The Great Distraction

What we are all asking ourselves with the COVID-19 shutdowns, Riots, the inhumane death of George Floyd, and the equally inhumane actions of others beating on the elderly and murdering police offers have us all wondering why this is happening and what we can do. Like all of you I’ve been searching for answers.

It would seem there is an intentional effort to distract us and keep us from focusing on our relationship with God.

So if distracting us is the goal, the good news is that we can fight this in the still quiet moments by working on rekindling our relationship with God and serving as an example to those around us. Rekindling our relationship with God is a very personal experience. Here are a few ideas that may help you quiet the noise.

Talk to Him

Even if you can’t get to church, you can still find ways to spend time with God. Working on creating a stronger more personal relationship. Even if it seems awkward at first, the deeper our relationship with God grows, the more natural our prayers will seem. Don’t worry about creating an elegant prayer, God knows we’re not perfect, that we experience emotional ups and downs as we face the trials and tribulations of everyday life.

Even if it seems like you’re doing all the talking, he’s teaching you through your own words and helping you train your heart to be more aligned to his.

Obey Him

Obey God’s commandments. None of us are perfect. If we were, we wouldn’t be here in the first place. Every moment we experience is an opportunity to learn, or to teach, or both. We grow and develop through this life so we may be reunited with God in the end. The least we can do for Him is to try our best to obey His commandments. I often remind my son, to be kind, be useful, and be honest. In obeying God’s will, we become brighter and stronger in spirit, integrity and mind. The stronger we are, the stronger the people around us will be. And the love of God will start to permeate the world and drive out the darkness.

Study the scriptures

When we want to strengthen our faith and relationship with God, we should study his word. This is how he talks to us. The stories in the scriptures are dealing with similar circumstances to what we are facing today, at least in principle. Learning about others who have had their faith and patience tested can give us courage to prevail through our own times of trial. Making time to study the scriptures each day can fully revitalize your distracted soul.

Listen for Him

Though we may talk with God often, we may not be opening our ears to hear His answers and guidance. When you are finished praying, don’t quickly turn on the loud movie you were watching or immediately climb into bed for the night. Take time to stop, look, and listen for God’s answers to your prayers. Sometimes you may not be receiving an answer to your own prayers, but God may prompt you to be an answer to someone else’s. Make sure you listen as much as you speak with Him. Communication goes both ways.

Show gratitude

Show your Father in Heaven that you are grateful for all of your blessings. We receive blessings, and sometimes we are quick to ask for more before we take the time to thank Him. Say a prayer of sincere gratitude. Being grateful for God’s hand in your life will make you more appreciative of His constant presence and your purpose here on the earth. Being gracious goes hand in hand with expressing humility.

Be mindful

Be mindful of God’s presence in your life. Though it may seem like He is far away at times, He is not. He does not ever leave your side. It is easy to get so caught up in the happenings of the world that we forget to look for God’s presence in our lives. In these moments, try to be grateful and aware of how much He has blessed you and continues to bless you each day. Being humble and showing sincere love and respect for God can bring even the most deadened relationship with Him back to life. Cherish your relationship with your Father in Heaven. He is the greatest ally and guardian you can have throughout your life.

Developing Faith – How You Can Know For Certain That You Have Faith

Many people think of faith as impractical, unrealistic, or just a ‘leap in the dark’. Once we take “faith” out of the air of religious mystery and place it in the hands of practical application, it becomes something worthy of serious exploration.

Contributor: Carole Williams

There are some people who during times of doubt or anxiety, or even during general day to day challenges of life, question their faith. They ask themselves the question, “How can I know for certain that I do have faith?” or some ask, “How can I get faith?”

Questions such as these indicate that the questioner does not yet have the true concept of faith and that their whole basis of faith is in question.

Faith is often referred to as a religious identifier. “What faith are you?”, is often heard. “Are you a Christian, New Age, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Bahá’í, do you not believe in religion, or are you simply spiritual?”

Many people think of this type of faith as impractical, unrealistic, or just a ‘leap in the dark’. Once we take “faith” out of the air of religious mystery and place it in the hands of practical application, it becomes something worthy of serious exploration.

Imagine a small child standing on a chair. He and his father are playing a game where he jumps confidently from the chair into the arms of his father, giggling in amusement. Suddenly, his father flicks off the electric light and shouts to the child, “Jump! Trust me I will catch you”. Naturally the child hesitates. How can he be sure his father will catch him? Will his father be in the exact spot where he lands? “Jump”, the father repeats, “If you do, I will buy that toy that you wanted!” As the youngster wants the toy, so badly, he takes a deep breath and jumps. His father catches him and all is well. He will then get the promised reward.

Isn’t that how many people regard faith?

Let’s look at faith from a different angle. Look around you! Every time you sit on a chair, you have faith that it will hold you up. Every time you turn on a light switch you exhibit the faith that you have, knowing that the light will come on and illuminate the place you are in. We exhibit faith when we drive a car, when we travel in an airplane as

We depend on the skill of the pilots. We take medication of various kinds, having faith that they will cure or relieve our sickness. We all have a measure of faith in something or someone.

