What is faith?

What is faith?

The Struggle with Faith

What is faith? “It is the trust, assurance and confidence in God” (Jim Haeeffele, What is Faith). This area has been one tremendous test for me. One of the biggest struggles of my faith have been questioning whether God is real, whether God hears my prayers, and what am I doing wrong?

All of my life, the church has been a strong foundation within my family and upbringing. We traveled to church almost every Sunday. The importance of service and love were expressed, as members guided me into ushering, singing in the choir, leading youth groups, giving Sunday speeches, and more. Even as an adult, service is still very important to me. However, at this point, the decisions were mine to make as to how my contributions would be invested in the church. My faith was in action.

https://youtu.be/HpPAEBzWNYA

However, as my journey of life continued, more experiences arrived. It felt as though after eleven grade, my life was not going according to plan and my efforts were in vain. I recall a night as I slept in my truck because I didn’t have the money to buy a hotel room or pay my extended stay fee for the week, another series of unfortunate events leading to that moment.

Crouched down and hoping no one would see and question whether I was alive, drunk, or a number of things other than just having a hard time with life’s resources. Living check to check after having surgery, a boss that didn’t honor my FMLA request causing my funds to be depleted and losing my job and apartment, and so many other things had gotten me here. It was a bad year. And this particular night, pay day was in a few days. The goal was to survive until that point. Don’t even get me started on shuffling this experience with my kids and their dad. It was a true test of my faith.

Matthew 17:20 kept coming to my mind. “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain. ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” My faith was present so why was I in this position. Why had there been so many experiences that continued to keep me feeling broken, unheard, and unloved by God? Is God really real or a myth designed to control people?

What was I doing wrong? Why was I being punished? Prayer? Daily. Active in church? Of course. Authentically and lovingly, I motivated and encouraged others. Nothing was coming together, only falling apart. It was a strain to believe in a God that wasn’t listening to me.

Many times I thought why even try. Information was being presented to me from many sources that God wasn’t real and a work of fiction. Chasing truth caused me to follow a trail seeking answers, demanding concrete proof of God’s existence, and trying to remove my own doubts. My faith was struggling.

There are times questions still surface if God hears me or is punishing me. The biggest struggle sometimes is knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is here, protecting me, providing, and loving me. There are times when I feel God has finally heard my prayer and I’m making progress… and that gets derailed and I’m back at square one.

No, my relationship isn’t based on giving me a reward in order to believe. No, it is the desire for clarity more than anything. Have you ever heard people say God told them to do this or that? Well, I haven’t heard that voice.  However, my dreams while sleeping have put me in places that said, “God I hear you.” There have been many situations in which gratitude overflows for all the times that I have survived or been spared. Wisdom has been sought on how to use that knowledge to guide and help others.

Faith. It is exactly that. Believing when you can’t always see something but  knowing that a Power and love greater than you is watching over you. And it is all in God’s plan and for a purpose. Finally, my mind and heart grasped the idea that everything will not be understood, but remain focused toward the goal.  Externally, my life is still a work in progress. Yes, doubts still surface. My reward daily has been tapping into a place of peace in the midst of a world that can be unforgiving and unyielding from the weight it can bring into your life. My faith in God is my peace.

free gospel music streaming

I ALMOST QUIT

I ALMOST QUIT

Psalm 73:1-2 (KJV) “Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart. But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped.”

A couple of years ago, my marriage ended and I went through a really difficult time. I was extremely discouraged in my fight against sin and I was ready to throw in the towel. It was too hard. An entire lifetime of battling against sin just seemed too daunting, too tiring. When do I catch a break? How could I possibly “not grow weary in doing good,” as it’s written in Galatians 6:9?

The feeling of shame, guilt, and share frustration overtook me as I struggled to come to terms with my miserable life. With sleepless nights and worrisome days, a lot of patient encouragement from my mom, I soon realized that the source of my problems was that I had lost sight of my goal and the promises of God over my life.

Proverbs 29:18 (KJV) “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.”

