Archives for category: Anxiety

The theory that it takes 21 days to create a new habit has been debunked over the years.  New research has suggested that the time it takes to create a new habit could vary between individuals.  Additionally, changing a habit also varies in the duration of time it takes to fully adopt a new behavior.  However, I do believe that there is some merit to the 21 days.  The time frame is short enough to not be daunting and long enough to be impactful.  So, with that said, we are going to go all in for the next 21 days on a path to self discovery and reinvention.
Day 1: Weep It Out

There is nothing like a good cry.  Right?  You know the type I’m talking about—the ugly cry—the one where you snort spastically because you can hardly catch your breath and your nose and eyes leak like faucets and muddle your face with a sludge of mucous and tears.  Even Jesus did the ugly cry.  John 11:35 said that Jesus wept.  The verse did not say that he cried; it said that he wept, implying an expression of deep sorrow.  Bawling is cathartic!  It raw!  Most of all, it’s honest.  For many of us, the ugly cry is our first step in acknowledging our vulnerability and/or our humanity in particular areas of our lives.  Weeping is a release of toxicity—pent up emotions.  It’s an opportunity to face our demons head on.  How can we expect to fight what we don’t see.

 

Our inclination to cry out is not just an expected manifestation of our humanity; it is commandment, not to be confused with the Ten Commandment.  The Bible tells us to cry out to God.  Sometimes, if we are not careful, we could tend to minimize the word ‘cry’ and use it interchangeable with the word ‘call.’  Crying out to God does not equal calling on Him.  The former implies a sense of desperation and urgency.  There are times when we have to be completely undignified in expressions—let it all hang out.

 

The good news is that our cries never fall upon deaf ears.  Psalm 18:6 says, “In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears,” (NIV).

 

So, tonight, let it all out.  This blog post is the permission that you need to let it all hang loose.  Weep.  Sob.  Ugly cry.  Let it go.  Psalm 30:5 says, “For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning,” (NLT).

This poem is dedicated to those who are praying without ceasing and are tirelessly waiting to hear from God.

Echoes of Silence 

The echoes of silence are all that I hear.

Humbled by life, I seek you in prayer.

A knock on the door—is anyone there?

Then it dawned on me—

Maybe He heard me, but don’t really care.

For the first time, I looked in the mirror and stared,

And wondered where is the God of old that nations once feared.

Who cared—

Who dared—

To put nations and empires to shame,

And recued those who called upon him by name.

Elohim, El Shaddai, El Roi,

Jehovah Jireh, Rapha, Nissi, my Adonai.

 

The echoes of silence are all that I hear,

Chanting the chorus, “God are you still there?”

World upside down.  Life—Unfair.

God, is silence from you just really a “no?”

My faith is slipping, and I’m letting it go.

Faith lukewarm.  Heart now cold.

Faded memories of faith once bold.

 

The ghost of Isaac and Abraham, they knock at my door.

The prophets and saints that went on before.

They said, “If He did it once, then He’ll do it once more.”

Like the judge who couldn’t ignore the knock on the door.

 

When echoes of silence are all that you hear,

When it seems like your prayers, they fall on deaf ears,

And the core of your life is rooted in fears,

Just trust and believe when he tells you He cares.

He’s the same one who says that He bottles your tears.

Loves you so much that He counted your hairs—

On your head.

And even notices that a sparrow drops dead,

For not one of these can fall outside of His care.

Ears fine-tuned.  Your whispers He hears.

His voice so soft—not found in the echoes or blares,

But in the spirits of those He consoles.

Remember Jesus?  His wrist: bloodied with holes.

He feels your pain.  Trust me! He knows.

Yet He overcame death and from ashes He rose.

 

When the echoes of silence are all that you hear,

Your beating heart is proof that He’s near.

 

Copyright 2016 Khadine Alston.  All Rights Reserved.

 

God is greater than all.  I yearn to see the powerful hand of God at work.

 

The Bible says that there is a time and place for everything.  I believe this to be true of our prayer lives as well.  There is a time to pray quietly and solemnly.  There is also a time to charge into the presence of God and pray ferociously, as if our very existence depended on it.

 

Today, I call on the authority of the Great I Am—the Alpha and the Omega—the one upon whose shoulders all governments rest.  I stand on the authority of Christ, before whom demons bow and all nations will confess.  I hide behind the shield of Christ’s shadows as He forge forth into the camps of my enemies.  I cling to the arms of the one who is greater than all.  I petition Him to hear my cry as He prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies.  Greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world.  Greater things will I do in His name.  Today, I pray that God’s people will not be put to shame.  Lord, I pray that you send your chariots of angels into the darkest places to thwart the plans of the enemy and his cohorts.  Lord, demolish the plans of the wicked and provided comfort to the righteous.  Lord, wield your arrow of justice.  Show your power to those who believe.  Answer the war cry of your people, for we stand upon your Word as we remind You of Your promises to never leave or forsake us.  You promised that your Word will never return void.  You promised that we would never see the righteous forsaken or his seed begging bread.  You promised that you have a plan for our lives–to give us hope and a future.  You promised that no one could ever snatch us from Your hands.  You promised us that the enemy is already defeated.  Lord, I pray today that you show your hand mighty in the lives of Your people.  As we remind you of your promises, I pray that you remind us of who you are–Lord of all lord; King of all kings and Master of all.  We remind you, not so that you should be reminded, but so that we could be convicted.