Faith has no physical basis, we cannot see it, we cannot touch it, it must therefore exist on another level, which is spiritual in nature. Faith is an awareness of one’s own power. Not, being ‘tested’ by an outside intelligence! Not a reckless plunge, hoping that there will be something or someone to soften the landing! Faith in action is the natural and logical use of a power that is already there for the express purpose of it being used. Faith is a force and a silent one at that.

The Bible states in Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Does this mean faith is solely a Christian privilege, because this definition is Biblical? Not at all! The Christian faith is based upon faith in a God we cannot see, but with whom we have a relationship. Without faith it is impossible to please God.

Faith is the key to experiencing God. Think about this: faith involves the use of imagination, creativity, understanding, obedience, and trust, just to name a few. Some people say “How can I become aware of my power, so that I may have true faith?” The answer is two fold.

  • Watch the power of faith manifesting in the lives of others. Read books that contain the testimonies of others who have experienced situations, which resulted in the use of the power of their faith and its successful results, oftentimes miraculous results. The Holy Bible is a great place to start, observe the ministry of Jesus in the New Testament.
  • Watch the power of faith manifesting in your own life. People do have the power of faith and are using it all the time in everyday life; they just do not recognize it as faith. Begin observing your use of faith in everyday life. Start to watch it and just like a toddler with its early walking, start to use your faith and so strengthen it by action.

Faith doesn’t have to be a leap in the dark. Faith is knowing that you have an inner, creative power and faith in action is using that power.

Carole Williams who resides in the United Kingdom is the owner of an online Christian cafe called The Faith Lounge.

She is passionate about sharing PRACTICAL ways on living a SPIRIT FILLED LIFESTYLE OF FAITH for the glory of God in a refreshing way.

August Optiscope

An optimist recharges their batteries every once in a while and August is the month for us to get out of our ruts, and shake things up. Free yourself of the time sucks that are weighing you down and focus on fewer more important things that really matter. Give your routine a little love and it will pay you back in multiples.

Contributor: Ann Poorboy

An optimist recharges their batteries every once in a while and August is the month for us to get out of our ruts, and shake things up. Free yourself of the time sucks that are weighing you down and focus on fewer more important things that really matter. Give your routine a little love and it will pay you back in multiples.

If you aren’t sure how, focus heavily on the picture of who you want to be, and work towards that. It’s always a winner.

ARIES

Hey Ramsies, your routines this month will be shaken up with something new. it could be a new project, a flash of creativity or a new romance. We know it takes you a while to get things started, but this month it’s important to get things going sooner rather than later. And try to have some fun with this newness. Save all that pent up seriousness for another time, except when it comes to your income and finances. The holidays are coming, make sure you save up a little.

TAURUS

For my Bullish friends, do you ever stop being so busy. For you take a good look at your weekly routine, and see where you can cut back on things not focused on home and family. Because, this month all that business is going to bring some rewards, and you don’t want to be so busy that you don’t have time to enjoy the rewards.

This will be easy for you this month because you’re going to find that relationships at work are easier for yo this month. Once others see you focused on the people around you – they’re going to see a side you don’t often show and respect you for it.

GEMINI

Make time in your schedule to spend more time at home and in your neighborhood. New friendships may be just around the corner, literally. And your home life will be a pleasant refuge from Start a new project this month for self improvement. So find that book you’ve been dying to read and go for it. Seek a little refuge for yourself from your otherwise busy social calendar.

CANCER

For my crabby darlings, you and your love of shiny objects need to spend a little time recharging your finances. Look for any issues that you need to resolve concerning your property and finances and address them before the month is over. Once you’re sure everything is in order – and we know how carefully you will do this – then it’s time to bring some new energy into your home with something that you don’t need but that brings you joy every time you look at it. Just use a little restraint when picking it out so you don’t over-spend.

LEO

Man, your mane is going to shine this month. August is about new beginnings and for you the recharge will be on a personal level. It’s time to start visualizing your future. Responsibilities are going to pile on for the next months, but they are there to teach you what you need to know for the next phase of your life. Pay attention.

Once you have a clear vision in mind, prepare to put substantial energy into achieving that vision. You have the best chance to monetize your ambitions the first through the 15th. However, don’t spend that money just yet because the second half of the month will bring an opportunity to close an open matter.

VIRGO

Hope you’ve enjoyed the quiet reflective period you enjoyed in Joy. For you, the recharge is to start socializing again. When you do embrace your ability to compromise and everyone you meet will be impressed by your charm.

This month will also reveal that quiet worry you’ve been carrying around and your friends can help you once that comes to light. Even though you aren’t going to want to talk about it, but as the month progresses, you’ll feel more comfortable sharing.

