Archive for July, 2016

One Shout of Praise

Sunday, July 31st, 2016

And he divided the three hundred men into three companies, and he put a trumpet in every man’s hand, with empty pitchers, and lamps within the pitchers. And he said unto them, Look on me, and do likewise: and, behold, when I come to the outside of the camp, it shall be that, as I do, so shall ye do. When I blow with a trumpet, I and all that are with me, then blow ye the trumpets also on every side of all the camp, and say, The sword of the LORD, and of Gideon. So Gideon, and the hundred men that were with him, came unto the outside of the camp in the beginning of the middle watch; and they had but newly set the watch: and they blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers that were in their hands. And the three companies blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands to blow withal: and they cried, The sword of the LORD, and of Gideon. And they stood every man in his place round about the camp: and all the host ran, and cried, and fled (Judges 7:16–21, KJV).

One Praise

We see examples all throughout Scripture where God used different types of men and women to win battles. But, this battle was different from all the rest. No weapons were used—there was only a shout of praise.

Three hundred men shouted with one voice and with one praise unto the God they served. It was a declaration that they knew the God they served and what He was capable of. There is something rises up in God’s people when they praise. God will give us an awareness and authority in our praise that God is able to conquer any enemy and any situation.

Scripture commands us to praise (Psalms 47:1), and when we praise, God will put our enemies under our feet (Psalms 47:3). Not only will praise execute judgment on the enemy, everyone has the ability to praise (Psalms 149:1–9).

Praise Makes a Difference

Praise will always make a difference in our lives: our mind, our attitudes, and in our behaviors. Something happens when true praise goes up to the Lord—His glory and His presence comes down. If we don’t experience a change in our life, we have to ask ourselves: Did I really praise? Going through the motions of praise won’t exact a change in our life; submission is involved with praise.

True Praise

In order for us to have true praise that brings about a change in our life, God has to eliminate two things: fear and selfishness.

Fear

God instructed Gideon to tell his soldiers to leave if they exhibited any fear regarding the battle ahead. At his prompting, 22,000 men left and went home. Fear isn’t going to be the solution to deliverance in our life. We will not come out in fear! If we choose to hold onto fear, we will never get to where God wants us to be.

Fear only comes through the devil; it was a part of the curse from the sin of disobedience in the Garden of Eden. If we forget to praise the Lord, we’ll have sin in our life, and fear will have the ability to rule us. We must have true praise and love for the Lord in our life to cast out all fear (I John 4:18).

Selfishness

God then instructed Gideon to bring the remaining army down to the water to give them way to take a drink. Those who lapped up water like dogs were eliminated from the army (9,700 people). God wanted people with a sense of awareness; God can’t use us when we act like dogs. We need to eliminate our selfishness and serve the Lord; we must decrease so God can increase. We cannot give ourselves any accolades or praise; God will not share His glory with anyone else (Isaiah 42:8).

Just One More Praise

Gideon had worshipped, he was guaranteed the victory, but there was still something for him and his army to do. Everything doesn’t end with just the one shout. The shout Gideon and his army offered up before the Lord defeated the enemy. And, once the enemy broke out into a run, Gideon and his army pursued. When we give God a shout, we need to obey and pursue.

Today, don’t give up before the shout. Don’t give up after the shout. Know your victory is coming with just one more shout of praise.

Can I Get Some Service Please: Part I

Thursday, July 28th, 2016
Apostolic Pentecostal Church
Can I Get Some Service Please: Part I







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Due to societal norms, recent generations have been trained to develop a self-focused and self-serving attitude. Most have the mentality of “put myself first and others later.” But, if we are going to be effective in these last days, we need to change our mindset and seek to understand and apply true service in God’s kingdom.

Importance of Service

Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross (Philippians 2:6–8, KJV).

Our service in the kingdom is a large part of our walk with God—it’s just as important as our worship, prayer, fasting, giving, etc. A wise man once said: God did not save us to sit; He saved us to serve. We cannot say that we are like Jesus if we cannot point to some place in our life where we put ourselves aside and serve His kingdom.

How Service Happens

Service in the kingdom can come in many forms: administration, work and labor, communication, helping, caring, hospitality, leadership, giving, craftsmanship, intercession, etc. But, all of these modes of service map to one thing—people! God’s kingdom is all about serving Him and serving other people.