This was coming true in my life. I had become too focused on my life on this earth and forgot to look forward to eternity. How can a soldier possibly be taken up with the affairs of normal men when in battle?

I remember thinking at the time, that even if living for God made every day on this earth an overwhelming struggle, even if I felt wretched for the rest of my life, it would still be worth it in the end when I meet Jesus and received my reward.

So, I did it. I went all in. I gave up everything and gave my heart properly to God. I told myself, “Just one short lifetime of misery and then I can enter into the joy that God has promised me.”

But a remarkable thing happened. Instead of being divorced and miserable, I became happy! I experienced for myself the words that God said to Abraham in Genesis 51:1 “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.”

Those dark, heavy feelings would still like to take hold of me when the going gets tough, but I know now that the source of those feelings is unbelief in God’s promises. And I can overcome them by choosing to believe God’s Word and fixing my eyes on Him.

Don’t Quit! When things go wrong as they sometimes will, when the road you’re trading seems all uphill. When the funds are low and the debts are high and you want to smile, but you have to sigh. When care is pressing you down a bit, rest if you must, but DON’T YOU QUIT!

Life is strange with its twists and turns as every one of us will come to learn. Many failures come about when you might have won but had to stick it out; Don’t give up though the pace seems slow— You may succeed with another blow.

You never can tell just how close you are, it may be near when it seems so far. So, stick to the fight when you are hardest hit— It’s when things seem worst that you MUST NOT QUIT!

​ Be blessed

Where’s the faith?

Where’s the faith?

What is faith? “It is the trust, assurance and confidence in God” (Jim Haeeffele, What is Faith). This area has been one tremendous test for me. One of the biggest struggles of my faith have been questioning whether God is real, whether God hears my prayers, and what am I doing wrong?

All of my life, the church has been a strong foundation within my family and upbringing. We traveled to church almost every Sunday. The importance of service and love were expressed, as members guided me into ushering, singing in the choir, leading youth groups, giving Sunday speeches, and more. Even as an adult, service is still very important to me. However, at this point, the decisions were mine to make as to how my contributions would be invested in the church. My faith was in action.

However, as my journey of life continued, more experiences arrived. It felt as though after eleven grade, my life was not going according to plan and my efforts were in vain. I recall a night as I slept in my truck because I didn’t have the money to buy a hotel room or pay my extended stay fee for the week, another series of unfortunate events leading to that moment.

Crouched down and hoping no one would see and question whether I was alive, drunk, or a number of things other than just having a hard time with life’s resources. Living check to check after having surgery, a boss that didn’t honor my FMLA request causing my funds to be depleted and losing my job and apartment, and so many other things had gotten me here. It was a bad year. And this particular night, pay day was in a few days. The goal was to survive until that point. Don’t even get me started on shuffling this experience with my kids and their dad. It was a true test of my faith.

Matthew 17:20 kept coming to my mind. “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain. ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” My faith was present so why was I in this position. Why had there been so many experiences that continued to keep me feeling broken, unheard and unloved by God. Is God really real or a myth designed to control people?

What was I doing wrong? Why was I being punished? Prayer? Daily. Active in church? Of course. Authentically and lovingly, I motivated and encouraged others. Nothing was coming together, only falling apart. It was a strain to believe in a God that wasn’t listening to me.

Many times I thought why even try. Information was being presented to me from many sources that God wasn’t real and a work of fiction. Chasing truth caused me to follow a trail seeking answers, demanding concrete proof of God’s existence, and trying to remove my own doubts. My faith was struggling.

There are times questions still surface if God hears me or is punishing me. The biggest struggle sometimes is knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is here, protecting me, providing, and loving me. There are times when I feel God has finally heard my prayer and I’m making progress… and that gets derailed and I’m back at square one.