While this month is the start of new projects for the other signs, you should spend some time in deep reflection about what you want from life. Make some long term plans, but don’t act on them until you know why you’re feeling so anxious lately.

LIBRA

The time you spend taking care of those less fortunate is commendable and something you should continue this month. As usual, your schedule is filled with service to others. The good will you create will ensure a like response from those around you. After the 5th you’ll see opportunities presented so long as you find the right group partners.

After the 17th, your recharge really kicks in. You’ll need to be a little less selfless and fight for what is rightfully yours. When you do, you’ll enjoy a period of growth and development and even a bit more freedom.

SCORPIO

Your recharge is all about your career, but that seems like the same ol same ol doesn’t it. Still within that there is a new beginning for you too, because all that hard work will produce some new rewards. If you have prepared well, this could be your greatest success.

As usual this is going to put a strain on your home life so make sure your routine includes some balance. This includes nurturing your friendships.
You have the energy to achieve both this month.

SAGITTARIUS

Everyone who isn’t a Sagittarius is going to need your quick wit this month. Your off hand remarks will be just the ticket to brightening their days, and yours. And you know you need it. You’ve been feeling underappreciated lately so a change of scenery is just the thing you need to relax all that tension. So get out there! An educational trip would be just the ticket for you to revamp your routine. Just don’t venture too far from home.

Pay close attention when you get back to your health and career. Revamp your routine even farther but starting a new diet and fitness routine.

CAPRICORN

You need to recharge your approach to things you own jointly with others. You know how the responsibilities in your life weigh you down. It’s time to find a new solution. You should find one by the end of the month. Just stay disciplined. Recharge your routine by making a plan for the month and knocking off the things you don’t enjoy, but need to do, first.

Recharge your creative self this month. You’ll need this outlet especially if you’re a parent. When you worry, your children will react.

AQUARIUS

Start fresh and with a clean page when it comes to your closest relationships. New beginnings are always possible. Doing so will make those relationships even stronger, and weaker relationships will start to fall away. Let them. Spend your energy on the ones that really enjoy connecting with you. You’ll find those relationships become even stronger.

You may find that your ideas face opposition and you may find it difficult to compromise. Try to be a bit more sensitive to their needs and listen carefully to what they have to say. Remember part of the way you want it is for them to appreciate it too.

PISCES

For my sensitive fish friends, your routine needs some shaking up with your nutrition and diet needs. Put those comfort foods to the side this month and focus on revamping your health. The positive energy you gain will help you find new solutions to work issues as you find yourself with more responsibilities. Try to be patient when waiting for recognition, and try not to be so defensive should any criticisms come your way. You know in your heart you will come around and that your perseverance will pay off later.

Finding Good in Our World

I, on the other hand, have a hard time finding good in anything even though I try so hard. That just demonstrates the difference between us. They say opposites attract, and so we have a very strong attraction here.

Contributor: James Snyder

In our world today, it is difficult to find anything good, let alone anything good to say about anything or anyone.

One thing I like about the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage is that she can find some good in just about everything. Sometimes it just rubs me the wrong way.

I, on the other hand, have a hard time finding good in anything even though I try so hard. That just demonstrates the difference between us. They say opposites attract, and so we have a very strong attraction here.

For the most part, I go along with her evaluation of “Good” because she has been right more times than wrong. Don’t ask me when she has been wrong, for that would be a very delicate subject and I am not a very delicate person.

One area of life I have a very difficult time finding anything good is politics. I stay completely away from politics as much as possible. Oh yes, there have been those times that I greedily rubbed my hands and wanted to jump into that cesspool. Thankfully, I do have a little bit of common sense still lurking around in my head and refrain.

The question I ponder quite often is, if you put all the politicians together in one room could you find one little gray cell active? Perhaps the cost of being a politician is to give up all those tiny little gray cells that make the rest of us operate in a world of sanity.

I try not to go any further than that, because I cannot trust myself once I get started on the trail. As a young boy, I had a beagle I used to hunt rabbits. You’ve heard of the old rabbit trail. Once “Sparky” got on a rabbit trail he was never going to give up. There were times when I lost him for several hours while he was running that rabbit trail. He did not know how to give up.

I do not want to get involved in that kind of activity. If I do not start it, I do not have the compulsion to end it. It is like me and potato chips. If I eat one chip, I can’t stop until all are gone. If I do not eat one, I do not have any problem.

So, as much as is humanly possible, I stay away from politics.

One evening this past week my wife and I were watching the news and the whole thing was about politics. As for me, when they say Washington is broken, I know they really mean that the politicians are broken. In fact, they are broken beyond repair.

However, as we were watching the news I was getting a little ticked. I was grumbling about everything I was hearing, knowing a politician will say one thing today and the complete opposite tomorrow. That is because there is nothing in their brain cavity to create stability.

For some reason, I started grouching out loud. It is one thing to grouch and not express it out loud. It’s a whole other ball game when I grouch out loud because my wife can hear me. As I was groaning and gritting my teeth my wife said, “You know, you ought to be very grateful about those politicians.”

