Four emotions to keep in check during the COVID-19 crisis

We’re experiencing some incredible times, where the norm is no longer the norm. Our lives our now consumed with the priority of isolation and social distancing. We don’t really know when this virus will hit its peak nor how soon we will we return to normal.  It seems that by fall time we may see the first anti-viral vaccine for it. But as we process these events and live through them, we must remember that aside from making sure we’re safe, our emotional state and how we respond to this crisis is even more important. We should maintain a healthy outlook on life, our future, and check our emotional condition. There are four emotions that I identified during this season that helped me understand that I must be aware of them and not subconsciously fall into the trap of fear, loneliness, discouragement and paranoia. After all, Jesus did remind us to renew our minds daily, so that we do not fall into temptation, self-pity, anxiety, and a slew of other emotions that can grip us and create strongholds as a result of this crisis.

Here are the four emotions I identified:

#1 Fear: With the thousands of deaths that continue to rise on a daily basis, it’s no wonder that fear is the driving force to this pandemic. Obviously no one wants to die, but that shouldn’t cause us to lose our peace. After all, we all will die one day.  In God’s word, we’re reminded that “to live in Christ and to die is gain,” meaning, death has lost its sting and it is all thanks to the perfect sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ. If we die, we gain eternal life and if we live, we live for Christ here on earth. Truly, the perfect love of Christ, casts out all fear. So there is no need to consume yourself with the idea of death, if you trust in God’s plan for your life. Ecclesiastes 3:11- “He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”

#2 Loneliness: When someone gets infected with COVID-19 virus, it is an automatic quarantine and isolation for a specific period of time. This can definitely be difficult and challenging for families, and it takes a toll on the person infected. It’s important to communicate and provide support for people who are sick. Rejection can bring sadness in the person, discouragement, lack of hope, and even suicidal thoughts. It is advised that a person who is sick should stay home, but at the same time, we should continue to keep in touch via phone or online, to check up on them. And if you’re on the other side of the spectrum and you’re not sick, but at home, try to see the positive in this as hard as it may seem. Look beyond the crisis and see how this has already impacted the world, and it will never be the same. What we once took for granted, has now taken a new perspective and meaning to the lives of everyone.

#3 Discouragement: Discouragement is definitely an emotion that can reach any of us, even the most positive person. It’s pretty normal to feel this way during this crisis. To prevent this cycle from continuing, I encourage you to read the word of God, pray, and worship. Also, do things that you enjoy doing, to keep your mind distracted from the crisis. Discouragement can easily turn into depression, so watch out for that.

#4 Paranoia: I’ve seen news stories where people have become paranoid and clean every five seconds as a result of this pandemic. It’s understandable that we have to be precautious, we need to disinfect, stock up on groceries and basic essentials, but this doesn’t give us permission to become paranoid. Due to the paranoia of people, shelves are empty of the most basic essentials for daily life. Your peace of mind is everything and it is not worth losing your mind over this. The word of God says in Isaiah 26:3, “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” I encourage you to remember that the peace of God gives you the freedom to act with wisdom, but not with anxiety. It’s important to be cautious, but it’s not good for it to become excessive. Wash your hands, don’t touch your face and practice social distancing, and you should be fine.

Hope this blesses you and reminds you to keep your emotional state in check. Do not let any of these emotions take over your peace of mind nor allow the emotions of others to be inflicted on you. Trust in the Lord, with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.

