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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Encourage yourself even when it hurts

Encourage yourself even when it hurts
Read 1 Samuel 30: 1-7

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. Psalm 43:5

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

A fear filled life

Life can hit us like a ton of bricks. The sudden impact of life on life's terms can shift our focus from good to all that is bad  which opens the doors of our spirit to all sorts of negativity and self-doubt.When those times come, and they will, what can we do to encourage our spirits even when it hurts? 

David's discouragements 

David had a dilemma. His troops wanted to stone him. David had decided to take his troops into battle 1 Samuel 29. By doing so he left home based unprotected.  As read in 1 Samuel 30, David’s camp was destroyed by fire, their wives, children, and elderly captured 1 Samuel 30:2.

Through out David’s life he was tangled up with situations that could cause depression, pain, and sorrow.  

  1. When his friend and mentor Saul wanted to kill him
  2. The lost of his first child with Bathsheba
  3. Finding his family captured
When faced with unforeseen mishaps David mourned and even wept but he also found strength in his God.  

The power of encouragement

Everyone needs encouragement from time to time. Often family, friends, and co-workers speak words of empowerment which can get a person revved up.  But what happens when no one is around? How does a person encourage and jump-start self?

Life has thrown a curve ball and no matter how hard you try to speak victory into your life the tears keep flowing. Decisions didn't turn out as planned. The once dream job turned out to be a living hell – unfair treatment by supervisor, no possible promotion, no pay increase, and no one is hiring. When prayers appear to go unanswered doubt and frustration begins to manifest. How does a person encourage self when pain won’t go away?

Encourage yourself

There have been days of discouragement in my life where I found myself filled with the Monday Blues.  It was my past encounters with God which became the fuel of self encouragement.  When that feeling of despair hit me like a brick wall I got up and shook out the cobwebs. Once composed the transformation began.

Pray – ask God to pull you from this pit
Praise – find a song to sing unto his name
Gratitude – count the blessings one by one
The past – think of where God had brought you from

Creative ways to encourage

Here are a few more creative tips from Jacob Cass – Just Creative – 

Idea #71 - Finding inspiration in what other people have done and what has succeeded (or failed) is a great way to get your feet off the ground again.

Idea #72 - Take a moment to do something that makes you happy; that brings you joy; that you love; that centers you

Idea #73 – ‘Get in the zone‘. Give full attention to whatever you are doing: eating, washing dishes, etc.

As you begin these steps of positive process one cannot help but to encourage self and be overwhelmed with joy!

The enemy hates dancing

Remember the enemy creates barriers he wants to see you downtrodden. Take on a spirit like David and celebrate. Become undignified and humiliate yourself before the Lord and Dance like David Danced. Find ways to encourage and recapture the joy in your life again!

Let us pray: Heavenly Father your children hurt. Their pain is unbearable. Their days seem colder and darker. There is nothing to hard for you Lord give them strength to climb out of the pits of despair. Give them a song to sing and vision to recount the blessings you bestowed.  Father in your name I claim victory in the lives of your children who are suffering.  This I pray in your son Jesus Christ name. Amen.


People are experiencing hardship, distress, doubt, and worry. To combat the perils of life we offer comfort through prayer. Your life concerns are important  to us.Click the link to be added to The Souls Remedy Prayer List 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Memorial Day… A time to remember the real casualties of war

God and Country

Read: 2 Samuel 1:1-27

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in the spirit Psalm 34:18

A time to love and a time to hate, a time for war, and a time for peace. Ecclesiastes 3:8

In the line of duty

The Current war of conflict with Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries has sacrificed the lives of many. In our hearts we share the pain of young men and women who paid the ultimate price for America with their life. It is hard to fathom the pain of a mother, wife or child whose loved one has perished in the line of duty. Over the years memories become a temporary relief easing the pain but it never really go away.

Despite the many battles David encountered he experienced first-hand the pains of death caused by war when his friend, brother, and supporter Jonathan was killed. 2 Samuel translates his pain and mourning of Jonathan and even his adversary Saul.

