policy on absentees a week after you called in sick on Monday and Friday. And so you get paranoid that the boss is talking about you. Assumptions come from paranoia, ignorance, and insecurity. And these assumptions are not based on truth and so they can cause a lot of trouble in relationships.

Satan is the father of all lies. Wherever a lie is, please and just know that it has started with Papa Satan. He knows that truth sets free. He knows that lies bound and cause grief. So he tells lies. He starts lies. He suggests things that lead to lies. Don’t operate off of lies. Operate based off of truth. And truth is not one and the same with facts. A doctor’s fact that people with your form of cancer are doomed within 6 months. But God’s truth about that same kind of cancer can be that you can be healed in a day with a full recovery. So Satan can sometimes defeat you with FACTS that are not God’s truths. Where lies are being spread, know that Satan is at work with a demonic scheme to destroy. He knows that if the truth got out about everything, then he would be powerless. He gets his powers from YOUR belief in HIS lies.  When you stop believing his false reality/lies/attempts to make you paranoid and insecure, he has lost in his tactic against you in this regard.

Romans 10:3 – For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

2 Corinthians 2:11 – Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.

1 Samuel 18:6-9 – And it came to pass as they came, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women came out of all cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet king Saul, with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of musick. And the women answered one another as they played, and said, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands. And Saul was very wroth, and the saying displeased him; and he said, They have ascribed unto David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed but thousands: and what can he have more but the kingdom? And Saul eyed David from that day and forward.

P R I D E

Last but not least, Satan defeats those who love God by using one of his most effective tools/weapons of PRIDE. I cannot stress the importance of humility in the life of the believer. Remember how that even the “best” Jews of Jesus’ time were defeated and damned because they had too much pride to admit their inefficiencies and weaknesses when it came to pleasing God according to His holy standard. They did not receive Jesus because He required that they humble themselves and admit that they were sinners who needed a Savior. Satan can work more easily in a prideful heart than even an offended heart.

An example in how Satan works in this way is when he convinces you to apply pride to your repentance. You can have done a sin and yet be too prideful to repent of it. I knew a guy who was very lustful in his heart and deeds. And when I told him about it, he denied ever being lustful towards his girlfriend even though he and his girlfriend were close to having sex on several occasions. He had a title in the church, and so I suppose he felt that being a minister was incompatible with being horny. So instead of humbling himself and admitting that fault, he instead denied ever wanting to have premarital sex. And because he never humbled himself enough to repent of this sin, he of course never repented on this sin. Therefore, he never received forgiveness for this sin if he has not repented of it.

Pride will cause you to deny any wrongdoing, faults, or weaknesses. And when you don’t admit to having a problem, you never confess the problem. And you never receive forgiveness for something you can’t agree to have done. Satan used pride to keep that young man from receiving God’s forgiveness. I don’t know if he ever repented of it, but if he did not, Satan did a work in his life. God does not allow for any pride in the lives of Saints. He wants total humility from us. Humility is not just a cute word to refer to yourself as. Having humility means that you ask for forgiveness everytime you sin. Having humility means that you never think that you are too holy to make a mistake. Having humility shows me that you ALWAYS run to God for much-needed forgiveness. So conversely, to lack humility means that you rarely if ever ask for forgiveness because you can’t agree that you make mistakes.

It’s so sad to see preachers who are so tough on their congregation be exposed for the wildest sins. I’m talking about being caught having 15 year affairs with a prophetess in the church. I’m talking about molesting five BOYS in his congregation. I’m talking about pastors who kill their wives, chop them up, store them in the freezer for years all so that they can have an incestuous relationship with their daughter. I’m talking about embezzling THOUSANDS of dollars from members “tithes & offerings”. I’ve heard all these TRUE stories and more! It’s crazy how the most prideful, self-righteous people have the most unbelievably secret sins. That’s because pride is one of the best ways to cover one’s sin. If you allow pride in your life, already know that Satan has some BIG, disastrous plans for you and those closely associated with you. Pride destroys. The bible says that by pride, people bring about their own downfall.

