Faith

Why is it useless to complain?

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Before we get started with today’s episode I wanted to thank you so much for the support that you have given me throughout the year. Many times it feels like you’re talking to yourself. Then you get that applause, message or an email and it brightens your entire day or at least it does mine. So, I just want to take a moment to say thank you.

Well, you don’t need me to tell you this, but today is the last day of 2018. Another year has come and gone. 2018 has been a bit of a rollercoaster for me. I can honestly say I’ve had more highs than lows, so I don’t have any complaints, which by the way is a fantastic segway into today’s topic.

Why is it useless to complain?

Many people often believe that when they become a Christian that life is going to be nothing but happiness. However, they fail to realize that God warned us in 1 Pet 4:12 not to, “…think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad about exceeding joy.”

I don’t know about you, but when I encounter obstacles, I find it incredibly difficult to fight against the urge to complain. The last thing in the world I feel is joy, especially during those days when it seems like nothing is going right. Guess, what? In Eph 4:26 it tells us it’s okay to be angry, but it’s a sin to complain (Phil 2:14-15).

God has demonstrated this to us on several occasions.  Cain was angry that God liked Abel’s offering over his. Cain killed Abel and God punished Cain by turning him into a  fugitive and a vagabond…(Gen 4:12)/. Miriam complained about Moses and God struck her with leprosy (Numbers 12:10). The Israelites complained and got stuck in the wilderness for 40 years until those who complained died. I’m sure you get the picture by now that God doesn’t like complaining. If you truly seek to please Him, He will oftentimes place you in or leave you in a situation to teach you this lesson.

I think one of the main reasons 2018 went well for me is because I finally realized that regardless of how dire a situation that I am in, I must choose to speak life (Proverbs 18:21). Now, this is a lot easier said than done. However, you must have faith and believe that this is a goal that you are more than able to achieve.

One of the best ways to stop yourself from complaining is to identify situations that can elicit this type of response.

So here are five reasons why I believe most Christians complain:

  1. We lack rest and peace. Life is hard. The older you get the amount of responsibilities increase. We allow worry (Matt 6:34) and the cares of this world (Mark 4:19) to get to us. Oftentimes, we’re so focused on surviving that we forget to live.

Don’t allow worrying about the future to rob you of the present. The only way to get the rest and peace that you desire is through God and His word. It rains on the just and unjust, but just remember that His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matt 11:30).

2.) We focus on what we lack. If you’re always viewing life by looking at the things that you lack, you will NEVER be happy. God is faithful and consistent. Oftentimes, we can go a long time without experiencing any trouble in our life and then all of a sudden something happens that makes us question His love for us. If you’re not happy with the gifts that He has already given you, why would He feel compelled to provide you with more?

We can easily identify when someone else is acting like a spoiled brat, but it’s a lot harder when we’re acting like one. God is more interested in our development, not our comfort. God wants to make sure that we know how to act and react in a variety of situations. He wants us to know how to act during sunny and stormy days of our lives. Apostle Paul confirmed this in Phil 4:12-13.

Again, God wants us to “learn the secret of being content both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. Being in need will always remind you to tell yourself that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

3.) We’re being persecuted for doing the right thing. Again, God already warned us that we would be persecuted. Many of the things outlined in  Lev 18 and Gal 5 go against God’s word. It can be frustrating when you’re people are constantly trying to get you to abandon your beliefs so you can accept theirs. You just have to stay strong and remember that it is better to obey God rather than man (Acts 5:29). You can take solace in the fact that putting Him first (Ps 37:4) will put you in a position for Him to give you the desires of your heart.

4.) We don’t take our frustrations out on the right people. Sometimes, we allow our fear to get the best of us. Instead of pulling our boss or friend aside in order to express how angry they made us feel, we take it out on our loved ones. We just assume our loved ones are going to tolerate whatever nonsense we dish out at them. That’s simply not true.

5.) We’re going through a detour. Life will throw us curveballs. If you know you’re following His Word and things are going wrong, it’s probably because he’s placing you on a detour. Whenever you are meant for something bigger in life, you have to realize that there are going to be all sorts of obstacles standing in your way. There are lessons that God wants to teach you because He knows that you will need them later on in life.

If you fail to learn those lessons, it’s like placing pearls before swine (Mark 7: 6). You would never allow something dirty to taint something beautiful. God is the same way. The sooner you learn the lesson He wants you to accomplish, the quicker you can move on with your life. It’s up to you whether you allow obstacles to prevent you from achieving your destiny.

These are common reasons why I believe most Christians complain. Make this your year to be cognizant of these reasons so you won’t miss out on the destiny God has in store for you.


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How to Survive the Winter Season in Your Life- Part 2

This podcast is a continuation from last week’s episode called How to Survive the Winter Season in Your Life. I want to bring up some points regarding the armor of God. When I was not fully dressed in my armor, I put myself in a position whereby I was unnecessarily beaten up by life.