“But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.”

1 Corinthians 1:27

 

I pray that this quote encourages you as much as it has encouraged me today.  God is about to do something in the lives of the unassuming—the brokenhearted, the forgotten and the unrecognized.  He is about to elevate leaders that the world has criticized, mocked, beaten, captured and imprisoned.  He is about to do a new thing.

 

I know that I am speaking directly to someone’s heart today.  The Lord is about to use you in ways that defy imagination.  He is about to make your enemies your footstool.  Every tear that you have shed has been captured.  Psalm 56:8 says, “Record my misery; list my tears on your scroll — are they not in your record?”  God has heard your cries.  There might seem as if there is no way out.  It might appear as if everyone has abandoned you and told you ‘no,” but please know that it is during your darkest hours when God does His finest work.  It was during the darkness that God called light into existence.  It was after Pharaoh’s heart was hardened that God parted the Red Sea and delivered the Israelites from the hands of the Egyptians.  It was after Job had lost everything that God restored him two-fold.  Please be reminded that God is a God of grandeur, and while his preparation might be done in seclusion, His restorations are never done in private.  God’s promotions are for His glorious victory.  Therefore, they are always on display. Matthew 23:12 says, “those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted,” (NIV).

 

Be grateful for all who denied you.  God is elevating you in a manner that you will be indebted to none other than He.  The blessings of the Lord make a man rich, and it adds no sorrow with it, Proverbs 10:22.  Know that God has already blessed you, and He is about to make a public proclamation.  In Jesus, name, Amen!  The Bible also says that even before God restored Job, Job repented and humbled himself.  He praised God even while he was covered in ashes and riddled with sore.  Wherever you are, praise God.  Praise His glorious name.  Know that the end of your story was written even before the beginning, and it’s not over until God says that it’s over.  Glory to God.

2But as for me, my feet had almost slipped;

I had nearly lost my foothold.

3For I envied the arrogant

when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

Psalm 73:2-3

 

During this season, I have experienced some of life’s greatest disappointments and setbacks.  Most recently, I entered a business venture. As part of my due diligence, I implemented all the necessary safeguards to reduce, if not, eliminate my risks.  I read.  I researched.  I hired an attorney. I had a contract drafted.  However, life sometimes teaches us that there are no failsafe plans.  There are no world systems that could entirely mitigate moral corruption.  Although most, if not all, legal agreements are drafted based on the worse case scenarios, most people enter contacts with the assumption that the opposing party has some semblance of integrity, or at the very least, he or she has a fear of or a reverence for the law.  A year and a half after signing my contract agreement, the opposing party involved still managed to express flagrant disregard of the agreement by violating several terms of the contract. This morning, as I evaluated my situation, I thought about the above verse.

 

Oftentimes, it feels as though the lives of the wicked are bountiful.  Many of them cheat, lie and steal, yet they still manage to thrive beyond the imagination of the meek.  It’s easy to look at the proud and the arrogant and be envious.  They leap and abound.  Their lives are grand.  They enjoy fine things, and they seldom seem concerned with the toils of those who are pure at heart.  “They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong…they are not plagued by human ills,” (verse 4 and 5, NIV).  They play by their own rules.  They scoff at honor and valor.  The lives of the wicked seems grand, indeed.  However, there will come a time when the Earth’s grandeur will cease.  Each man will be equal, and God will judge each man according to his deeds.  “God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad,” (Ecclesiastes 12:14).  It’s so easy to want the wicked to pay—to take vengeance into our own hands because it might seem as though God is moving too slow.  However, Romans 12:19 says, “Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the LORD,” (NLT).

 

The truth is, waiting on God can seem slow, and, at times, feel torturous.  However, “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance,” (2 Peter 3:9, NIV).  In His justice, God has given even the sinners time to change their wicked ways.  Psalms 73 goes on to say that God has placed the wicked on slippery ground.  The wicked will perish if they continue to do wickedness.