 1 Timothy 3:6 – Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.

 Proverbs 16:18 – Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

I Peter 5:5 – …be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

 D I S T R A C T I O N S

Remember the story about the Mary and Martha sisters? One sister was so busy cleaning and being a good hostess that she was missing out on a spiritual blessing from the Messiah. She even tried to get the Messiah to cause her sister to miss out on her blessing! She confused busyness for Jesus for being doing the work of the Lord. Satan can have people so busy singing in a choir, ushering the congregation to their seats, vacuuming after church services, and playing the drums that they forget to minister to others spiritually. This is not to make light of ushers and choir members, but sometimes, God just wants you to evangelize to your family member. But you’re so busy at church that the people who are “sick” are not getting a “physician”, but the people who are “well” are.

I encountered this in my blogging frenzy and my church attendance craving. I would spend countless hours writing spiritual notes for my blog. And so I was ministering in that regard because many people were blessed by the notes. But if someone wrote me  a private message asking for prayer, I thought I was too busy with ministry to minister! I would get annoyed and say to myself, “Why don’t she just pray for herself?! I can’t be her relationship with God!” And I would be so busy at times going to church that I wouldn’t even stop to be a loving Christian witness to those in my every day life like friends, family members, and coworkers. I was so busy LOOKING churchy that I had no time to BE the Christian I should have been for God. Satan will have you so busy that you will think that you do not have time to do the things God wants you to do.

There are such thing as church distractions because many of the things we do in church today have nothing to do with the church we read about in the New Testament. The New Testament church and Jesus were out and about ministering to the hurting and lost. Church today seems very into ministering to only those who are saved IN the church’s four walls. Many church folk would rather hold up a hurtful pro-life sign outside of an abortion clinic instead of kindly approaching the expectant mother, praying for her, asking her why she feels the need to do this, and offering her options other than abortion. Many Christians will hold up hateful signs at gay rallies and parades instead of pulling a homosexual to the side, praying for them, and doing spiritual deliverance from the spirit of perversion. Be not ignorant of even this most surprising device.

These are just six of MANY of his devices. I chose these six because they are the six in which Satan won many battles against me. I thank God for informing me of this in order that I might gain the victory over Satan in my life through Christ Jesus! Please read my newer note which lists five MORE of Satan’s devices that he uses quite effectively in the believer’s life.

Lazy Lovin’: Getting In the Relationship Is Easy, But How Long Can You Keep It?

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What do you do when you’ve prayed and prayed and prayed, and God still has not stepped into your situation? You’ve prayed for a spouse, and no spouse showed up. You’ve prayed for a job, and no employers’ have called. You’ve prayed to get out of debt, and you’re yet still in debt. Is God being lazy?

No. YOU are the lazy one.

Christians have the motto, “Pray until something happens.” And many Christians believe that they should not make any moves until God does something. They believe it is the mark of the spiritually mature to be still and see the work of the Lord. And in many cases this is true. But in some cases, it is laziness for an adult Christian to sit around and do nothing and to blame the Lord for nothing taking place.

I’ve seen this same laziness in people who read horoscopes and who believe in zodiac signs. They can meet a great guy, but as soon as they find out that their signs are “incompatible”, they stop all efforts of trying to have a successful relationship with the guy. They say, “It’s not worth it! It’s not in the stars for us anyway. He’s a Cancer, and I’m a Gemini. It’ll never work!” That is relationship laziness.

Some people may even do this with birth order. I hear that birth order is the number one predictor of one’s personality. This is probably said because your family of orientation is the first relationship you’ve had with people of the opposite sex for many years. If you’ve been the middle child for 25 years, you’re going to have middle child tendencies. If you’ve been the baby of the family of 13 children for 18 years, you’re going to have much in common with other children who are the youngest in their large families. If you’ve been the eldest of five for 14 years, there will be some personality traits that you will share with most other oldest children. And if you’ve been the only child of your parents for 20 years, that will shape a lot about you too. And these traits will likely follow you throughout your life since you’ve been trained with them in a controlled environment for at least 18 years. But is that an excuse to never date a great woman you met who’s a middle child because a book said that you as an only child are very incompatible with middle children? That is laziness not to try!