I learned in order to live the abundant Christian life that Christ came to give us, we must stay fully dressed in our armor. This world is a war zone. I have lost many battles being half dressed in my armor.

Needless to say, I now put on my armor. I pray every day for God to give me the mind of Christ so I can stay fully dressed and know how to properly use my armor (Phil 2:5-10). Let me give you a little more detail in how life knocked me down because I was not wearing the breastplate of righteousness, the gospel of peace, and helmet of salvation.

The Breastplate of Righteousness

In case you’re not sure what the breastplate of righteousness means, think of it as a bulletproof vest. You would wear this to protect your heart. Spiritually the breastplate of righteousness does the same thing. It protects our heart from being contaminated with negative thoughts, lies, and deceptions that lead us into sin.

Satan and his demons are always lurking around to steal,  kill, and destroy our heart. They know if they can do damage to our heart, this will give them an opportunity to control the rest of our being.

To avoid this God want us to guard our heart with a breastplate of righteousness. We need to follow or live by a set of actions that pleasing and acceptable to God. This is how we put on our breastplate of righteousness. When act based on the true, which is acting based on the word of God, then we are wearing our breastplate of righteousness.

I can attest, when I did not wear my vest aka the breastplate of righteousness, I was allowing my circumstances to dictate and rule my world. Focusing on my circumstances caused me to worry, feel impatient and downright angry. I was destroying myself from the inside out.

The Gospel of peace

Having our feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace means that we have the word of God embedded within our soul. This world is a war zone. When we have our shoes on, God will show us how to maneuver through the circumstances of our life. We will be able to stand up against the fiery dart of Satan. Satan, sin, and circumstances will not be able to knock us down.

Having on the gospel of peace will give you a peace that surpasses all understanding; meaning, God’s peace of mind. Whenever we make our decision based on truth and righteousness, God will give you a peace that surpasses all understanding.

I learned that in order to have peace in a situation or matter, we must start with what is true and righteous; In other words, we must align our thinking with these 2 attributes (truth and righteousness).

Our shoes called the gospel of peace keeps us from being knocked over by our circumstances, people, finances, etc. Eph 6: 10

When we are wearing our shoes, we can walk into an ambush and come through still standing. The Holy Spirit will direct you in your footsteps. he will keep you mobile so you can dodge Satan’s fiery darts.

I hate to admit I ran away from certain fights because I didn’t have my shoes on. I don’t run away from anything now. When I walk into a room, you don’t have to agree with me, I don’t need people to admire or applaud me but you better not touch me physically, emotionally, or financially.

When you have your feet on with the gospel of peace, you don’t worry about people. You can stand with confidence because you know that you can’t get knocked down. You don’t have to get people to see your circumstances, agree with you, etc. You just have to stand there awaiting the Holy Spirit’s directions.

Helmet of Salvation

God wants us to put on the helmet of Salvation so He can help us protect our thought life. Our helmet of salvation stabilizes our mind. It keeps Satan from controlling our thought life. Our helmet protects our mind from being damaged by Satan schemes, circumstance, lies, deception, etc.

I learned that my life was becoming off center because I was operating without my helmet of salvation. The only way Satan can rule us is when we do not have our helmet of salvation on.

Satan is after us. He is trying to keep us from thinking right. The helmet reflects all the negative thoughts that Satan will use to try to infiltrate into your mind. Without our helmet, we will wander through life with a defeated mindset.

Guys, I’ve always struggled with the feeling that “I’m good enough.” I always felt like a fish out of water. I was always one of the few brown faces in a classroom, then that carried over into the corporate world.

Since I had filled my soul with false information such as not wanting to be viewed as a stereotype. I later realized how much unnecessary stress these negative thoughts were taking a toll on my life.  I remembered that I was created in God’s image (I Cor 15). Wearing my helmet kept me mindful of truth such as this.

Wearing my helmet helped me to realize that God had already blessed me with everything He wanted to give me. It was and is my lack of faith which was holding up my ability to access my additional blessings.

None of this can be achieved if I chose to walk outside without my helmet on. Satan doesn’t want us wearing our helmet because he wants to injure us. If he can injure our mind, everything else will fail to work properly.

I wanted to share this with you in case you’re going through a winter season in your life. I want to make sure that you’re not going out the door half dressed.

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How to Survive the Winter Season in Your Life

I have lived in the Chicagoland all my life. I’ve NEVER lived anywhere else. I’ve often desired to live in a warmer climate (especially during the winter).   I’m not a fan of the winter season because sunny days are replaced with gray skies; it’s cold, snowy and messy. Don’t get me started on the people who can’t drive in the snow. As you can see, my reasons for hating winter  go on and on.

However, the main reason why I don’t like the winter season is that everything appears to be dead. The trees don’t have leaves, the animals are not wandering around because they’re hibernating, and worse of all we have to dress like an Eskimo in order to get around. You get the picture.