Oh boy, here we go. I crossed a line somewhere and was not sure how to get back home.

My wife is not afraid to express her opinion about anything. That includes politics and politicians. I was trying to process this idea of being grateful about politicians. I could not come up with one idea that would lead me to a point of being grateful about politicians. 
I knew I needed to keep my mouth shut at this point. If I would express any ideas along this line, I know my wife, as usual, would have the last word.

I was okay until this politician said something and all of a sudden, I exploded, “What’s wrong with that idiot? Doesn’t he have any common sense?”

When I finished my rant, I realized I said it out loud. When I say “out loud,” I mean in such a way that the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage could hear what I was saying.

“You ought to be,” my wife said, “very grateful about that politician.”

I did not know what she was talking about and so in violation of my own rules, I said, “What in the world do you mean by that?”

She looked at me and said, “If it weren’t for those crazy politicians I would never know how smart you really are.”

I just stared at her not knowing what in the world to say. She was finding something good in a politician because it made me look good! I must say, I never would have thought of that in a million years.

At that moment, the thought dancing in my very crowded cranium was, my wife was the smartest person I have ever met.

It made me think of what the apostle Paul said. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

Since that episode, I have been looking at politicians a little bit differently. And if ever I have agreed with my wife, it is this time.

Since 1997, Rev. James L. Snyder has written a weekly religion/humor column, “Out To Pastor,” syndicated to over 300 newspapers and many websites. The Rev. Snyder is an award winning author whose writings have appeared in more than eighty periodicals including GUIDEPOSTS. In Pursuit of God: The Life of A. W. Tozer, Snyder’s first book, won the Reader’s Choice Award in 1992 by Christianity Today. Snyder has authored and edited 30 books altogether.

James L. Snyder was given an honorary doctorate degree (Doctor of Letters) by Trinity College in Florida.

His weekly humor column, “Out To Pastor,” is syndicated to more than 325 weekly newspapers.

Through 45 years of ministry, he and his wife Martha have been involved in three church-planting projects prior to their current ministry at the Family of God Fellowship in Ocala, Florida. The Snyders have three children and nine grandchildren and one great-grandson.

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Focus on Your Progress Not Your Failures

o focus means to be intentional at looking or directing your attention at something specific, making whatever you’re looking at larger than other things around you.

Contributor: Stephanie Reck  

To focus means to be intentional at looking or directing your attention at something specific, making whatever you’re looking at larger than other things around you.

Recently, I found myself focusing on all what was wrong with me, what I was not doing enough of, whom I might not be pleasing, or what I should be doing. I was magnifying all the negative aspects of myself while minimizing what is good about me and what I am doing right.

If you magnify your weaknesses, failures, and mistakes-you will eventually be discouraged and eventually depressed.

Most of the time the originator of focusing on what is wrong with you comes from satan and his cohorts, but we can also play a part as well. What are you believing about yourself? What God says, what other people say, or what the enemy says? Perhaps you are believing a combination of what God says, other people say and what the enemy says about you.

When you focus on what you are doing wrong as opposed to what you are doing right, you get stuck, afraid to move forward for fear of making more mistakes, having another go-around of failures, or letting yet another person down.

You can get bogged down in past failures, and believe the lie that you don’t have what it takes to accomplish anything for the Kingdom of God.

Rest assured, if you are growing in God, desiring to serve Him, or making spiritual progress; the enemy will use old, familiar tactics to slow you down. This strategy is in hopes that you will be so defeated and discouraged by the continual focus on your weaknesses and mistakes that you will not pursue the calling that God has placed on your life.

Challenge:

Focus on what you are doing right. Focus on your strengths. Focus on all the progress that you have made. Remember to focus is to be intentional. Reject thoughts of failure, past sins that you have been forgiven of, and weaknesses that you are in the process of overcoming.

Ask the Holy Spirit to infuse in you the truth of how He sees you and what He thinks of you. Ask Him to show you what your strengths are.

None of us are perfect, we are being made into the image of Christ but we have not and will not obtain perfection this side of eternity.

Forgive yourself of all your past sins, failures, mistakes, and those you may have let down. Ask God to forgive your sins, and let go of the unrealistic expectation that you have of yourself.

Be the best you that you can be.

Stephanie R. Reck, LMSW, LBT, BCCC
Founder of Hope Ministry
www.stephaniereck.com
Hopeandencouragement4women@gmail.com
Hope Ministry, @2019
Author of, “Disciplining Your Mind 30 Days to a Better You!”

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Forgiveness Brings Love

“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love… “

Contributor: Liah Howard

My meditative thought for today, is to treat others and myself with kindness, love, respect and compassion. Sounds pretty easy but, sometimes little things can trigger an unreasonable response. Recently, I was put on hold with an Online Chat team assistant, for an unusually long time. This was the second day in a row I had tried to access help from their staff as the previous day I had been disconnected after over an hour of wait time. My computer was not letting me log into this program, even though I was certain I using the correct password.

