Monday, December 29, 2008

That Time Of The Year

Praise the Lord! I missed all of you out in "Blog Land". I took a few days off to enjoy my mini-vacation and family. I hope that you enjoyed your holiday, spent some QT with your loved ones and got at least a little bit of rest and relaxation in all of the festivities. I don't know about you all but I need a vacation to recuperate from the vacation.

For many of us, the holiday season is a time to enjoy family and friends. For some of us, the only time of the year that we are able to see some of our loved ones is during the holiday season. But what happens when your holiday and family time doesn't go as smoothly as planned? What happens when you come to the realization that you don't have the "ideal" family? How do you keep "the peace" and your peace of mind if everyone doesn't get along as well as they should? What if you find yourself left holding the bag trying to be the peacemaker? Here's one more question for you: how do you handle such scenarios with the smile that everyone expects you to have?

Unfortunately, it is during the holiday season that we hear more stories about people falling into depressions, abusing substances, over eating and feeling an over all sense of emptiness. People experience these same problems all throughout the year but they seem to be magnified during the time of year when families are supposed to come together. It is during these times of the year that the lonely tend to feel lonelier. This saddens me because I can recall a time when the holiday season spelled out DRAMA for me. All thanks and praise be to God that I had peace this holiday season but my heart cannot help but to go out to so many others that experienced losses, sadness, and loneliness during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. So today, I've decided to dedicate this post to anyone that had a tough time this holiday season whether it be financially, spiritually or emotionally. Know that I am praying for. I love you and Jesus loves you more.

Some wise person once said that we don't get to choose our families. This is true. We don't get to chose who we are genetically related to but we do get to chose who we are spiritually connected with. You see, if you are missing your relatives, don't have many relatives or maybe not getting along so well with your relatives, remember that you are not alone. You have another family - a new family. Once you say yes to Jesus, you become the son or daughter of God. The bible says that we are grafted into the family of God. So regardless of what our DNA says - God says that you are His child. You future is not predicated by your past. If a man, woman, boy or girl be in Christ he or she is a NEW creature and ALL old things are passed away. You can change if you want. You can break the cycle. We do not have to accept generational curses. The buck stops here in Jesus' name!

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.(Ephesians 1:3-6)
Lord, I thank and praise you for the many ways you have made for us. I thank you for getting us through yet another holiday season. Right now I ask that you touch the lonely, wounded, broken hearted and heavy laden. Comfort them in the name of Jesus. You called all the heavy laden and burdened to come to You because you promised that you would give them rest. I ask that you help us to all rest in you. We thank you for this new family you have provided for us. You said that when our father and mother forsake us that YOU would take us up. I ask that you mend every broken heart right now in the name of Jesus. Lord I ask that you have your way in our families and our lives. Send your peace to the north, south, east and west. I thank you in advance for healing, peace and prosperity in the name of Jesus. Give the weeping strength right now to hold out just a little while longer because you promised that Joy is coming in the morning. I bless you, thank you and praise You for I know that you are able to do above and beyond all I can ask for or think of.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Where Do I Go From Here?


Have you ever tried to make your way to church but just didn't feel like it or began to pray but just couldn't find the right words to say? Maybe you've been in a position where you felt as though you were at a "spiritual stand still". You know, the point where you don't see yourself growing and you don't see yourself backsliding but you're just...there? We've all been there before at that "spiritual fork in the road" where we don't know if we should go left or right and we're just standing there waiting for a sign from God.

What do you do when you feel this way? Do you alienate yourself and pretend like everything is everything? Do you call your prayer partner or church family for prayer or encouragement? Do you read your bible, pray, and wait patiently for God to speak to you?

These are all questions that I've asked myself at one point or another. I have found myself feeling spiritually stagnant a time or two. It was during these times that I learned to do three things: pray, praise and pay attention. Unfortunately, I've learned the hard way (and am still learning at times) that when things are "quiet" that I need to pray just as often and intensely as I do when things are going haywire. That way, if and when the storm does rise, I've already gotten enough vested so if I can't say anything other than "Jesus" I'm alright. I've learned to praise because the word of God tells us that God inhabits (or lives in) the praises of His people. When I find myself in a jam or immobile, I need some Holy Ghost fire to get me started again. And lastly, I've learned to pay attention because I know when I'm down to nothing that's when God is up to something. He loves to do the impossible.

Lately, I've been feeling a little "sluggish" in areas that I used to be excited about. I've been asking God if I'm somehow **missing** what He's been trying to show me. Of course God doesn't always answer when and as clearly as we would like Him to but I believe I got my answer while I was looking through my old notebook of devotions. There was a lame man in Acts 3 who was "stuck" as well. This man was physically cripple.

One day, while on their way to the temple at the hour of prayer, Peter and John saw a lame man begging outside of the entrance of the temple. Peter told the man that he didn't have any silver or gold but he gave him all that he had. All that he had was Jesus which is more than enough. God used Peter to give the man the ability to walk in the name of Jesus (Acts 3:1-6). The man rose with their assistance. Imagine how much progress others could make if we would learn to help them to stand on their own two feet. His feet and ankles were strengthened and the man leaped up and praised his way into the temple.(Acts 3:7-8)

The people saw him praising God. We must give honor where honor is due to the most high God - our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. God gives us strength daily. He gives us strength to rise, strength to resist temptation, strength to live right, strength to love our enemies, etc. He also gives us strength to strengthen others in His name as Peter did. We must never think that we have it all together and forget about that person that is at a stand still like the lame man. They may be able to walk physically but they could be spiritually lame.

Once the man was strengthened, he leaped and praised God. Nobody forced him to. No one had to ask him to shout 'Hallelujah'. The people saw him praising God. People are always watching. When we're blessed (and we always are), we must be ever so careful to bless the Lord not just when things are good but at all times. We have to bless Him when we can see our way and even more when we can't see our way because we know that just as He made a way for us in the past, He will make a way for us again.

The people saw the once lame man praising God. More importantly God saw him praising God. We are receiving strength right now through His word. We should all follow Christ as the lame man did - into the presence of the Lord praising all the way.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Please Don't Cut Me Off


I love the Word of God. It comes alive every time I read it. I can honestly say that the bible is the BESTEST (yes, that's a word here) book I have ever read. I can read the same stories over and over again and get a different revelation every time. This evening, I found an old scrap book of my devotions that I began writing when I first got "really" saved. This particular devotion dealt with idolatry and how innocently it can begin. As I read my own words, they struck a nerve and conviction began to set in so I decided to share this message with you all. Tonight's devotion will come from 2 Kings 17

I've been visiting a lot of blogs and reading about how many of you have become very busy with holidays, your families, jobs and blogs. You are not alone. I've been finding myself extremely busy lately yet I feel like I'm not accomplishing much. When I recap my day before I go to bed (I try to do this every night), I realize that I haven't accomplished half of what I purposed in my heart to do the night before. This discovery caused me to sit and think about my priorities . For the most part, everything listed on my "to do list" NEEDS to be done but at what expense? Could it be possible that I am so busy with life that I am forgetting to live? Can it be that I am too blessed to be stressed so now I don't pray as much as I should? As I read my devotion from the early days I once again began to see myself and how my behavior resembled the actions of the infamous Children of Israel. (They are one of my favorite subjects.).

The Children of Israel were blessed. God delivered them out of bondage from the hands of Pharaoh. He led them through the wilderness and met all of their needs. He fought their battles for them and defeated defeated their enemies. However the Children of Israel continued in their sin and constantly tried to commit secret sins against the Lord.

There is no place we can go that the Lord cannot see us or no thought that we can think that the Lord can not hear.

The Children of Israel had a tendency for worshipping other gods. No matter how much God blessed them, saved them or delivered them - they still wanderd. Now we know better than to bow down before a statue in worship but worship simple means to love unquestioningly, uncritically or in excess.

Hmmm... That's something to think about.

