Category Archives: Spiritual Health

how to ACTIVATE JOY

There are many things in life that are beyond our control. Pain, loss, and difficult circumstances come to us all. That old adage of how “you can’t control others, but you can control how you respond to others” is very true. This can be applied, not only to people, but to other areas of our lives, as well.

The year 2020 is a perfect example. Oh yes, this year will go down in the history books as being one of the most difficult years – world wide! With bad news seemingly coming at us from every angle, sadly, it is no wonder that suicide and depression is on the rise.

However, it doesn’t always take catastrophic news, hitting us from every angle, to lose our joy. In fact, for many, joy seems to have been out of reach for the majority of our lives. There are people who only experience joy on “special occasions” like when they’re vacationing, spending money, eating, etc. This will cause the person to go to great lengths to seek the next “high”. Of course, this isn’t authentic joy…this is a temporary happiness caused by external pleasure.

The truth is that joy comes from the inside and not from ideal circumstances or external pleasures.

If you’re not sure how to lean into a life of joy then there is good news! You don’t have to wait for joy to jump on you – you can activate it! Being joyful is just like everything else – it takes practice and being purposeful in order to achieve it.

Below are 3 Simple Ways to Activate JOY:

(1) Look for the Simple Beauty in Life. No matter how ugly you may feel things are, there is always something beautiful to celebrate. Remember when you used to pick wildflowers, or draw pictures, as a child? You thought they were so pretty and couldn’t wait to share them with someone else! Well, you don’t need a dozen roses and a picture to post, on social media, in order to find joy in beauty.

Beauty isn’t always this enormous (or expensive) display. It can be found almost anywhere including within the mundane of routine. Tap into the wonderment of seeing beauty in the simple things, of life, again…..and joy will follow.

(2) Be Present. It’s easy to get distracted when you are facing difficult circumstances. In fact, you could be sitting in a comfortable room, surrounded by people who love you, but if your mind is focused elsewhere then you will miss the moment. Allow your body to feel the comfort of the room. Look your loved ones in the eye and listen to them, share with them, and appreciate the time you have.

Sadly, we don’t all have the gift of a comfortable room or a bunch of loved ones, in our lives. But we can all partake in cozy occasions. Make space, in your life, for those things that bring you comfort (a favorite meal, a cup of tea, a soft blanket, a nap, etc.) and thoroughly relish the time spent with those things. Life may not be a constant laugh fest but it can be full of wonderful moments. You can decide what to focus on, choose to be present…and joy will follow.

(3) Focus on Strength Rather than “Happiness”. As strange as it may sound, being happy is overrated. I’m not saying that sadness is better by any means. But know this: happiness is temporary and is usually dependent on external circumstances. Happiness is a butterfly that flits here and there but never stays. Rather than placing so much attention on being “happy”, focus more on being a person of inner strength.

Please don’t misunderstand me here. I am not saying that if you lack joy, then you’re “weak”. What I’m saying is that chasing after happiness is a pursuit in folly because, once found, it will not last.

The root of JOY is STRENGTH, not happiness.

It is strength that determines what your focus in life will be. It is a person of strong character that refuses to give up. When outward circumstances turn sour, you can always tap into strength to keep you going. In fact. Nehemiah 8:10 tells us that the joy of the LORD is our strength!

If you feel lacking in the inner strength department, do not despair. All good things come from our Heavenly Father and it is His strength, working through us, that we lean into.

Pursue strength… and joy will follow.

Shalom,

And again i say, rejoice!

Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice!” -Philippians 4:4

It can be difficult to live out the above verse, but only because we tend to think of joy as something that comes and goes according to the circumstances in our lives. The truth is that joy is always with us…but it is up to us to cultivate it.

I dont mean “fake it till you make it”. I also am not suggesting we live in some stick your head in the sand bubble that ignores the troubles we are going through.

No matter how dark, no matter how difficult..there is always something to rejoice about. Rejoice even in the simplest of things: and again I say, Rejoice!

Be brave. One of the bravest things you can do, when living in a world full of bad news, is not only to remain prayerful but to remain joyful…and hopeful. Anyone can report the (bad) news but a true intercessor will go a step further and see God’s Hand working in, and thru, all things.

“I have said these things to you so that, united with me, you may have shalom. In the world, you have tsuris (persecution, tribulation, trouble). But be brave! I have conquered the world!” – -John 16:33 (CJV)

Joy is a Weapon. We ought to remain joyful as a sign that we are trusting in GOD’s Hand and plan. Not only that but we should remain joyful because joy is a spiritual weapon. Have you ever thought of it in that way?

