Week 20- Taft C.I.

THE TRUE CHURCH.

Today we find the church in different stages but God is looking for the SURRENDERED CHURCH.

Lets go ahead and take a look at the churches of today.

Sleeping Church.

In Corinthians 3 vs. 1-4 we read what Paul rights to the Corinthians. We see many similarities between what he is saying and what is found today in the Sleeping Church.

Paul is telling the Corinthians:
* I could not speak to you regarding things of the spirit.
* You were still operating in your flesh.
* You were still spiritual babies.
* On the outside, everything looks rosy. You have all the gifts, powerful preachers, and gift of prophecy, miracles and many others but spiritually you still babies.
* Your fruit is that of the flesh: jealousy, arguing, filled with pride…. You still controlled by your sinful nature.

Paul goes on in Ephesians: 4 vs. 14-16…

In these verses Paul Is telling us, listen church, its dangerous to remain spiritual babies.
* Without a solid spiritual foundation, rooted in Jesus, you are opening yourself up to the false teachings being brought into the church.
* You are like a ship without a rudder, tossed about the ocean without any clear direction and no way of getting to your destination.
* Paul tells us that false teachings will be brought into the church by ” so called men of God”, teachers and preachers. They will deceive many believer’s with lies, that are so close to the truth that it will be virtually impossible to know without the ability to discern this in the spirit.

The churches and their leadership are partly to blame for why a vast portion of believes are still spiritual babies, even though they are committed church members and attend faithfully.
Church has become a comfort zone for many believers, doubling as a social gathering where they get entertained, hear the word but are required to do very little, besides pay their tithes.

For this, the believer gets to tick the box, “I go to church, pay my tithes and I am therefore a good person”

Let’s take a look at a different church that has become popular of late.

Today’s “Hyper Grace churches” often have catchy names, such as the Bridge, Water or Founders. Really the purpose behind these trendy and unthreatening names is to make believers feel like there is no difference between church and many of the other ” worldly organizations” they belong to. The church has desperately tried to separate itself from the image of what comes to mind when people think of church. The goal is to blend the church into the world so as to remove the mental barrier that many people have regarding living a holy and righteous life…

You find these churches filled with young believe, millennial, who feel comfortable in an environment that is similar to other forms of entertainment that they are accustomed too.
Big screen TV’s all over the place, smoke machines used to create a feeling of the presence of the holy spirit and a full blown worship band and production that rivals many mainstream concerts.
* They continue sinning, falsely believing that God’s grace covers all sin infinitely – not understanding that it is God’s Grace that gives us the power to STOP sinning.
* They claim they know Jesus, praising Him and declaring His name, all the while their lives are intertwined with the world and undifferentiated from the world.
* They deny that Jesus is the ” Only way to eternal life” believing that many roads lead to heaven!
(John 14v6 & Acts 4v12)
* They are flowing and believing a DIFFERENT Good News. They have fallen pray to the FALSE TEACHING.

Paul speaks of this in Galatians 1v6-10.

Paul goes on to say, many will fall away from their faith. What?

What Paul is explaining here, is not that believers are going to suddenly DENY Jesus, stop believing Jesus is their savior and quit church.

No, no, that’s not it. What Paul is telling us, is that believers:

“WILL TRY TO COMPLETE THEIR FAITH BY THEIR OWN STRENGHT, THROUGH THEIR OWN WORKS! THEY WILL THEREFORE, DENY JESUS FINISHE WORK OF THE CROSS…”

Jesus paid the price, once and for all. Our part is to trust him and believe.
We have to believe with our hearts, resulting in our righteousness and confess with our mouths; Jesus is Lord, resulting in our salvation.

Then we come to the church that Jesus wants to claim as His bride.

The Surrendered Church.

” Not only is Jesus our s

THE TRUE CHURCH.

Today we find the church in different stages but God is looking for the SURRENDERED CHURCH.

Lets go ahead and take a look at the churches of today.

Sleeping Church.