They built idols and offered sacrifices and burnt offerings. They even sacrificed their own children to their gods. They disregarded the fact that God told them that they were His chosen people, a nation of priests and set apart. They often imitated what everyone else was doing. I guess it was always a struggle of the flesh to be in the world and not of the world.

The Lord removed Israel from His presence (Verses 18-20). The Lord rejected all of the people of Israel. He afflicted them and gave them over into the hands of plunder until He finally thrust them from His presence. As Believers we do not and should not want to push God's hand to the point where He removes us from His presence. As I sit and think about all of the things I've been placing such high value on lately, I can't help but to repent as I think about the time I've been trading for God's presence. The Children of Israel had chances. God clearly told them what He required of them. However, they chose to do as they pleased. They did not put other gods and their evil wicked behavior away. They thought their idolatry was hidden from God.

We have to be ever so careful that we do not allow our mates, friends, habits or personal needs become our idols. We must put God first worshipping Him and only Him. God doesn't just cast us out for our first, second, or third offences. Only God knows when His mercy will turn to wrath. I don't want to find out how many chances I have. I want to work while it is still day because when night comes, no man will be able to work. I want to seek the Lord while it is early while He may yet be found.

The bible says that they Children of Israel were affliced and given to the hands of plunder until finally God thrust them from His presence. I don't need to be removed from God to understand that He is a jealous God.

So, Lord, I repent. I want to walk worthy of the vocation to which you have called me. I know that a life without you is nothing at all. Help me to better manage my time. Time belongs to you. My life belongs to you. My soul belongs to you. My praise belongs to you. My worship belongs to you. Lead me, guide me. Help me to be who you want me to be, where you want me to be for as long as you want me to be. Here I am Lord send me. I love you, thank you and praise you. Lord, whatever you do, PLEASE don't cut me off.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Haters Hate - Christians Love

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him." When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8He sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him." (Matthew 1:1-4, 7-8)
I am SO glad today that I have a place of refuge I can go to when the storms of life rage. I’m happy to know that the Lord has plans for me that are good and not of evil. Sometimes as I’m going through all that I go through I can’t help but to thank God for being omniscient. There are some enemies and traps that lie ahead of me that I’m unaware of but He knows all about them. I am faced with grins everyday that appear to be smiles but in all actuality are wicked snares laughing at me and not with me. I thank God that I don’t have to worry about who’s for me and who’s against me because if God be for me, He’s greater than the world against me. I don’t know when the enemy is going to learn that no weapon formed against the people of God will ever prosper. Now, God didn’t say that the weapons wouldn’t form or even that they wouldn’t be launched but He did promise that they wouldn’t prosper and I thank God for that today.

As we approach this time of year, many people that normally wouldn’t think twice about the Lord are decking trees, buying gifts and singing Christmas carols and talking about the "true meaning of Christmas", the enemy is growing angrier and angrier by the day. There is just too much attention on Jesus for him. This is nothing new. The enemy has been mad for a very long time at the thought of Jesus. He knows at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. King Herod couldn’t accept that. So what did he do? He pretended to want to know where The Christ was. He pretended that he wanted to go worship Jesus but he really wanted to have him killed.

The enemy is always trying to invade our camp. He loves to set up shop in our congregations, on our jobs and in our homes. The enemy and his agents want to hang out where Christians are so that if we aren’t studied up, prayed up and fasted up he can use us against one another. As we strive to build the Kingdom of God, the enemy works just as hard (and in some cases harder) to do the opposite.

The enemy is subtle. He won’t out right tell you that he only wants to kill, steal and destroy your life. No, that’s too easy. Instead, he’ll use cunning and crafty ways. He or she (because he can take the form of a woman) will flatter you with words and pretend like they love the Lord just like you do so that after you let your guard down and take your attention off of Jesus he can go in for the kill. I pray that God will open our eyes so that we may see the traps the enemy has set for us. I pray that we, the Body of Christ will stay focused on Jesus in this season and every season thereafter so that we may not be caught up in the temporary joys and pleasures of the world but that we may set our affections on the eternal things of God.

As Matthew’s account of the Magi’s visit continues, God warned the Magi not to return to Herod. Herod had a plan but God’s was greater. So if you find yourself behind enemy lines and up against all odds know that God’s got your back. No weapon formed against you shall ever proper and every tongue that rises up against you in judgment- you shall condemn. This is our heritage as servants of the Lord. (Isaiah 54:17)

Are they “hating” on you? Do you have a "Herod" in your life that talks like he means you will but he really wants to take your life? If so, let “them” hate. Remember they hated Jesus first and as servants we are no greater than the master. For His sake we face death every day. We are considered as sheep to be slaughtered. The Word tells us so. Let’s not trade evil for evil and hate for hate but let’s bless those that curse us. That’s where the blessing is!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Speak Up Or Shut Up

11Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13But the angel said to him: "Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John. 14He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth.[b] 16Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God. 17And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord." 18Zechariah asked the angel, "How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years."19The angel answered, "I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. 20And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their proper time."2Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child. 63He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone's astonishment he wrote, "His name is John." 64Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue was loosed, and he began to speak, praising God. (Luke 1:18-19, 62-64 NIV)
Zechariah was a holy man. He was a priest of the Lord. He studied the scriptures. He knew of all the marvelous works God had performed in the past yet he had difficulty believing that the same God that gave his father Abraham a child in his old age could do the same for Him. Does this sound familiar? God sent word to Zechariah that his wife, Elizabeth would bare a child but because Zachariah couldn’t conceive in His mind how God could perform what Gabriel spoke of, he questioned the ways of God. Now, God has already told us that His ways and thoughts are higher than ours. Great are the mysteries of God. If we knew everything, we would have no need for God. Only God is all knowing. Zachariah didn’t say “God can’t do that” but he asked how he could be sure that what the angel spoke of would come to be. Zachariah took it a step further and began to reason with the angel, explaining that both he and his wife were old. We can’t make sense of everything God reveals to us immediately but rather it has to unfold before our eyes. As a result of Zachariah’s disbelief, God shut Zachariah’s mouth until the things that were spoken to him came to be. Elizabeth conceive that evening and John the Baptist was born to bare witness to the soon and coming Messiah, Jesus Christ.

I’ve read the story of the birth of Christ countless times. I’ve read it so many times that I often fail to pause and meditate on the “small details” as deeply as I should. (Lord, forgive me.) Each time I read the story, I get a fresh revelation. This time the Lord showed me how important it is to learn when to be silent. We can’t share everything with everyone – especially when we are battling doubt over things God has personally spoken to us. We have to go through the TEST before we can give the TESTimony. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t thank God in advance but I am saying that God isn’t the only one that hears what we say. Perhaps God silenced Zachariah because He couldn’t have the man of God walking around believing God to perform miracles in everyone else’s lives except for His own. If we, the Children of God are the first to offer encouragement to everyone else when all odds appear to be against them and then begin to doubt God when we need Him to do the impossible on our behalf, what kind of message does this send ? We have to practice ALL that we preach including faith.

The first words to leave Zachariah’s mouth were praises to God. We must be certain that once God does bring us out, bless us, deliver us and save us that we give Him all of the glory, honor and praise. Yes, there are people that God sends to help us long the way and in some cases prophesy to us but they can do nothing without the Spirit of the Lord leading to do so. Zachariah could have exclaimed “Wow… This happened just like Gabriel told me it would” but he didn’t. He understood Gabriel was a messenger and not the Author. Zachariah understood that God shut his mouth because words are powerful. God didn’t need anyone speaking and spreading doubt throughout the land.

So the next time God gives us a message to carry for Him or allows us to see a glimpse of our future, remember that we have a choice. We can believe what God said, “Speak Up” to Him in thanksgiving and praise or we can choose to doubt and “Shut up” our blessing. It’s our choice: Speak Up or Shut Up.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

What If It Were You?