My usually tolerant self, went from 0 to 50 in a snap when the person came on line and said they could not assist me and I would have to wait another 24 hours, because I had tried logging in too many times. I texted back that I preferred the older version of the program that worked, instead of this crummy new upgrade and that they were NOT helping me. Yes, I used upper case letters for the word not- as though if I shouted it, they would listen more and magically fix everything. Frustrated, that they couldn’t help me, I finally hung up and then felt a heaviness inside my body.

This heaviness was coming as a message from my higher self, prompting me to shift the way in which I was perceiving life. I knew in my heart, that I could have handled the problem differently. Patience has often been a challenge for me and although I have grown a tremendous amount, I can still fall back into old patterns of controlling. I am aware too, that there was the element of being a stranger to the online tech, as if that gave me anonymity and permission to be unkind or judgmental. In hindsight, I realize that the tech was only doing their job to the best of their ability, and I had been overly critical of them. Perhaps, my sense of inadequacy with computer issues had been activated and I was feeling the discomfort that comes when I feel like I am not enough. Also, the problem of logging in, was still present and I had to deal with that frustration. However, the bottom line, is that none of these circumstances justifies treating another individual callously. I was being self-centered and cold rather than aspiring to be kind, loving, respectful and compassionate.

When I didn’t get what I wanted I conveniently forgot my commitment to be lovingly compassionate with all beings. The minute I forgave myself and the tech for being human and less than perfect, I detected some relief. I then tuned into the greater truth that we are all on this journey to honor one another and ourselves. Then I prayed for acceptance, and followed this with letting go of the outcome. When I have no attachment to the outcome, it is much easier to accept the conditions life brings me.

The next day, I was more calm and open-minded and had forgiven both the tech and myself, and I was willing to create a new password. Surprise! The program worked smoothly. I simply had to let go of how the situation would resolve itself. I smiled happily inside to not have to tackle the cyber world for the time being, and to be flexible enough to be teachable and begin anew with a new password and a new version of the software installed on my computer. I am sending prayers of peace to that tech halfway around the world.

I want to close with this quote from Martin Luther King Jr. “We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love… “

Liah Howard is a Psychic/Channel and Medium and a teacher of psychic development and an author. She also writes for four inspirational magazines. Liah teaches classes in Psychic Development both in person and on-line. She has a free 20 class multi-media video series that teaches psychic development on-line via You Tube. Visit Liah’s website for free guided meditations, articles, radio shows, videos, and to schedule a phone or in-person session.. http://www.liahhoward.com/

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Empowerment by Faith

There is only one way to cope with the spectrum and diversity of life’s experiences and that is through Faith. There is power in having Faith and there is even more power in ‘knowing’ Faith.

Contributor: Simone Galy-Laquis

There is only one way to cope with the spectrum and diversity of life’s experiences and that is through Faith. There is power in having Faith and there is even more power in ‘knowing’ Faith.

‘Faith breathes life into one’s being and gives one a soul that knows to love, hope and trust, a soul that yearns Goodness and lasts forever’.

That is my definition of Faith as I know it from my experiences in life.

The Bible states in 1 John 5: 3-5, “This is what loving God is-by keeping his commandments…because anyone who has been begotten by God has already overcome the world; this is the victory over the world-our Faith.”

There is much skepticism and suspicion revolving around this topic of Faith. People say that Faith is beyond human reasoning. Some say Faith was suggested to regulate society. Some say it is delusionary and all superstition. Some believe Faith to be a logical defense mechanism. And of course some believe what the bible says and people say they have blind faith and there is power in that all the same. I will tell you this today with certainty, Faith is a process, our journey, and Faith is a Treasure worth hunting down. I have no evidence, only that life’s experiences have revealed to me that Faith is real and happening and is the means to conquer all.

Whilst it may be true to say that blind faith succeeds in overcoming difficulties, it is my hope today to reveal to you much more. Essentially, the Joy that comes with Faith in God as one decides to gain access to the Source so to speak is overwhelming and the power of God is imminent. For those who are atheists, I urge you to still continue reading.

I was born into Roman Catholicism and I still am a Roman Catholic. I have read the bible twice and each time I deduced various different meanings to its content, some things even contradicted Catholicism, which is an whole other subject for debate. Fundamentally I found that the thread running throughout the bible was Faith. Growing up I was always searching for deeper meanings to life (I even went as far as studying five other different Religions and their beliefs) and journeyed on many various paths in my quest to know God, though at the time I was not even aware that I was in search of anything necessarily, indeed it was a journey full of suffering, mistakes, derailment, many great challenges, pain, sadness and Joy! In so doing, I was able to unveil the Truth and I cannot be sure if it was ‘written in my heart ‘ from birth or if it became ‘engraved in my heart’ as a result of experiences. Either way, the point is I discovered the reality of our immortal souls and its potential strength through trust and Faith in the unknown, and though it may not always be what one expects or hope for, I can assure you that one ought to ‘keep the Faith’ and trust in the Master of all forces whom I call God. In this way one is able to accept the bitter with the sweet in life, with a heart full of gratitude and a mind and soul that are balanced. I learnt this intrinsically.