 

 

 

Find joy in your worst circumstance

For many of us, finding joy in the midst of difficult situations may seem impossible. But did you know that it is possible to have the joy of the Lord, during the worst times of your life? In your moment of grief, pain, or sorrow, we hardly pay attention to joy. What can we do to endure through the worst moments of our life? We simply look at the joy that is set before us, just like Jesus did. If you recall, Jesus Christ was devastatingly beaten, punched, spit on,  mocked and crucified at Calvary. But, Jesus was able to endure this tragic death because He looked at the finish line with hope, knowing that the world would be saved through Him. “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” – Hebrews 12:2 

It’s important to stay in the presence of God, in order to find that joy. God’s presence is everywhere, but not everyone is aware of it, because they don’t have a relationship with Him. Entering His presence is different, He abides in you and you abide in Him. This is the key to maintaining joy and calmness during your worst times. Because in those moments, your eyes are fixed on Jesus, and He will provide you the comfort and peace, that no one else can. I remember the time I heard the news that my Golden Retriever, Bentley, had lymphoma cancer. I was in the middle of a tutoring session with a client and I had to keep my composure after hearing the most devastating news. I’m not going to lie, I was devastated until the day he passed away, but little by little God gave me peace as I came to accept that this was his fate and God was taking him. All I could do was enjoy every single moment I had with Bentley and keep praying for joy and peace. There was absolutely nothing anyone could do to provide me comfort and joy during those moments. It was not their fault, they just were not experiencing my grief. But the incredible thing about God’s character is that He is experiencing this grief right along with you. God cares about your emotions and He can also empathize with you, because He himself bore our iniquities on that day that he died. This verse comes to life when you enter His presence and actively pray to experience this joy, even in your worst moments. Psalm 16:11 – You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”  

The bottomline is to seek His face and do not neglect His presence. And if you don’t have the strength to pray, simply say, “Jesus, please be with me.” I promise you, He will show up.

If you’re going through something difficult, feel free to comment below or contact me personally, so that I can pray with you. May the Lord bless you, give you peace, and may His countenance always shine upon your face. God bless, beloved!

Finding love in a Christian circle

     Waiting on God for your spouse is not easy, it requires great patience. This is why the word says that patience produces character and character hope. If our character is strengthen, we are sure to not lose hope in Christ and in His promises to us. Throughout my journey as a Christian, I remember being single for a few years, wondering if marriage was in God’s plans for me. I remember having countless conversations with single Christians and married ones, and they all shared a common theme – waiting is hard. Every time I would see a godly couple courting or someone successfully married, I would hunt them down to ask them all types of questions. No one truly had the formula on finding your spouse, except, they would always say that God ordained it. Now it may seem as though your pool of options are limited, after all, we are a minority.  It may seem impossible to man, but with God all things are possible and He can bring you your spouse. Our God is supernatural, He isn’t random with His decisions about your life and He definitely isn’t a God of chaos, but a God of order. You’re probably asking yourself, are my opportunities of getting married looking dimmer and dimmer? Has God forgotten me? Is there any hope? And my answer for you is… God is good, kind, and just. All you have to do is trust Him. Below are some practical tips on how to approach the wait and run the race with endurance.

#1 Fast & Pray: If you have not done it yet, it’s time to get on this. Fasting and prayer combined together will open the heavens and bring divine intervention in your life. It will also bring repentance, in case you’ve idolized marriage, and it will bring revelation. God is interested in your love life and believe me, He wants you to be fruitful and multiply, but before that happens, you must walk with the Lord, just like Adam did in the garden.

#2 Stay focused on your God given assignment: This may seem like a given, but not many singles do this. Instead, they focus their energy on finding their spouse or making sure they’re found (with manipulation). This never works, folks, manipulation won’t help the cause, but instead cause you heartache. Focus on your calling, or on asking God to reveal your calling, so that you can put the Kingdom of God first. God will process you during this time, He will show you the mysteries of the Kingdom and when you’re ready, He will open the door to the promise land.

#3 Understand the times: A lot of single Christians are impatient and believe that God is late to the party. This isn’t the case my friend, sometimes we’re late to the party. God gives us all seasons of opportunity, to seize the day, to bask in His presence, but when we’re distracted, we miss the mark. What do I mean by this? There will be times when the Lord will bring you your spouse, he or she may even be in your circle, but you are closed off. Sometimes it’s not that God has not brought them, but instead, you have the walls of Jericho surrounding your life and people are naturally intimidated by you. Maybe you’re shy and don’t attempt to form friendships. And in other cases, you have may have a hard time discerning if this person is the right fit for you. I’m not saying you have to advertise yourself as available to everyone, be discrete, but don’t be closed off either. Learn to make godly friendships, surround yourself with people of God constantly, work in ministry together, and you will see how God will weave in this person into your life. You won’t even know what hit you, when you see it happen! We also have the other side of the spectrum, perhaps your heart isn’t in the right condition to embark on a love journey or you have not grown spiritually mature in the Lord. God will teach you how to wait for the harvest, when it is ready. But for the moment, sow, sow, sow!