The real casualties of war

In honor of Memorial Day I want to share my thoughts of ways to pay homage to soldiers – retired, currently serving, and those who killed in the line of duty. Each year we call the names of each individual but in the shadow of turmoil stands another group of casualties of war who are often forgotten - parents, spouses, and children of fallen soldiers.

Death is inevitable. Its sting can be painful and more devastating when it does not make sense. Since the beginning of time War has been a mechanism to secure and protect land. No matter your opinion of war we have to remember the victims. When is daddy coming home? Where is mommy? A mother’s heart is broken her love is scorned.

This weekend as we prepare to pull out grills, barbeque, fellowship with friends and family remember this is not a happy celebration but a memorial to reflect and pay homage to veterans of war.

A moment silence

As you enjoy the freedoms of being an American remember at 3pm, on Memorial Day, in an act of national unity for one minute stop and pray thanking God for the continuous protection of The United States of America, also cover the soldiers and their families as they wait on their return home or quietly mourn but most important pray for peace and the healing of this land.

Pray on Memorial Day

On this Memorial Day and in honor of the men and women of our Armed Forces I salute you for your service. If you know of any person who has lost a loved one in war take a minute to call or email. Express your love; give them a shoulder to grieve and an ear to bend.


Let us pray: Father God Thank you for your love, mercy and protection. This Memorial Day bless every military soldier as they protect the shores of America. Bless, cover and comfort their families while they patiently await their return home.  Bring peace to this land and around the world. Help our leaders seek your guidance and may they find a true solution to end war. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

You can’t fight with God

Your arms are too short to box with God
Read: Genesis 32

So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. Then the man said let me go for it is day break. But Jacob replied I will not let you go unless you bless me. Genesis 32:24, 26

Fighting with God

Jacob’s fight with God, as recorded in Genesis 32, was the tipping point in his life. Jacob deceitfully took advantage of his brother by taking his birthright, blessing, and even attempted to hold Esau back at birth Genesis 25:26. Jacob stole what was rightfully Esau’s - Genesis 27.

What’s in a name?

The name Jacob is a pun on the Hebrew word grasp – to take. So throughout Jacob’s life we read how he schemed and skillfully took things to “create” his future. But now he has reached the end of his abilities and God is seeking to take control of his life based on his adverse activities.  “The man” Jacob fights with all night was a supernatural being – God. Though Jacob stole from Esau the fight was not with his brother but with God. In the end God changed Jacob’s name to Israel which means “he struggles with God.”

Overcome inabilities

you can't fight with God
When I look back over my life, the images unveil my Jacob like tendencies of struggling with God. The mind combats with how sin, inabilities, and short comings made me unworthy for God to use. God continued to tug and pull the spirit hoping to get my attention. This is where the fight begins. I come to realize God does not look for brilliant or eloquent people. God seeks broken vessels like me, people who have judged themselves and reached their wits end, rock bottom, or the dead end.

Release your strongholds

It is obvious God could have taken Jacob’s life but instead he touched him in the strongest part of the human anatomy – the tendon near the hip – crippling Jacob. Jacob surrendered and asked to be blessed Genesis 32:25-28.

You are struggling with your past – jobs, family, marriage, or life. Let go and let God touch your strongholds. The things that are holding you back will become the deliverance and testimony that God will empower you to overcome and become a blessing to others.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


Envision Greatness
Do you hear what I am saying, “THERE IS GREATNESS IN YOU!!”

I’m dating myself, but in the original Wizard of OZ each character had a dilemma. Dorothy wanted to get back to Kansas, the Lion wanted courage, the Tin Man wanted a heart, and the Scarecrow wanted a brain. Dorothy was given ruby red slippers by the good witch. Dorothy always had the means to get home. The lion was the go to guy when the situation required courage. The keenness of the Scarecrow’s intellect always got them out of trouble, and when it was time for compassion it was the capacity of the Tin Man’s heart that soothed the situation at hand. Each character had within themselves what they were looking for but needed an outward manifestation to validate who they already were on the inside. So, they went off to see the Wizard of OZ.

