Where to Focus Your Faith

March 31, 2020

Faith can be a touchy subject sometimes. We’re supposed to have it (the Bible says without faith it is impossible to please God), but it is often difficult because we are supposed to believe in what our senses are not yet telling us. It is also difficult because things don’t always work out the way we expect, and sometimes opposite of the way we want. Even though it is for our own good when God doesn’t answer a prayer the way we want, it hurts! We have prayed for the healing of loved ones who did not heal. We have prayed for “the one” to spend the rest of our life with, and they don’t show up. We have prayed for an increase in finances only to have more expenses instead.

I am not trying to paint a negative picture here. God always hears our prayers and answers in our best interest every time. The problem is that if someone has been hurt by difficult circumstances, regardless of the fact that God has them in our lives for good, it is very difficult to trust God and have faith in Him. I get it because I’ve been there.

My faith is generally good, though there are still plenty of times where doubt creeps in. The other night I watched a sermon from Andy Stanley on the topic of faith. I know I was led there by God because what I heard could have potentially increased my faith exponentially. I wanted to share this with you, especially if you happen to be struggling with your faith these days.

The main idea that struck me was this…. instead of focusing on what God will do for you, focus on what God CAN do for you. He references a Bible verse, Matthew 8:2 where Jesus heals a man of leprosy. The man kneels before Him and says, “if you are willing you can make me clean.” He knows Jesus can heal him. However, he leaves it in His will to do so.

Why is this focus much more effective? The explanation the pastor gave was this… when we focus on what God will do, we are asking on shaky ground. It is great to have faith that something you pray for will happen. However, as I said before, God doesn’t always answer the way we would expect. You are not 100% sure of what God will do, so that leaves doubt, and at least some wonder if God will come through, especially if you are remembering other times where your prayer wasn’t answered as desired. On the other hand, when you pray and focus on what God CAN do, your faith is based on 100% assurance. You know God can do ALL things. Nothing is impossible with Him. The leper acknowledged this in his prayer.

This is very powerful to me because it provided an incredible peace. In fact, I was immediately tested on this. In the middle of that same night, I woke up and heard water running in my basement. I realized that it was the sump pump that keeps the water out, and it wasn’t shutting off. It wasn’t flooding, but that potential was there. It was 1:30 am, so there was no one to call. All I felt like I could do was pray. And I prayed in the way I learned a few hours before. Sure, I wondered if I may still awake to a flood. However, I prayed knowing that God could easily fix this problem. I left it up to Him how and with what level of difficulty or damage. After I said the prayer that way, I felt a great peace. I certainly didn’t want a basement flood to happen, but I knew that even if it did, it was still for my good somehow. The next morning, within a few hours, I had someone here to fix and resolve the problem with just a small cost.

Once again, when you focus your faith on what God can do instead of what He will do, your faith is based on 100% assurance. There is no doubt He can do anything. Instead of trying to believe God will come through for me, my prayers are like, “I know you can do this. And I pray that you do.” Unlike praying for what He will do, which can lead to some wavering because of the uncertainty, this type of prayer allows me to focus more on His promises. That actually increases my faith even more!

For me, I feel like it has taken my faith to a much higher level. It has increased my confidence and trust in God, and I am more ready to accept whatever outcome He has for me. It has also brought me closer to Him. Also, I firmly believe you will receive many positive answers to your prayers the way Jesus answered the leper. “I am willing” is what He said in the next verse. And the leper was healed.

I will share a link to this sermon here. The ironic thing is that this is only a small piece of it and not even the main point. However, it has stuck with me, and as mentioned, it is a major faith booster.

I challenge you to focus your prayers this way. Focus mainly on what God CAN do, and leave what He will do to Him. I strongly believe your faith will grow too. Enjoy the blessings ๐Ÿ™‚


Can This Coronavirus Shutdown Be a Good Thing?

March 18, 2020

As you know by now, the Coronavirus is taking over the world, forcing people and businesses to put life on hold. As of this writing, we are in the middle of the first week of schools, businesses, entertainment, and pretty much everything else shutting down. In fact, some cities have just begun mandated quarantines.