Many Christians do this. Especially Christians who have fear of failure, fear of intimacy, and fear of commitment. When a person has a fear of being hurt, they can find creative ways to avoid being hurt. And when a Christian has a fear of being hurt, they find seemingly “Christian” ways to avoid being hurt.

I’ll speak from a personal experience. My little sister bought a book called “Marriability”. And this book was written by a married couple who wrote about things that keep us single without our knowing. And one blessed chapter was about Christians. It talked of how many Christian women who have fear of being hurt will sometimes lie to themselves and say something to the effect of, “I’m not going to be actively looking for a spouse. I’ll actually just sit here in my house/apartment until God sends somebody my way. If GOD wants me married, there is nothing that I can do to stop that from happening. It won’t matter if I’m sloppy-looking, dressed in rags, have poor hygiene, and am as mean as a rattlesnake. Can’t me or nobody else prevent the plan of God for my love life!”

How delusional! Not even God will override the desires and will of a man for what he desires in a woman. If men want women who care about that looks, you need to remember that if you want a spouse. I think some people who fear the risk of hurt that comes with dating are the same people who say, “I’ll just sit here until God sends my prince(ss) to me. Why go out and date when I can get hurt? I’ll just stay safe in my comfort zone where no one can hurt me. The person God sends me will never hurt me. And the relationship with them will be effortless.” That is not true. Even someone that God sends your way can hurt you by mistake because they are imperfect. Even in a relationship that God send you, you will still have to put in a lot of work too. Even if you and the spouse are doing everything to make the relationship successful, please understand and know that many other people and spiritual enemies will fight your relationship. So you have to be strong with regards to the two of you and then also you have to be strong with regards to attacks that will come from the others.

So if you’re too lazy to get out and make yourself available and eligible for a relationship, what makes you think that you will have the energy to keep a relationship going? Haters will fight it. Exes will fight. Skeptical church members, friends, and families will fight it. And if you’re a Christian, Satan and his arsenal of demons will sure enough fight it! So since you know this, you know you will have to give it your all every step of the way.

Relationships are hard work. They are not easy. I’ve never heard anyone say either in real life or in the movies that their relationship has been effortless. Even if you and the person are compatible as a Taurus and a Cancer. Even if you and the person are compatible in your birth order – he’s the eldest brother of all sisters and you’re the baby girl of all brothers. Even if you both are preacher’s kids from the same denomination. Even if you two have the same intelligence level, same good looks, same socioeconomic status, and the same friends. Even with the foundation being pretty good, a relationship will be hard work at best.

We have to get the root of relationship laziness. I know someone who’s been trying to help a friend get a job. But the unemployed friend is very lazy. And so even if the working friend helps the other friend get a job, the lazy friend will not keep the job for long because the friend does not have the work ethic for keeping a job for a long time. He lost the last job because he was lazy, and until he gets to the root of his work laziness, he will stay being fired. So just as he needs to find out WHY he can’t keep a job, we constantly single people need to find out WHY we keep staying single even when we are able-bodied, attractive adults.

Relationships take work. Marriages take work. And I feel that Satan especially fights Christian marriages because he knows that every time a Christian marriage fails, it reflects poorly on Christianity as a whole. So when you get married as a believer, you better get ready with the skills to make it last in spite of Satan’s relentless attacks. And because relationships take a lot of work – two imperfect, flawed, sinful people trying to come together for a lifetime – you need to stop being lazy. You cannot do a job successfully with laziness. You can only do a hard job successfully with consistently hard work.

