4 Steps to Bring You Closer to God

Have you noticed a change in the atmosphere? Have you noticed the level of impatience in many people, either in your life or those who you come across in the store or at your place of work? You can be the one to deescalate that---but how? Put yourself in their shoes. Try and understand that they may be going through some heavy situations in their own personal life, and pause before reacting. The big "pause" can save you so many headaches along the way. 

1. Action/Reaction 

It's a law. But it doesn't have to be negative. For instance, if someone does something to upset you, pause. Before you react in a negative way, pause and try to figure out "what" and "why" this person offended or hurt you. I still have to practice this method, because believe me---it's not put into practice all the time. And after the reaction, I'm always like, "I forgot the PAUSE!" When you feel insulted or disrespected, and there is no explanation of "why"---PAUSE. If you can't figure it out, time will always be telling. But if you're like myself in most cases, the patience can run low. I'm learning that I need to pause, for however long before responding negatively. Some people are just hurtful, whether they are angry with you over something in particular, or just hurt over something else. Unfortunately, you may be the punching bag for the time being.  As that old saying goes, "Hurt people hurt people." Hurt people can bring out the hurt in ourselves. 

2. Our Ego & How Worldly Problems Here Are So Minuscule in Heaven 

Think about it: our humanness is flawed. We make mistakes, we get into conflicts or we got disappointed by a lost job, an argument with a friend or spouse, and even just everyday random life issues. A friend recently reminded me: will this matter five years from now? Three years from now? Six months from now?  Your ego's main goal is to feel important. It forces your ego to needing desperately to fight and defend itself. It relies on its reputation. Even when you are content and happy, your ego will be looking for an issue to cling to, or some kind of drama to create if you let it. The ego doesn't live in the present. It relies on the past and future---it wants you to be thinking about "what will happen" and how that'll affect everything in your life and around you. If you focus too much on the past, you're more likely to suffer from depression. If you focus too much on the future, you'll most likely suffer with anxiety. 

Think back to when someone insulted you. Your ego will 'puff out its chest,' giving you a sense of superiority as a result. And while there is nothing wrong with having an ego---cause everyone has one---it's how its regulated. The problem is when it destroys your decision making and mood, turning you into a victim. Sometimes it does the opposite, giving you the illusion of being superior. It makes you worried about what people think of you, which can turn into major insecurity issues, social anxiety and/or put you into a state of isolation due to the ego's fear of losing the battle. It also can keep you trying to control situations and/or certain people (influencing their choices and outlook on things.) 

3. Forgiveness Is Impossible For the Ego

The bigger your ego, the less chance there is for that person to be forgiving, patient or understanding. It's their way or the highway. Remember one thing: you don't have to be in the wrong to say "I'm sorry." It's about being the peacemaker, and showing humility above all, oppose to what the ego would like. Apologizing when you clearly did nothing wrong, but feel the other person is in a dire conflict regardless, shows a willingness to ease the tension of a bad situation. 

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9, NIV) 

When you are in a conflict with someone, there is always three sides to the story: yours, theirs and the truth. Regardless of who is right or wrong, depends on the level of ego for both parties. It's important to remember what Jesus told Peter in the book of Matthew 18:21-22: Peter asked Jesus, "Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?" Jesus told him, "I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times." (Meaning ALL the time---for eternity.) 

This demonstrates that as Christians we need to forgive people as many times as they offend us.If we don't forgive people, then God won't be so willing to forgive us. I'm not saying it's easy to forgive, because it can be difficult to do once somebody hurts or betrays us. With that being said, depending on the person(s) involved, forgiveness does not mean complete reconciliation. Sometimes, the person is just too toxic to be around, and Jesus even warns us not to be yoked with unbelievers. And unbelievers, are also defined as either "lukewarm" in their faith, or not "walking the walk"---just talking the talk. It's one thing to be imperfect, but it's another thing to be pretending you're a Christian and not demonstrating acts of love. It doesn't matter if you're in church every Sunday sitting in the front pew---if you don't have a relationship with God, then what good is that? Then it's just "religion"---which Jesus was against. 

