Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Is the Devil Real? And Does He Have an Impact on How We React?

To those who have been reading me for a while, you already know that my faith is a huge part of my life. Oddly enough, many who are personal and close friends of mine rarely know this fact. I don't preach, I don't try to persuade people to 'come to the other side' nor try to convert those who are of a different religion or of no religion. If asked, I will share. And that's it. But, this is my blog, so today I decided to share a bit of that with you. As strange as this may sound, my faith grew stronger with each mistake and personal failures that I've made. It wasn't until very recently that I realized I was detached from my spirituality, or "GOD" as I like to call Him. Whenever I'm distant, it seems like the devil takes a hold of all my actions with each crappy circumstance that comes flying my way. Some don't believe in the devil or "Satan" --- but he's very real. The devil's biggest lie is to make you believe that "the devil" in general is just "bad stuff" that happens in life --- or things that deter you from your faith and not a real entity. So by believing there isn't a devil, you start to wonder if you're just one big failure, which is another lie he puts into your head. I can't tell you how many times I have been distracted from praying, meditating or just by doing something good for somebody else. Sometimes, it stops me completely. It's important for me to have conscious awareness at all times so I realize what's happening at that time. The devil has power, but it's up to us to give him the authority to use it. You can always reject it if you have the power of God in you.

Satan wants you to think he’s not real, that he’s not a threat. The French poet Charles Baudelaire said, "My dear brothers, never forget, when you hear the progress of enlightenment vaunted, that the devil's best trick is to persuade you that he doesn't exist!" That’s exactly where we are today, writes Jones, “We think that we have some new truth, when the real truth is that Satan wants to kill you and your family. You don’t need to deny the existence of Satan, you just need to realize the truth: Satan is defeated, Jesus already did it. You just stand strong in that and resist him – and he will flee. The Bible says so. God says so.” ----read more here.

Power.

There are things that get confused with the word "power". It's not about having control over everything and everyone --- it's about having control over your reactions to a bad situation. I had a long conversation with my sister Dawn the other day. We were discussing how our minds are so powerful that it can manifest straight into physiological responses. For instance, I suffer from negative thinking patterns, which trickles into an actual "real" problem, like if I'm having an upper chest pain after working out or sleeping the wrong way, I can quickly turn that into "is this a heart attack symptom" type of thinking -- and it'll lead the pain straight down my left arm after the negative thinking, because I check for the arm pain. Once i check it -- it's there. I have been to the ER countless times because of psychosomatic symptoms. Of course you never want to chance it when it comes to chest pain, but sometimes, it can be a result of negative thinking, which most hypochondriacs have. My sister said, "Just like you, when you eat pasta, you automatically get sick, so you stick to no carbs and you feel great. With me, when I miss a vigorous workout, I tend to feel like I'm getting sick. I think our mind is so powerful which is why these things work for us." Your mind can produce good and bad results. I'm trying so hard to keep positive thought patterns so that whatever I think of only can get better. Words have power. When I wake up, I say to myself, "I'm going to have the best day of my life," and usually, it's a pretty good day. I tap into a couple of sermons in the morning and pray to God -- to keep close to Him so that whenever a negative thought pattern does creep into my head, He nudges me and says, "Stop!"  And it does. Now that's powerful. So who do you think puts negative thinking patterns into our minds? Is it just by our own doing, or is it the devil? What do you believe?

Listen to the lyrics of this song. I know, I know, Bieber's in it -- but the lyrics are so inspiring and uplifting that it makes you wanna run out and do something big! If you cannot view the video below, please click here.



Stronger.

Like my favorite song says, "And I'm loving every second, minute, hour, bigger, better, stronger, POWER!" The lyrics to this song inspires every single fiber of my faith. I listen to it when I need a boost in the morning, I listen to it when I work out, I listen to it when I'm feeling weak and somehow, it just makes me feel like I can do anything.

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." ~Philippians 4:13

"He gives power to those who are tired and worn out; he offers strength to the weak… Those who wait on the Lord will find new strength. They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint." ~Isaiah 40:29, 31

"And oh, I'm alive, I'm alive, I'm alive
And oh, I can fly, I can fly, I can fly
And oh, I'm alive, I'm alive, I'm alive
And I'm loving every second, minute, hour, bigger, better, stronger, POWER!"~Will. I. Am

I'm also a big believer in planting the seeds for good or for bad. Our words can either destroy or edify. I have been on both sides of the spectrum, and when I say negative things, I get negative outcomes. The same applies with positive words. The seeds that you plant can grow and become bigger, better and stronger, like an acorn to a mighty oak tree. It can only get better and better if you keep at it. Just like a muscle, you have to keep lifting weights in order to keep it strong.

“Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is much more important.” ~1 Timothy 4:8

Another thing my sister Dawn and I were talking about were the things that upset us, typically regarding conflicts with other people. Sometimes it's just inevitable that you're gonna just lose it once someone pisses you off. I have been known to pop my cork more than a trillion times, so I have been practicing calmer responses, or no response at all. Dawn said, "All you gotta do is just smile and wave….just smile and wave." She started laughing and said she got that quote from Happy Feet. Whenever they would get upset with someone, the penguin said, "Just smile and wave, boys…Smile and wave!" Typically, this could actually piss someone off who's trying to get on your nerves. My sister had an 'almost road rage incident'. Someone got upset that my sister cut her off, gave her the finger, so Dawn just 'smiled and waved'. That could have been quite the ugly seen, but nonetheless, funny! The whole point is, now if anyone really gets under my skin, I just make light of it. The other day someone insulted me. This person has absolutely no filter whatsoever, so I took that into consideration. I let it go, instead of pointing out their flaws. I also had an encounter who tried to insult my intelligence. I just smiled and nodded… ("Smile and wave…smile and wave.") And it's really funny, because if I reacted (or exploded), or even argued in disagreement, it would have caused me greater stress. It would have then turned into a full-fledged conflict. But by reacting in a different way (to which I'm normally NOT used to), my stress has been so incredibly low, I'm not sure why I didn't practice this kind of response before. Even if I get upset with my wife for whatever reason (yes I know she's an angel and how can I EVER be upset with her) --- I just blow it off because it really wouldn't matter two weeks from now, or a month, or a year. It's pointless to fight over something that'll end up giving you 100x more stress. For now, just pray for me since I'm PMSing. Anything can happen at this point. I hope this post helped in some way, even if you're not Christian. I'm writing about this only because I cannot believe the changes in my life by practicing these simple techniques of blowing things off that would normally upset me. It also helps that the closer to God I am, the more challenges come my way and I have to remember, I can either listen to the little devil or angel on my shoulders. We have freedom of choice. Being combative and difficult to be around adds onto the ton of stress you already have to begin with. So remember, plug into the POWER, {GOD} or whoever you pray to. It really works. What do you think? Is the devil real? Or is it some sort of universal pull of "bad forces" that make people absolutely nutty?

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog for some of her famous recipes!