As much as I hate winter, the one upside is that it provides plenty of time for reflection. Since winter is here in Chicago, I started thinking about the different seasons we go through in life. For example, Springtime is when you make the effort to plant some seeds in your life.

Summer is time to thrive. Summer is when you’re able to benefit from the hard work you did in the Spring. Although Autumn is when things start to wind down, I’m sure you can relate, it still a good season to be in. Spring, Summer, and Autumn don’t leave you completely down and out. There’s still a glimmer of life to be found within each of those seasons. If life only consisted of three seasons, we’d be good to go.

Unfortunately, we have four seasons. Winter, which is the fourth season, is typically one of those seasons that no one likes to talk about. Winter makes us feel a variety of negative feelings.

Needless to say, I’ve had my share of winter seasons both physical and spiritual. If you’re going through a spiritual Winter season right now, here are my tips on how you can survive this season in your life. Get dressed in your armor, which is the word of God.

If you want to survive Winter we must get properly dressed. Just like you would never physically walk around naked during this time of year, you should be just as committed to being fully dressed in your spiritual armor during this time in your life.

We forget that every time we walk out our homes, we’re stepping into a battlefield. Now I’m not trying to be depressing but it’s true. Some days we don’t have to fight as hard as other days, but every day is a battle. Despite this fact, so many of us, myself included, have gotten so comfortable in this world that oftentimes we fail to get properly dressed in our armor.

We must get dressed in God’s Armor in order to survive our spiritual Winter (Eph 6: 10-17). Here is a quick run down what you should wear in order to weather the winter season in your life:

  1. The belt of truth
  •         This belt is going to give you the foundation you need to connect everything in your life together. It connects our worlds (i.e. our spiritual world to our physical world). Getting God’s perspective on a matter is how we put on our belt of truth. We are to accept God’s truth over our feelingS (what we think), over what the crowd says about the matter, etc. If we have the belt of truth on, we will override everything and everybody that does not agree with the word of God.
    1. Breastplate of righteousness
      • It is imperative that we properly put on our breastplate. Our entire life depends on what information we accept into our heart. The breastplate of righteousness protects our heart from the negative elements and people that surround us. In order to have peace in a world filled with sin, we must put on our breastplate of righteousness. This simply means that we are to start with what is true and righteous (God’s word). In other words, align our thinking with these two attributes of Christ and we are ready for any attack Satan sends our way.
    1. The gospel of peace;
      • The gospel is the name of the shoes we are to wear.  Our shoes keep Satan from using our circumstance and problem to knock us down. Our shoes which is named “the gospel of peace” is just that. If we are grounded in God’s Word, this means that we are wearing our shoes and they will give us peace that surpasses all understanding. in the midst of our situation.
    1. Shield of faith
      • Our shield is our protection from Satan’s fiery darts aka circumstances and problems that Satan throws our way. Our shield of faith give us the confidence  to let us know that we can accomplish our goals and win whatever battle Satan sends our way.
  1. Helmet of Salvation
    • Our Helmet protects our mind from negative thoughts. Whether they are whispered words from Satan or information from society. Having our helmet of Salvation on is the only way we can think and protect our thought life from sinful attacks.

Just like being underdressed physically can cause you to freeze to death. Being underdressed spiritually also causes death. In order to endure our spiritual winter season, we must get and stay fully dressed.

Through God’s grace, we have the power to survive it so we can live to see another Summer.

How do you handle greed?

Now, I know that may seem like an odd question especially since we’re getting ready to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday this Thursday. After all, this is the time of the year that many Americans will gather around the table with their family and friends in order to give thanks for all of the many blessings that they have in their life.

The irony is the VERY next day, referred to by Americans as Black Friday, many people will then go to the malls, fight an insane crowd of people in order to purchase presents for their family and friends that they oftentimes don’t even need, but you do it anyway because it’s a tradition.

This tradition got me thinking about greed. Companies conduct marketing in order to convince consumers to purchase their products or services regardless of whether they actually need them. If you struggle with determining the difference between something you want with something you need, then you’re leaving yourself susceptible to greed.

The definition of greed is a selfish want for something beyond one’s need. We live in a world full of greed. People are constantly striving to achieve more wealth, more power or fame. If you don’t guard your heart, you can easily get swept into this nonsense.

Do the Pieces Fit in Your Puzzle?

DO THE PIECES FIT IN YOUR PUZZLE

 

Honestly, the more I think about my life, the more I think about how it feels like a jigsaw puzzle with an insane amount of pieces. I sometimes visualize God literally dumping all of the puzzle pieces out of the box and onto a table.

If you’re like me, you automatically allow yourself to become overwhelmed by looking at the sheer number of pieces thinking, “There’s no way that I’ll ever be able to finish this puzzle.” Yet, you’re wrong. We all have the ability to solve our puzzles.

Discover the lessons that I have learned that have gotten me closer to seeing the big picture aka my destiny.