Today is December 10th. May people both Christians and non are preparing to celebrate Christmas. While I don't celebrate the "Christmas holiday" like many other Christians do with trees, decorations and gifts, I do acknowledge, accept and appreciate the birth of Christ. Had He not been born He couldn't have dwelt among us giving us an example of how we ought to live and more importantly He couldn't have died on Calvary's cross for the remission of our sins and rose again on the 3rd day with ALL power. I do believe every word in the bible to be true including the story of the birth of Christ. Having said this, I decided to revisit the story of the birth of Christ and take a closer look at it and all of the many lessons that can be learned from it.

In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee,to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you." Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."
"How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?" (Luke 1:26-34)
First of all, let me begin by saying "Thank God for Mary". Had an angel came to me while I was yet still a virgin and told me I was going to give birth, I probably would have asked him if he had the right Mary. Has God every told you anything or called you to do a work that you couldn't envision yourself doing? Imagine how Mary must have felt. Many people mistakenly attribute undue credit and praise to Mary. They pray to her and worship her when in all actuality Mary was nothing more than a vessel. Had Mary not carried Jesus, God would have found someone else to do the job. This post is by no mean written to praise Mary. Mary heard the voice of the Lord and obeyed as we all should.

Brothers, if you were engaged to marry a woman and you knew that you hadn't slept with her, do you think you would be able to go through with your wedding plans if you learned that she was pregnant? Let's take it a step further and consider what you would think if she told you she immaculately conceived the Son of God. If you are anything like me you probably would have called the wedding off being certain that she was unfaithful.

Both Joesph and Mary faced extremely difficult tasks. Mary conceived a child during a time where people were stoned for committing sexual transgressions. Everyone knew that she wasn't married yet she was pregnant. I imagine that Mary got dirty looks and heard whispers as she walked through the town. I could also imagine Joesph's friends and other townspeople telling him not to marry Mary and that she was "defiled". But the two of them carried on with their assignments anyway. Do you think you would be able to continue with what God gave you to do if everyone around you were whispering in doubt that what you were doing was really of God?

As I think about Joesph - the step-father of Jesus, I imagine that it was very difficult for him. He knew that God was the father of Christ and that he was just filling in. Do you think that maybe just maybe Joesph doubted his ability or worried that he wouldn't measure up. It would only be human for Joesph to think that way.

Mary and Joesph had their hands full. To be frank, I don't think that I could have done as well in either of their positions. I thank God that He has called us all to a distinct and different purpose. Sure, there may be many ministers but not all serve the same purpose for the Kingdom of God. There are deliverance ministries, outreach ministries, substance abuse ministries, etc. Mary and Joesph were created for the ministry of raising Jesus.

Mary asked Gabriel "How can this be". Has God ever showed you a glimpse of your future or used someone to speak a prophetic word into your life and all you could manage to ask was "how can this be"? I've been there before. But it's not up to us to ask or know how everything can be. It is up to us to obey the voice of the Lord and follow His Spirit.

So as I close, I ask you to examine yourself and ask yourself "What if it were you". Do you think you would have been able to live up to the assignment? Are you able to stand alone on the Word of God no matter what the situation looks like, regardless of what all sense and reason tells you? If so, God bless you. Please pray for me and the rest of us that cannot confess to always being this steadfast. If you (like myself) are not always able to walk blindly or if you do not think that you would have done as well as Mary and Joesph did in their assignments, join me in prayer that we may all be who called called us to be and that we are able to trust Him with all of our hearts, minds and souls because one day it will be us called upon to do that which appears to be "undoable". Remember, that which is impossible with man is possible with God and we can do ALL things through Jesus Christ who strengthens us.

Blessings!

Monday, December 8, 2008

I'm A Church Burglar!


Happy Monday everyone! Mondays usually get off to a pretty slow start for most people that work Monday through Friday but not for me. First of all, I’m happy to have a job to go back to after the weekend. Secondly, my favorite show, Prison Break comes on tonight and last but far from least I attended a church service at International City Community Church in Philadelphia, PA that gave me a “charge” to start my week off right. Pastor Gary O. Grier, Sr. is an awesome preacher and teacher. I enjoyed yesterday’s message so much that I’ve decided to share what I took away from it. The title was “Church Burglars”.
A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. So many gathered that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. Some men came, bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven." (Luke 2:1-5)
Jesus had returned to Capernaum. Whenever He was in the area it was impossible to keep the people away. People knew that whatever their problem was that all they had to do was get close enough to Jesus and they would be alright. Do we realize that instead of seeking our help and/or advice from everyone else that all we need to do is go to Jesus? The assembled themselves and stood all day and all night in the crowds just to get close to Him. We should be likeminded. We should make it our business to do whatever we need to do to get into the presence of the Lord. It’s important that we attend the House of the Lord but it’s even more important that enter into His presence. Do we let not finding the right outfit, a little rain, or a busy schedule or some other minuscule excuse keep us from getting into the presence of the Lord?
The next thing Pastor Grier pointed out was that there were five men willing to risk punishment for breaking and entering just to get close to God? How much are we willing to go through to be close to the Lord? What kind of radical risks are we willing to take to be in a position where we can hear Him clearly? According to the Law, the penalty for breaking, entering, stealing and damaging another person’s house or its contents was that they would have to repay double what they took or damaged. But none of this mattered to them. They knew that the risk they took to get close to Jesus was worth it. They were willing to risk having to replace the roof and anything else they damaged while they broke into the house to be close to God. How many of us today would be willing to do this?

The paraplegic man had his four friends tear the roof off of someone else’s house so that he could be lowered into the building. This man knew that the doctors didn’t have the answers. He knew that his condition was beyond man’s capabilities but just an opportunity for Jesus to heal him. If only we would learn to stop allowing things to keep us from obeying the Spirit of the Lord, reading our Word, praying or going to church we too could get what we need from the Lord. Perhaps we should follow the example of this man and become “Church Burglars”.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I've Got The Power!

I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven." (Luke 10:19-21)
I got the power! Do you guys remember that old song from the 90's? It was a really fast-paced dance tune. I don't remember the lyrics but I do remember the title of the song, "I've Got The Power". It's repeated constantly throughout the song. I was reminded of that song today as I continued my study of Luke chapter 10. After Jesus sent out the seventy two to spread the gospel, He gave them a Word of wisdom which was not to rejoice in their gifts but rather in the fact that they belonged to the Giver of the gifts and we know that all good and perfect gifts come from above.

I don't know about you all but it breaks my heart to watch someone misuse their power or position in the name of the Lord. It's one thing to have an authoritative position and execute your authority when necessary and it's another thing to "call shots" just because you can. It's another thing all together to see our sisters and brothers flaunt their spiritual gifts and abilities. In Luke chapter, Jesus explained to the disciples that He had given them all power and invincibility from the attacks of the enemy. Notice that just as Jesus told them how powerful they were, He cautioned them that the power they now had was not as important as the fact was that they would someday reside in Heaven. You see, the Lord knew that there would be people that would be distracted by the manifestation of the blessings and forget that they gained their positions as a result of their being blessed and not the other way around.
But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. (Matthew 23:11-12)
Many times we get caught up with the temporal blessings and get stuck in the here and now. Although we should be grateful and appreciate all that God has given us and is allowing us to do, we must never forget that this is not the end. There is so much more for us ahead. Perhaps you posses the ability to lead, teach, preach, prophesy, sing, discern spirits, speak in tongues, write or exhort. If we must boast, let us boast in the Lord.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

How Blessed Are You Really?


Oh! How my soul loves Jesus! I remember hearing that old hymn and others like it when I was a little girl. I didn't really understand what they meant but I "felt" the Spirit of God as the tunes were sang. I woke up this morning singing "My Soul Loves Jesus". I don't know all of the words to the song and frankly I don't want to. Sometimes, I like to just sing out to the Lord in songs of praise and worship for who He is to me and all that He has done and is doing for me. I'll add my own little spin on the tune and then jump back in where the chours goes keeping in with the melody. Most of you that will grace my blog with your presence have never heard my singing. you guys are so blessed. (**Smiles**) I can recall several congregations laying hands on me and praying that God would anoint my voice or endow me with the gift of singing. It hasn't come to pass yet but I KNOW that it sounds good to my Lord and that's all that matters to me.