4. Time Is Running Out, Repent! 

I'm not one to be out on the streets with a picket sign that says, "Repent or go to hell!" A bit extreme for me. But what I will say is this... There is nothing so important than to get to know God right now. No one knows the time or day the Lord will come, but let me ask you this: would you be ready if they told you that a nuclear missile was heading our way? Are you completely ready to find out where you belong in the afterlife? Whether it happens today or in a hundred years---always be prepared and ready to say YES---I am ready! That's why you'll see many Christians 'seemingly' happy about tragic events taking place. They're not happy that people are suffering---they're happy that it's a sign that the Lord is returning. I used to get so incredibly confused over this and say, "That's not very "Christian-like" of you to be so happy." But once I got closer to God and realized that this earth is just a temporary home for us---we need to look at the big picture. Where are YOU going? Where do YOU want to be after this physical existence? 

So many people are chasing after the world. Remember Job and all that he lost? God tested his trust, and that man turned it out. He lost his livelihood, his family, and even his health, and still remained faithful. Who are you putting first in your life? Job appeared to have been putting his livelihood and family first, and when he lost all of that---he proved to God that wasn't true. Idolization can happen when we focus more on money, family, jobs, and worldly possessions. They forget about God while caring for their children or trying to keep their spouses happy. They idolize their jobs---"God forbid I lose my job!" Nothing is more important than our relationship with God. It's not about religion. It's about an intimate relationship with Jesus. It's about forgiving one another and showing love and patience with each other. After the pandemic, we've all seen a lack of love and patience. We've seen more agitation, chosen isolation, anxiety, depression and extreme anger. We've seen division, as it's getting worse and worse every single day. But what if you were the peacemaker through all of this? What if the person behind you at the checkout line started to curse at you about how long you were taking? Ever think about surprising them and paying for their items in advance---just to give them a little more faith in humanity? Let the Jesus inside of you shine. Or you can tell them something nice, in hopes to deescalate. It'll be hard, but watch how quickly that situation turns around. And if it doesn't, PAUSE, and keep moving. Pray for that person. 

As time is running out, either for our physical bodies or for the day He comes back---a life with God is far more better than a life to only impress people. 

The Euphrates River is on the brink of completely drying out, which is one of the signs of the coming of Man. Look at all of the earthquakes, the plagues, the civil unrest, political corruption, famine. What moral conditions will be characteristic of society in the last days? It's in the Bible, II Timothy 3:1-5, NIV. “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.”

If you want a new life with God, and a closer relationship with Jesus, just say this prayer aloud and please comment or message me if you did. 

"Heavenly and Almighty God, I come before you humbled and sorrowful, aware of my sin, and ready to repent. Lord, forgive me for I have sinned before you. Wash away my sin, purify me, and help me to turn from this sin. Lead me to walk in your way instead, leaving behind my old life and starting a new life in you. I pray this in Jesus' name." 

Please remember, it's not about "trying" not to sin. This is a prayer to invite the Holy Spirit to live inside of you. That doesn't mean that your life is going to be sinless and perfect. What this means is, each time we mess up, the Holy Spirit is there inside of us to convict us. This is NOT then same as "guilt." The devil makes us feel guilty for everything. One you have the Holy Spirit living inside of you---you are going to notice you are dropping a lot of toxic things that you may have relied on. It didn't seem toxic at first, but it may've gotten in the way of your relationship with God. For me, it was dropping alcohol (alcohol is only a sinful when you let it hurt you---Jesus turned water into wine, and the Bible clearly says it's fine in moderation.) But if it hurts you more than helps you, then yes, it is a sin for some, like myself. I dropped many addictions, and found that it was so much better on this side! Not only is it better, but it gave me a new outlook, and less fear about dying. You will be reassured of your place in heaven. God loves you so much! He is calling you back because He wants you to reserve your place in His home. Nothing else will make Him happier. 

I pray that this message was received the way God intended it to be. He put it in my heart to write this today. Let me know if you if you prayed this prayer, and remember, God uses the most unsuspected and imperfect people to bring you His message. That's why I need Him every single day of my life! 

I hope this truly helps someone who may be confused or still on the fence. I love you! 

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