Frustration in Ministry

If we are working for God’s kingdom it’s going to cost us our time and energy. If we don’t do it with the right motives, we’ll get burn out. People get frustrated in ministry because:

  • There is always more demand than there is supply
  • Ministry goes unappreciated
  • It is the only work that takes from all 3 aspects of your being—body, soul, and spirit

Ministry is going to take our all, but God has never put us into something that He hasn’t given us the strength or ability to do. In reality, all frustration in ministry stems from a lack of true knowledge about what service really means.

What is Service?

Service Only Happens When We Don’t Care What We Get Out of It

Many of us enter into service with pre-conceived notions and expectations about the ministry. We want to see a certain number of participants, events organized a certain way, etc. If we don’t see or get our desired outcome from service, we don’t want to continue the work. We need to stay the course and keep serving regardless of our expectations.

Service Only Happens Because of Who We Really Serve

Many people don’t want to serve because of people; if people didn’t exist, they’d be the first ones to sign up to serve! But, we have to look past people and realize it’s not others we’re serving—it’s the Lord. When we realize that everything we’re doing is for the Lord, we’ll have a better understanding of true service. God holds us accountable for what we do, and will hold other’s accountable for what they receive.

Service is About Becoming Less and Not More

The world wants us to grow bigger and better, but God teaches us to become smaller and less—this is His definition of success and service. John the Baptist taught people to decrease so God can increase (John 3:30). Everything we do is to give God glory—people should see Jesus and not us when we serve!

We also shouldn’t compare ourselves to others in the ministry who are serving. What does it matter if our brothers and sisters have a larger role in the kingdom? What is it to us if they are doing less work? Jesus mitigated many of these issues with His disciples (Mark 9:35; John 21:21–23), admonishing them to become the least in the kingdom.

The true beauty of servanthood in the kingdom is to serve where God puts us. We should never develop pride and become “puffed up” about who we think we are in the kingdom, and how our work is more important (Proverbs 16:18). It’s all the Lord’s work, and it’s His kingdom!

Service is About Submission

We need to prioritize our service under another person, church, ministry, etc. Our mission should never go before another person. Scripture tells us to submit ourselves to one another (Ephesians 5:21)!

Jesus gave the greatest example of submission when He washed the disciple’s feet (John 13:6–8). He taught that service is all about meeting the basic needs and starting out at the bottom. When we serve with submission, and do it for God’s glory, all carnality will be put aside—just like prayer and fasting. It’s hard to be carnal when we’re washing someone else’s feet.

Service is About Serving One Another the Way Jesus Served

Jesus told His disciples as He washed their feet, they needed to do the same (John 13:12–14). If Jesus was great enough to serve the disciples, we need to be great enough to serve others.

Jesus didn’t serve others for any recognition—He did it out of love. Our human nature is to desire to receive accolades and affirmation when we do a “good job” in our service. But, instead of seeking man’s approval, we need to look for the Lord’s approval (Matthew 25:21).

Service is About Consistency

When Jesus hung on the cross for our sins, He had the power to step down. But, Jesus decided to stay on the cross and be the ultimate sacrifice for everyone—past, present, and future. If we want to be like Jesus, we need to serve with consistency and not give up or throw in the towel. We need to keep going and faint not in our service for the kingdom (Galatians 6:9). We need to use the towel to wipe the sweat from our faces and keep serving!

Service is About Ownership

When we take ownership of service in God’s kingdom, the outcome will be different. There were servants mentioned in the Bible who “addicted” themselves to the ministry (I Corinthians 16:15). The word addicted means tassó in the Greek, which means to assign, arrange, or determine. These servants of the Lord assigned themselves to the ministry, and poured themselves into it.

Paul event noted that He was so invested in service that he would gladly be spent and exhausted for the kingdom (II Corinthians 12:15). When we take our service personally, we will give it our all for the Lord.

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on July 27, 2016

From Note to Noggin

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016

I am a note-writer—a prodigy of putting pen to paper, a specialist in scribbling, a connoisseur of concocting communications, an authority in aides-mémoire, and a master of memos. On any given day, you can find notes throughout my home, on my desk, on my phone, and yes, on a sticky note stuck to the back of my phone…

I’ve got reminder notes for pretty much everything and everyone—including me. A lot of my notes serve as reminders for a particular moment or a day. But, I even have notes to help me create new (or eliminate) habits in my life. Notes help me start and stop activities, thoughts, and the like.

If you think I’m crazy, I challenge you to put a note on the back of the toilet tank to remind you to put the lid down. I don’t know if this particular example works from personal experience, but I did hear it once given in the form of advice from a best man to a groom on his wedding day. I think it was effective enough.

