Sunday, July 20, 2014

Motivation: If We Are to Do the Difficult Thing We Don't Want to Do - It's Only Because God is With Us in It

Let me admit that one of the strongest motivational drives in my nature is not to go do stuff that I should do that would actualize me.  No, that is not in my personality.  I am rather avoidant and in the natural, I tend to suffer frequently the urge to flee from difficulty. 

Now, if I am confronted with what I do not want to do and to survive, I have to confront the difficult,  then I'll struggle like a prize-fighting boxer in the ring - not to win but to get rid of the danger and once it's over, then I'll walk away. That's my nature.

That pretty much describes me and why I'll work like a devil at work but won't approach a woman I find myself attracted to.  I'll deal with something I have no choice about but if there's a choice that allows me to walk away from a challenge. I'll walk away. 

I don't like being challenged.  In fact, I hate challenges.  I won't pursue an opportunity to be promoted if it means that there's a risk that I'll lose everything if I fail.  I'll stay right where I am.  Now, if management says, you're outta here if you refuse to take that challenge, then I'll take it on and very likely succeed - just to avoid being fired and only for that reason.

Sometimes, a person will be like me and God will have to force a challenge on me or a test that I'd rather pass on if I had a choice.  God had to force things on people who belonged to him. It's all over the Bible.  One example would be Jonah the Prophet. God forced him to deal with challenge that Jonah desperately tried to flee from.  I recommend the Book of Jonah.

This morning I arrived to service late because I had overslept.  When I got there, the Pastor, my pastor David Stocker, Jr., was talking and he said that often God exhorts us to do things, to go work, not because it's an easy thing to do but because God is with us. 

So next time something to be done confronts us, if it's ours to take on, let us stop to pray and ask God, "Lord, Is this for us to do?  If I agree to do this, Will you join me, will you be with me in this hard thing?  If yes, I'll do it, I"ll take it on. If you won't be with me, I will take it that you do not will for me to take on this. In Jesus Name, Amen and Amen.

Now that is predictable -  No dark room there. If God is with you in that challenge, and you open that door you'd rather avoid opening, then trust God to light up that still dark room.

That's my contribution to you all on this Sunday afternoon. God bless you all in Jesus Name.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Self Improvement - Don't Trust Upon Your Own Efforts in Pursuit of Your Life Direction; Trust God's Will Instead

Looking Back at My Beginning

I remember when I was a nineteen year old college freshman in 1978 in figure drawing class when I listened to our instructor talking in general terms about where each of us was headed in our art careers.  At the time, I aspired to train to become a graphic designer.  When it came for him to address where I was headed, a classmate of mine and myself were categorized as "struggling for a direction." 

I guess he was right.  I had chosen a major that I thought I had aptitude for and risked to invest the next four years of my life in that path.  I graduated with the BFA in graphic design in 1981 from the University of Miami. 

Later On

I didn't stay with it.  I had some issues with doing paste ups which is what all aspiring graphic designers have to begin with when starting work anywhere.  I wasn't any good at it and besides, I wanted to be an illustrator.  So the gatekeeping job kept me out. 
As time passed, I realized that perhaps I had chosen the wrong major and went on to other things such as sales associate, payroll technician, billing clerk, mail room clerk, and now, scanning clerk.  It's okay though because I realized that I like writing more than doing visual art for a living.

When I Came to Myself

For a long while, I did stumble from dead end in life to dead end in life.  I got impatient, angry, frustrated, etc.  Then, a few years ago, I chose to be still and know that God is God, my God.  Why not just trust God with His will and His plan for my life. 

I had gone every which way I thought would work and nothing did.  I had trusted in self effort, other peoples' exhortations, whatever.  Now, I decided to shut up my train of nonstop thoughts running around like some chicken without a head and just trust God to decide my life path for me.

Learning the Path to True Satisfaction

What I believe God wills for me is to stay put for now at my place of work, just do my work, my daily tasks, edify my skills if I like such as in blogging and writing, and just live, trust His hand to hold me in it, and stop worrying. 

But more than anything, stop looking for gurus to make decisions for me, and if I find myself at a loss, ask God for more wisdom, more understanding. But more important than everything else, I am to Trust God

Purpose for Sharing and Exhortation

This article works to help you stop laboring, stop struggling for a direction, stop going crazy in trying to get your act together on your own efforts.  All you're going to end up doing if you're not naturally a  go-getting is that you'll probably burn out and get tempted to just sit out the rest of your life.
Don't do that.  Instead go to God, ask for wisdom, ask for more understanding, ask Him in prayer and meditation, and fast if you need to, for Him to share His divine and perfect plans for your life - with you. 