1 Kings 1:40 says, “And all the people came up after him, and the people piped with pipes, and rejoiced with great joy, so that the earth rent with the sound of them.”

The hebrew word for ‘rent’, used in the above passage, is “baqa”, meaning: to cleave; generally, to rend, break, rip or open — make a breach, break forth (into, out, in pieces, through, up), be ready to burst, cleave (asunder), cut out, divide, hatch, rend (asunder), rip up, tear, win (see https://biblehub.com/hebrew/1234.htm).

Can you imagine making a sound that was so loud…so powerful….SO JOYFUL that the ground, nearby, responded by bursting open? That’s supernatural!

Making a joyful noise sends a message out into the atmosphere – both physical and spiritual – that says you are not afraid, that you are placing your hope in the King of all Kings, and that you will not give into despair or be overtaken by doubt!

Joy is a Reminder. Making a joyful noise is a powerful reminder, to yourself, of the Kingdom you belong to.

It is a reminder to the enemy that we belong to GOD Almighty and that we will not give in to his (the enemy’s) schemes.

It is also a great way to worship GOD…reminding Him that we love and trust Him!

Psalm 100 says:

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.

Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.

Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.”

During these uncertain times, one thing is certain – we serve a mighty GOD and He is worthy to be praised. Make joy a lifestyle rather than an occasional moment. Join in the band of warring worshipers by making a joyful noise unto the LORD. Together, let’s see if we can rend the earth!

Shalom to you all– Dr. Karen Michelle Ricci, ND

How Self-Awareness Can Lead to peace

It’s kind of an odd season we are living in. The headlines, of the day, seem to be spilling over with continual bad news. This can leave us wondering – what’s next? Pandemic? Fires? Floods? Economic Crash?

This list, of things, doesn’t even take into account the daily stress we may be experiencing in our personal lives. It doesn’t take much to remind us that we are not. in. control. In fact, SO much is OUT of our control!

Is it possible to obtain, and live, a life of peace during a difficult time? I believe the answer is a resounding YES! One simple strategy that can help usher in peace is the practice of being more self-aware. Let’s talk about it….

Become more self-aware. I know it may sound counter intuitive to think of yourself more during a difficult time. The advice of many is to get your mind off of yourself by doing for others. I agree 100% that we should be doing more for others! But if you use busy-ness as a means of distracting yourself, that’s only a temporary”fix”.

Wouldn’t it profit everyone if we slowed down long enough to do the hard work of addressing what’s causing anxiety and then decide to lean into peace?

Once the work is done, you will be able to accomplish even more to help others – and do it in the spirit of peace rather than the spirit of fear!

So how should we go about becoming more self-aware? I’m glad you asked! Here are a few ideas:

1) Name It: When anxiety begins to well up, sometimes we aren’t even sure what is worrying us…of course, other times we know exactly what it is. Either way, search your heart before the anxiety completely takes a hold and ask yourself what exactly you are stressing over. Name the anxiety. Maybe its name is “financial struggles”, “uncertain future” or “health scare”.

The thought of naming the specific anxiety, you are feeling in the moment, may scare some into thinking that will give the fear more “power”. However, I believe that this specific exercise will give the power back to you!

2) Find Out How GOD Feels About What You’re Afraid Of: Once you realize exactly what you are dealing with, open your Bible, a Bible concordance, or a Bible website online and find a verse that tells how GOD feels about this issue.

For example, if you are afraid of what the future holds then Jeremiah 29:11 is an excellent verse:

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

If a general feeling of anxiety is what you’re experiencing (and you’re not even sure of any specifics), then Isaiah 41:10 is a good one: “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

3) Get the Truth Deep Down in Your Spirit: I’m sure you see where I am going with this. Once you’ve found out, via Bible verse, how GOD feels about your specific anxiety inducing fear, get His truth about the issue into your heart and mind! Write the verse down in your journal. Write it on cards and place it around your house or office. Memorize it. That way, the next time anxiety begins to whisper fearful thoughts, into your ear, you can remind it that you are not afraid because you know how GOD feels about it!

4) Get Vocal!: If anxiety begins to well up, don’t hold back from speaking your verse OUT LOUD! It may even be appropriate to tell it to leave in the Name of Jesus/Yeshua! Take back your peace in the mighty Name that is above ALL names!…and then ask GOD to send the Holy Spirit (and His holy angels) to come protect and comfort you.

I pray these words are not only a comfort to you, but give you a game plan to put in place when you find yourself combating fear and anything that would seek to steal your peace! May your home, and heart, be a place of peace…full of the Holy Spirit…full of GOD’s love…and free from fear! May the strength of GOD be upon you as you trust in Him more and more. You are so very loved now and always!