This adjustment and drastic slow down in life is definitely very difficult for all of us to get used to, especially for those of us who are so used to moving at a very quick pace. However, is it possible that this shutdown and life alteration could be a positive thing?

Before I answer the above question, I will first say that I understand how serious this situation is. I admit that at first, I didn’t. I had difficulty figuring out how a sickness that was less significant than others in the past was taking over society, while before life went on. However, as we are in the middle of it now, I realize how serious it is. Many people are becoming ill. Some are dying. Others have people they love that are being affected. For these people, this virus is not a good thing.

I will add that the virus and its impacts are not good for anyone. However, for this rest of this article, I admit I’m going to be a little selfish. Not in a bad way, but I will share things from my perspective and my situation. I am sure some of you are in a similar situation and can relate to what I’m about to share. My hope is that this post can ultimately be an inspiration to anyone who reads it.

So back to my question above. Please allow me to share some personal background. For the past few months, I’ve been a little down emotionally. Even though I have many great things and people in my life, I feel like I’ve been going through the motions, and feeling basically spiritually dead. I still pray, read the Bible, and listen to inspirational messages, but it has been just taking in info instead of being applied to make a difference. I’ve been feeling content, but not joyful. Satisfied, but not fulfilled. I know I’m here for a great purpose, but I still don’t know what that is, and feeling like I’m nowhere near fulfilling that purpose. I’m obviously tired of feeling this way, so I had a real heart to heart prayer with God, asking for His intervention. In my prayer, I was so desperate that I even at one point asked for some debilitating injury or even traumatic event in my life (not that I REALLY wanted that) because I felt like the only thing that would truly wake me up and drag me out of my comfort zone would be something that big.

Well, here we are. In effect, my prayer has been answered. I feel bad that it comes at the expense of other people, but the bottom line is that I am now receiving the downtime and chance to truly wake up and reach my destiny. I am a teacher at a school that may be off for 5 weeks, or it could turn out to be 5 months. I am unable to travel or take advantage of this time by attending sporting events, going out to eat, taking a road trip, or anything that I would typically do for leisure. I watch hours of sports every week. That’s gone indefinitely. I can’t even go to church these days.

Please know I don’t say this to complain. Yes, I miss my primary forms of entertainment. However, as I said before, this is exactly the golden opportunity I’ve been waiting for. I’m not happy that people are sick and dying. Everything is shut down. Yet, I know I have an opportunity to turn my life around. I vow to take advantage of this new life-style. I am hoping that I am so ingrained in it that, once things do eventually get back to normal, there will be no going back. The changes I want to make in my life will already be firmly entrenched, and I only go forward from there.

There are several areas I desire to change, and that can be done starting now. Perhaps some of these resonate with you…

Personal/Spiritual – I have been fighting a major confidence battle lately. Much of that is because I have not spent sufficient time in prayer, meditation, or being spiritually in touch with who I really am. With so much downtime and very little interference, it should be much easier to get back on track spiritually, spend quality time with God, and see His spirit and energy in everyone and everything.

Family – I have the best family in the world, hands down. However, I tend to take them for granted. Since my wonderful family is in the same situation as I am, this is a wonderful time to strengthen the bond that we have. Quality time together will certainly be treasured.

My life work – As I mentioned earlier, I believe I am here for a reason. I am here to somehow make a difference on this planet and glorify God in the process. Overall, I am happy to be a teacher in a school and I believe I am making a small difference there. However, the negative environment, the sometimes difficult people, early wake-up calls, and constant stress on my brain leaves me unfulfilled and again thinking I was made for much more than that. Here is a golden opportunity to seek and find my true purpose, and to actively pursue it as well.

Health – I am generally a healthy person. However, as I have often neglected my spiritual side lately, I have also neglected my physical body. I have not exercised or kept very physically active. What a golden opportunity this is to get on an exercise routine (definitely not in the gym which is shut down and I never went anyway) and strengthen my body along with my mind.