Etiquette habits aside—research shows when we set reminders for ourselves and complete actions enough times, we create new pathways in the brain. And, the new pathways (or lack of reinforcement for old pathways) help to reinforce new behaviors.

Now you’re probably thinking the following about me—You’re a nerd who sticks post-it notes on every tangible surface. So, where exactly are you going with this?

Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee (Psalms 119:11, KJV).

How do we hide God’s Word in our hearts? Scripture tells us to meditate on God’s Word day and night (Joshua 1:8)—to do something until it’s a repeatable action.

So, here’s where my note system comes in. If you don’t have a note system, you need one.

Want to memorize Scripture? Remember the promises God has for you? Need comfort for today? Looking for God’s blessings? Whatever the case may be, the best way you can start is by writing down specific Scriptures and strategically placing them around your life.

Place your notes on a mirror, the refrigerator, front door, cookie jar, bedside table, steering wheel, or the toilet tank! Notes are best placed anywhere you frequent regularly and will see, read, and meditate on the words.

When you start to utilize a note system, the constant view of these notes—and Scriptures—will help you internalize them. Once internalized, the Scriptures will become a repeatable action for you over time.

Before you know it, you’ll have created a new pathway—from the note to your noggin, and from your noggin to your heart.

Over time, you’ll be able to automatically apply God’s to your actions and behaviors. Eventually, you won’t need to look at those notes. You’ll be able to dig deep into the recesses of your mind and heart and call upon those Scriptures when you need them. God’s Word will truly be hidden in your heart.

Create your own version of a noteworthy lifestyle today. Get a pen. Get some paper. Write your notes. And, get those notes (Scriptures) into your noggin!

Like a Good Neighbor

Sunday, July 24th, 2016

And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour? (Luke 10:25–29, KJV).

Too Busy

If there’s one word that describes society today, it’s busy. We all have busy schedules, busy lives, and we don’t have time for anyone else but us most of the time. We want to serve in God’s kingdom, but we’d rather participate in something with a “cutoff date” or throw a few dollars in the offering plate because anything else would take away our time.

We’re running to and from our homes, furiously answering calls, texts, and emails, and we don’t even take the time to look up to see who we’re passing in the fast lane. We have to ask ourselves a real question today: Do we know our neighbors? Are we loving them?

Defining Our Neighbor

A lawyer in our setting of Scripture (Luke 10:25–29) asked Jesus what he needed to do to inherit eternal life. He was a theologian of the Scriptures, and thought he was abiding by the laws written therein. He loved the Lord with his all in all, but wasn’t sure if he met the second, and greatest commandment. He felt like he could justify any failure in this area based on a technicality—if it didn’t know his neighbor, how could he love them?

Jesus told the lawyer the story about the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30–37). When everyone else passed by an injured man in the road, the Good Samaritan stopped to help the man, took care of him, and loved him. The Good Samaritan saw this helpless man as his neighbor—someone to help, someone whom he could love, someone he could have compassion on (Luke 10:33). And, if we’re going to love everyone like our neighbor (as we should), we need to have compassion on them. So, what is compassion?

Compassion is Based on Need, Not Worth

If we are going to have compassion on our neighbors, we need to look for people who have a need to help. We shouldn’t look at others based on what they can do for us, but what we can do for them. We encounter people daily who have a myriad of issues, and we think it’s just another “situation” we can’t do anything about. But, we cannot be too busy to have compassion—to help others in the midst of their trials in any capacity. We can’t be so focused on what we think we’re doing for the Lord’s kingdom—we need to pay attention to what is right in front of us!

Compassion is About Feeling Something

When we truly love our neighbors as ourselves, we will feel something. The word compassion is from the Greek word splagchnizomai, which means from the internal bowels, or from the gut. God wants us to have compassion far beyond the notion of our brain—what makes “logical” sense to us. We should feel a burden; be moved by something deeper than ourselves; have an overwhelming desire and need to help other people. We need to open ourselves up and allow compassion to flow from us to another person—our neighbors.

Compassion Causes Action

When the love of God is within us, it will drive us to take action. Whether we pray, fast, or physically help our neighbor, we are doing something for God’s kingdom and His children. What we can do and/or say in someone’s life can influence them to take action to help someone else—to love their neighbors. We can cause the Word of God to be activated in someone’s life.

Compassion Will Cost Us Something

If we are going to love our neighbors as ourselves, and love them as God loves them, it will cost us something. The Good Samaritan used his own oil and wine to care for the injured man (Luke 10:34) and also paid for his current and future care (Luke 10:35). He used his stuff, his money, and his time. We need to realize today that what we have in this life was placed in our hands by God. He wants us to use what He’s blessed us with to help others. Our purpose in this life is to help and serve others—to find our neighbors and love them.