I don’t know the intention of the author or writer of the screenplay, but I believe that it serves as social commentary on how many of us are living out our lives looking for outward validation for what already exists on the inside us.  “THERE IS GREATNESS IN YOU”.  

Settling for mediocrity

On a lot of days I ask myself, “Why am I so willing to settle for mediocrity when there is greatness in me. It seems like I’m waiting for permission to be great. Do you ever ponder such thoughts? It seems like I’m afraid of something. What about YOU?

Marianne Williamson, in her poem “Our Deepest Fear”, gets to the heart of the matter when she says Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us" We ask ourselves, “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?” The answer to that question is quite simple and very profound. YOU ARE A CHILD OF GOD, and God don’t make no junk. “THERE IS GREATNESS IN YOU!!”

William Shakespeare says this to us about greatness "Be not afraid of greatness; some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them." Scripture bears witness to US that as believers we have had greatness thrust upon us. Mediocrity and passivity is NOT the natural state for believers, but it is the state for many of us because we have accepted an interpretation of ourselves that has renders us emotionally and spiritually impotent and immature.

Believe in self

Epistemology is the study of Knowledge. A subset of this field is the study of self-knowledge. The briefest explanation of this field of study is that it looks at how we come to understand and see ourselves. I am introducing this to YOU because some of what you have come to believe about yourself is not your fault. You have been shaped and molded by how you were socialized and by the information that you were given by sources that you trusted.  So, maybe YOU just don’t know that “THERE IS GREATNESS IN YOU!!” and that is why you respond and act the way that you do.

Proverbs 23:7 (KJV), states that “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he”. This infers that the totality of one’s thinking, which includes awareness, perception, reasoning, and judgment, dictates how one will respond to the world. If all of YOUR frames of reference suggests that THERE IS NO GREATNESS IN YOU then no matter what anyone tells you that validates your GREATNESS, your subconscious mind will wage war against that thought in order to maintain the status-quo of invalidation that abides in you. How many times has someone complimented you and your subconscious mind not only rejected the compliment, but it rejected the possibility that such a compliment could be made in reference to YOU? Therein, lies the war that keeps you from believing that “THERE IS GREATNESS IN YOU!!”

The seed of negativity

What I am suggesting is that somewhere deep within many of us a seed of negativity was planted and took root in our spirits. It could have been planted by:

  • Being sexually abused by someone WE trusted

  • When YOU were told that “you are just like your no good father
  • The uneasy feelings that YOU had about your sexuality 

  • Being deemed socially and religiously unacceptable

When something “takes root”, it establishes itself where it is planted so it can flourish. Once established, the roots of negativity create obstructions that are in conflict with the divine nature that was established in YOU by God. As a result, the way we see the world and our place in it has been distorted. The distortion manifests itself:

  • Self-hatred 
  • Low self-esteem 
  • Resentment 
  • Fear of life 
  • Self-doubt

How people think of themselves

If you are anything like me, those feelings of invalidation play themselves out in unhealthy relationships, and in the masks that we have to wear in order to hide the insecure, fragile individuals that we believe ourselves to be. However, I am here to tell you that YOU are worthy of so much more and there lies in you so much untapped potential for GREATNESS.

The dilemma is that many of us are living out the self-fulfilling prophecies of the way we think about ourselves. We can no longer afford to be trapped in the prison of our minds. The first step to freedom is that we must accept two truths.

  1.  life happens and we are dealt cards that require us to face life’s trials and tribulations
  2. some of the unmanageability in our lives is self-inflicted and masochistic because we have abdicated the responsibilities of our live and are punishing ourselves for whom we have become.

 How to change negativity

The first truth we can’t do anything about because life on life’s terms happens, but the second truth is within our power to change. “THERE IS GREATNESS IN YOU!!”