Let me tell you what I would do. I would meet a great guy. I would like him for a while. And then the minute I ran into an “obstacle”, I would stop trying to work at it and I would let it go. And that lack of stick-to-it-ness is what caused the relationships to fail. It wasn’t the obstacle – perceived or actual – it was my laziness. If the guy and I didn’t agree on everything, I would say to self, “See! That’s a sign right there! I shouldn’t be dating this guy!” If he liked a singer I didn’t like, or a sport I didn’t like, or a preacher I didn’t like, I took that to mean that God didn’t send him to me. I took that as a red flag for me to give up. I think I’m very fortunate in that God has sent MANY great guys my way. No alcoholics, no addicts, no abusers, no cheaters, no bums, but good quality men. And yet even though we both were eligible bachelor and bachelorette, I still found some way not to make it work with them. I had the materials to make a successful relationship; I just did not have the relationship work ethic.

That’s one thing I realized about myself. I’ve never fought for anything all my life. If a coworker or employer or client annoyed me too much, I would quit the job. If a club I joined had lost its excitement, I’d drop out of it. If a goal I made for myself became too difficult, I would either make the goal too easy or just quit the goal altogether. If I was given a prophecy and I didn’t feel like I believed in it one day, I’d just stop working to get what God promised me. If I didn’t like the pastor of my church or something he said, I’d leave the church. If a friend or family member made me mad, I would cut them off. If a Twitter follower or a Facebook friend rudely disagreed with something I wrote, I would delete or block them. I was L A Z Y! And needless to say, I had little to show for myself. I could have had so many more friends, could have been further along in the ministry, could have been closer to my family members, could have led many loved ones to the Lord, could have had a graduate degree, could have been married by now, etc. But because of my laziness, I would give up on things.

Everything you want is just outside of your comfort zone. The love life you want is just outside of your fear of intimacy. The career you want is just outside of your work ethic and your educational comfort zone. The health you want is just outside of your exercise and eating comfort zone. You will never attain anything of great worth in this life within your comfort zone. The only thing you will attain is comfort and regrets. Regrets that you didn’t work harder at that marriage. That you didn’t try to get the Master’s. That you didn’t persevere a little more with your pastor. That you weren’t more patient with that family member.
Comfort zone is the breeding ground for regrets.

Who told you that you should give up on something because it got hard? Did Moses give up on heading to the promised land because the way got hard? Did Abraham give up on having a son with Sarah because it looked impossible? Did David give up on honoring King Saul because Saul made it hard on him? Did Jesus give up on the Cross because it was difficult? Did Paul give up preaching the gospel because it got hard? No one has attained anything of great value in the bible by giving up when it got hard. Things getting hard are NO excuse to stop trying. Stop being lazy. Keep working at the thing until you achieve the thing. It’ll never get any easier. It’ll only get harder with time. NOW is the time. Now is easier than then. For example, it’s easier to go to graduate school right after undergraduate. It’s easier to work out the day after you worked out rather than waiting a week to work out again. Keep going even if it was hard the first time because it only gets harder when you wait.

Why Hate Religion? How Religion Can Help Relationship in Christianity

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Sometimes, religion can be a good thing…

While on my lunch break, I called a friend of mine who is an unbeliever. He jokingly said that I was religious. I told him that I was not. And I usually take offense to be being called religious. I usually say, “I’m not religious, I’m spiritual/I have relationship.” But this time, instead of being cliché, I proceeded to explain to him the difference between a person who has a close relationship with God and a person who is just religious without any true relationship with God. We often hear this as Relationship vs. Religion. Just recently there was a very popular YouTube video that became viral overnight. It’s called “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus”. The video was spoken word poetry by a young Christian man who was basically saying why he hated the Christianity religion, and yet retained all of his love for Jesus and the church. He received many likes on the video from people who were disillusioned with church rituals. (Here’s the link to the YouTube video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1IAhDGYlpqY)

Many believers are growing tired of the Christianity religion and its rituals. Wake up at 9:15am on Sunday morning. Get dressed. Drive to church. Let the ushers direct you to your seat. Stand up when the pastor says to. Pay what the pastor tells you to. Pray when the pastor says to. Fast every two weeks. Pay 10% of each paycheck. Eat this communion wafer. Drink this communion juice. Sing this song. Clap and sway this way. Come to the altar to repent. Come to bible study on Tuesday. Read the bible for 15 minutes every night. Listen to this worship CD on your way to work…Repeat.