I felt good when I woke up this morning. This morning when I rose I didn't have any doubt that God was with me. I began to count my blessings one by one. I was well in the teens by the way I made it to my bathroom. I'm not even talking about the "big" blessings but it was the little things that we so often take for granted that I began to focus on. My husband was already off to work. I wasn't able to get him on the phone but I realized it was because God wanted to show me just how blessed I really am. That's three blessings right there. I woke up. I have a husband and he has a job. The fact that God blocked my plans just to have me focus on Him was just icing on the cake. There are many days that I wake up complaining because I have to go to work but there are many people loosing their jobs left and right. My family is fortunate enough to not only have an income but to have a two income household. Hey, there's a fourth blessing right there.

As I tiptoed past the children's bedrooms, I could hear them snoring. Hey, that's blessings five, six, and seven. I have children, they're safe and they're healthy. I felt a chill as I approached the bathroom so I decided to raise heat before getting ready for work. Without thinking, I headed straight for the thermostat. That's blessings eight, nine and ten already. We have a home. Many people are being forced out of their houses. I have heat and I am able to raise the temperature during a time when economists are urging that we should cut back. I don't have to worry about tomorrow because I know that God's got it. He promised to supply ALL of my needs according to His riches in glory. Before I headed back upstairs to get ready I decided to make a hot cup of coca and read my WORD to continue what had already began to be a blessed day. That's eleven, twelve and thirteen. I know that the Lord is my Shepard and I shall not want. I have time to sit back and relax before beginning my day and most of all I have His WORD. His Word is enough to be thankful for alone.

What are you thankful for? I challenge you to count your blessings and name them one by one (literally) throughout the course of your day. The enemy is quick to highlight what we don't have, should have and sometimes what we used to have. But God told us to give thanks in ALL things. The Apostle Paul encouraged us to be content in WHATSOEVER state we find ourselves in. As we are blessed, let's also remember to bless others. It's a blessing to be a blessing.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Shake It Off!


But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, Even the dust of your town that sticks to our feet we wipe off against you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God is near.' I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town. (Luke 10:10-12)

Shake it off! There was a popular secular song entitled “Shake It Off” recorded by Mirarah Carey a few years back. The song was basically about a relationship that went wrong and the singer was trying to “shake off” the effects and memories of the relationship. As I continued my study of Luke 10 today, I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself visualizing the early disciples shaking of dust as they left the towns of people that refused to receive them and the Savior who sent them. If you weren’t a believer and saw the Men of God behaving like this, I suppose you would find it comical and maybe even question their sanity. Let’s use our spiritual imagination and visualize watching one shake and wipe dust from their feet. Many times we cannot see dust unless we are close up on it. So as an onlooker watching, you would most likely see men wiping their shoes or sandals in attempts to remove invisible mites that attached itself to them. The disciples were commissioned to spread the gospel. They couldn’t afford to contract negativity, disbelief and wicked spirits.

Now let’s think about this a little more critically. Have you ever been in the presence of someone that is in a really bad mood or someone that is really down and sulking in a personal pity party? Many times, when you leave the individual you find yourself feeling drained, down or distracted. Now, not only are you dealing with the individual’s baggage but now you have to get your mind right so that you can carry out the rest of your day. If you aren’t able to get back into the right spirit, you will walk into your next assignment or meeting place carrying the same contaminate and the cycle will continue. This is what Jesus was trying to keep from happening to his disciples. Jesus wanted them to physically shake the dust from their feet as an illustration to us that we must not allow the negativity or disbelief of others to cling to us. The enemy is a great deceiver. If we allow him to, he will use our emotions against. We can’t afford to carry around extra baggage. We have to cast all of our cares at the Lord’s feet and “shake it off”.

Notice that Jesus did not tell them to “set the people straight” or attempt to help them “see the light”. Instead, he told them to rid themselves of anything connecting them to the nonbelievers and keep it moving. Too often we spend time trying to save the World. Everyone is not going to receive us or He who sent us. That does not mean that we should stop witnessing or praying for the unsaved but it does mean that we should continue to proceed with the assignment that the Lord has placed on our lives and stop allowing the enemy and his negativity to travel with us from place to place.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Can I Get Some Help?


Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest. (Luke 10:2)


Do you ever find yourself feeling overwhelmed like there’s just so much to do in so little time and more importantly – so little help? I know I feel this way myself from time to time. Isn’t it irritating when you look around and coworkers appear to be relaxing while you are struggling to do your best, meet deadlines and no one even offers to give you a hand? It’s even more likely that you may find yourself feeling this way during the holiday season with shorter weeks and the same amount of work to be done. Whether you are a ministry leader, CEO, or a homemaker there will come times when you feel like you are the only one working. I can recall there being plenty of times that I worked hard silently until I couldn’t take it any more and finally blurted out “Can I get Some Help”.

In fact, I found myself feeling a little over worked and under appreciated last week and the Lord led me to the 10th chapter of the book of Luke. I was originally thinking about Martha as she busied herself around the house while Mary sat at the Lord’s feet. Martha finally got upset and nearly demanded that Jesus make Martha help her. Jesus told Martha (in so many words) to mind her own business because Mary was doing what she was supposed to be doing (story). I was convicted as I looked at my coworkers. I realized that I was behaving like Martha. I wanted them to work a little harder because I was at my wits end. Instead of asking them for help or praying that God would send me help. I caught an attitude. Yes, I did.

Just because we aren’t always able to monitor the progress of others doesn’t mean that they aren’t being productive. Just because we don’t feel rewarded or appreciated by others doesn’t mean that we should stop doing what we know needs to be done. As long as we do what we are supposed to do it will pay off in the long run.
And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. (Galatians 6:9)

I realized that Martha was actually doing good deeds but her attitude and the spirit in which she was working made her efforts worthless. In her attempts to lift herself up, Martha put Mary down. Martha was discontent because Mary wasn’t working as hard as she was. Martha wanted Jesus to see how hard she was working. She wanted Mary to realize that she was working (physically) harder than she was in hopes that she would join her. I don’t think that Martha wanted to take Mary away from the Savior. I think she wanted her to give her a hand so that she too could rest in His presence.
Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. (Matthew 6:1)

I had to remind myself that I’m living this life so that I can live again. If I please the people: praise the Lord. If not, praise the Lord anyhow. All that matters is that Jesus is pleased. I came to the conclusion that I’d far rather my reward in heaven than here on earth by the compliments, accolades and even appreciation of people.

After I settled down and went back to read the rest of Luke 10, I realized that that I had no help because I didn’t ask God for help. Jesus said that if we ask the Father for anything in His name that it would be given to us. Why did I think it was any different with help? It’s amazing how we can go to God with some things and dismiss other things as things that we can handle.

It’s not just “help” that I needed but I needed the right kind of help and the right people to help me. Had just anyone helped me and we weren’t on the same page, their help could have actually been counter productive. I bless God for His word and showing me more and more about me in it everyday.

What do you do when you find yourself over worked and under appreciated?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

F.O.C.U.S. (S)


Forget your past (Romans 8:1)

Operate in the Spirit (Romans 8:2,5)

Concentrate on the things of God (Colossians 1-3)

Understand the Sovereignty of God (Romans 9:18)

Stand in position (Romans 8:17)

Truly the Lord has been better than good! He has given me and you alike much to think about through His message "F.O.C.U.S.". Initially, it was a bit challenging to write a 5 day series but I realize through this process that it was supposed to be challenging. God is not going to have us minister about something that we have never lived. I believe that He wanted me to literally focus on focusing. I thank and praise God that He gave me the steadfastness to do it. I could have never completed this assignment without Him.

Stand in Position is the last instruction in this assignment. We were called to a vocation not a vacation. Meaning that God has work for us to do. Somewhere along the line we've taken it upon ourselves to slack up. Some of us have not been running this race with as much diligence as we began it with. We aren't praying like we used to pray, fasting like we used to fast and even witnessing like we used to. There are some people that are even trying to run from their assignments and ignore their calling. However, all hope is not lost. There is still time to get back in position.