Being a Neighbor

Today, we need to ask ourselves: What kind of neighbors are we? Are we laying down our lives, our time, our finances, and everything we are to help our brethren and sistren inside and outside of the church (I John 3:16–18)? Let’s be a good neighbor today and love our neighbors in deed and in truth.

Do You Déjà Vu?

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

Recently, I was traveling up north with my husband for a conference. I was haphazardly gazing out the window, more engaged in our conversation than paying attention to the scenery flitting before my eyes.

But, then it happened. My vision subconsciously started to focus on the landscape. My brain ever-so-slightly drowned out my husband’s voice. I began to experience a train of physical ailments, and I only had one string of consciousness running through my brain. I’ve seen this before. I’ve been here before.

It was none other than an unpleasant moment of déjà vu.

Déjà vu literally means already seen. When I get a feeling of déjà vu, I know what I’m experiencing in the moment has been experienced the exact way in the past.

We all react to and view our déjà vu experiences differently. Some déjà vu moments can be pleasant, especially if they elicit a feeling of nostalgia. At other times, particular instances of déjà vu emulate warning bells because we know if we continue to head down the path we’re on, it won’t have a happy ending.

I wonder if most of our déjà vu occurrences are actually from previous snafus in our life—life lessons we’ve learned, moved on from, and thought we’d never pass that way again. But, because of poor choices, and failure to actually learn a lesson, we’ve found ourselves in the same place yet again.

From my casual observances of humanity, and pesonal reflection, this happens a lot with our spiritual life.

Scripture makes mention of believers consuming milk and meat (I Corinthians 3:2). Early on in our Christian walk, we have an infantile relationship with God. We learn how to live for God, make a lot of mistakes, fumble through establishing a strong relationship with Jesus, and learn countless lessons. This is our milk stage.

As we grow in God, we learn new life lessons, glean deeper insights and wisdom into God and His Word, mature in our relationship with Him, and work toward a higher standard of accountability. This is our meat stage.

When we embark on our spiritual journey with the Lord, it’s never God’s desire for us to traverse the same roads, learn the same lessons, and eat the same thing. We’re to grow out of our milk stage! But, when we fail to grow, our milk stage becomes a bad déjà vu experience. We will continue to make the same mistakes and never progress past our déjà vu moments—into the true meat (Hebrews 5:12).

We need to get tired of our déjà vu moments and seek for new experiences and growth in the Lord. There are new revelations to glean from His Word, blessings to experience, Spiritual fruit to grow, and Spiritual gifts to operate in!

Yes, there are experiences in God we want to continue to experience day to day (e.g., the infilling of the Holy Ghost), but I’m talking about our walk with God. Don’t stay the same. Don’t do the same things. If we’re not growing and bearing fruit, God is going to prune us away (John 15:2).

Today is the day we can decide to change our path, our actions, and try some new food! We don’t have to live a life full of déjà vus. It’s up to you.

Don’t Hit the Rock

Sunday, July 17th, 2016

Are You Ready to Follow?

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

Growing up, our family had a dog that eyed the front door, waiting for the precise moment to escape. We were able to keep her inside of the house most of the time, but there were a few instances she managed to squeeze through the small crack in the door or sneak around someone’s legs.

Once she had achieved victory, our dog would run about the yard, driveway, and contemplate entering the street. No amount of calling her name, or commanding her to return persuaded her otherwise. It was almost as if the sound of our voices spurred her to run farther and faster.

Our cat was the complete opposite. An unusual breed of his own, he would stay close to the family members. If after coming home, we didn’t know where he was, all we would have to do was call his name and he would come running or peer out from his hidden sanctuary.

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me (John 10:27, KJV).

Sheep, though skittish creatures, can be calm and collected when they hear the soothing voice of their master. The shepherd has tended to them—provided protection, food, and shelter—and because of his presence in their life, they know his voice and follow him.

Jesus likens Himself to a Shepherd and His believers as sheep. If we have a relationship with the Lord, we will know what His voice sounds like. And, just as animals should hearken unto the voice of its master, we should listen and follow the voice of our Savior.

Our dog, to give her a bit of credit, was just a dog. She most likely did not have the mental capacity to understand there was a family actually taking care of her—feeding her, walking her, brushing her, playing with her, and more of the like. But, I know she knew our voices. Being around one family a majority of her life, and having the ability to identify common smells and sounds, all played into her recognition of who we were and our voices.