Friends – I have some great friends. Again, I tend to take them for granted. This is a great time to renew friendships. We may not be able to meet in person as much (if at all), but modern technology makes it easy to stay in touch and share good times

The bottom line is that, as long as society is shut down, I want to take full advantage of the situation in order to renew my mind and body, and to renew my relationships with those closest to me, and with God. Once again, I want to be so changed for the positive and be living at such a high emotional energy level that when the pace of life gets back to its normal level, there will be no going back to the lower spiritual vibration I was at, even if I wanted to.

It’s not just me that has this chance. It’s an opportunity for everyone to do the same. I pray that you stay healthy. Use this time to make mental and physical changes that will make you a better person than you already are once this crisis is over. It’s my prayer that God will use this to bring people closer to Him, and it will actually make this world a better place. Enjoy the blessings ๐Ÿ™‚


A Sick Reminder of Who I Really Am

February 26, 2019

I have been a practicing Christian for over 30 years. I have also been a student of the Law of Attraction (which I believe works hand in hand with Christianity) for the past ten. Even with those long time frames, I still receive reminders that I am not applying the power of each in my life as much as I could. Here is a recent example…

Over the past weekend, I was battling a sickness, a mini flu bug. On Sunday, it was a major project just to get off the couch or out of bed. I didn’t eat much, so I was further weakened because of that. I missed a fun family gathering, but passed the day watching a Nascar race, and just enjoying a peaceful day.

Monday would be my first day back to work after a week vacation. We are discouraged from taking the first day off after a vacation, so since we were experiencing a windstorm in the Buffalo area of almost hurricane force all day and night (an unusual event in our city) I thought maybe the school I work at would close and I would get another day to recover. I actually found out Sunday night that the wish was granted, and an immediate peace came over me as I would indeed get another day to recover without having to call in.

The problem was that when I woke up early Monday morning, I felt just as bad if not worse than I felt the day before. It was then where I realized that a lot of this sickness had to do with my thinking. Sure, I know sometimes God allows us to become sick for reasons only known to Him. And I thought maybe this was one of those times. However, as I lay there, I still decided to get my mind thinking correctly and aligning it to who I really am. You see, who I really am (and who you really are) is a being that shares the spirit of God. The kingdom of heaven is in our midst, which after looking up a true definition of midst, I learned that it means our essence or very being. Another Bible verse says in HIm we live and move and have our being.

I was reminded that the Spirit that I am a part of is perfect and whole. It is never sick, and in fact does not even know sickness. At that moment, I said a prayer asking that I would be led to keep my mind focused completely on who I really am. As I lay in bed and did this, an almost immediate peace took over. I fell asleep for about two hours. When I woke up, I felt wonderful! Sure, I was still stuffy and coughing and had some lingering effects of the sickness. However, I easily got out of bed, made some breakfast, and did my morning routine as if it was a Saturday (even though it was a Monday). I took the day slow, but felt better and better throughout.

Did I heal myself? No, God did. However, I am willing to take some credit for the time frame in which it happened, and I thank God for answering my prayer. I prayed that I would keep my mind focused on who I really am instead of focusing on the sickness. Remember, a key idea of the Law of Attraction is that the thoughts and ideas you focus on are the outcomes that manifest in your life. As that prayer was answered, and I kept my mind focused correctly, I believe the healing happened faster than it would have otherwise.

I thank God for this excellent reminder, and I share it willingly with anyone patient enough to have read this far. Remember who you really are and who you really belong to. God is with you in every moment, and you are with Him every moment. And when you keep your mind focused on this truth and the truth of whatever it is you are looking to get through or accomplish, you are much more likely to see it come into being. Enjoy that blessing ๐Ÿ™‚


Maintaining a High Vibration…What’s the Big Deal?