In Corinthians 3 vs. 1-4 we read what Paul rights to the Corinthians. We see many similarities between what he is saying and what is found today in the Sleeping Church.

Paul is telling the Corinthians:
* I could not speak to you regarding things of the spirit.
* You were still operating in your flesh.
* You were still spiritual babies.
* On the outside, everything looks rosy. You have all the gifts, powerful preachers, and gift of prophecy, miracles and many others but spiritually you still babies.
* Your fruit is that of the flesh: jealousy, arguing, filled with pride…. You still controlled by your sinful nature.

Paul goes on in Ephesians: 4 vs. 14-16…

In these verses Paul Is telling us, listen church, its dangerous to remain spiritual babies.
* Without a solid spiritual foundation, rooted in Jesus, you are opening yourself up to the false teachings being brought into the church.
* You are like a ship without a rudder, tossed about the ocean without any clear direction and no way of getting to your destination.
* Paul tells us that false teachings will be brought into the church by ” so called men of God”, teachers and preachers. They will deceive many believer’s with lies, that are so close to the truth that it will be virtually impossible to know without the ability to discern this in the spirit.

The churches and their leadership are partly to blame for why a vast portion of believes are still spiritual babies, even though they are committed church members and attend faithfully.
Church has become a comfort zone for many believers, doubling as a social gathering where they get entertained, hear the word but are required to do very little, besides pay their tithes.

For this, the believer gets to tick the box, “I go to church, pay my tithes and I am therefore a good person”

Let’s take a look at a different church that has become popular of late.

Today’s “Hyper Grace churches” often have catchy names, such as the Bridge, Water or Founders. Really the purpose behind these trendy and unthreatening names is to make believers feel like there is no difference between church and many of the other ” worldly organizations” they belong to. The church has desperately tried to separate itself from the image of what comes to mind when people think of church. The goal is to blend the church into the world so as to remove the mental barrier that many people have regarding living a holy and righteous life…

You find these churches filled with young believe, millennial, who feel comfortable in an environment that is similar to other forms of entertainment that they are accustomed too.
Big screen TV’s all over the place, smoke machines used to create a feeling of the presence of the holy spirit and a full blown worship band and production that rivals many mainstream concerts.
* They continue sinning, falsely believing that God’s grace covers all sin infinitely – not understanding that it is God’s Grace that gives us the power to STOP sinning.
* They claim they know Jesus, praising Him and declaring His name, all the while their lives are intertwined with the world and undifferentiated from the world.
* They deny that Jesus is the ” Only way to eternal life” believing that many roads lead to heaven!
(John 14v6 & Acts 4v12)
* They are flowing and believing a DIFFERENT Good News. They have fallen pray to the FALSE TEACHING.

Paul speaks of this in Galatians 1v6-10.

Paul goes on to say, many will fall away from their faith. What?

What Paul is explaining here, is not that believers are going to suddenly DENY Jesus, stop believing Jesus is their savior and quit church.

No, no, that’s not it. What Paul is telling us, is that believers:

“WILL TRY TO COMPLETE THEIR FAITH BY THEIR OWN STRENGHT, THROUGH THEIR OWN WORKS! THEY WILL THEREFORE, DENY JESUS FINISHE WORK OF THE CROSS…”

Jesus paid the price, once and for all. Our part is to trust him and believe.
We have to believe with our hearts, resulting in our righteousness and confess with our mouths; Jesus is Lord, resulting in our salvation.

Then we come to the church that Jesus wants to claim as His bride.

The Surrendered Church.

” Not only is Jesus our savior BUT his the Lord of our lives.”

When we get this revelation deep inside our spirit and it burns with an unquenchable fire, then we have surrendered. Trusting the Lord with all our heart, not leaning on our own understanding but seeking His will, in all that we do, and He is faithful to show us the right path.

Presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God.
Paul explains this in – Romans 12.

This is our spiritual worship.

We serve an Almighty God, who loves us more than the human mind can comprehend, but we need to remember that He is still Jehovah, God almighty. He is also our daddy. He is sovereign, holy and the creator of all things. Understanding that the reverent Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge.