But, she ran just the same. She knew us, she knew our voices, but she didn’t follow.

Can we stop to take a moment to think about if we know the voice of our Master? Have we decided to turn the opposite direction at His voice, avoiding intimacy and closeness with Him? Have we disobeyed His voice because we like our own agenda and ways more than His?

Or, when He speaks, do we come running? Are we obedient to His voice and follow after Him?

Heaven help us if we are so far away from God we don’t even recognize His voice. Or, even worse, He’s stopped speaking to us. Are we even one of His sheep?

Let’s pray today that we can identify more with the creatures with an obedient heart, those who know the sound of their master’s voice. I want to hear my Lord and Savior calling, and I want to follow Him wherever He goes. Are you ready to follow?

Light in a Dark Place

Sunday, July 10th, 2016

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light (Genesis 1:1–3, KJV).

Today there is darkness upon the face of the earth. There are many things occurring in our society and culture that amount to anything but good. It’s becoming difficult to trust people, and there is chaos everywhere we look.

But, this is not the first time in history when the world has been dark and chaotic. In the beginning, the world was dark and without form. But, God showed up and created something out of nothing. He looked at the waste, void, chaos, and darkness and said, “Let there be light!” Today is no different—God is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8), and He can speak into the darkness of 2016.

In the beginning, in the middle of the chaos, the Spirit of God moved upon the waters. We know God can move in any way that He chooses. In the beginning, He moved alone in His power. Today, God desires to pour His Spirit (and power) into each of us so we can be beacons and light up this dark world. Jesus said that we are the light of the world and we are to let our light shine before men (Matthew 5:14–16). When we have a light, we shouldn’t hide it, but go into areas of darkness—the world—and shine that light! It is our responsibility to share Jesus with the world.

When light shows up anywhere, there is a dramatic difference. Darkness technically doesn’t have any lines or boundaries; it’s undefined. Because there is no structure, no definition, no surety of darkness, it is easy to defeat. Darkness is just the absence of light. The slightest hint of light will always destroy the darkness.

God was at the beginning, and Scripture tells us in Him was life and that life is the light of men (John 1:1–4). When the light shined into the darkness, the darkness didn’t have any power against it (John 1:5)! Real light doesn’t come from artificial light sources, but from the supernatural power and presence of God. And, His light will always make a difference.

When God shows up, there will be light. The brightest light this world will ever see is from the fire of the Holy Ghost working within us (Acts 2:3–4). The bigger the fire, the brighter the light will be. Today, we can all take part in shedding a little light into the world. Let’s surrender our lives to Him, be a vessel He can pour into, and then a conduit to shed that light to others.

The Qualities of a Purpose-Driven Life

Thursday, July 7th, 2016
Apostolic Pentecostal Church
The Qualities of a Purpose-Driven Life







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If there wasn’t a God in heaven, we all wouldn’t have a purpose in life. God has a distinct plan for each of us (Jeremiah 29:11), and we need to know Him and seek Him to fulfill a purposeful life here on earth.

Developed for Purpose

While we know God has a plan for each of us, we may be very eager to jump-start into fulfilling our purpose in life. However, God needs to develop qualities/characteristics in us so we can properly fulfil our (His) purpose. All throughout Scripture, we can see examples of people who had to develop qualities to fulfill their purpose in life.

David wouldn’t have been the king that he was, if he didn’t spend some time in the pastures as a shepherd over a flock. It was in the fields he learned how to lead, protect, and work (I Samuel 17:36)! Joseph wouldn’t have been put in second command of all of Egypt if he hadn’t been in positions for God to give him dreams and visions.

Qualities for Purpose

While God will take some time to develop the necessary skills in each of us to help us fulfill our purpose, there are specific qualities we must develop as well. And, if we do them, we will never fall (II Peter 1:10):

And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity (II Peter 1:5–7, KJV).

Faith is the foundation of the qualities we must have to pursue and fulfil God’s purpose in our life. If we don’t have faith, we won’t trust God to develop us and we won’t follow His plan and fulfill our (His) purpose.

We need to add virtue to our faith in God. Virtue is our moral excellence—knowing and doing what is right in our day-to-day life. We are to seek and do those things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report (Philippians 4:8).

After virtue, we are to seek knowledge (general intelligence and understanding). King Solomon, the wisest man in the world, admonished his sons to seek after knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. If we seek the Lord, He will provide the knowledge we need (Proverbs 2:6).