No, my relationship isn’t based on giving me a reward in order to believe. No, it is the desire for clarity more than anything. Have you ever heard people say God told them to do this or that? Well, I haven’t heard that voice.  However, my dreams while sleeping have put me in places that said, “God I hear you.” There have been many situations in which gratitude overflows for all the times that I have survived or been spared. Wisdom has been sought on how to use that knowledge to guide and help others. Faith. It is exactly that. Believing when you can’t always see something but  knowing that a Power and love greater than you is watching over you. And it is all in God’s plan and for a purpose. Finally, my mind and heart grasped the idea that everything will not be understood, but remain focused toward the goal.  Externally, my life is still a work in progress. Yes, doubts still surface. My reward daily has been tapping into a place of peace in the midst of a world that can be unforgiving and unyielding from the weight it can bring into your life. My faith in God is my peace

omglit.com 24/7 christian and gospel music

Insomnia in popular culture

Insomnia in popular culture

Insomnia has been a featured disorder from many factors such as books and movies. Two cult classics one is a book titled Insomnia wrote by horror novelist Stephen King and the other is the Robert DeNiro film from 1976 Taxi Driver. There have been 28 songs written and recorded about insomnia and among the artists who recorded a song were Vanessa Carlton, Green Day, Radiohead, and Tenacious D. The most popular film based on the Chuck Palahniuk novel that was a hit about 6 years ago was Fight Club with Edward Norton and Brad Pitt and the lead character was a manic insomniac. This seems to be the most common form of sleeping disorder to the point that movies and songs were made about this problem.

People aren’t aware that this is a problematic issue for those who suffer from this. It’s not healthy to go without sleep because it can affect your immune system making you prone to catching things like the flu and colds. Not getting any rest can cause severe disorientation because your body wasn’t given an opportunity to rest and recuperate.

This is what drove the designer coffee movement up like the sprawl of coffee shops from Starbucks, Gloria Jeans, Seattle’s Best, and Caribou Coffee since you had a lot of late-nighters consisting of mainly people working in hospitals and college students who had to pull late nighters and cram sessions and needed to stay awake so when coffee wasn’t working they bought this over the counter pill called Vivarin which is equal to about 2 cups of coffee when you take the prescribed dosage.

It’s usually not a good idea to take Vivarin because it can interfere with your body’s ability to sleep and rest normally. You’ll find more college students getting sick a lot because they’re forcing their bodies to do things that aren’t normal like staying up super late and not getting at least 6 hours of sleep. Rest also provides your body’s digestive system to rest which makes up about 70% of your immune system so it’s ideal to sleep when necessary and taking short naps also works as a re-energizer to give you a burst of energy that works much better than coffee or caffeine pills.

That can become resistant since a lot of coffee drinkers tend to get very tired after a certain point and that’s due in part to the fact that you build up a resistance after having a few cups of coffee or cans of Coke so meaning it won’t keep you awake it will accelerate the rate of how fast you’ll start to feel sleepy.

So seeing pop culture idolize such a disorder is unknown unless the person who wrote the book or penned the song has a problem with it and decided to write or sing about it. The reason for it is unknown, but it’s rather interesting since a song can tell a story and the same of a book, but it’s obviously influenced a slew of songs, a few movies and a series of books where the characters are suffering from some kind of sleeping disorder from mild to severe.

A healthy diet is essential for optimal energy and a night of restful sleep. Avoiding certain foods is as important as including others in your daily diet. Eating a wide variety of foods and drinking plenty of water will keep your body well- balanced and provide a more stable energy level. Avoiding food that is grown, treated, or processed with chemicals, and limiting the amount of sugar and caffeine will also help your overall physical condition. Many foods promote restful sleep and are helpful in relieving some of the symptoms of certain sleep disorders. Eating the proper snack before bedtime can increase natural serotonin levels. Serotonin acts as a natural sedative and is made in the body from the amino acid tryptophan. Foods that are rich in tryptophan include chicken, turkey, cheese, cottage cheese, fish, milk, nuts, avocados, and bananas.

Many people use herbs and natural supplements as an alternative approach to treating their sleep disorder. There are many nutritional supplements and herbal products on the market. It is important to know how a specific product acts on the body as well as on the specific sleep disorder. For example, many people with restless leg syndrome have iron or folic acid deficiency. Taking an iron supplement may alleviate some of the symptoms of RLS. Many herbs are well known for promoting natural sleep. A clamming tea of chamomile or lemon balm can be very relaxing for many people that suffer from a sleep disorder.