"peace, be still"

There is a tendency, on the part of believers, to read the Bible and think of the wonderful, miraculous things Jesus/Yeshua did as, well…things that He did only while He was on earth in bodily form. We don’t always grow into the fact that He is still doing wonderful, miraculous things today – not just for other people but for us, as well.

We see this amazing Savior who commands the wind, and the waves, but still shudder when doubt and trials come into our lives. Maybe it is time to know Yeshua on a new level – on a level which produces real power in our lives.

Not only that, but did you know that the same Yeshua that walked the earth and sits at the right hand of YHWH, lives within YOU? YES! His power now lives inside of you. This means that now YOU can calm the wind and waves – not in your own power or strength but in HIS power and strength! And in HIS Name!

Does this mean it is not okay to have weak moments or to lose your peace? Of course not. Those moments will happen. But those moments should serve to remind us to, once again, run to our ABBA Father and (once again) be strengthened and be at peace. Those moments should BE moments – NOT a lifestyle.

“On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”

Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!” — Mark 4:35 – 41

What was Yeshua doing in the middle of the storm? Napping. He was napping. Was He napping because he was too ignorant to even notice there was a deadly storm upon them? No. He was able to nap because He knew who His Father was. His Father, the Creator of the heavens and earth also created those waves and that wind.

Once you catch on to your true identity in YHWH – your true identity as a son, or daughter, of the Creator of the heavens and earth…there is no room for fear.

Peace is your inheritance! Strength is your birthright!

You don’t even have to be a “spiritual giant” in order to have faith during storms. Yeshua said you only have to have faith the size of a “mustard seed” (Matt.17:20). Just recognize that your faith (regardless of size) is IN the ONE who made everything, knows everything, and is capable of ANYTHING.

“Peace, be still” is STILL in full effect, guys! It doesn’t mean you don’t run into the closet when the tornado is in the area. But it does mean you have faith that the GOD of the heavens, and earth, can cause the storm to dissipate on your behalf. You can trust Him. He is fully capable!

Today, I pray that GOD will reveal more of His love for you…more of His peace in your life..and impart more of His strength to you. May every difficult situation you are facing come under the authority of YHWH Himself. May you ask Yeshua to calm the storms you are facing. May you begin to stand, in your God given authority as His son/daughter, and use the Name of Yeshua/Jesus to command the wind and waves to be still. May your faith be enlarged. May your dare to silence your doubts and begin to trust your ABBA Father. You are made for more! And you are so very loved!

WHO ARE YOU ARE LISTENING TO?

With a world-wide “pandemic” on the line (or during any sort of crisis) now is a great time to ask yourself:

WHO/WHAT IS THE ULTIMATE AUTHORITY IN MY LIFE?

The Media?

The CDC?

A Doctor?

The President?

Your friend who works in a hospital?

World Leaders?

Some unknown person on Facebook who says they have witnessed this or that?

Your Pastor?

Your Mentor?

A Teacher?

An “apostle”?

A “prophet”?

Your Relatives?

The “Numbers”?

Your Horoscope?

Test Results?

The National Enquirer?

“Q”?

Someone who follows “Q”?

Me?

And the list could go on and on….

What I’m NOT Saying: I am NOT saying that the above mentioned are all liars who should be silenced. Maybe some are but that’s for each of us to decide. The opinions of people we trust, who’ve proven themselves to be consistently trustworthy and honest, should most certainly be considered.

What I AM Saying: Have you ever heard of that funny saying – “It ain’t over until the fat lady sings”?

Our thought processes should be like that – not over until we hear from our ULTIMATE AUTHORITY – YHWH Himself. Once you hear what HE thinks about a matter, all other voices should become very faint. Some even become silent. Once you hear what HE thinks about a matter, your heart will align with His Will and purposes.

NEWSFLASH: THE VOICES YOU LISTEN TO ARE A DIRECT REFLECTION OF THE KINGDOM YOU LIVE IN AND UNDER!

It’s time to ask oneself: Why, oh why, do we silence the One Voice that makes the most difference?

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” – John 10:27

“And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” – Jeremiah 29:13

“To Him who rides on the heaven of heavens, which were of old! Indeed, He sends out His voice, a mighty voice.” – Psalm 68:33

During this season, and all seasons, I pray that you press into God like never before. May you learn to quiet all other voices, including your own, in order to receive true wisdom directly from the Father. May all the chicken littles of the world become faint.

May His voice always be the loudest, clearest voice you hear. May you glow in the confidence of knowing that you are His child. May you grow deeper in the knowledge of the fact that faith, hope, and love are your inheritance. May the Kingdom of God become your reality! You are so very loved – now and always.