February 9, 2017

If you are familiar with the Law of Attraction, or those that often promote the benefits of positive thinking, you have heard them discuss the concept of vibration. What is exactly is vibration? It is basically an indicator of the level of positivity we are projecting. The theory is that, since we are all made of energy, the more positive our thoughts and emotions are, the more we project high energy positive thoughts, and create more positive situation in our lives. In essence, when we are at a high vibration, we are full of positive energy that will attract high quality and fulfilling circumstances in our lives.

What type of positive situations can this high vibration attract? Anything you desire, really. As long is it lines up with the will of God, you can “ask anything in my name and it will be given to you” . I wrote in a previous article, Is Vibration Biblical? that when you maintain a high vibration, you are in essence following the will of God in 1 Thessalonians 5 where we are instructed to pray constantly, be joyful always, and pray at all times. When we are at our highest vibration, we are joyful, full of gratitude, and in regular communication with God.

There are other benefits as well. I recently read an article called 12 Manifestations of a High Vibration. This article provides further information about vibration, and the benefits are what many people seek in their own lives. I’m sure you can find one or several that will resonate with you.

Many inspirational speakers say that if you focus on keeping your personal vibration and energy level high, you automatically open yourself up to an avalanche of blessings. Think about it… it’s the people that are most joyful, appreciative and in constant contact with their Creator that get the most out of life. I recommend you check out the above article to get specifics. So seek God first, appreciate what little or lot of good you have in your life, and focus on remaining in a joyful state as often as possible. You will then experience the benefits that your high vibration offers. Enjoy the blessings ๐Ÿ™‚


How to Have More Wealth Than You Can Imagine

January 24, 2017

It is amazing how every time I ask God for answers He provides them. In many cases, the answers arrive rather quickly. I was recently praying for some extra money to help with some situations that have come up recently. I also prayed for the strength and peace to deal with the situation in a productive way.

When I pray, I find it extremely helpful to ask for some Bible verses that help build my faith and lead me in the right direction. In this case, I was immediately led to the following verse from Job 22:21. The NIV says, “Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come to you.” Exactly what I was looking for! However, it didn’t stop there. The Message version of this same verse really caught my attention…ย โ€œGive in to God, come to terms with him and everything will turn out just fine. Let him tell you what to do; take his words to heart. Come back to God Almighty and heโ€™ll rebuild your life. Clean house of everything evil. Relax your grip on your money and abandon your gold-plated luxury. God Almighty will be your treasure, more wealth than you can imagine.”

As I read this, I was in awe. The keys to what I was looking for (and perhaps what you are too) are all in this passage. Do you want more wealth than you can imagine? Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Submit to God – leave the details and hard work to Him. Just do what you feel like He is leading you to do.
  2. Listen to (or should I say read) His words. The more you read the Bible and seek your guidance and solutions there, the more clearly you will be led. I simply did a Google search for what I was looking for, and found several guiding words besides these.
  3. Clean house of everything evil. Ask for forgiveness of your sins. He will forgive all and everything. He is only waiting for you to ask. Also, I take this as a cue to remove the negative thinking that may have been been hampering me, and instead think according to His word and promises.
  4. Avoid focusing on money (or whatever your negative circumstance is)– This seems a bit ironic. For me, it was what I was searching for. However, I realize more every day that the more I focus on God and His love and guidance instead of the money or whatever the problem is, the more abundance and solutions show up.

This all reminds me of another popular verse that sums it all up… Seek first the kingdom of God, and all else will be given to you (Matt 6:33). It’s very simple really. The more of your focus and care you put on God, the more He works for you and the darkness turns to light.

I have known this for a long time. I just needed another reminder, and received it plus more. If you are struggling with money or any other negative situation in your life, follow the words of this verse. Seek God and let Him love and guide you. I know from experience that the peace and provision He provides is indeed more than you can imagine. Enjoy the blessings ๐Ÿ™‚


Can We Offend God?…It’s Not How You Think

August 4, 2016

Can we actually offend God? After all, as human beings, we do some evil things on a regular basis. Even good people, with good intentions fall short, make mistakes, and do things that our God would be disappointed with.