As we pursue God’s wisdom, we will get to experience the fullness that life has to offer.
Surrender your life today to the Lord.
Live a holy life. Maintain a Reverent fear of the Lord and watch how; He will work through your life to bring glory to his kingdom.

 

avior BUT his the Lord of our lives.”

When we get this revelation deep inside our spirit and it burns with an unquenchable fire, then we have surrendered. Trusting the Lord with all our heart, not leaning on our own understanding but seeking His will, in all that we do, and He is faithful to show us the right path.

Presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God.
Paul explains this in – Romans 12.

This is our spiritual worship.

We serve an Almighty God, who loves us more than the human mind can comprehend, but we need to remember that He is still Jehovah, God almighty. He is also our daddy. He is sovereign, holy and the creator of all things. Understanding that the reverent Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge.

As we pursue God’s wisdom, we will get to experience the fullness that life has to offer.
Surrender your life today to the Lord.
Live a holy life. Maintain a Reverent fear of the Lord and watch how; He will work through your life to bring glory to his kingdom.

 

Week 19- Taft C.I.

“Don’t be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.”
– Romans 12:2 -There is a stated, essential and inviolable rule of life, our bodies usually end up where our minds are. Our brains are an amazing, complex creation of God.

Our minds represent the fertile soil for our lives. We need to be careful what we plant so that we don’t reap the wrong harvest.

” For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.”
Proverbs 23:7

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: ” a man is what he thinks about all day long.”

All temptations come to us via our thoughts, making the mind the battlefield of the soul.
When we come to know Jesus, a change begins to occur in our minds and our thinking. Everything about us is transformed through the renewing of our thoughts.

Gods spirit and His word, causes a renewing of our minds that results in an inner transformation.

We need to guard our minds and thoughts, not allowing the world to mold us into its likeness, but allow God and His word to transform us, into His good, pleasing and perfect will.

Just like a computer, what we allow into our mind is what will come out in our actions and thoughts.

Choose today to be focused on the word of God and allow your mind to be renewed.

Week 18- Taft C.I.

“Shout joyful praises to God, all the earth!”
– Psalm 66:1-

It’s early Saturday morning around 4:15am. There is this thick, tangible stillness that is present in the mornings. I can’t explain it, but you can almost feel the silence as if its a dense fog.

I am sitting on the floor in the TV room starring out the window at the lights. My friend had just sad down next to me.

” I can’t sleep. My mind will not stop, Chad. How do you remaining so peaceful in this hell?”

I looked at him, I could see the anxiety in his eyes and I could feel the stress radiating off him.

I said in a very low quiet voice, ” take a couple deep breaths George, you’re freaking yourself out.”

George, you need to work on changing the internal conversation you having with yourself. It’s important to focus on building your faith not tearing it down.
Why not try starting every morning declaring that your best years are ahead of you. Regardless of how you are feeling, tell yourself that God is turning things around for your good. Remind yourself that His word, says His plans are for your good, for a future filled with hope and abundance, which you can’t even dare imagine. But you have to believe it with all your heart.

Write down all the good that He does for you each day. Focus on these victories and blessings. You will be amazed George at what He is doing in your life, when you just open your eyes.

Quite complain everyday about everything, like you have being doing. It’s draining on you and everyone around you.

Be thankful. Everyday thank Him. When you convert your heart to one of gratitude, your focus will change from how BIG your problems are to how BIG your GOD is!

Its 5am.We better hurry back to our cells for the morning count….

 

 

Week 17- Taft C.I.

Steering down giants.

” You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies – the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.”
– 1 Samuel: 17:45

Sometimes it feels like life is a never ending sequence of adversities.
I find myself steering down giants daily.

I love the story about David when he went out to face Goliath.
David mentions that he heard the treetops rustling. He knew his time had arrived. It made no difference to him, that Goliath was a GIANT.
David knew there was no way he could defeat Goliath by his strength, but he knew it was his time and nothing or nobody could talk him out of it.