In the military, when one is absent without leave it is referred to as AWOL. When one goes AWOL, the military will send agents out to get you and bring you back to headquarters for punishment. Once you agree to serve in the army - you are in for the duration. Some of our brothers and sisters have gone AWOL and ran off the battlefield and from the army of the Lord. We need to call them up, visit them, let them know that someone cares and that they need to get back to work. We need to bring them back to "Headquarters" which is lifted up in prayer in the presence of God. It is very easy to get distracted with everything going on in the world today. Sometimes the fight of faith seems unbearable in which case a vacation is not the answer but rather to get more faith. How do we get more faith?
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17)

If we lack faith, we need to hear more of the Word of God. We can not simply give up on the things that God has promised us because we don't see them coming to pass as we thought we would. Once we get back in tune to what the Spirit of God has to say we must stay there in that fame of mind.
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (Ephesians 6:13)

A lot of us get this scripture misconstrued. We often misquote and misunderstand it. The bible does not say "after we've done all we can do - stand" the bible says simply to STAND. This battle is not ours. There is no need for us to fight or try to "make it happen". Vengeance belongs to the Lord. He shall repay. Not us.

We have to stand in position so that we can be blessed. What is our position?
And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. (Romans 8:17)

The earth and everything on it belongs to the Lord. What can a man exchange for his soul? Nothing. There is nothing in this life that is worth sacrificing your rightful standing with God to obtain. Everything that we could ever need and want is already ours. So all we have to do is STAND. Don't give out, give up or give in but stand.

We may have pain in our bodies now but God has prepared another body for us. We may live in the ghetto now but Jesus went away to prepare many mansions for us. We may have to suffer a little now but we have to keep the faith and hold on because soon we will reign with him.

Can you recall a time in your Christan walk where it was hard to stand not moving to the left or the right but hold onto the promises of God? Do you remember how He brought you through? Just as He has in the past He can do it again. We serve a God with proven track record. When the going gets tough and the tough gets going, continue to stand.
Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. (James 1:12)

Monday, November 24, 2008

F.O.C.U.S. (U)


Forget your past (Romans 8:1)

Operate in the Spirit (Romans 8:2,5)

Concentrate on the things of God (Colossians 1-3)

Understand the Sovereignty of God (Romans 9:18)

Stand in position (Romans 8:17)

Anyone who has ever decided to follow Jesus can probably agree with me when I say that the second they made up their mind to take up their cross and follow Christ that the enemy suddenly took a keen interest in their life. While I was in the world living in a backslidden state, I would see the saints of God on their way to church carrying their bibles and braving some of the coldest winter days but they still seemed to have this warmness on the inside that seemed to seep onto the outside. They seemed as if they weren't going to let anything stand between them and getting to their church houses to hear the Word of God -not even cold temperatures or slow public transportation. I couldn't understand it at that time but I wanted that peace.

I somehow believed that once I decided to walk with God that it would be smooth sailing. In fact, part of the reason I decided to truly get saved was because I realized that the world could offer me nothing more than darkness, death and destruction. In the beginning, my life was a breeze. God's presence was always so easy to see and feel. He was performing miracles and making ways out of no way. Both the saved and the unsaved could see that I had favor with God and man. Soon, the visible blessings were fewer and further in between. Things weren't always going my way and there were times that I felt like God was no longer with me.

One incident in particular that troubled me was when God allowed my grandmother to die. I prayed and prayed that He would heal her. I knew the scriptures. If I asked in Jesus name and believed, I was supposed to get what I prayed for. Right? I couldn't fathom the possibility that God and I may not have the same idea of healing in mind. I never doubted for one moment that God could heal her. I never doubted that God was real and that He heard my prayers. What I began to doubt was if God was still “on my side”. I became a sort of a spoiled brat. I thought that Daddy should give me whatever I wanted just because I wanted it. I was upset because it was not His will to heal her like I wanted Him to. God chose to heal her - just not here on earth. To make a long story short, I didn't speak to God for years. (Yes. Years!!! Thank God for His grace.) It was through this experience that my I learned what exactly it meant when I heard people tell me that God is sovereign.

You see, God can do whatever it pleases Him to do however He chooses to do it. God has called us all to a work to do for Him and His kingdom. Along the way there will be times that things aren't going to go the way that we would like for them to go but we must understand that no matter how things go that as long as we love God, it's all working together for our good.

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)


When my grandmother died, my aunts felt that they had lost the most important person in their life. They decided to take all the hurt and pain they felt from loosing my grandmother to Jesus. They knew that this sort of hurt was not a hurt that they could heal themselves from. They were already saved and "in the church" but they sought refuge from the pain in the Lord.

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)


My aunts prayed for me and told me how much God loved me and wanted to hear from me every chance they got. I didn't decide to forsake my worldly ways based on their testimony alone but they planted a seed in my spirit. Others came along and told me about the love of God. They in turn watered the seed. And God gave the increase when He drew me back to Himself.

I don't know why God chose to take my grandmother when He did. But I do know by her passing, my aunts drew closer to God and led me to Him as well. That which the enemy would have liked to use to permanently separate me from the love of God turned out to be one of the greatest lessons that God has ever taught me. Even though things may not go the way we planned them to in life, love and ministry – we must still continue to do that which we were called to do. We must still love the Lord with all of our heart, mind and soul.

Sometimes it seems as if we the people of God have more turmoil and drama going on with us than those in the world does amongst them. I have often found myself asking God “Why?” I’ve kept His commandments, continued to praise Him in spite of the situation yet I still go through. Why? Why is it that they that are evil prosper and we that are faithful suffer? You know what the Lord told me?

Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.(Romans 9:18)


God can show mercy on whomever He chooses to have mercy on. He's God! I had to learn that it's not up to me to decide who gets blessed, who gets to be healed here on earth but it's up to God. He's sovereign.

I spent many nights wrestling within myself trying to understand "why me". Why did I have to suffer? Why was my blessing being delayed? Why was the enemy seeming to prosper in their way. I was wasting time.

Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. (Psalm 37:1-5)


I was worrying about things that didn't concern me. The only thing I needed to do was keep my mind on Jesus. All I had to do was wait on Him and trust Him and I would have the desires of my heart. All the time I was trying to "figure it out" He already worked it out.

I believe that God wants us to F.O.C.U.S. on that which He has called us to do. He wants us to Forget about the past. Anything that is not on our way is in our way. He wants us to Operate in the Spirit of God. We can't do anything in our own strength. We have to Concentrate on the Word of God and bask in His presence. In doing all of this, we cannot become discouraged when times get tough or things don't go our way. We must Understand that God is sovereign and He knows what's best.

Maybe there are some situations in your life right now that you are trying to figure out. Perhaps it's finances or relationship issues that you just don't understand why they are going the way that they are going. You've done the best you could do and your best just wasn't good enough. You gave all you had and failed while others put forth little or no effort and succeeded. Confess that you can't fix "it". Only He can. Understand that God is sovereign.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

F.O.C.U.S. (C)


Forget your past (Romans 8:1)

Operate in the Spirit (Romans 8:2,5)

Concentrate on the things of God (Colossians 1-3)

Understand the Sovereignty of God (Romans 9:18)

Stand in position (Romans 8:17)


If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:1-3)


Concentrate. The third letter of the F.O.C.U.S. acronym is "C" which represents the word "Concentrate". In this Christian walk, we need to learn how to put the blinders on to everything that is contrary to the vision that God has given us for our lives. It is the enemy's job to throw distractions and road blocks up along the way. He wants us to loose sight of the things that matter the most and be concerned with the cares of this world. If we leave it up to him, he would have us to believe that we are "missing out" on life and enjoyment by living holy before God but the devil is a liar and the truth is not in him.