I’ve done this ritual for almost my entire life. And lately, I’ve been hearing a lot of people say that so many people have RELIGION, but no RELATIONSHIP. They say religion as if it is profanity or if it is to despised. But while talking to my unbelieving friend, I realized quickly that religion – but more specifically RITUALS – is not always a bad thing. In fact, they can be a blessing.

I told my friend that a ritual can be anything that you do at a certain time over a long period of time. I used hygiene as a good example. For example, every morning, many adults wake up and hop in the shower or the tub. Then they brush their teeth. Then they apply deodorant. If they are not African-American, they usually wash their hair while in the shower. They do this EVERY morning RELIGIOUSLY. When people use the word “religiously”, they mean that a person does a certain activity CONSISTENTLY and FREQUENTLY. Without frequency and consistency, MOST things in your life will be ineffective and inefficient. If you apply consistency and frequency to just everyday routines, it will even help propel you into greatness. Greatness is not just achieved by being born with skill or even by sheer luck. Greatness at anything is usually achieved through practice (which is another way of looking at consistency and frequency).

Consistency denotes someone doing a particular thing every time. Some people get their oil changed on their car consistently whenever the mechanic tells them to. They do it on time every time they are told to change their oil. Some people pay “tithes” consistently. Whatever the Sunday is after they get their paycheck, they give 10% of their income. They do it EVERY Sunday after payday WITHOUT FAIL. But if someone pays tithes on every third paycheck, and then every first paycheck, and then every tenth paycheck, and then every second paycheck, then that is not CONSISTENCY. It has to be every time at the same time to be considered consistent.

Frequency denotes someone dong a particular thing OFTEN. If you have a particular type of obsessive-compulsive disorder, you wash your hands FREQUENTLY. Consistently washing your hands may just be washing your hands after every trip to bathroom, before meals, after meals, and after sneezing or coughing on your hands. But washing one’s hands FREQUENTLY could mean every 5 minutes. Some people pray FREQUENTLY. They don’t just pray at meals and before going to bed at night. Some people pray whenever they get a minute to get alone with God. Some people pray when in their car alone. Some people pray in the bathroom. Some people pray on their lunch breaks. Some people pray while talking their walk. These people pray FREQUENTLY.

Well, consistency and frequency are two important factors in the Christianity religion. If you don’t do Christian “rituals” consistently and frequently, then you will not be referred to as a religious person. People who only go to church on Christmas Day, Mother’s Day, and Easter will not be considered as people who attend church consistently or frequently. So if you remove CONSISTENCY and FREQUENCY from Christianity, what have you? Well, you’d have some pathetic Christians.

I work with toddlers at my job. They tell us to change our gloves after every diaper change/nose wipe. But how great would our hygiene be if we only changed our gloves after every second diaper change/nose wipe? Then after every fifth diaper change/nose wipe? Then after every third diaper change/nose wipe? Then after every tenth diaper change/nose wipe? We would putting one child’s feces on another child. We’d be putting the germs of one child’s mucus on another child. And what if that next child’s whose nose you wipe has a weakened immune system? And because of your INCONSISTENT handwashing this child catches a very serious disease? Change your gloves/wash your hands/use hand sanitizer after EVERY diaper change and nose wiping to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. I will be ineffective as a child care provider if I do not use consistency.

How great would your hygiene be if you brushed your teeth twice according to the following schedule: April 1, 5, 9, 13, 17, 21, 25, 29? Your breath would smell horrible and being near you would be unbearable! Notice the consistency though. It is every four days. That is consistent. But it’s not frequent enough! You will have inefficient dental hygiene if you do not use frequency.