#4 Let God be God: If you recall the story of Lazarus being resurrected from the grave, you may know where I am going with this. Martha in her grief demanded from Jesus and told him he was late and if he would have been there on time, Lazarus would not have died. Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life” – John 11:17. It’s quite clear that Jesus reminded Martha that He is in control. This is a reminder that God knows the desires of your heart and He knows what you need even before you ask. Keep in mind that your time is not His and His time is not yours. Ask God to give you revelation, patience, and discernment while you wait for your spouse to arrive. Because it is a fact, “Everything is beautiful in His time” – Ecclesiastes 3:11 

 

Jesus takes the pain away

Many of us struggle with letting go of our past or releasing the pain we feel because of afflictions. Perhaps it is a loved one that passed away, friendships that dissipate, a romantic relationship, or a recent layoff at the job. Whatever it is, letting go of pain is difficult. What does God say about these situations in our lives, how do we cope and how do we move on in a healthy way? There is a verse in the Bible that is very encouraging when it comes down to seasons like this in your life, and of course you may feel free to share any verse you may know, too.

Philippians 3:12 – “Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead.”

Jesus understands our pain and He is there to comfort us. Jesus wept when Lazarus died, even knowing that He could resurrect him, He still mourned the loss. In Philippians 3:12, the Apostle Paul is looking forward to what lies ahead, and his goal was to resemble and mold his character to that of Christ; to run this race faithfully until the very end. As Christians, we set our eyes towards heaven and the promise of eternal life. While things here on Earth can and are to hurt us, every suffering and every tear we shed, our Lord  Jesus will wipe away. Revelation 21:4, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” There is great comfort in knowing this, and we have this hope in Christ, that nothing can separate us from His love.

As we go through this pain of letting go, we can also look forward to better days. Weeping will endure for a night, but joy will come in the morning says the word of God. 2 Corinthians 4:17 reminds us that our afflictions here are temporary, “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” Whether it is persecution for believing in Christ or any type of grief, God is holding your hand through it all. Be honest to God about your pain, your trouble with letting go, and He will help you. Remember that Jesus is near the brokenhearted and like pastor Joe Wyrostek at MPI Church, says, “Jesus takes the pain away.”

Give your burdens to Him, cry out to Him. Little by little, the Holy Spirit will show you why that dear beloved person left your side, or why that season ended in your life. He will make light of it and your spirit will comprehend it, until you are ready to let go. And if you’re having a hard time letting go, ask the Holy Spirit to help you, and He will.

God bless you, beloved child of God.

Resist the devil and he will flee

One of the strongest attacks from the enemy (also known as Satan) is the constant condemnation and accusation he brings to  your life. Whether you’re a Christian or not, Satan doesn’t discriminate, he’s always ready to accuse you. Thankfully there is a way to stop these thoughts. Jesus has set us free through the redemption of His perfect sacrifice on the cross. Due to this, we now have the power through Jesus to cover ourselves with His precious blood. “Now there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who not not after the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” – Romans 8:1

There is a grave danger when we allow ourselves to dwell in the past, our uncertain future, or on what could have been. These are tactics the enemy uses to ensure that you don’t move forward. The devil gets a foothold if we give it to him. Don’t allow yourself to be manipulated nor taunted by the devil. Propose it to yourself to not allow Satan to play with your emotions, you’re not his puppet. I believe that part of the reason why we allow these thoughts of condemnation to filter through our mind and spirit, is the lack of self-dominion. We do not know how to stop these thoughts and we entertain them. We have the Holy Spirit talking to us, but instead, we choose to ignore that still small voice. So how do we choose to stop these thoughts? Below are a few tips on how to do this effectively.