So the question again…can we offend God? In reality, I have learned that God is a forgiving God. I believe that if we ask for forgiveness, we are forgiven as simply as that. I believe He may be disappointed in our choices sometimes, but I’m not so sure He is offended.

At this point, I’ll put the concept on human terms. As mentioned, I don’t believe we can offend God. However, if we could, what do I think would offend Him the most? I don’t think it would be something bad we do or an action we should take and don’t. As I reflected on this, I firmly believe what would offend God the most, is not seeking His assistance. Think about it. He is God. He can do all things. He wants to do it all for us and bless us in ways we can’t even imagine. Yet we often don’t ask. We try to figure things out on our own, in our own flawed ways. We have the supreme power of the universe at our side at all times, someone who can’t wait to express that power on our behalf. Yet we don’t even consider asking Him most times.

I think about this in my own life. I am fortunate that I have a great relationship with my earthly father. For the most part, I believe I have made him proud. However, the times I have disappointed him most, are the times he was readily available to help, but I didn’t ask, and fell on my face as a result. He was ready and willing to help, but I didn’t ask and give him the chance to bless me. He still loved me of course, but I’m sure he was quite disappointed.

So what’s the solution for all this? Pour your heart out to God and ask Him to help. It’s as simple as that for whatever you need. His is there. He will answer. He will provide. If it’s not the way you asked for, it can only be better.

Again, I really don’t think we can offend God. However, why even cause the slightest disappointment because you did not ask for or rely on His power. I will say once again… GOD WANTS YOU TO ASK; GOD WANTS TO BLESS YOU BEYOND YOUR WILDEST DREAMS! Allow Him to do so and watch what happens. Enjoy the blessings ๐Ÿ™‚

 


Jumpstart Your Success

November 5, 2015

As I mentioned in my previous post, I am beginning a series of articles on positive attitude attributes found in Jeffrey Gitomer’s book, “The Little Golden Book of Yes”. I am taking 22 yes attitude attributes from his self-reflection and report cardย section of the book. You can rate yourself on the level of your positive attitude you have by giving yourself a score of 1-5 for each. I have made it a point to get 5 for as many of them as possible each day.

The first attribute I will discuss is a logical one to jumpstart your success. It is quite simple, yet sometimes easier said than done. However, making this a key habit can make a major difference in your level of success each day. The simple attribute is to start EVERY day on a positive note. Begin the day immediately with thoughts of success and how you will excel. Here are some ways to accomplish this each day:

  • Gratitude – Immediately reflect on the things you are thankful for in life. It can be anything from health and protection, your family, money (no matter how much or little you have), and basics like food, clothing, electricity, or whatever you place your mental focus on.
  • Affirmations – Affirm positive words and phrases to yourself to set and maintain a positive frame of mind. I often do this in the shower first thing in the morning to help wake myself up and fill my mind with positive reminders.
  • Visualize your day – I find it very helpful to determine what I need to do to be successful that day. Then, usually as I enjoy my breakfast and coffee, I visualize myself succeeding in those endeavors throughout the day.
  • Determine how you can be a blessing – On many occasions, opportunities to bless others arrive spontaneously. However, when I think in advance of things I can do to be a blessing to others, it keeps me in that state of mind to look for ways I can give to others and take them to a higher level.
  • Pray – I spend my 20 minute drive to work with no radio, music, or any type of distraction. The time is spent in prayer for a successful day for me and those close to me. This alone can be a powerful way to begin a successful day.

These are just some suggestions of how you can begin each day on a positive note. I understand that sometimes you know from the beginning that the day will be difficult to face. However, instead of dreading it and going into it with a negative attitude, prepare yourself right away for success, knowing that you can overcome any obstacle with the right frame of mind. Set yourself up for success by immediately filling your mind with positive thoughts at the start of each day. Once this becomes a regular habit, it will become as natural as anything else in your morning routine. Even better, it will add more success and joy to your life, and it contagiously translates to others as well. Enjoy the blessings ๐Ÿ™‚