Archive for September, 2016

Our Spiritual GPS

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

Traveling today is an entirely different experience than it used to be. When I was younger, my parents would get out a map and chart our course of travel—outlining every road, interchange, toll gate, etc. This was a highly-strenuous, convoluted process.

To my young mind, peaking at the colorful maps sparked essentially no interest because I didn’t understand roads. I figured there was 1 road to get you to 1 place, so why anyone would need to figure out which road to take? Why was there more than 1?

Fast track to today, we have a lovely invention of technology—GPS. We can literally plug in our destination, select our travel options (fastest route, no tolls, etc.) and head out on our journey.

Even with this wonder of technology, I’m still a little hesitant to trust my GPS is taking me in the right direction. When I haven’t heard any new directions given from the little box on my windshield, or Siri on my phone, I start suspecting that I’m lost. When I do a navigational spot check, I realize I just need to continue down the road I’m on until I’m given the next direction. I can trust it—the GPS will get me to my destination.

Our spiritual journey is much like following a GPS. We’re all at different starting points, but we have one destination—heaven! We all aren’t going to get there via the same route, but there is One who is mapping out our very journey.

Man’s goings are of the LORD; how can a man then understand his own way? (Proverbs 20:24, KJV).

God directs each of us where to go and what to do every day we live for Him. It’s important to get these “directions” during our daily time of prayer, so we can ensure we’re headed in the right direction.

Even after we’ve received a firm direction, and we start on our given route, over time we start to think we’re going the wrong way, or feel a desire to change paths. We’ll continue to seek God for a change in direction—a new mapped route—but the instructions remain unchanged.

It’s common to feel a little spiritual uneasiness when we’ve traveled on a single road for a long time. But, it’s important to not let our jitters get the best of us. When God gives us a direction, we should keep going—stay the course—until those directions (or if those directions) change.

We might feel lost, like God has abandoned us, tired, or an entire gambit of emotions. But, it’s important to trust God and to allow Him to order our steps (Psalms 37:23). If we follow His directions, and stay His course, He will get us to our destination.

Lifting the Limits

Sunday, September 25th, 2016

And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things? And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house. And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief (Matthew 13:54–58, KJV).

Unbelief is the greatest hindrance to the work of God—that and limiting God. Too many of us have decided in our minds how we’re going to allow God to move in our life. We don’t realize God has a plan for our lives, miracles to pour out; His plans for us are bigger than what we’re allowing Him to do.

We have a tendency to hold back based on what we’ve experienced and/or seen in the past. However, this limits God to do only what He’s done before. God is a Creator and wants to create something new in our lives. There is still an active Word (rhema) of God today. God has a “right now” Word He wants to speak into our lives coupled with a “right now” blessing. He has something fresh and new He wants to do in our lives today.

Lifting the Limits

Realize What We’re Missing

We need to get in the mindset of more.

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us (Ephesians 3:20, KJV).

God has always wanted to do more in His people. He came that we have abundant life (John 10:10), do greater works (John 14:12), and bear more fruit (John 15:2). It’s okay not to be satisfied with the ordinary. We need to seek God for more!

Dedicate Ourselves to What We Can Do

We do play a part in what God can do in our life. The power is working in us, and we need to utilize that power in the right places. With God’s help, we need to aim to be what God desires for us to be. We should dedicate ourselves to this process and prioritize our work for God more than anything else (Matthew 6:33).

We don’t dedicate ourselves because we’re too distracted by the things in this life. Our focus should be on our relationship with Jesus. We also don’t dedicate ourselves because we’re lazy. We can’t save any of our efforts for this world. Paul said that we need to run our race to obtain the prize, and not save our efforts until the end. If we do, we might finish our race and realize we had more to give (I Corinthians 9:24–27).

Put it in the Hands of God

If we allow God to work through us, we need to receive His power—the Holy Ghost! God’s Spirit needs to be mixed into anything that we do; it has to be the fuel for our life. God’s power is His supernatural presence; the supernatural must mix with the natural! God wants to do something through His people and we need to make ourselves available for God to do this work.