I flash back to all the all things I allowed, people and my own self , to talk me out of doing. LOST DREAMS!

Don’t give up on your dreams or allow people to discourage you. They don’t know who you are or what you capable of because God never put the dream in them. He put it in YOU.

When it is your time, there is a grace to do things you where not capable of doing before.

David knew, because he just knew that this was his time, regardless of the insurmountably and overwhelming circumstance ahead, David said: ” Goliath, this day I will defeat you and feed your head to the birds of the air.”

When we step out in faith, knowing that its our time, we will accomplish things that we never dreamed possible.

Lack of money, education or talent none of that matters because its not going to happen by our strength or abilities but by the breath of God.

Week 16 – Taft C.I.

“When troubles come your way, considered it an opportunity for great joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”
– James 1: 2-4

No matter how successful we are, we all have challenges, struggles, and times when things don’t go our way. When calamity occurs, most of us automatically think that we have done something wrong and God must surely be punishing us.

We don’t understand that God has a divine purpose for every challenge that comes into our lives.
God does NOT send the problems, but sometimes He will allow for us to go through them.

Why is this? This question is something I turned into a mantra, asking God continually. Pleading for an answer until one day I received an answer. It clearly says in the bible that temptations, trials must come if we are to strengthen our spiritual muscles and grow stronger.

It’s in the tough times of our lives, which we find out what we are really made of. Hebrews 12:7 say that we need to: put up with hard times, because God uses them to train us. He is training us as we train our children.

So put on all, not some, but all Gods armor. Evil days will come, but we will be able to stand up to anything. After we have done all that we can, we will still be standing in faith.

We are all constantly facing trials, but they are intended to test our fortitude, to test our character, to test our faith. All through life, we will face various tests, even though we will not enjoy them, God will use the trials to refine us, to cleanse and purify us so that He can shape us into the person He desires us to be.

We need to learn to cooperate with God and be quick to yield to changing in those areas that He brings to light, that way; we can grow rapidly in our spiritual growth.

James 1:2-4 makes it clear that we will face all kinds of troubles during our lives. When these trials happen, we need to think of them as pure joy according to the Bible. Our faith will be tested. When we face these trials and respond correctly, it will produce in us, the strength to continue. This strength to continue must be allowed to finish its work, and then we will be all we were meant to be. We will have everything we need.

Regardless of what is taking place in our lives, know without any doubt, that God is working things out for our good, so that in this life, we can rise to new levels and be the person we are meant to be.

Most of the time, I am tested in the areas that I am weakest. I would think most of us have experienced something similar. When we have issues with jealousy, it seems like everyone we meet has better or more material possessions than we do.

When our best friend comes cruising up in his brand new car, do we say to ourselves; “I deserve to be driving that new car. I work harder than he does, why does nothing good ever happen to me” or do we feel sincerely happy for him?

These are tests of our faith. God loves to use them to bring to light impurities in our character. He is working in us, refining us and preparing us, for what he has called us to do, in this life.

When we learn how to submit and allow him to reshape and mold us, we will then be amazed at the blessings, favor and victory that will come into our lives.

We need to realize that God wants to change us. He may of purposely arranged for that person who grates and annoys you to be in your life. He may be trying to toughen you up a little and teach you endurance, to not run from everything that is hard, uncomfortable or inconvenient.

Don’t be a coward, you can’t run away from your problems. Its like trying yo run away from yourself. So stand strong, regardless of the circumstances, and have faith.
Philippines 4:13 says:” I can do all things, not some things but all things which strengthens me.”

GOD IS NOT GOING TO CHANGE ANYTHING YOU ARE DEALING WITH UNTIL HE FIRST CHANGES YOU!

We often cry out to God to change our circumstances promising that we will change…It works the other way. We have to first change our attitudes and deal with the issues that God has allowed in our lives, then He will change the circumstances.

Romans 8:28 makes it clear, that all things- not just the good things in life-but all things will work together for your good provided you trust Him and stay in faith.

 

Week 15 – Taft C.I.