Many argue and question this belief, but I tell you that what I am divulging to you today is not merely a belief; it is real knowledge yielded through hardships that sculptured me and bequeathed onto me the limitlessness of God and the powerlessness of man. Signs were shown to me everywhere to display God’s everywhereness and everythingness. As my awareness of God’s presence ripened, I began to ‘see’ his Grandeur. The magic of each experience lingered in spite of pain, Joy and what have you, leaving me with: a measure of well-being, a sort of peace, a wealth of resilience and inner strength, a spirit of gratitude and contentment, an wholesome spiritual outlook, a keen awareness that one would want to nurture, a kind of trust and confidence that counteracts those who mock, insult, scheme, hate, pervert justice, a Faith that liberates me from anxiety and worry, a Faith that is beyond the price of diamonds, a Faith that is priceless. One must not be afraid of crises or to take risks for fear of making mistakes or failures..for it is at that very point that this sort of enlightenment occurs.

The problem that faces the world today is that everyone wants specifics, proof, sensationalisation and this contradicts the ‘victoriousness’ of Faith itself. I will not give details as it is not for giving. I can only tell you that each and every person must seek ‘it’ out, ‘it’ being that inner gut feeling inside that we all avoid confronting for fear of the unknown as it were. You’ve got to face ‘it’, explore ‘it’, grasp ‘it’ nurture ‘it’, curb ‘it’, fearlessly. ‘It’ may seem risky, but in challenging ‘it’ one learns to discern and make sound judgments. The only speculation and planning required is a little meditation, some reflection and a lot of elaboration.

I cannot know what people are thinking but I must tell you from my own experience that thoughts, as is the spoken word, are things of which one wants to be cautious. Many have spoken and lived to eat ones’ words and I have witnessed it and as can well be imagined one would want to purify one’s thoughts and deeds as well. One needs to think/speak/do, but think/speak/do so carefully, humbly and responsibly, which brings me to my next point. There is a God and He listens and waits and watches and intervenes. So be patient and kind always. Get busy, read, work, and help others so that thoughts do not stray idly into depression, anger or negativity.

Scientists cannot prove God’s presence, but they too “know” there is a sense of His presence everywhere and He governs justly. They will not confirm the possibility of eternal spirits and speak vaguely about unexplained ‘magnetic forces’ found here or there. Scientists look at Faith as a presupposition taught from parents because there is just not sufficient evidence to justify the deathlessness and everlastingness of a spirit yearning for a God, and there is much power in this process, the power of Faith. These are real processes that are occurring right now in people’s lives everywhere. Some recognize ‘it’ and run with their instincts, seeking intellectual perfection and Scientists will not emphasize to you the significance of an elaborate intellect because they need evidence for that too. So while Scientists are confusing everyone and people are losing Faith, Hope and Love, Life, so full of apparent contradictions, will not only always remain a mystery, but life will seem unbearably difficult to many. However, there is much significance in the bettering of oneself and the feeding of one’s intellect simultaneously with good intentions, with honesty and generosity…and this coupled with Faith enables us to live a fulfilling, happy and victorious life.

I can safely say that Love gives us hope and hope gives us Faith, and this is not some kind of figment of one’s imagination. Faith is ‘the journey’ that gives one the courage and fortitude to overcome the difficulties/obstacles in the world and we’re all in it right now, harmoniously, hopefully allowing for ‘mistakes’, and rising above restriction, with big-heartedness and kindness, so we can all be unleashed, responsible thinkers and doers, givers and receivers of Happiness, with and without shortcomings and it is all both biblical as well as cyclical. Faith does not collapse in the midst of calamity, Faith is indestructible in times of vulnerability, and instead of feeding the need to put a stroke of a judgmental brush or even to be on the receiving end of one, Faith teaches one to be tolerant, temperate and moderate. People may perceive this as coldness, but it is actually ‘knowingness’ that God ‘is’ and this empowers you to ‘overcome the world’. (the world being people with their ‘bad ways’) People with Faith are essentially unshakable and wake up every day with new eyes, renewed eyesight, insight, that give them ‘victory over the world’ as was quoted centuries ago in the bible and such people of Faith can be said to be ‘begotten by God’ so that they are able to discard little everyday irrelevant issues easily. And this is the Truth, it works…Faith is the process of getting to know God, through one’s interconnectness with others, by which one is enabled to conquer all and exist forever…Faith is all over the place, in every religious document, (Emunah) and hopefully throughout the world, breathing strength and life into souls for eternity.

by Simone Galy-Laquis

Simone Galy-Laquis was born and bred in the Caribbean island of Trinidad and Tobago. At the age of sixteen she went to England to further her education. Two years later she returned to her homeland to manage one of her father’s businesses. By age nineteen she fell in love and married by age twenty-one. By thirty-one she had five children. She has enjoyed writing poetry since the age of six and has three published poems. Now at forty-three she spends her free time writing. She has a collection of sixty historical and inspirational unpublished poems.