So we can see in the natural that there are very practical ways in which consistency and frequency are beneficial to humans. But let’s apply this to our spiritual well-being. I can speak from personal experience. When I pray inconsistently and infrequently, things go awry in my life. But those days in which I pray first thing in the morning, talk to God on my way to work, and pray before bed, I have an AMAZING DAY and next day. I ASSURE YOU, when I do not pray as consistently and frequently, I have a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. So because of this Praying “Ritual”, I know what works and what doesn’t work in my faith walk. I know that praying for five seconds before rushing out of the door to work DOES NOTHING FOR ME OR GOD. But I now know what works.

When it comes to fasting, I have my Fasting “Ritual”. I fast every first day of the month. I eat or drink nothing for the entire 24 hours. (I had to make an exception for April 1st because my church had communion today and because I had to take an important medicine, but other than those things, I ate or drank nothing else.) I have done this for January, February, March, and April. And take me at my word, I cannot describe the blessings I have received from being faithful to the commitment I’ve made to God for this year of 2012 of abstaining for the 1st of each month. I know from the Old Testament that my God likes receiving the first of things – first-born sons and first fruits of a harvest – so I decided to give Him more attention on the first day of each month (so of course that included the first day of the year) than I did every other day of the month. I couldn’t imagine the blessings He’s bestowed on me because of the first day of the month fasts.

And with regards to church attendance, I go to church every Sunday and most Tuesdays for bible study. I love going to church. And I’m not going to be religious and ritualistic. I’m going because every time I go to church, I get blessed. I’ve found that church always leads me to a spiritual blessing. So since I’ve learned to associate church with blessings, I just add one word before church and before blessings. Consistent church attendance = Consistent blessings. Now, I don’t always get blessed as I would like especially when I visit different churches on Sundays or Tuesdays, but I usually do. So religiously and ritualistically attending church can cause you to be frequently and consistently blessed. If God told you that every time you went to church that He had a blessing waiting for you there, how often would you go? Let me guess… You would probably go CONSISTENTLY and FREQUENTLY. You would attend church religiously. Observers would say that you attend church as if it were a ritual. But you wouldn’t care because unlike them, you are being consistently and frequently blessed.

Now if you are going to a dead church without the spirit of God working through the members and the pastor, then don’t expect to be consistently and frequently blessed. But if you are connected to the right “activity” and the right people consistently and frequently, then expect God to bless you “religiously”!

How would you feel if you had a husband or wife or child or best friend who you only heard from every 5 weeks? That relationship would suffer tremendously and bring a lot of resentment and hurt to you. What if you worked a job where your paychecks were not consistent? The boss paid you every ten days, after that every 3 days, after that every 40 days, after that every 2 days, after that every 180 days? You’d not stay at that job for long!

So as we see, in order for your relationships, health, and Christian walk to be EFFECTIVE and EFFICIENT, it must have consistency and frequency. Religion is characterized by consistency and frequency. If you already have relationship with God and the Holy Spirit, then religion can sometimes consistently help the relationship and frequently keep the door open for the Holy Spirit to continue moving in your life.

Christ’s Salvation Supply vs. Demand – I’ll Never Know How Much It Cost!

I was so blessed a few weeks ago when God began to explain to me the gospel of salvation using the marketing concept of supply vs. demand. Here’s what I learned.

If you know anything about supply vs. demand, you know that whenever the DEMAND for an item increases AND when the SUPPLY of that item decreases, then the COST of that item can increase. Let’s use diabetes for example. So many have and are dying of diabetes. But there is no cure for it. So if the cure were to finally be discovered for diabetes, EVERYONE who has a loved one with diabetes and who has diabetes will want this cure. So without a doubt, the demand for the diabetes cure will be high. (Only when something is highly needed or desired, its demand increases. Conversely, when something is not really wanted or needed, then its demand decreases.) But let’s say that only a limited supply of the diabetes cure is produced. Imagine the prices people would be willing to pay for that diabetes cure! If there are 3 million people suffering from diabetes, and the pharmaceutical company only makes enough of the cure for 1 million people, then people would pay very high prices to be 1 of the lucky 1/3 who gets the cure. When the demand is high and the supply is low, the cost paid will be great.