 

To those who are longsuffering, I ask that you give your suffering to God.  Leave your vindication in His mighty hands.  God is just, and He judges fairly.  Even King David, whom the Bible refers to as a man after God’s own heart, experienced God’s immense favor despite being reprimanded for his egregious sins. Although David had many shortcomings, God did not forget the promises He made to David.  During earlier times, God decreed that David would not only rule as king over all Israel, God also promised David that he (David) would always have a line to the throne (Jesus).  One of David’s biggest fall from grace was when he had an adulterous affair with Bathsheba, the wife of one of his soldiers named Uriah.  As a result of the affair, Bathsheba became pregnant.  In an effort to cover his tracks David tried to convince Uriah to sleep with his wife, Bathsheba, so that he could pass off the baby as Uriah’s.  Uriah, who was a committed soldier in David’s army, refused to lay with his wife because he did not want to break his allegiance to his fellow fighters by indulging in merriment during battle time.  After David realized that his attempt to cover his tracks had failed, he gave orders to have Uriah killed.  Fortunately, God did not allow David’s position as both king and the “apple of His eyes” to usurp Uriah’s life.  God was not only faithful to David, He was also faithful to Uriah, because the Bible says that God is not a respecter of man (Acts 10:34).  God avenged Uriah’s death by destroying the seed that was created from David’s and Bathsheba’s deception. Thankfully, God did not stay angry with David forever.  He pursued David and blessed him.  Moreover, David repented for sinning against God.

 

In all of our lives, there will be times when we feel forgotten about—by family, by friends, and even by God. Many of us feel like Uriah, a lone soldier in a vast army—a number in the crowd.  The temptation is to give up on God because we feel neglected or betrayed by Him.  However, just like God fought on behalf of Uriah, He will avenge us too.  The Bible says that God will leave the 99 sheep to find the one that has wondered away (Matthew 18:12-14).  It is during our weakest moments that God will seek us out and pursue us.

The Bible says that many are called, but only few are chosen (Matthew 22:14). Imagine getting to the end of our lives and realizing that we missed out on being chosen because we refused to answer God’s call.

This afternoon, as I was doing my devotional, I decided to meditate on Mark 9:28-29, “28 And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out? 29And he said unto them, ‘This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting,’” (KJV). Here is a little background on that verse. Jesus had just returned from his transfiguration experience with Peter, James and John to find the remaining disciples quarrelling with some of the teachers of religious law (Mark 9:14). At the epicenter of the debate was a demon-possessed boy. According to the boy’s father, the child had been plagued by the demon since he was a little boy. Long story short, Jesus freed the little boy of the demon. So, let’s take a look again at verses 28 and 29, “28 And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out? 29And he said unto them, ‘This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting,’” (KJV).

After I read this passage, I knew that there was something deeper that God wanted me to receive in my spirit. I prayed for His revelation, and He gave it to me. I will share with you what He revealed to me.

Whenever we read a passage in Scripture, we should always try to read it in context. Look at what came before and what comes after. Prior to meeting up with the other disciples, Jesus has just experienced one of the most amazing experiences of His Earthly life—Transfiguration. Without minimizing this miraculous event or getting into too much detail, the Transfiguration was essentially God smiling down from heaven and giving Jesus His spiritual seal of approval–a spiritual thumbs up (Mark 9:1-13). Now, this is the part of the story where my wheels started to turn. Jesus had 12 disciples, yet He only brought three with Him to share the experience. Where were the other nine? They were away from Jesus arguing about religious laws. Here is my first revelation. Friend, whenever you and I are more focused on religion than we are Jesus, we set ourselves up for being outside of Jesus’ company. Here is the second revelation. We can become so distracted by religion that we are unable to complete our assignments. We have to realize that our religion is not enough to yield the miracles we desire. In the passage, it wasn’t until Jesus stepped into the picture that the demon was cast out. I believe  that God wanted to illustrate that being religious is not equivalent to being Godly.

When the disciples asked God why they could not cast out the demon, He stated that the type of miracle that they were looking for could be revealed by only two things: prayer and fasting. This brings me to my last two points.

The fourth point is this: God is not moved by our pomp and circumstances. He is moved by our faith which is manifested in our prayer. Notice in Mark 9:19, Jesus said, “‘You faithless people! How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring the boy to me,’” (NIV). Catch what Jesus is saying. Faith is trusting God even when we cannot see Him with our natural eyes. Even though Jesus was not physically with the other disciples while He was on the mountain, He was with them in spirit. However, it was impossible for them to sense His presence because they were burdened by religion. Friend, Jesus is not in our ceremonies, our ideologies, our oils, our rituals, our holy water or our idols. He is in our prayers.

Here is the final point that Jesus made in Mark 9:29. “‘This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting,’” (KJV). There are some “demons” in our lives that we can cast out only with praying and fasting. Why fasting? Fasting is simply preparing the atmosphere for prayer. Fasting allows us to silence our environment so that we can focus on our prayer. There are some things in our lives that will not be answered in just one prayer. We have to get up daily and knock on God’s door like the story of the woman and the judge (Luke 18:1-8). If we are not spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically prepared, we will fail before the manifestation of the prayer. Fasting prepares us for this. Therefore, today I ask you, “What are you believing God for? What thing(s) in your life can only be changed by submitting it to fasting and prayer?” Philippians 4:6 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God,” (NIV). However, when we do, we have to believe that our prayers are enough. God is enough. “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus,” (Philippians 4:19, ESV).