Every since the beginning of time, he has tried to cause the people of God to believe that God's way is not the best way. He hasn't gotten any new tricks. He's still doing using the same old tricks he used back in the Garden of Eden. He deceived Eve into believing that she was missing something by not eating the forbidden fruit. God had supplied more than she or Adam could ever eat. She didn't need to eat the forbidden fruit. Had Eve thought to concentrate on what God had told her and blocked everything else out, she wouldn't have been susceptible to falling into the snares the enemy had planned for her.

Unfortunately, we still fall for the same tricks today if we aren't careful. The enemy knows that we won't fall for the "big" deceptions so he throws "lesser evils" our way. He tries to have us tell little white lies when we know that God told us not to bear false witness or he makes it seem as if it's okay to do something as simple as leaving work a little early if no one sees us even though God said "Thou shalt not steal". If we truly meditate on the law of the Lord day and night, we would be more conscious of our actions and less apt to fall for these deceptions.We have to learn to concentrate on the things of God.

This world, heaven and earth are going to pass away. We cannot build our treasures on this earth where thieves can steal our goods and moths can corrupt them. We have to keep in mind that we are to live this life so that we can live again. I'm not saying that we have to be eating, sleeping, breathing and thinking scripture to the point where we move from the spiritual realm to the religious realm. God forbid! What I am saying is that we must recognize that the enemy desires to sift us as wheat. He desires to have our thoughts preoccupied with everything but what God said. He wants to destroy our marriages, kill our dreams, attack our bodies and trouble our finances all so that we can focus on the problems and not the Ultimate Problem Solver.

My prayer for you today is that you walk worthy in the vocation to which you have been called. I pray that you will set your affections on eternal heavenly things and not be moved by the cares of this world. I pray that you will be like a tree planted of the rivers of water that you shall not be moved. That you shall serve and trust the Lord with all your heart, mind and soul in Jesus' name.

Now as you leave this blog, I pray that you will honestly examine yourself in the presence of the Lord. What are you concentrating on today? Remember, this battle is not yours. It belongs to the Lord. Jesus said to cast your cares on Him for He cares for you. There is nothing too hard for Him. There is no pain that He cannot feel. Won't you trust Him today with every area of your life? He already knows all about it. He's just waiting for you to invite Him in. Concentrate on Him.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

F.O.C.U.S.


Forget your past (Romans 8:1)

Operate in the Spirit (Romans 8:2,5)

Concentrate on the things of God (Colossians 1-3)

Understand the Sovereignty of God (Romans 9:18)

Stand in position (Romans 8:17)

Yesterday, we discussed the "F" in the F.O.C.U.S. acronym which represented the need for us to forget our past in order to stay on track in this vocation we have been called to. Today we will explore the letter "O" and it's representation of the word "Operate".

We need to Operate in the spirit of Christ. We can not do anything in our own strength. The bible tells us that we don't even know how to pray as we should so we even need the Spirit of God to pray for us. We need the Spirit of God active in every area of our lives. No matter how minute the detail may seem to us - we need Him.

If we proceed without the power of God backing us, we are sure to fail. The first biblical example to come to mind is the story of the Seven Sons of Sceva. They saw the Apostle Paul laying hands on folk and casting devils out in the name of Jesus. They thought that they could do it too. The problem was, they didn't have the Spirit of God. They were operating in their own strength. As a result of them operating in their own limited strength, the demons sent them away crying and wounded. (Story)

Some folks may believe they are "getting away" with operating in their own strength perpetrating as if it were the Spirit of God but sooner or later, God will expose you just like He did the Seven Sons of Sceva. Just because their father was a Jewish Priest did not make them priests. We cannot get the Spirit of God simply by association.

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. (Romans 8:2-5)


In this life, our flesh is our biggest enemy. It isn't the devil. The devil has no power over us only that which we give him when we chose to yield to our flesh. Jesus has bore the curse on our behalf and made us free from the law of sin and death. There is no need for us to operate in the flesh or in our own power. We don't have to anymore. We now have access to supernatural Holy Ghost Power.

Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
(Luke 10:19)

The power of God is much stronger than any of our own goals and ambitions. If you are weak, He can make you strong.His strength is perfected in our weaknesses anyhow. If you are strong, He can make you stronger. As you go about the course of the rest of your day, I challenge you to operate in the Spirit of God and see how much better things go for you. As you are walking out this vocation God has called you to be sure that the power you are operating in is of the Lord. Our strength and wisdom is nothing compared to the Lord's.

Have you ever moved before God told you to move? How much trouble did it cause you?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

F.O.C.U.S.


Forget your past (Romans 8:1)

Operate in the Spirit (Romans 8:2,5)

Concentrate on the things of God (Colossians 1-3)

Understand the Sovereignty of God (Romans 9:18)

Stand in position (Romans 8:17)


Last week the Lord gave me a powerful exhortation to "get back to work" through the message, God Called Us To A Vocation - Not A Vacation Part I, II, and III. Today, I believe the Spirit of the Lord wants us to F.O.C.U.S on the task at hand.

With so much going on in the world around us, it's very easy to loose sight of the things that matters the most. We have the stock market being bailed out, the automobile companies needing to be bailed out and people loosing their homes left and right. These are very serious matters. However, they are matters to pray about and not to become engrossed in. We have to stay focused on the task at hand. Even if we loose sight for only a minute, the effects can be detrimental to both our spiritual and our natural lives. We have to Forget everything that's going on around us and remember what this assignment called life is all about. We are living this life so that we may live again. The "F" in F.O.C.U.S. represents the need to forget some things in order to move on.

In addition to forgetting the things around us, there comes a time when we have to Forget our pasts. The enemy would love to have us be slaves to shame, sin and our past lives. Whenever the enemy uses people to bring to your remembrance what you used to be or how you used to live - you have to replay the Word of God in your mind which tells us that there is NO condemnation to those in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). Once we repent, God forgives us and casts our sins into the sea of forgetfulness. If God who died for our sins can forgive us, who are we to hold a grudge against ourselves?

If the enemy isn't trying to haunt us with our pasts, he will try to make us feel unworthy or question our calling. When God chose David to be the King of Israel, he was but a young, scrawny shepard. His father didn't even consider the possibility that David might be anointed king so he didn't even have him in the line up (story). But what man sees as an inadequacy, God sees as an opportunity. Had David looked to be a capable man or had he had experience in leadership, people may have given David the glory for his kingship as opposed to God. God saw David as an opportunity to get the glory out of Israel. The hand of the Lord was with David as he was a man after God's own heart. So we have to forget about what makes sense to us. God's reasoning and rationale is so much greater than ours. David's father couldn't understand why David would be king. But it was God's will and it was so. If God brings us to "it", there's work for us to do there. We can't be concerned with our past or whether or not we are fit for the challenge. God does not make mistakes.

Lastly, I want to say that we need to forget our flesh. Our ungodly behaviors, thoughts, dispositions all need to be crucified daily so that we are vessels able to be used by God. In this vocation that we have been called to, there is no room for the flesh. It will only weigh us down and prevent us from doing that which we have been called to do.

Can you recall a time when your holding on to the past has prevented you from doing what God called you to do as a child of God? Can you recall a time when you allowed your circumstances to distract you? How did God get the glory out of the situation?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Free At Last!!


"Free at Last. Free at Last. Thank God Almighty, I'm free At Last."

What do you think of when you hear or read that quote? Do you think of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who made this quote famous? Do you think of freedom from this life? Do you think of freedom from incarceration, bondage or oppression?

When I hear this quote, I think of the freedom I found in Jesus Christ. I'll be the first to admit that I've spend a great deal of my life thinking that I was free but in all actuality I was a slave. I believed I was free to come and go as I pleased, sleep around as I pleased, talk as I pleased and even be addicted to various substances and gambling as I pleased. But at the end of the day you know what I found out? I was still a slave. I was a slave to my own fleshy desires.