#1 Remember that you’re in control. God’s word says, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and sound mind.” – 2 Tim 1:7.  This means you have the fruits of the Holy Spirit and one of those fruits is self-control. Believe that you are equipped to stop those fiery darts with the shield of faith. You can lift that shield and cover your mind with the word of God. This will counter those lying words.

#2 You have been set free. The word of God says that “Whom the Son sets free is free indeed.” – John 8:36. You’ve been forgiven, redeemed, and purchased at a price. Nothing that you did in the past is unforgivable, Jesus already paid the price for your sins. Your past is “finished” and so are you sins. You’re no longer a slave to sin, but a slave to Christ. Proverbs 28:13 says, “Whoever conceals their sin does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” That word gives me a lot of hope. To know that if you’ve sincerely repented to God about what you’ve done…mercy is sure to follow. God’s mercy is indeed new every morning. Let your soul and your mind rest in the Spirit of the Lord. Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom!

#3 Look ahead. The greatest weapon you have against the enemy is the present and the plans that God has for you. While we shouldn’t boast about tomorrow, God is the one who decides where we go, if we do this and that. Those days are filled with hope and desire…days of prosperity. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'” Don’t look behind, the past is considered garbage, whether good or bad, you’ve gained Christ now. Have hope in your heart that all will be well and God does not remember your sin. He’s that kind and generous. His desire for you is to move forward in Him, remain in Him, and He will make His home in you.

God bless.

Being prudent will preserve your life

Pause. Pausing is perhaps the best and wisest thing to do as a Christian when being prudent. There is wisdom behind this action, being a prudent Christian can actually save your life. You’re probably thinking I’m exaggerating, but in this article I want you to consider the benefits of becoming a prudent person and why it is important. If you recall, God’s word says that every idle word will be judged. “But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.” – Matthew 12:36. If that doesn’t scare you, then I don’t know what will. There is an incredible benefit that comes with the art of being prudent – you keep your soul out of trouble and you guard the hearts of others too.

Below are a few tips to consider:

#1. Measure your words. Before you speak, allow the Lord to minister to you about the situation or circumstance. Every word you utter matters, it can literally light up a forest and cause unnecessary offense, or spread offense among the body of Christ. Always question yourself, is it necessary to say this and will it edify or tear down? Sometimes words can be excessive and where there is a multitude of words, sin can abound. Proverbs 10:19 – “Sin is not ended by multiplying words, but the prudent hold their tongues.” However, if the situation calls for it and the Lord has given you permission to counsel someone, by all means do it, but with precaution. Proverbs 10:11 – “The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life.” 

#2. Discretion keeps you. We’ve all made mistakes in the past. Perhaps you’ve divulged information about someone you shouldn’t have. Or perhaps you were put in a precarious situation where you didn’t know how to act or what to say, but instead you opted to sharing it with someone. Whatever your situation, it’s important to note that discretion will always preserve your integrity and you automatically exempt yourself from ensnaring yourself into a trap the enemy has for you. The enemy is very astute in this area, he will brew a set of circumstances to make you stumble. The prudent person foresees this and carefully analyzes the possible outcomes and consequences of opening their mouths or entertaining gossip. Proverbs 2:11 – Discretion will watch over you, and understanding will guard you, 12to deliver you from the way of evil, from the man who speaks perversity.”