Wanting More

Today, we need to lift the limits off God and see what He really wants to do in our life. It’s time that we take a moment and ask Him what He wants to do and where we’ve been limiting Him. Once we’ve identified those areas of our life, all we have to do is ask God to help us tear down those limits and He will work in a mighty way.

Breaking the Enemy’s Code

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

In the early 1920s, due to the aftermath of World War I, the German military began to use an “Enigma” machine to communicate in unintelligible, coded messages. The Enigma machine enabled its operator to type a message, then “scramble” it using a letter substitution system. To decode the message, the recipient needed to know the exact settings of the wheels—the particular code for the Enigma machine.

During World War II, British mathematicians and intelligence experts urgently worked to break the German’s Enigma code. In the 1940s, code-breakers succeeded in their plight. They cracked the Enigma code. They were able to unscramble German battlefield, naval, and diplomatic communications, and their efforts helped the Allies defeat the enemy.

Living in this world is much like being on a constant battlefield. Fiery darts from the enemy are ceaselessly flying around. We never know if our next step will be right into a trap or if we’ll lose our battle armor, or even worse, our weapon.

With every battle, some of the players may change, but we have one opponent who always stays the same—the devil (I Peter 5:8).

Some people think the devil’s ignorant; that he doesn’t know what he’s doing. But, he’s been around for a long time. He’s got more intel into tripping up the Saints of God than we could ever imagine. He has battlefield plans he’s tested, tried, and proven to knock down and defeat God’s children again and again.

Satan’s own battle strategy comes complete with coded messages, much like the ones generated from these Enigma machines. But the devil’s coded messages come in the form of doubt, lies, and deception (John 8:44). His messages are indecipherable, and have one purpose—to confuse the Saint of God. And, because the devil is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, we don’t know where his next attack will be (Matthew 7:15).

Saint of God, if you’re tired of being beat up by the devil, be encouraged today that you don’t have spend time cracking his code before you can fight. His code has already been broken.

We serve a mighty God who’s given us Satan’s Enigma code, and He’s documented it in His Word. God has outlined every battle plan the devil’s ever made in Scripture. He’s warned us about his wiles, given us intel into his arsenal, and revealed where the devil tries to pinpoint his attacks.

But, more than insight into the devil’s Enigma code, we have been given the ability to overcome his attacks—to anticipate his moves, to stockpile the right defense mechanisms, and to know what weapons to deploy.

When you’re faced by an attack from the enemy today, it’s time to start breaking some code—to start deciphering the enemy’s plans. It’s time to start living like the empowered child of God that you are! It’s time for you to map out the devil’s next step, step up your defense, and come out victoriously in the power of Jesus’ name.

Don’t be ignorant of the devil’s devices today (II Corinthians 2:11). Get in the Word, start planning your defense, and you’ll be ready when the enemy attacks.

When God Makes a Promise

Sunday, September 18th, 2016

Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust (II Peter 1:4, KJV).

God has extended to His creation many great and precious promises. When God makes a promise, nothing can happen to stop it from being fulfilled (Philippians 1:6).

Sometimes God will speak a promise into our life, but it doesn’t come to pass right away. We believe in the promise when it’s spoken, but over time we start to lose faith. We allow time, others, and the enemy to discourage us that we’ll ever see or experience the promise.

Today, we need to be reminded that those promises—no matter how long ago they were spoken—are still going to be fulfilled. Our answer, our miracle, our promise is on its way!

We can see God fulfilling His promises all throughout Scripture. In Genesis 37, we can read about a man named Joseph. Joseph was given a dream he would be put into a position of power and all whom he knew would bow down to him. Momentarily afterward, he found himself thrown into slavery, then falsely accused, and ended up being thrown into prison. But, regardless of what he faced in life, God still fulfilled his promise.

Elisha was promised to see more miracles than Elijah in his lifetime, but he died just short of seeing his last miracle. What may appear to most as an un-fulfillment of God’s promise is not so—God’s not slack concerning his promises (II Peter 3:9)! After Elisha died, during the middle of a battle, several men looked for a place to bury their friend. In haste, they cast him into Elisha’s open sepulcher. The moment the man touched Elisha’s bones, life was restored to his body (II Kings 13:21). God’s promise was still fulfilled to Elisha even after his death.