You will be satisfied.  You will be better off.  I did this. I followed my advice, the advice I'm sharing with you.  It worked for me.  It will work for you.


Foundation Principle

If you want some Scriptural evidence that what is being said is valid, I got some right here below for you.
5.   Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.
6    For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited.
7    Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.
8    For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.
Jeremiah 17: 5-8

Monday, July 14, 2014

How Much of Your Own Life Should You Try to Get to Control?

When I was a much younger man, an unsaved man, I read several books by pick up artists.  The objective was of course seducing a woman unknown to the man to consent to have sexual relations that very first time before a second meeting.  The trick of course was for the man to achieve a certain interpersonal charm over the woman, that is, acquire control over the interaction with her. 

Not only do pick up artists write books professing to offer techniques and strategies to men to achieve great control over their interactions with women to get to have sexual relations with them almost as soon as meeting them, but there are authors in business, in social circumstances offering holy grails in form as manuals and how to books that offer us all the moon, the stars, and the sun..
For a long time, it escaped my why I was so frustrated with being unable to have dominion over my own life.  Then it dawned on me after having heard a church service on control. This morning, I overcame my frustration when I had a eureka moment.

It occurred to me that it’s deceptively persuasive that since I’m the one living my life, that I am responsible for all that happens in its course. That I am responsible and should have power over circumstances and people. And if I fail to achieve control, then I’d be doomed as a failure and as a fool. 

This is a very deceptive lie we deceive ourselves with. Society does it to us. People who seek to brainwash to be competitive also do it to us.  It’s a vicious lie! What we’re responsible for controlling are our free wills, not our whole lives. What about our lives? Don’t we live them?
We live them but they are not ours. They were lent to us by the God who created us. Our lives belong to Him and not to us!
Ye are not your own: for ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."2
21 Corinthians 6:19-20.
So why do we torture ourselves by seeking to gain control and mastery?  I don’t know. I’ll venture a guess though.  There is a spirit of pride, the pride of life.  I can attribute this tendency to that.

This article is written in the spirit of providing enough document to establish this thesis, that we don’t own and therefore are not entitled to seek to control even the lives we live, much less control other people or circumstances in our lives.
Last week, in midweek service at my church, Central Bible, here in West Miami Dade County, Florida – my pastor discussed control issues that too many of us people have. He elaborated that we try to control either other people or circumstances and when we fail to achieve such control we truly get upset.
Why should this happen?  It takes a person given to a naïve and unrealistic mentality to presume that just by reading a book, he or she will acquire super-duper powers over circumstances, people, or people and circumstances combined.  This article examines reasons why it would be useless to seek to acquire power of control over other people or circumstances, something we as humans are neither naturally empowered nor entitled to seek to do.

Before I go deeper into this discussion, let me produce the best of the self-help gurus of all time, Nicolo Machiavelli, political advisor to the great Renaissance leaders of his time in Medieval Italy. The book being quoted is The Prince, a treatise on statecraft he wrote for Césare Borgia during the 1480s or 1490s.  In this passage, Machiavelli is getting the Prince’s head down to earth.
“[N]ot to extinguish our free will, I hold it to be true that Fortune is the arbiter of one-half of our actions, but that she still leaves us to direct the other half, or perhaps a little less.”1
 1 The Prince (page 121), by Nicolo Machiavelli - translated by W. K. Marriott, written c1505, published 1515. Retrieved from

  “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.3
3 Ecclesiastes 12: 13-14

The book of Ecclesiastes was, it is believed, written by King Solomon who wrote also The Proverbs.  According to Ecclesiastes, to other Biblical sources such as the Second Book of Samuel, King Samuel had amassed tremendous power, tremendous wealth, land, luxury, and yes, women. He is said to have loved many strange women.  In the end of Ecclesiastes, what did Solomon conclude?  That the whole duty of man was to fear God and keep God’s commandments.

So now, my friend, who’s truly entitled to do any controlling? If you said God, you’ve just proved that you’ve profited greater wisdom in this life and hopefully in your next as well. That means quit trying to get control. It’s not worth seeking.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

When Satan Uses Tempting Thoughts to Discourage your Faith

This is an old method that Satan tried using on me a few times but I’ve gotten wise to it.

He’s tried getting me to doubt that God didn’t exist but since I had enough faith to shake that one off, he used something else.

He then tried to believe that even though God exists, that I’ve sinned so terribly that God’s grace does not extend to me.  At other times, the devil’s then tried to convince me that I am somehow the exception to God’s promises and that I’ve somehow committed the unpardonable sin some time ago and that no matter how often I try to repent, that my sins will be somehow resistant to Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross.