One day during worship service I felt "out of place" when the worship leader instructed the congregation to lift up "holy hands" to God. I didn't think I was worthy to lift up my hands to the Lord because in my mind they were far from holy. I realized that I truly wasn't free. By the time I came to this realization it was already too late because I had now been bound by something else - something even stronger than my past sins. I was bound by a defeated, shameful spirit. I was bound by condemnation. It wasn't the condemnation of my peers, relatives, or even church members. I was bound by the worse form of condemnation: self-condemnation. The enemy whispered some lies in my ear and I believed them. He told me once a ______ always a _____ you fill in the blank how it pertains to your life.

I believed that I had gone too far, crossed the line and was outright unforgivable. I began to hold my head down in shame and think there was no use in praying because I couldn't understand what God would want to hear from a sinner like me. My mind couldn't even conceive the notion that my thoughts were so far from the truth.

But then I read Romans 8:1-4 and I came to learn that I couldn't be good because "I" couldn't be good - not without the help of the Holy Spirit, that is.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature,God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering.And so he condemned sin in sinful man,in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:1-4)


Why was I walking around with my head hung low when the Word of God clearly told me that there was NO condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus? I was in Christ Jesus yet I was still feeling condemned. The holy men of times of old couldn't live holy (without the Spirit of the Lord). Why did I think I was any different. Whenever preachers declared that I needed the anointing because it was the "anointing" that destroys the yokes of bondage, I thought they wanted me to jump around or speak in some strange tongue. I mastered going for sprints around the church and falling out but I didn't understand that the anointing was the power of God working in me and through me.

At this point in my life I thought that I no longer had to follow every letter of the bible to a "T" (we do) but I also thought that I had to "act" like I had the anointing instead of allowing God to deliver me and endow me with His Spirit. I was a slave to self-condemnation and a slave to the Law. But the apostle Paul explains to us that God's law was powerless because of the flesh - the very demon that I was battling. So God in His infinite wisdom, had to come down to earth Himself in the flesh (Jesus) to live holy and become the perfect sacrifice so that I could be reconciled back to Him.

I don't know about you, but to me that sounds like a whole lot of trouble to go through for someone that doesn't even appreciate the sacrifice. God sacrificed Himself for me. I confessed with my mouth and believed in my heart that Jesus Christ was God manifested in the flesh, died on the cross, rose the third day and now sits at the right hand of God. I could handle that He was conceived immaculately and born of a virgin. I believed that He healed the sick, raised the dead, and turned water into wine but I struggled with the fact that He could forgive me. I struggled with the fact that I was worthy enough to lift up "holy hands" and worship a holy God being so void of holiness myself.

Thanks be to God that since then I have come to understand the significance of what Jesus did for ME on Calvary. He set me free. I can lift up Holy hands at my desk, in the car, in my house and in the sanctuary and not feel guilty. Now I feel guilty when I don't worship Him. No one has to prompt me to worship Him and no one can tell me that I am unworthy to worship Him - not even myself.

Free At Last. Free at last. Thank God Almighty, I'm free at Last.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

God Called us to vOcation not vAcation- Pt. III


Now once we understand that we are called to a vocation and not a vacation we must be ever so careful to walk worthy. Jesus did not hang up on Calvary’s cross so that we could continue to be slaves to Sin. He did not die so that we could continue to be bound by the enemy but that we could have life and have it more abundantly (John 10:10).

And as we work at our vocation there will be times when we get discouraged, feel unappreciated and even be sabotaged but we aren’t doing this for man, accolades of man or even for ourselves. We have to do everything we do as to as unto the Lord because only what we do for Christ will last. Man will celebrate us and be in our "amen" corner today and then turn around tomorrow call us everything but a child of God. If we are doing ministry to please man, we will be defeated when we are no longer popular and receiving attention. And if we are being persecuted now as we walk worthy of our vocation, we must continue to do good because our time is coming when we shall reap our reward for holding on and remaining steadfast (Galatians 6:9).

We have to keep in mind that we are in this race for the long haul. We have to preach this here gospel both when the people want to hear and when they don't want to hear it (2 Timothy 4:2). This goes for the people with the offices and titles but also for all of us. We all have a duty to spread the gospel. We can't change our message because we know we're going to step on a few toes. The Word of God is supposed to cut us when we need to be cut (Hebrews 4:12). Every message can't be about prosperity and new mates. As good as all that may sound, we still need to be corrected when we are out of order so that when HE comes back for us we are ready. God called us to a vocation - not a vacation.

We don’t have time to regress or throw in the towel and when we see one another appearing to be having a difficult time we have to lift one another up in prayer even more and offer one another support and encouragement. That’s part of the vocation as well. We are many members but one body all fitly joined together. There are no “small jobs” only small minded people when they begin to lift themselves up and become high minded. So as I close, I remind you that quitting is not an option. Playtime is over.
God called us to a vocation – not a vacation.

God bless you! I pray that God give you strength for this vocation that you may continue to stand. I pray that He will give you grace that you are able to stand the test of time and most of all I pray that He grants you patience so when you begin to grow tired, you will be able to hang on just a little while longer. Don't faint - pray.

God Called us to a vocation - not a vacation.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

God Called us to vOcation not vAcation- Pt. II


A vocation is a particular job for which one is trained. We are all trained to do something or another. Number one, as part of the "Royal Priesthood it is our primary responsibility to pray. we can't just stop praying for the nation because our candidate won (or in some cases, lost). We have to pray for his protection and direction. We can't stop praying for our marriages because there is peace. If we aren't prAying for our marriages the enemy will be prEying on them. We can't stop praying for our children because they are behaving for the moment. We need to be praying setting the example and training them as as they should go. He called us to a vocation - not a vacation.

A vacation is leisure time from work dedicated to rest or pleasure. In John 9:4 we are told to work while it is day because night comes when no man will be able to work. God wants us to use wisdom and not over exert our bodies but He also wants us to work while there is still time for work to be done.

Prophetically speaking, the year 2008 was designated as the year of new beginnings. What did we begin this year that we didn't finish? What did God make a way for us to begin and complete but we took it upon ourselves to take a vacation from doing?

Many of us began this year (and every other year) with goals and dreams. I can recall speaking to some peole that wanted to read the bible cover to cover in a year, some wanted to volunteer or wittness more, others wanted to loose weight, find a church home or make it to church more. With 49 days left int he year, how much have we actually gotten done? What have we purposed in our hearts, minds and spirits to do for the Kingdom of God, our families and ourselves that we have not done? God called us to a vocation not a vacation.

Is God keeping you up at night or waking up up early in the morning? Is He constantly having a certain individual or group of individuals to cross your path and you never speak of His goodness to them? Is He causing people to cross your mind at the most odd times? There are people dying everyday that don't know the saving power of Jesus Christ. There are people that are bound, wounded, broken and lost. They need to now that somebody loves them unconditionally. They need to hear what God has done for you and how He has brought you through. The Word says that we are overcommers by not only the blood of the Lamb but also by the Words of our testimony. Who are we to contain what He's done for us and keep it to ourselves? We were brought with a price. We no longer belong to ourselves so don't worry about people knowing your business - we don't have any business. It's God's business now for His glory. There are people that have heard all of their lives that the wages of sin is death but don't understand that the gift of God is eternal life. They need to hear this. God called us to a vocation not a vacation.

It is very easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of daily life with family, work, and everything else that is going on. It's not always easy to balance home life and ministry. There just doesn't seem like there are enough hours in a day but the good news is that time belongs to God. We can seek Him and ask Him to help us schedule our lives around Him and His will for our lives. Just because we may not have as much time as we would like to for Kingdom Building does not exempt us. He called us to Vocation and not Vacation.

Please come back tomorrow for the third and final part of this message. I pray that something you read here will take residence in your spirit and bless you tremendously in Jesus' name.

God Called us to vOcation not vAcation- Pt. II


A vocation is a particular job for which one is trained. We are all trained to do something or another. Number one, as part of the "Royal Priesthood it is our primary responsibility to pray. we can't just stop praying for the nation because our candidate won (or in some cases, lost). We have to pray for his protection and direction. We can't stop praying for our marriages because there is peace. If we aren't prAying for our marriages the enemy will be prEying on them. We can't stop praying for our children because they are behaving for the moment. We need to be praying setting the example and training them as as they should go. He called us to a vocation - not a vacation.