All we have to do is trust in God to fulfill His promise and wait for Him to do the work. We cannot lose sight of these promises. Today, we should take time to revisit the promises God’s spoken into our lives and praise God for them. Our promises are on the way!

Adapted from Sunday Morning Service on September 18, 2016 with Guest Speaker Brother Fergie

The Gospel of John: Part II

Thursday, September 15th, 2016
Apostolic Pentecostal Church
The Gospel of John: Part II


As we continue on in our journey of the book of John, we see John doesn’t provide accounts of Jesus in chronological order, but depicts snapshots of His life. His accounts leave us to put the pieces together and to draw out the meaning behind them.

Jesus’ First Miracle

John describes Jesus’ first miracle in John 2:1–11, Jesus turning water into wine. This miracle is different than any other miracle Jesus would ever perform in His ministry. Most miracles—demonstrating God’s power—renewed parts of fallen creation: blindness, lameness, etc. But, no one was dying, sick, or in danger in this particular setting. It was just a wedding, and they were in need of wine.

Culturally, wedding celebrations were several days (or a week) long, and the host would provide for his guests per the law of hospitality. It was considered a great shame and dishonor to run out of anything. It was a large concern (of embarrassment mostly) that they would run out of wine.

Jesus used the 6 stone jars of water typically used for ceremonial washing for His miracle. This was water people would use to “cleanse” themselves just walking through the streets. The stone water pots weren’t a place to store any liquid one would consume—it was unclean. But, this didn’t matter to Jesus—He used it anyway.

Through this miracle, Jesus showed He will use whatever He wants to do His will. Jesus revealed how He would enact His ministry on earth—through interaction with people; fulfilling the needs of those around Him. And, it was from this miracle, His disciples believed and determined to follow Him.

Jesus’ Intolerance for Fake Worship

John describes an account when Jesus enters the Temple during the Passover celebration, and chases out the moneychangers and all who bought and sold in the Temple (John 2:13–17). The Passover was the largest, annual celebration of the Jewish people, which lasted 1 week long. It was necessary on the Passover day for all men (over the age of 19) to go to the Temple with a sacrifice and worship the Lord.

During this celebration, the Jews would remove all leaven from their homes symbolizing removal of sin—a type of spiritual cleansing. Jesus realized it wasn’t just the homes that needed to be cleaned up, but also the church and the church system.

Jews had set up booths in the outer court of the Gentiles to convert money for people to pay the temple tax as well as to purchase a sacrifice. The Gentiles couldn’t worship effectively in this outer court because it was so full of merchants. People had become too distracted by greed—selling sacrifices for a very high price—and forgot why they were at the house of God.

Man had turned praise into a profit—manipulating the visit to the Temple as a benefit for them instead of doing something for God. Jesus doesn’t like it when we turn church into something that’s all about us, and when we get lazy with our worship.

We should realize we serve a God who is worthy of all or our sacrifice and praise. He’s given us an opportunity and privilege to come into His presence and worship Him. Our worship every day is about the King of kings and Lord of lords. Because of everything He’s done for us, our worship should cost us something! King David understood that He couldn’t offer anything to God that he didn’t work for (II Samuel 24:24). Our worship should expend us physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

Instead of reaching out to the Gentiles to know the true God, the Jews were more concerned with filling up this the outer court with “fake” stuff. They weren’t letting their light shine because they had lost their fever for worship and service to God. But, Jesus has a zeal for the house of God (Psalms 69:9)—He got upset when people were misusing it.

Today, we should contemplate if church is routine or real for us. Our experience with God should be a supernatural interaction—not just an event or a moment in time. We should seek out God in His sanctuary (Psalm 77:13) and desire to dwell with Him all the days of our life (Psalms 27:4).

When we have zeal in worshipping and serving the Lord, God notices and reacts. When He finds a willing vessel, He will pour more anointing into us than we could ever imagine. Our passion and willingness to serve God will impact others, and we—as Jesus did—will draw followers. We will teach people to love and serve God.

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on September 15, 2016

The Importance of Forgiveness

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

The concept of holding grudges hits close to home for everyone. We’ve all struggled with it at one point in time. If you haven’t yet, just wait—your time’s coming. We all struggle with forgiveness. Why? It’s hard.