“Three things will last forever – faith, hope and love – and the greatest of these is love.”
– 1Corinthians 14:9

Love is such a complicated subject and everyone has strong opinions of what love is, the characteristics of love and how we should feel, when we are in love with someone.

This kind of love is driven by our emotions and feelings.

What about the love that the bible speaks of ? The love for your enemies? The love for that person who is constantly getting under your skin or that person that seems like their sole purpose is to push your buttons, to see if they can get you to react causing you to loose your cool…

This is the love that I am struggling with in my current environment.The more I intentionally avoid certain people, the more they keep showing up in my space. When this happens, I can feel the adrenaline pumping through my body. All my sensors are elevated and I am on high alert anticipating what could possibly go wrong in the next 30 seconds.

Something is bound to go wrong, I rationalize in my mind.The bad energy was feeding off itself and I caught myself visualization myself, punching the main guy in the jaw. I knew this was wrong on so many levels, but I was allowing my feelings and emotions to rule over me.

How could that ever solve the problem, I continued to ask myself. We coexist in the same small environment and I was out numbered a hundred to one.

Lately, everytime I went to service at the chapel, the message would be about love and the love of God. At first, it would just make me shut down as I was stuck in my stubbornness.

Subconsciously, I felt justified and empowered like a lion, protecting himself and his pack.

I was being challenged and I wanted to eliminate the challengers.

Next service – Love again..Now this was starting to eat at me. Why would I show these people love…No, I was not going to do it.

Thursday comes around and Richie calls me over. We always get together and prepare for the evening bible study. I write down all the scriptures that Richie wanted to discuss, on the topic that He feels lead to teach on.

“Chad, tonight we going to discuss love and how without love, nothing else matters.” I just looked up at Richie and burst out laughing as he handed me the sheet with all the scriptures listed on it, for the nights Bible study.

Thirteen scriptures for me to review on the Power of Love and how without love we can never please God.

As I read through the scriptures, the Lord began to show me that we will always have difficult people in our lives. His love is not about feelings but choices!

You can choose to love someone even when you don’t feel like loving them.
You can choose to forgive. Doesn’t mean the other person was right, it just means I have chosen to let go of the hurt and anger that has been boiling inside me.

I see that sometimes these situations are in our lives so that we can learn from them and grow.

We will be held accountable for the people that He puts in our lives and how we deal with them.

Love never fails, as we walk in love, we will find peace and live in favor with GOD and Man.

Week 14-Tact C.I.

“My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet, I want your will to be done, not mine.”
– Matthew 26:39 –

This past week, I felt like I was in the Garden of Gethsemane. My world felt like it had been turned upside down and that everything was coming against me. It was as if the pressure had intensified and my vision of how I was going to make it through this was slowly melting away.

I knew that this was all just in my mind because the enemy likes to play tricks with your mind whilst he comes to steal, kill and destroy.

I had just witnessed what happens when you allow negative thoughts to develop into strongholds in your mind, which causes you to loose hope. One of our group, last week, had a mentally breakdown.

The constant pressure of the environment, together with other external stress, caused his mind to shut down and he ended up in medical for psychological observation.

During our Sunday service today, the Lord reminded me of the challenges Jesus had to endure for our sake.
He had to go through the Garden of Gethsemane, down the road to Golgotha and onto to the Cross.

The enemy always fights hardest when he knows we are closest to our victory. Its right here, where most of us give up. Jesus endured the Cross-because he focused on the victory. He stayed in faith and God sent him an angel to strengthen Him through this time of trial.

The pastor preached a message today that spoke to me personally.

” Keep looking ahead, because the Lord has created each one of you for something great. Hold onto that promise, believe, keep praying, and watch your BREAKTHROUGH COME TO PASS!”

 

Week 13- Taft C.I.

“Show me someone that has done something worthwhile, and I will show you someone who has overcome adversity.”
– Lou Holt –

I looked up at the clock on the wall, and I immediately felt the anxiousness begin to bubble, like a volcano, inside of me.

Visitation was ending and the dreaded goodbye was nearing. I had just spent a wonderful four and half hours, but now it was time to say goodbye to my loved ones.