DEMAND

The demand for salvation is VERY high. Whether we all know it or not, we all need salvation BADLY. If we knew how horrorshow an eternity without Christ would be and how empty a life on earth without Christ is, we would all be demanding a Savior. Every single person whose ever lived since Christ’s sacrifice has been in dire need of salvation. So because EVERYONE needs salvation BADLY, the demand for a Savior is very HIGH. Everyone needs a Savior. Good thing there is ONE readily available to us.

SUPPLY

Because salvation is necessary, we ought to be grateful that God has readily supplied us with a Savior. However, there is only ONE Savior so that means that the Savior supply is very LOW. There are not three Saviors you can choose from. There is only One. So because the supply is so low, it shows us something about what the COST of a Savior must have been. When the supply for something is low when the demand for that something is high, then the cost can go up for that something.

For example, Jordan sneakers are always high in demand among African-Americans. When the newest Jordan sneakers are put on the market, Nike only produces a certain number of them. So the cost becomes very high because so many people want a pair for them and their children. There may be 1 million African-American males who want the shoes, but Nike may only produce and supply 500,000 of them. And if you want to be the cool guy on the block, you will pay the high price in order to obtain those shoes. When you become desperate for something, you will be willing to do just about anything for it. Desperation definitely plays a part in how much people will pay for something.

Another popular item today is the Call of Duty video game. I believe the next edition will be Call of Duty 5. So when that video game comes out, let’s just say that there will probably be about 200 million males who want it. But there will not be enough produced to be supplied for each of these persons. So the cost will be high. Jordans and Call of Duty are highly wanted, so they are in demand. And because they are in demand, the makers of these products know that they can get away with charging inflated prices for them. People will wait in long lines wrapped around a building into the wee hours of the morning sleeping in tents in freezing weather for these items. That’s how wanted they are for many men today.

When something is highly desired/needed by a large number of people, the supplier can charge exorbitant prices for that item especially if they don’t make enough of them for each person. When people are DESPERATE for something, they will pay high prices for it. The same goes for cures and treatments of catastrophic illnesses. If you or a loved one has cancer, you will pay almost anything to have the cure for it. If you are desperate to fit in, you will pay whatever for those Jordans. If you are desperate to live, you will pay whatever for that cancer treatment.

An interesting thing about Supply is that when there is TOO much of something available, people are usually not going to pay much or anything for it because they will not APPRECIATE it. Just think about it. If there were 10 billion Saviors in existence on earth today, how much would you appreciate a single one of them? If you got mad at one Savior, you could just go off on him and find another to your liking. But if there’s just ONE Savior, you appreciate Him for taking on the huge responsibility of saving billions. For example, a man who is surrounded with easily access to free sex with any beautiful woman he wants will soon lose appreciation for the beautiful gift of sex and women. But if he only gets to have sex with one woman his whole life, he will appreciate her. If you want people to truly appreciate something, you have to make sure they have limited access to it. That’s why monogamous marriages are so precious. God knew that in order for us to truly appreciate something, we must have a few or just ONE of that something. Calvinists – who believe that precious salvation was only supplied to a limited amount of people who were chosen from before the foundation of the world – will agree with this because they feel that because God was so kind as to have bestowed this very needed gift on them makes it more precious. How precious would you feel if the world’s most demanded shoes were only supplied for you? Or if the video game that EVERYONE wanted was only in your home. Or if the cure for Alzheimer’s was only available to you? You would appreciate it so much more. I’m not a Calvinist, but this would fit into their ideology.

COST

Now, let’s move on to the third factor of this dynamic which is COST. The cost of something is very closely dependent upon what something is worth. You cannot charge $50 for a crumb you found on the floor because crumbs have no value. There are instances where people will pay inordinate amounts of money for things with no value. For example, you may not pay $100 for a used napkin. But if you are told that it was the same napkin that Elvis wiped his sweaty brow with while performing on stage, you may pay for it because it has intrinsic value. But for the sake of keeping things simple and for writing this note, let’s say that there are things that generally have little to no value and that there are things that have much value. So as I was saying, crumbs and napkins are near worthless. So because they have little worth, they are free.