A vacation is leisure time from work dedicated to rest or pleasure. In John 9:4 we are told to work while it is day because night comes when no man will be able to work. God wants us to use wisdom and not over exert our bodies but He also wants us to work while there is still time for work to be done.

Prophetically speaking, the year 2008 was designated as the year of new beginnings. What did we begin this year that we didn't finish? What did God make a way for us to begin and complete but we took it upon ourselves to take a vacation from doing?

Many of us began this year (and every other year) with goals and dreams. I can recall speaking to some peole that wanted to read the bible cover to cover in a year, some wanted to volunteer or wittness more, others wanted to loose weight, find a church home or make it to church more. With 49 days left int he year, how much have we actually gotten done? What have we purposed in our hearts, minds and spirits to do for the Kingdom of God, our families and ourselves that we have not done? God called us to a vocation not a vacation.

Is God keeping you up at night or waking up up early in the morning? Is He constantly having a certain individual or group of individuals to cross your path and you never speak of His goodness to them? Is He causing people to cross your mind at the most odd times? There are people dying everyday that don't know the saving power of Jesus Christ. There are people that are bound, wounded, broken and lost. They need to now that somebody loves them unconditionally. They need to hear what God has done for you and how He has brought you through. The Word says that we are overcommers by not only the blood of the Lamb but also by the Words of our testimony. Who are we to contain what He's done for us and keep it to ourselves? We were brought with a price. We no longer belong to ourselves so don't worry about people knowing your business - we don't have any business. It's God's business now for His glory. There are people that have heard all of their lives that the wages of sin is death but don't understand that the gift of God is eternal life. They need to hear this. God called us to a vocation not a vacation.

It is very easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of daily life with family, work, and everything else that is going on. It's not always easy to balance home life and ministry. There just doesn't seem like there are enough hours in a day but the good news is that time belongs to God. We can seek Him and ask Him to help us schedule our lives around Him and His will for our lives. Just because we may not have as much time as we would like to for Kingdom Building does not exempt us. He called us to Vocation and not Vacation.

Please come back tomorrow for the third and final part of this message. I pray that something you read here will take residence in your spirit and bless you tremendously in Jesus' name.

Monday, November 10, 2008

God Called us to vOcation not vAcation- Pt. I


One week ago today we saw history being made. The United States of America elected its first black president. Barack Hussein Obama will be the nation's 44Th president. I never in a million years thought that I would be able or even witness such a historic event in my lifetime. But I am so blessed that I did.

Many men and women fought for civil rights and equal treatment for all people. Some of them were fortunate enough to see the fruits of their labor. Some of the civil rights activists were blessed and lived to their"change" actually come in the government. Many more didn't. We as a people began a work. And although we have gained monumental ground, there is still yet More work to be done, which brings me to the title of the message that the Lord has given me for this day: God called us to a vocation not - not a vacation.

Ephesians 4: 1-6
1I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;One Lord, one faith, one baptism,One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.


We cannot just stop reaching for more and walking out the assignments that God has given us just because we've made some progress or things are okay for the moment.

Suppose Moses stopped midway in his journey because he and the Children of Israel were out of Egypt and they saw Pharaoh's army drown in the Red Sea: The Children of Israel would have never made it to The Promised Land. Or suppose Moses decided to abandon his position in leadership because he was tired of listening to the people grumble and complain? What if JESUS would have decided not to go to the cross because the people didn't receive Him or believe that He was who He said He was? Where would we be then?

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. (Romans 8:18)


But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. (1 Corinthian 2:9)


So we do have hope. We must not be discouraged when the task that lies ahead looks more challenging than we think we are able to handle or even during those times when we have no vision at all and are waiting for God to reveal to us what lies ahead. Instead, we can take comfort in the fact that God knows what lies ahead and that He holds our hands. Whatever we have to go through in this assignment, He is going to be right there with us.

Mr. Obama told us in his first press conference as the president-elect that he could not guarantee us that he would be able to fix the country's economic crisis in one year or possible even one term but he did guarantee us that he would continue to work his best in this new vocation to which he has been called. We didn't elect Obama. God appointed Him just as he did our present president. All authority comes from God (Romans 13:1).

Like Obama, we must maintain the "Yes We Can" attitude in our spiritual lives as well as in our natural lives. When the task looks daunting and the situation looks bleak, we must remember that "yes we can" do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens us. We too must remember that some things just take time to accomplish. Delay does not mean denial. Hope that is seen is not hope at all. We have to have faith that God will do what He said He will do. What is faith?

Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. Why do we need faith when we can see our own way? Sometimes we not only have to wait for God to perform in us what He said that He would but also for instruction on what it is that He wants us to do to activate our faith so that we will be in position to receive the blessing. Faith without works is dead. We have work to do.
We have to wit for instruction. Instruction doesn't always come in a flash or over night. There is no mystery as to where we should look for instruction.

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psalm 119:105)
.

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)


Jesus Himself said it best when He told us that some things come by fasting and praying. We must remember that the race is not given to the strong or the swift but to he that endures to the end. That's exactly what we must do: We must endure - not take a break. God called us to a vOcation not a vAcation.

I encourage you to reflect on your life and the areas you may have been slacking in. What is it that's holding you back from completing your assignment or reaching your goals? Maybe you aren't slacking in any particular area but you know that you have the potential to do greater works and come up to another level. What's holding you back? This is not a time to become stagnant or complacent.

God called us to a vocation - not a vacation.





You'll Never Be Good Enough....

Today is another day I've never seen before. I have my health, strength and right frame of mind. I have everything I need and most of the things I want. I'm saved, on my way to heaven and living a victorious life. But Why? It's not because I've always obeyed the Lord or have been the perfect Christian. In fact, if my salvation and being blessed were based on "me" and my behavior alone, I'd be cursed. Thank God He doesn't see me as myself but through the blood of Jesus!

It was just a few years ago that I believed that listening to R&B or wearing pants and make-up could jeopardize my relationship with the Lord. It was just a few years ago that I believed that if I slipped up and said a bad word or thought an unpleasant thought about someone even if for only a moment that I was risking my salvation. Although this behavior displeases God, my way of thinking was wrong and so far from the truth.

You see, I was bound by a "religious spirit". I was caught up on traditions, religion and most of all self-righteousness. Of Course I knew that I wasn't perfect but I subconsciously believed that I was saved by my good works. I was in church every time the doors were open and watched any and every preacher that graced the TBN network. I tithed, gave offerings, fed the hungry, clothed the naked and gave to the poor but none of that made me good enough to enter into the kingdom of God.

It wasn't until I began to see just how perfect God is that I could see how imperfect I actually am no matter how much I believe I am on my "P's
s and Q's". But you know what? It's okay. God knew in His infinite wisdom that man would fall (See Genesis 3) and in turn be separated from Him and no longer able to physically stand in His presence. So He came up with a plan to reconcile man back to Himself. He loves us so much that He offered up Himself as the perfect sacrifice so that we could once again be righteous and able to commune with God (See Romans 8:1-4).

I meet people all the time that tell me they would go to church if they were "right" or that they would get saved if they didn't have to give up so much. I've even met people that refused to pray with me because the enemy had them to believe that God doesn't want to hear from people "like them". Will you ever be "good enough" to go to God? No. Neither will I - not in my own strength anyway. But we can go to God through Jesus who now sits and the right hand of God continuously praying for us on our behalf. When we pray in faith and ask for forgiveness in Jesus' name and repent, He no longer sees how inadequate we are.

I say all that to encourage you today to "try God". Test Him and see that He's real. Maybe you've done somethings that you know displeased him and you feel as if you've lost your connection. Maybe you've never had a personal relationship with Him. Don't worry about being good enough. He only requires that we are real enough to realize that we'll never be good enough. But that's just that kind of God we serve. He looks beyond our faults and meets our needs. Who wouldn't want to serve a God like that?

Blessings!
Shanita