As I waved goodbye, there was this brief moment, when it felt like the entire world was being sucked into a black hole. An overwhelming feeling of total separation from everything, hit me like a Mac truck.

I exited the visitation room. I began to gain my composure as I walked into the compound.
This process doesn’t seem to get any easier and it makes me ask myself, what is it that gives us the ability to push through, regardless of the situation?

When times are tough and the situation seems overwhelming, how do we lite that internal fire that will generate the confidence to propel us through the difficult times?

While I am walking in the 100 degree plus heat, asking myself this question, what I come to realize is that our confidence to overcome these obstacles that we are experiencing in life, “comes from the Vision that we have for our future.”

When we have a crystal clear vision of where we want to go in life, and what we want from life, then the rest of it is much easier.

When this vision is imprinted on your mind, you always know why you are getting up in the morning and pushing through the day. Why, when everything around you seems like its falling apart, you continue to hold steady in faith, focusing on your vision for your future, and continuing to work harder than everyone around you.

Disciplined and filled with the desire that ignites an inextinguishable fire inside of you that causes you to believe without any doubt, that YOUR VISION FOR THE FUTURE WILL BECOME A REALITY!

 

Week 12- Taft C.I.

“We are walking around in systems in society, and much of what consumes most of our days is not some natural order. We are all navigating some superstructure that we humans created.”

Are you living a life which is the result of you just reacting to random events that come your way and land up on your calendar or are you proactively steering your ship according to a route that you have consciously mapped out and decided to follow?

This is a question we can all ask ourselves. Today, we live in a world that is filled with all kinds of distractions; the internet, social media and people are haunted by the fear of missing out. Our lives can get caught up in the hurricane we call our inbox or to-do-list We allow open access to these and anyone and everyone is welcome to add an action item to them.

IT’S TIME YOU GOT OUT OF YOUR INBOX AND FOCUSED ON YOUR OWN TO-DO- LIST.

I recall back to the period prior to March 2010, before my life was turned upside down. I was constantly chasing meetings, deals, investors, founders as well as anything else that I felt might add value to my business. My phone would start ringing at 6am and most nights I would still be taking calls at 11pm.

My to-do-list was ridiculous, filled with an endless list of activities and thinks that needed to be done. Or at least that’s what I had convinced myself. Looking back, I used to get drenched in this feeling of insecurity if I never had a long list of things on my To-Do-List. I would feel as if I was slacking off or being lazy and inefficient.

When we look back at the challenges in our lives, it boils down to, which challenges did we consciously take on and which challenges are a result of us trying to please someone else?

Take back control of your life by taking back control of your inbox and your to-do-list.
The benefits of doing just this one simple thing, will allow you to have time to focus, to learn new things that you always wanted to learn, to nurture relationships from the past and present, to build businesses that excite you, rather than just reacting to everyday situations that come your way.

Spend your time doing those things that your desire and that drive you to get up in the morning. Things that stir up the fire of passion deep inside you.

Be your AUTHENTIC-SELF and you may just find the meaning of ultimate happiness.

Week 11- Taft C.I.

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.”
– Lao Tzu –

I woke up early Sunday morning. I began my morning routine. While I was going through it, I felt this strong inner calling to start a five day water fast, Monday.
I had been fasting Mondays ever week, no food for 24 hours but this was going to be something completely different.

Over the years I have experimented with fasting both for health/wellness as well as throughout my spiritual walk.

Every fast is completely different. Your current life experiences, emotional state together with every other factor that effects you both physically and emotionally will play a part in your fasting experience.

My current environment was going to create challenges and difficulties that I would normally not have to deal with on the outside.

From previous experiences, day one and two have you in a state of agitation and your patience fuse is very short. On the outside, you can manage by spending your time in solitude, prayer or meditation. You limit your human interactions to only those that are necessary. Avoiding all crowds and activities that can cause stress.
This allows you time to reconnect to your inner self and run the gauntlet of introspection.