Self-control is another important quality to have in every area of our life. We must live a life filled with moderation and also sacrifice. We have a difficult time doing this in our human nature, but God helps to keep us in check and in submission to Him.

Additionally, after self-control, we are to add patience. This is the most difficult because as humans we don’t like to wait, and we don’t understand when things happen to us outside of our own expectations. But, God tells us the trying of our faith (diverse temptations) help to work patience in our life (James 1:2–3). Dealing with the world and the day-to-day circumstances all help develop the right qualities in our life to help us fulfil our true purpose.

Godliness is another key quality we must develop in our life. We’re told to be holy like God because He is holy (I Peter 1:16). If we do not seek after and practice holiness in our life, we will not see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14). God has provided great examples of people who have followed after godliness in Scripture, and we should imitate them as they imitated Christ (I Corinthians 11:1).

Finally, we must conquer brotherly love and charity. We must extend love and affection (prefer) our brothers and sisters in Christ (Romans 12:10), but then we must extend love to the stranger on the street. If we don’t have love for others, we cannot fulfill our purpose (I Corinthians 13:1).

Power to Achieve Purpose

If we remove any these qualities from our life, we cannot fulfill God’s purpose. But, how can we ensure that we don’t miss the mark? God will provide us with His divine power (II Peter 1:3–4). He promised we would receive power after the Holy Ghost comes upon us (Acts 1:8), and He is still pouring out His Spirit today. If we don’t have the Holy Ghost working in our life, we are missing the key ingredient that will help us achieve our purpose—we can’t live like God without it.

Knowing Our Purpose

If we follow after the qualities of a purpose-driven life, as identified in Scripture, it won’t take us long to figure out what our purpose is in life. If we are trying to live like Jesus, we will find His purpose is our purpose. We are to go everywhere and unto everyone and share the Gospel (Mark 16:15). We cannot do this effectively without foundational qualities in our spiritual reservoir. And, once we seek Him and preach the Gospel , we’re on our way to fulfilling our purpose in Him.

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on July 06, 2016 with Guest Speaker, Brother Jonathan Pierce

Depend on Jesus

Wednesday, July 6th, 2016

A few days ago, our Nation celebrated Independence Day. July 4, 1776 marks the day the Continental Congress declared the 13 American colonies as a new nation—the United States of America—which were no longer a part of the British Empire.

The American colonists wanted to break free from British rule and establish their own government. The United States eliminated ties with Britain and became independent.

Mankind has desired to establish independence as far back as creation. Eve looked at the fruit on the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and desired to be equal with God (Genesis 3:5–6). She didn’t want to be inferior to God’s power and wisdom. We could even argue she didn’t want to be dependent on God’s knowledge, provision, and subject to His authority. She wanted her independence.

But, when Adam and Eve ate of the fruit they both soon realized their mistake (Genesis 3:7). Not only should they have been obedient to God’s instruction, but they quickly understood why God created man to be dependent on Him.

God punished man by sending him from the Garden of Eden—a place freely providing their every need. Man would now work by the sweat of his brow, and would fully understand the need to depend on God for clothing, food, and shelter (Genesis 3:17–19).

If we are living our lives today, trying with all of our abilities to maintain independence from anyone and everything, this is a very scary place to be. If we haven’t already experienced it, we will soon find ourselves in a situation where God will make us realize how much we need Him and need to be dependent on Him.

If we think we’re strong, God will make us weak. We will learn strength is made perfect in weakness (II Corinthians 12:9). If we think we’ve obtained everything in our life by our own hand, God will take it away. We will learn it is the Lord who gives and takes away (Job 1:21).

God will help us understand that He alone must be the supplier of our every need (Philippians 4:19). We must learn that without Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5).

God never intended for us to do everything ourselves—to struggle, to work by the sweat of our brow, or to experience pain and loneliness. His intention was always for us to depend on Him, not to be independent.

God isn’t being unreasonable in His desire to make us understand how much we need Him. He wants to be a Father to us—to provide comfort, shelter, support, love, and everything else in between! Just as an earthy father would want his own children to realize that they cannot survive without his presence and provision, God wants us to have this same realization in our earthly existence and relationship with Him as well. We need to depend on Him!

If we find ourselves today operating in a silo of independence, it’s time to let our guards down, release control, and start searching for our Lord and Savior. We can cast our every care upon Him (I Peter 5:7) and start depending on Jesus every day and every hour.

The Pursuit of Happiness

Sunday, July 3rd, 2016