Have any of you out had similar experiences to these that I’ve had?  For some reason, I don’t think I’m the only who’s had discouraging thoughts like these run through my mind.

Now, what got me thinking about these two types of discouraging temptation thoughts are that they contradict each other.

On one hand, the devil tries to convince you that God doesn’t exist at all so there’s nothing for you to even repent for.

On the other hand, the same voice that said that God didn’t exist at all now comes and says that God does exist but that there’s nothing He can do for you so don’t even bother getting saved that it will all be for nothing.

Conclusion, on both counts, Satan is lying to you. God does exist and yes, if you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal savior and Lord, then you are saved by Jesus Christ so God who definitely does exist does extend his grace and no, you are no exception to God’s promises. They all apply to you too.

Friday, July 4, 2014

God, my Heavenly Father, by the authority of the blood of your Son, my Lord and my Savior Jesus Christ, whom you sent to our earth to redeem us believers from the curse of the Law, I now approach your throne. Please hear my voice and let this prayer open hearts and turn those hearts still of stone to become as hearts of flesh. I have been always, dwelt on myself and on my needs and desires and not so much on the lives of my fellow men and women. That was wrong and I repent. For this I plead your forgiveness. What selfishness there is still in me, liberate me from this vicious addiction. Let me now focus my heart and voice on the plight of those Christians out there wherever they find themselves to continue hoping in your deliverance of them from the snare of their enemies and those who would crush them. Deliver them all as you delivered the Israelites when they found themselves trapped between the Red Sea behind them and the chariots of Pharaoh as the butchers driving them came to destroy your people. You opened up ways when there was not only a little earlier. You made them cross and then when the chariots were only feet or yards behind them, you destroyed those who possessed of spirits of pride and arrogance were then swallowed up by the walls of water when these collapsed. You have rescued the children of Israel so many times that it is documented in many pages in your word. Your Word gave hope to many of us of old times. You strengthened them in the upper room and took away their fear through the might of the Holy Spirit. You gave Paul and Silas strength and hope to sing after taking savage beatings in jails. You sent earthquakes. You inspired your followers of your Son Jesus to take inspiration to write the Book of Hebrews. This book inspired countless Jews to throw off demons of fear to remain with you even as they were being persecuted. You strengthened countless Christians to allow the Romans to crucify them and set their feet on fire as they were already nailed to crosses. You gave them strength to sing moments before those hungry lions were unleashed against them. Against such and many cruelties, your faith grew and grew and the Romans could not separate your Spirit from claiming for your Kingdom more and more souls. And the devil was frustrated beyond belief. And me too, Dear Father, you claimed me too and gave me to your glorified Son. I who once hated you, I who once mocked your son before others as just another guy, I who once exalted myself - I who was once an enemy of yours - you forgave me and now see your Son inside me. One morning, I was so tired of being living in sin, I was disgusted with myself and came to you and asked you to forgive for having contributed to your Son's death on that cross. And you did not turn me away. No, my Heavenly Father - this former enemy of yours, you embraced me. You sent to enter me the Holy Spirit who took with his hand, every last sin I was weighed down with from within. Thank you for delivering me from myself, my Heavenly Father. Today, I worried about my economic situation as it is, in the natural, looking bleak. I have been a good student in the art of worrying about things that have not yet happened. But I am sick of worrying. So while I still have access to some resources, let me then do this for you. Let me think of those brothers and sisters who face savages who seek to kill them. Let me pray to you to strengthen rescuers for him. Raise up judges such as Gideon, and Samson. Raise up mighty king warriors such as David to go before those who intimidate them and us to fear fearing whose who are not to be rightly feared for they can kill only the body but You alone can kill the body and spirit. Use this period to teach those who go against you and kill your followers, those who persecute and do violence against your love on this earth to learn to fear you. Give victory to your followers in all these lands. Give greater courage and give more than anything your presence to them in the presence of their enemies that these would learn to respect your very name. Give us this opportunity to turn defeats into victories that more and more would join our ranks and march without fear of men, without fear from attacks. Teach those who mock and ravage your people to fear your Word and your authority. Teach them that it is time for them too to repent of their evil ways. You did it with me. You taught me to fear you, to love you, to seek you, to repent of my sins. You taught me, you encouraged me to throw off the old man of darkness and to put on the New Man who is Jesus Christ himself. Surely, if you delivered me from the lower and worse parts of myself, of my flesh, you can intervene in all these lands. Let it be done in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ who speaks for you through the Holy Spirit. Amen and Amen. Roberto E Fiad