Most of us have a misconception about grudge-holding. It seems much easier compared to the simple grudge. In reality, we’re taxing ourselves more than we realize. Research shows when we forgive we have healthier relationships, greater psychological well-being, less anxiety, lower blood pressure, fewer symptoms of depression, stronger immune systems—and the list goes on!

Today, we need to understand how important forgiveness actually is, and what God has to say about it.

Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself: I am the LORD (Leviticus 19:18, KJV).

We need to forgive others because Scripture says so! It’s important to realize we’re all human and make mistakes (Romans 3:23). We can’t spend our time focusing on someone’s shortcomings. Instead, focus on what they can do in God’s kingdom.

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you (Ephesians 4:32, KJV).

We are commanded to forgive others because Jesus Christ forgave us. We’re admonished to be Christ like! If He forgave, then we should forgive others. God doesn’t remember our sins (Isaiah 43:25), and we should seek to do the same. Mankind can’t easily forget, but we can choose not to dwell on someone’s mistakes. We can focus on lifting them up in prayer and on what they’re doing right!

For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you (Matthew 6:14, KJV).

We forgive others so we can be forgiven. Make no mistake—God won’t do anything for us we’re unwilling to do for others. Forgiveness from God is conditional. God forgives us if we forgive others.

And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses (Mark 11:25, KJV).

Prayer is our main line of communication with God. If we’re harboring any unforgiveness in our lives, God won’t listen to our prayer. It’s important for us to forgive our brothers and sisters first before we come to Him in prayer (Matthew 18:15–18). Once we’ve forgiven, God will hear us freely.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (I John 1:9, KJV).

Forgiving others is only half the battle. The other half is forgiving ourselves. We like to beat ourselves up for making mistakes, but we need to realize there’s nothing too large for God to forgive (Titus 2:14). If He can forgive us, we need to forgive ourselves—we’re not greater than God!

If you didn’t get it yet, forgiveness is a very important aspect to our walk with God. It’s not an easy concept, but the more we do it, the easier it will become!

Today, ask God to allow you to see others the way He sees them—with eyes of grace and forgiveness. We all can have a ministry of forgiveness. Embark on yours today and see what forgiveness can do in your life.

The Choice to Rejoice

Sunday, September 11th, 2016

This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it (Psalms 118:24, KJV).

Every day is a day that the Lord has made. Because God made it, it is good. This concept stems from the basis of creation. When God made something, He looked at it and said it was good (Genesis 1:31).

Every day is a good day in God’s kingdom. Seeing the positive side every day is easy when we keep our eyes on Jesus. The world around us, however, tries to shift our focus elsewhere. And, the result? We wind up having bad days. We no longer want to celebrate or rejoice in the Lord.

If we get caught up in the trials and tribulations of this life, we’ll start to lose our desire to rejoice. We’ll fall victim to worry, which is the cancer of joy. When we lose sight of God, we magnify our “problems,” and this brings sadness, stress, and worry. Society has provided a gambit of ways to react to each day. But, Scripture tells us not to worry about tomorrow (Matthew 6:34) and to make ourselves to rejoice in the day!

If we know Jesus, having joy is easy. We know nothing is impossible for Him and that He will provide our every need. He will always make a way where there doesn’t seem to be a way. No matter what we face in this life, we know God’s already on top of the situation (Isaiah 40:20–22).

Not every blessing in our life will feel like a blessing. God may put us into situations that will prove uncomfortable, but they’re working for our good. God’s ways are always perfect (II Samuel 22:31). We need to learn to trust Him and know that He has a plan for our life (Jeremiah 28:11).

If God starts a work in us, He will complete it (Philippians 1:6). He doesn’t start something and then later throw in the towel. We need to follow after the example Christ made for us. We need to trust, pursue, and work no matter what. He trusts us; will we trust Him?

We need to have the true heart of a worshipper—to praise the Lord because He’s worthy no matter what, not because of what we see him doing (or not doing) in our lives. He deserves our very praise and for us to rejoice at His presence! This is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad!