How has faith played a factor in your life?

 

July’s Optiscope

An optimist rocks the body they have while they work on the body they want. So free yourself of the self body shame, and advocate for everyone’s right to feel sensual and alive in their own skin. Embrace a little self-acceptance this weekend and give yourself permission to not only ADMIT that you have quirks, but also to embrace and celebrate them.

Contributor: Ann Poorboy

An optimist rocks the body they have while they work on the body they want. So free yourself of the self body shame, and advocate for everyone’s right to feel sensual and alive in their own skin. Embrace a little self-acceptance this weekend and give yourself permission to not only ADMIT that you have quirks, but also to embrace and celebrate them.

We all have individual lumps, bumps, curves, swerves, scars and such. On a personal note, I remember my husband walking in to the bathroom and asking me what all those bruises were. They weren’t bruises they were cellulite. We’ve all had those moments about one body part or another, but let’s not our imperfections take up more of our emotional energy than our perfections. We’re going to take self-shame out of that game. With “bikini season” fully upon us, we’re delving into your horoscope to help you understand and dismantle the sign-specific anxieties that could tempt you to hide during the year’s most social and celebratory season.  

ARIES:

As confident as you may come across, many Aries can be secretly neurotic or anxious, spending way too much time in your head. You’re a competitive sign who likes to be the best at all you do, and if you can’t win, you’d rather not play the game. Well, THAT is no way to go through summer! Ultimately, you’re a leader, and if we’re going to transform the world’s narrow beauty standards, someone has to make a radical first move. Yep, Aries, it might just be you (again). Some of the greatest trailblazers of the zodiac share your sign. So get this (pool) party started. Be the first one to cannonball off the diving board.

TAURUS:

As the zodiac’s most sensual and sensory sign, you are one of the signs most prone to body image issues. Although you may exude confidence, you can be privately stressed about wanting to look perfect, spending hours getting ready (and missing the damn pool party or barbecue with your fretting). You’ve got great taste, Taurus, so spend a little more on your swimsuit, sexy cover-up, sandals and chic resort wear. Having impeccable style—and yes, a little couture—always gives you a confidence boost. Hey, you’re worth the high-end summer splurge…and if you really have to rationalize it, well-made clothes last longer and are a better investment. Make a ritual of getting ready, rubbing sunscreen into your skin, and sipping iced tea with a slice of orange. Then know when enough’s enough and run to the beach or pool while the sun is still shining.

GEMINI:

Embrace the eclectic, Gemini. Being the sign of the Twins, you’re the mix-and-match royalty of the zodiac—so enhance your complexity instead of trying to hide it. Maybe you’ve got a tiny chest with a badonkadonk bottom, or matchstick legs with pendulous pecs. Symmetry is overrated, Gem. Don’t be afraid of being “too much”—because you already are, so just own it…and work it! Play up every feature you want. Rock swimwear in eye-popping colors and “clashing” patterns (camouflage bottoms and gingham top? Why not?). On anyone else, it could be a fashion faux pas, but on you, it’s sartorial genius. If you’re in a social setting, get everyone to laugh and relax by starting an interesting conversation or saying something so out-there that it loosens up the stiff and self-conscious vibe.

CANCER:

We won’t cue the tired “crab hiding in a shell” metaphor to explain your sign’s aversion to swimsuit season. But…if the crustacean cover-up fits…well, maybe you still shouldn’t wear it. Your sign is ruled by the moody moon, which draws you to sandy beaches and ocean tides like a siren’s call. But are you even enjoying your cosmic home turf? For better or worse, your sign rules the chest and stomach, which means you’re either the first one to rip off your T-shirt…or you’re cowering under a terry towel and a strategically ruched tankini. Enough tummy-shame, Cancer! Take your style cues from sexy belly dancers, who rock their rolls and entice with their ample abdomens. Adorn your midsection with jewels and chains, or wrap a filmy scarf around your waist.

LEO:

Oh my, everyone is looking at you! Um…no they’re not, Leo. Your sign is ruled by the Sun, which means you OWN summer. But like that great ball o’ fire, you may fancy yourself the center of the solar system. That can manifest as either swagger OR extreme self-consciousness. We recommend you choose the first option. Own the beach like a self-anointed mayor of that sandy surfer’s paradise, and get to know, well, everyone. Use your warmth to make others feel welcomed and at ease. Do THAT and you won’t have time to think about how your ass looks in your swimsuit.