NONE OF THAT IS POSSIBLE IN THIS ENVIRONMENT.

You have no privacy and chaos is the constant theme.

Monday – Day 1

Woke up at 4:45am. Excited about my first day of the fast and how this environment would expose those things that needed to be dealt with.
Day one ended pretty uneventfully. I have been fasting every Monday, so today was just another Monday!

Day 2 – Tuesday

Things got a little interesting on day two. After my morning routine, I consciously withdrew from my surrounds to focus on the present moment and how I was feeling.

While I was mindfully sitting in my cell, just meditating on my breathing, my thoughts were redirecting to my surroundings and I could feel myself becoming angry, agitated and I was loosing my feeling of peace.

My mind was replaying experiences and emotions from my past. This stirred up feelings of regret, frustration, resentment, remorse and many other negative emotions, which in turn created a sense of fear for the future.

I knew I had to get back to my state of mindfulness, get my mind focused back to the present moment.
Only in the present moment can I experience the joy that is in me.

I concentrated on my breathing, “in” and “out”, reciting those two words as I was breathing brought my thoughts under control.
Wow, I thought I had already dealt with all that emotional pain.
Obviously I still have work to do.

Day 3 – Wednesday

Woke up at 4:45am Wednesday morning, not hungry and the edginess had dissipated. I felt alert and energized. My mind was clear and focused. Tuesday was a challenging day both emotionally and physically. My body was craving food; my mind was on a rollercoaster ride. Anxiety, anger and frustration over my situation were a weapon that my mind was using to get me to surrender to the emotional comfort of eating. I was edgy and even caught myself lashing out at one of my friends over the news on Fox. Thankfully I caught myself and made a wise decision to go walk the track and spend some time alone.

This morning, I have clarity of mind. My body feels like a live wire. I can feel a slight vibration through my body and it feels like energy is radiating off me. I have this mild tingling sensation that covers my body.
I went about my day as normal. Sometimes feeling like I was walking on clouds. My body felt light and my energy was explosive.
Drank as much water as possible and spent the rest of the day consumed with reading as the compound was on lockdown due to hazardous air quality.

Day 4 – Thursday

Woke up at 4:45am.My mind was alert but my body was sluggish.

I was contemplating why I was not hungry. I remember experiencing sporadic feelings of overwhelming hunger when I last fasted 5 days water only. I concluded that a big part why I was not feeling hungry was because my mind was not exposed to food 24/7. No drive-thru’s, no Starbucks or the aroma of a good home cooked meal. My mind was not being fed with visual stimulation of delicious food. Our brains are so powerful, constantly processing information and visual images from our surroundings. The brain then produces feelings, emotions and desires, which are then transmitted throughout the body. Its vital that we take our thoughts captive and manage what we focus on or what we allow passively to enter our minds because this has an enormous effect on our bodies and our lives!

Developing a peaceful mind in a challenging environment like this was a goal I set the moment I walked through those metal gates.

This is still a work in progress with many ups and downs. Over the last 3 months, I have come to realize that a peaceful mind develops from:

– becoming more content with what you have rather than constantly chasing what you don’t have.
– Having a strong circle of friends.
– Engaging in pleasurable spiritual conversation
– spending time each day in solitary contemplated

Day 5 – Friday

Woke up at 2:30am with an overwhelming feeling to pray and just give thanks.

I began speaking to the Lord. My body was alive and my senses were heightened. I just said, Lord, I know that your word says that all things work for my good according to your purpose and that you will never leave nor forsake me.
I am at the end of my strength. If being in here is what its going to take to really know you, then so be it!

I said, please than Lord, watch over my family and keep them safe. Give me the strength to make it through this training.

While I was sitting there in the dark silence of the morning, observing every sound and how my body was feeling, the following words flashed across my minds eye:

YOU HAVE TO LOOSE YOUR LIFE TO TRULY GAIN IT!!!

 

” Life can be much broader, once you discover one simple fact, and that is everything around you that you call “Life” was made up by people that are no smarter than YOU.
And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you will never be the same again.”