But let’s think of Jesus the Christ. The demand for Him IS very high. (Notice how I said “IS” high and not “WAS” high.) The demand for Jesus Christ as our Savior is very high still today. The demand is high partly because hell is so horrible. It’s high partly because hell lasts too long to be as horrible as it’s going to be. It’s high partly because our sin debt was so great that we could never pay it off without a Savior. It’s high partly because God chose to supply us with only ONE Savior.

And since God only chose to supply us with ONE Savior, it helps us to appreciate Jesus the more. Since the supply was so low, the cost went up. And can we not all agree that Jesus was the greatest sacrifice? He cost so much. Remember that He was also God’s ONLY begotten Son. And only a Son of God could be the Savior; and there was only One God Son so it cost God so much because it was His ONLY Son. So because he was the ONLY Savior. So His worth and cost should be of much value to us. I believe that once some people fully grasp that Jesus was the ONLY worthy sacrifice, they will appreciate Him and His gift of salvation much more. Because some people still believe that good works and self-righteousness are their Saviors, they don’t appreciate that Jesus is the only Savior. But once you realize that the ONLY reason you’re getting into heaven is because of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice, you will bow down and worship Him. When you realize that the ONLY person who could save you from damnation decided to go ahead and take on the task, you will be changed.

It’s hard for us to put a price tag on this Ultimate Sacrifice. A song goes, “I’ll never know how much it cost to see my sins upon the Cross.” How true! We know the demand was high and we know the supply was low, but we STILL cannot figure precisely how many millions, billions, or trillions of dollars to put on the price of Salvation. I say that is because it is priceless. How much could your worst enemy pay you to let them sacrifice your beloved, innocent son on a Cross? Unless you are a wicked parent, there would be no amount that they could pay you to do that to you and your child.

This leads me to another factor that I had not previously thought of. LOVE. When you think of how much Jesus “cost” God, it shows you an INKLING of how much God values us! Jesus was the most important thing to God, and yet He gave Him up for us. What love God showed to us when He gave His beloved Son to die for us! Remember when I gave the example of a napkin that is worthless? Well that’s how I feel about our worth to God. I don’t see why God values us. But He paid a high price for something that is worthless. But as I said with the Elvis Presley napkin, a lover of Elvis would pay much money for that napkin. There is something about us that God values. I have not been able to put my finger on it, but there is something about us. I guess it would be like how a parent values their children even though their children cannot do much for them. Children can’t get insurance policies on them because they are unable to produce much of value. But an adult can have a $500,000 insurance policy in the event of his death to give to his wife. But yet children are still considered very valuable to their parents.

The bible verses below show us that God’s love for us moved Him enough for Him to pay a large price to save us.

1 John 4:9 – “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.”

1 John 4:10 – “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

1 John 3:1 – “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.”

John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

1 John 3:16 – “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.”

John 15:13 – “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”

If your love for someone does not cost you anything, you might need to question your love. If your love for your husband does not move you to give up your boyfriends, then you don’t love him. If your love for your children does not move you to stop hanging out all night so that you can spend quality time with them, then you don’t love them as much as you could be. If your love for people doesn’t move you to fast and pray for them, then you may need to question your love. Love costs something. Imagine if John 3:16 read, “For God SO loved the world, that He refused to give up His only begotten that whosoever could have believed in Him still ended up in eternal damnation.” If it read thusly, we would seriously reconsider God’s love for the world. If your love someone leaves them in the same damned state that they were in before they met you, then your love isn’t worth having.

So show appreciation to the great price Jesus paid to save our sin-sick souls. The demand was H I G H (- we all needed a Savior). The supply was L O W (- there was only One Savior provided for us). And so the cost was H I G H (- Jesus’ death on the Cross was the most priceless “transaction” that will ever have taken place in the history and future of the universe.) Which means God’s love for us was G R E A T (- God paid an expensive price for ungrateful people.)