VIRGO:

Pick, pick, pick. You’re the zodiac’s perfectionist and you want to look #flawless in the eyes of your beach beholders. And since you’re your own worst critic, this can be a slippery slope. For you, body anxiety is shortcode for social anxiety, which Virgos have in spades. It doesn’t matter if you look like Beyonce (also a Virgo)—your nervous energy will trump your ability to enjoy basking in sunshine. It might also make other people edge away from you as you fret or nervously chatter their ears off. Take a deep breath. And another one. Do a few hip circles to ground yourself (maybe in private). Listen to your favorite music. Virgo is also the sign of service. At a party, help the host greet people, pass out drinks or towel off kids. Being useful helps you ease into the scene and shift your focus off of yourself.

LIBRA:

Are my bikini straps symmetrically aligned? Did I miss a spot on my legs while waxing? Were my lash extensions damaged by the chlorine in the swimming pool? Body consciousness brings out the vanity in your sign, Libra, but there’s something deeper at play. Instead of worrying about your contouring (of your makeup AND your figure), go make some friends. Your sign’s social skills can be unparalleled and you have a knack for putting people at ease. To paraphrase your signmate Gandhi, be the change you wish to see in the swimming pool. Compliment people’s swimsuits, cover-ups, backstrokes and summer glow. Before you know it, you’ll get the same accolades in return. But also, Libra, remember that your sign can be overly reliant on compliments to feel good about yourself. Listen to some self-love affirmations by fellow Libra Louise Hay. Then give inner peace—and your two-piece—a chance.

SCORPIO:

See but don’t be seen? Yeah, we’ve spotted you hiding between those opaque black sunglasses and mirrored aviators, Scorpio. I know you well because I’m one too. You look sexy but impenetrable—and frankly, it seems kind of lonely. Scorpio is the sign of power and control. The trouble with that? You’re painfully aware of hierarchies and can get stuck sizing up (and protecting) your place on the food chain. The downside? Obsessing over social rank prevents you from connecting with people, making friends and having fun. It stops you from being vulnerable and getting past superficial appearances. Really, Scorpio, life is too short for that. Remind yourself that most of this drama exists in your own imagination. Now get out of your head…and into the damn water.

SAGITTARIUS:

Thanks to Nicki Minaj (a fellow Sag) and a slew of other celebs, hips, thighs booties have come into vogue. Your sign happens to rule these areas of the body—which would be good news IF the “look” didn’t also require a tiny waist, a flat stomach and the disturbing absence of cellulite.  But you don’t need to torture yourself in a waist trainer (as if). Find a sexy-yet-comfortable suit that flatters your proportions and coloring, then wear it with attitude. Sagittarius is one of the zodiac’s most inclusive signs, so why not help change the cultural conversation about beauty by proudly flaunting your own figure at any size? Bring that unapologetic Sagittarius style to the fore. Bonus: Your blunt humor can also break the tension at stiff poolside gatherings.

CAPRICORN:

Standoffish much? When you feel self-conscious, your response is usually to become reserved, donning a poker face along with nondescript swimwear. But in your efforts to NOT be noticed, the opposite usually ensues: People start wondering, “Who is this person and why does she think she’s better than us?” Argh! You don’t (okay, maybe a tiny bit?). But in an unfortunate astrological lot, Capricorn insecurity can read as snobbery. When you feel threatened, you go overboard to make sure nobody knows it, holding your head high and marching past the chattering masses in your tasteful designer resort wear. Try this: Instead of retracting into yourself, make eye contact, smile and say hello to people. A little warmth and friendliness can spell the difference between being viewed as an ice queen or a sun goddess.

AQUARIUS:

You’re the sign of group activity, so it would take a lot to keep you from gabbing with your crew on the pool deck or leaping into an impromptu beach volleyball game. But Aquarians have a secret neurotic streak and you can be VERY body-conscious, comparing yourself to everyone around you. You’re a bit of a paradox, because although you’re highly individualistic, your sign also has a deep core need to belong. The tension between these two contrasting needs—to stand out and fit in all at the same time—can be a bit of a head trip that plays out as a body image breakdown. One easy solution is to hang out with people who adore you for who you are, instead of trying to join a (swim) club that wouldn’t have you as a member. Choose your tribe as discerningly as you’d select a bathing suit or a non-toxic, cruelty-free sunscreen.

PISCES:

You’re the zodiac’s Fish, the sign that’s most at home in water (or at least, right near it!). But since you’re also a HSP (highly sensitive person) by nature, you absorb other people’s energy easily. At the beach or poolside, you pick up vibes in a magnified way, which can throw you off your aquatic game and fuel self-consciousness—no matter how glamorous your getup may be. Center yourself before joining a group gathering. You might even want to do a little protection ritual to “shield your field” before going anywhere that’s not a private beach or swimming pool. Here’s what NOT to do: Knock back cocktails or wine to soothe your nerves. Your sign is famous for not knowing your limits, and you could easily surpass them, which will blur the very boundaries you’re trying to create.