Change can’t happen for us if what we believe about ourselves remains the same. I’m going to leave you with these final words because if YOU are not a willing or have a desire to change, the next part of this blog will not be relevant. I want YOU to take a look at your life and make a decision to:

  • Demonstrate the FAITH of the ten lepers, who without questioning heeded the words of Jesus and went to present themselves to the priest. “As they walked, they were healed.” 
  • Demonstrate the FAITH and COURAGE of the woman with the issue of blood, who by telling the truth about herself received more that just the healing of her visible malady. By telling the truth about the traumatic realities of her life she went from nobody to somebody and from somebody to a daughter. She not only received an outward healing, but she received confirmation that she was a child of God and an inward wholeness that can only be experienced when YOU accept who YOU are and what has happened in your life. “Daughter thy faith has made you whole”.

 The Greatness in you

As I am accepting the GREATNESS IN ME, are you willing to begin the process of accepting the GREATNESS IN YOU? There is a Part 2 to this blog, please respond to The Souls Remedy and say that YOU want to “Continue Your Journey to Greatness”.

Let us pray:

Father, you have made me in your image and your word tells me that those who are called by your name will do far greater things than you here on this earth. Help me to accept the mandate of greatness that you have placed on my life. Help me not to be held captive to my past or the negativity that abide in my spirit. Set me free to take the authority that you have given me as one of you heirs to bind up anything in my life that is causing an obstruction or keeping me from realizing the destiny and promise that you have for my life. Father, I thank you for all that you have done in my life, for all that you are doing in my life and for all that you will do in my life. In Jesus name I pray, Amen


About the writer:
Submitted by: Carl F. Hunter II, M.Div
Reverend Hunter is an Itenerant Elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and a graduate of New Brunswick Theological Seminary. Reverend Hunter is a frequent contributor to The Soul’s Remedy. His prior submission are entitled “And God Spake All These Words” and “There is Greatness In You”. Reverend Hunter is a father and a grandfather, and resides in New Jersey.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Team Jesus – are you wearing the jersey?

You are on a team!
READ: Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Two is better than one because they have a good return on their labor Eccl. 4:9

You are on a team

Realize it our not, we all are members of a team – work, school, organizations, and church.  A team is “a number of persons associated in some joint action.” The downside, everyone is not full participants. They love the fringe benefits, even winning, but don’t care for the work and effort required to win.

Wearing your team jersey

Surprising to some, marriage is a team. One way to win or make this union (team) successful is by supporting a spouse’s dreams. This means jointing their “dream team” and also wearing their jersey.  Recently on OWN TV program - Iyanla, Fix My Life - retired NFL player Bob Whitfield stated his ex-wife was never on his team. She was not his cheerleader nor did she support him. During home games she was just there – never adorning his jersey or dreaming any of his dreams.
Upholding a spouse’s jersey is a form of solidarity. It also encourages, uplifts and motivates. Especially during the times when it don’t make sense and when the team is loosing! When these components are missing it raises the question are you own my team or just a fair-weather fan waiting to receive the accolades?

Team Jesus

The most important team is Team Jesus – where everyone has a significant role to perform. Jesus Team is no different than any other.  There is an expectation from us all.  It is not just praying, asking, seeking, and knocking for self fulfillment it requires being fully committed to Team Jesus.  Questionable team members typically call on The Lord when in need oppose to being in the trenches working (training) through the pain, when life is hard (loosing) and appears to be unfair.  Working (faith) during the hard times is defines you as a team player. So what team are you on? Are you just a half-hearted team member showing up when things are great?

Team practice

It requires practice (faith) to win with families and Team Jesus.

  • Families – Two is better than one because they have a good return on their labor. You have to workout (supporting one another) even when it is not fun.

  • Team Jesus – The training is not easy. You will face trials and tribulations as you train but continue praising and praying. This race is not for the swift Eccl 9:11 nor the faint at heart.

Throughout your life training you will grow tired, weary stumble and fall.  But continue pressing forward supporting one another and you will come out victorious.


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