#3. You avoid unnecessary “frenemies.” There is nothing worse than to get new “frenemies” because of your lack of discretion. People will distance themselves from you when they see you like to divulge the private conversations you’ve had with other brothers and sisters in Christ. Or if you decide to share your unedifying thoughts to someone because you are impulsive. Being impulsive and led by the flesh gives you the  perfect recipe for a new “frenemie.” Notice how I said, “frenemies,” because that’s exactly what happens within the body of Christ. You become a hypocrite to that brother or sister in Christ because of your lack of forgiveness and lack of addressing the person in private. Distancing yourself from a brother or sister in Christ does not solve the problem, it only makes it worse. Omitting an offense to someone and allowing it to grow a root of bitterness is also a sin. This is why the Lord says, “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.”-Matthew 18:15. Brothers and sisters – be wise. When you’re discreet you avoid creating new problems with people. Not all Christians are equal. Not every Christian is spiritually mature enough to understand or have compassion about your concern; not every Christian cares about your problems, and not every Christian will be discreet. Be wise with whom you speak to. If the Holy Spirit has not allowed you to be fully open with someone, then learn to listen to instructions.

#4. When you’re prudent, you choose your battles. Not every battle is meant to be fought. Some people will speak ill about you and it will reach your ears. Whether it is criticism, false witnessing, or hate speech, you will need to exercise self-control. Some things are meant to be confronted and other times, you will have to let the Lord fight your battles. Some battles are simply meant to be ignored. Your soul will be more at peace when you let the Lord take revenge and not you. His justice is perfect and righteous. “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.” – Isaiah 54:17

God bless you brethren and remember this verse whenever you’re about to open your mouth… Matthew 10:16 – “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves. Be ye therefore wise as serpents and harmless as doves.”

 

The processing matters more than the promotion.

   In the church today, we have many Christians who desire position and recognition, but many don’t have the maturity to sustain such calling. Having a high regarded position and sustaining it are two different things. When God calls us to do something great, He will first make sure that you’re put through the fire, to test the authenticity of our faith.  If you recall in the story of the young shepherd boy David, before he actually became king of Israel, he was heavily persecuted by king Saul. David had to defeat many giants before he sat on the throne. If you’ve been called to a great position in ministry, prepare to endure the cost of it.  The good news is that if God called you to it, He will bring you through it.

So why is going through “the process” before receiving a position so important? Like anything in this life, we must first be tested with small things to see if we can handle the big things. If we don’t go through the process, we will not have the grace to maintain what God has entrusted us with. Below are three key points why you must go through the process to see the glory of God manifested in that calling or promise.

#1 Your motives are tested and so is your character. Jesus prays for you and wants you to stand firm throughout the process. God would rather permit trials in your life, than to see you remain lukewarm or stagnant in an area of your life that was never worked or tested. If you succeed against all temptations, you will also strengthen your  brothers and sisters in Christ to be faithful to God. Luke 22:32 says, “But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

#2 Embrace the challenges. God does not give anyone something so delicate like a kingdom to someone, if He knows they don’t have the courage to face challenges head on or defeat temptations. Behind every giant there is a great blessing, but behind every challenge, there is another giant already lined up. If you allow yourself to be processed, God will help you defeat that Goliath. This Goliath could represent your ministry, criticism, hate, envy, gossip, strongholds, fear, or persecution . Whatever the giant, God has equipped you to fight it. 1 Samuel 17:40 says, “Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine.”

#3 God’s anointing qualifies you, but the process prepares you. God can anoint you to fulfill a task or a promise, but this does not mean the promotion will be immediate. It is much better that you are processed than to be thrown into the fire without preparation or covering from the Lord. Many people confuse the anointing with immediate promotion. Just because you’re not there yet, does not mean the promise has not been fulfilled. The anointing gives you the grace to sustain the position and the burden that comes with what God has assigned you to do.  Isaiah 4:3 – “A voice of one calling: “In the wilderness prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.”

Today, I tell you the truth. If you’re more concerned about what God has said, rather than what God is doing in you, you will miss out on the blessing. Remain focused on the things at hand, what has God entrusted you with now. Perhaps it may seem small and insignificant in your eyes, but sometimes it those very tasks that will bring you great glory and destiny. “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin,” says the Lord. I leave you with this verse, “From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from the one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded”- Luke 12:48.

Let God do the processing in you and you will be thankful when you see the maturity you’ve gained to sustain the position. God bless!