Exercise and relaxation techniques, whether used alone or together, can reduce stress and muscle tension. Many people that use these techniques to lessen the symptoms of a sleep disorder do these before going to bed. They not only ease physical tension but they calm the mind and prepare the body to sleep. These techniques include mindful exercise, progressive muscle relaxation, breathing exercises, and yoga.

Meditation and visualization are also used by some sufferers of sleep disorders to calm the body before sleep. Two common forms of mediation are a meditation on breath and mantra meditation. Both of these types can have a positive effect on relieving stress and calming the body. Many people focus their energy on a healing visualization as a method of alternative therapy for their sleep disorder.

Sensory techniques that people use to lessen the symptoms of their sleep disorder are hydrotherapy, and aroma therapy. The two main techniques included in hydrotherapy, which means water therapy, are relaxing in an Epsom salt bath and a lymph stimulating footbath. Aroma therapy includes the use of therapeutic essential oils in baths, massage oils, room sprays, and simple inhalants.

Alternative behavioral and cognitive strategies used to combat the symptoms of a sleep disorder include improving a person’s sleep hygiene, stimulus control therapy, and journal writing.

Alternative practices and techniques can help many types of sleep disorders. Often they are used in conjunction with traditional medication and practices.

THE TRIAL OF FAITH

THE TRIAL OF FAITH


“Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have of a mustard
seed, you can say to this mountain, Move from here to there and it will
move. Nothing will be impossible for you”
In the midst of all the confusion in the world today, God has never
changed. We have listened to everything and everybody to find an
answer to all our problems today. It seems like the world walks over
you instead of walking with you. We live in a very selfish world. It seems
like every man for himself. You have wonder where is trust.
The truth is we are looking in the wrong places, at the wrong things, and
depending on the wrong people. We have to learn to depend on God.
As we have probably heard, God is our help when we are ever in danger.
He is a shadow when we need to hide. He is the wind in our sails when
we need to move on. He is the fire in our veins when we need to be
revived. He is the fountain we drink from when we are thirsty for love.
Our faith gets drained every day when we focus on things that seems
to bring negativity into our presence. We sometimes believe that these
things will overwhelm us with no way out. We have to remember that
this battle that we are going through is not physical, it is spiritual.
The devil wants us to believe that nothing is possible through God.
He wants to very much weaken your faith God, but we have to remember
not to trust him because he is a liar. If we are a true believer then we know
that God is true. Proverbs 3:5 says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and do not lean on your own understanding. THE GOOD NEWS: if you
put your complete trust in the Lord,your life straight and lead you down the right path. Mark 9:23 tells us
“Jesus said to him” if you can believe? All things are possible for one who
believes”. THE GOOD NEWS: If you can erase your doubts and try to
believe in Christ, amazing things can happen for you. 2 Timothy 4:7 says
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the
faith.” THE GOOD NEWS: If you keep your faith close, the Lord will be
with you every step of the way throughout your life, especially when you
need him most. He will be your guide.

Romans 10:1 “So faith from coming from hearing and hearing the word of
Christ” THE GOOD NEWS: A large part of your faith comes from learning,
believing, listening, and acting out the words in the bible. The deeper you
dive into the word of the Lord the deeper your faith will grow,
Mark 10:52 tells us “ Go said Jesus “Your faith has healed you” Immediately
he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.
THE GOOD NEWS: Jesus will lead you wherever you want to go in life,
and he’ll give you the path and the sight to get there.
The scriptures in the bible speak nothing but the truth, It gives us
Motivation to be strong in our faith. There is a saying “when the going gets
Tough, the tough get going”. Jesus is telling us we have to be determined
To not let the advisory to overwhelm us. If God is for you, then what can
Overwhelm you.


BRYON E. GOULD

https://www.facebook.com/bryon.gould.7
BALTIMORE—WASHINGTON CONFERENCE
UNITED METHODIST MEN
PRAYER ADVOCATE