When we focus on Jesus, nothing else in this world will matter to us. If we lay up treasures in heaven, and not focus on the world, we will have a reason to rejoice (Matthew 6:19–21). When we set our hearts on the things above, we will always find our joy (Colossians 3:2–3).

Adapted from Sunday Morning Service on September 11, 2016

The Gospel of John: Part I

Thursday, September 8th, 2016

Unique Differences

The Gospel of John is quite different to the other Gospels of the New Testament—Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Over 90% of the content in this Gospel is unique to John only. John takes a different approach in writing his Gospel. He doesn’t include Jesus’ birth, temptations, appointment of His disciples, ascension, great commission, or the like. The first three Gospel writers focused on the events of the life of Jesus, but John focused on the meaning of the life of Jesus.

Matthew, Mark, and Luke can be comprised of the “what” aspect of Jesus—what happened in His life, events, where Jesus went, etc. But, John is a Gospel of the who and why of Jesus. John explains the identity and purpose of Jesus.

The reason for these differences could be that John writes his Gospel approximately 50 years after Matthew, Mark, and Luke. He had been a member of the early church, and a Spirit-filled believer. He has the perspective of a wise spiritual elder, and therefore, writes more about the Holy Ghost and importance in our lives—why we walk in the Spirit.

The Beginning

John begins his Gospel right with the “who” aspect of Jesus:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1, KJV).

John takes a purposeful approach to align his Gospel with the book of Genesis. He compared how God brought the world into existence as well as how God brought salvation into existence. He shed light on the Word.

The Word

What did John mean by the Word? Word was a term used by theologians in both Jews and Greeks, and both were in the audience of John’s writing. In the Old Testament Scriptures, Word was an agent of creation (Psalms 33:6). There was creative power in the Word of God. Word was also a prophetic utterance through the man of God. Word represented God’s law and His standard of holiness (Psalms 119:1). And, Word was an expression for God Himself, and was a thought of a principle still in the mind.

Aside from its many meanings, John was speaking of Jesus. John described the Word as a human being that he knew and loved, Jesus Christ (John 1:14). John was telling the world—Jesus is God. We will have glimpses of God, but the Son (Jesus Christ) would declare ultimately who God really was (John 1:18).

Revelation of Jesus

John revealed Jesus in different aspect all throughout his Gospel. He revealed Jesus as the Creator in John 1:3, but also as life and light (John 1:4). John knew there were 4 essentials to human life—light, air, water, and food—and Jesus fulfills every role:

Jesus came to give us all life more abundantly (John 10:10).

John also revealed Jesus’s identity through John the Baptist. John the Baptist was come to prepare the way for Jesus (John 1:23). It was revealed to him before Jesus even arrived, how the Son of God would be identified (John 1:32).

Following Jesus

Through the works of John the Baptist, and the writings of John, we can see what following Jesus means in our life.

Following Jesus means believing on Him and releasing our pre-conceived notions. Two disciples of John the Baptist left following him to follow after Jesus (John 1:35–37). We have to see the truth in Jesus and seek Him regardless of what we think.

Following Jesus means getting a new identity. Jesus immediately gave Peter a new name (John 1:42). Jesus saw him not only for what he was today, but what he would be in the future. We all are called to do great works for God’s kingdom and with His Spirit working through us.

Following Jesus means coming out of our own prejudices. There was question as to whether anything good thing could come from Nazareth (John 1:43–46). But, the men believed in Scripture and became disciples of Christ. No matter what we have heard, we cannot allow stereotypes to cause us to miss out on what Jesus is all about.

Following Jesus means we discover God knows us before we know Him (John 1:47–51). People in Scripture followed Jesus just for this fact—that He knew them before they knew Him. But, Jesus told them that was just the beginning; they would see greater things if they believed on Him.

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on September 08, 2016

Pack Rat Problems

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016

Do you know a pack rat? These types of people live well beyond the souvenir or keepsake mentality. They keep everything—unnecessary objects—and they keep it (or hoard it) forever.

I have my moments of pack-ratting. I go through stages of keeping things “just in case.” Once I discover I’ve got a stock pile of said item—or my husband looks at me with a crazed look in his eye—my desire to purge kicks in, and I eliminate the entire stash.

I would venture that all of us have a pack rat tendency in some area of our life, whether short- or long-lived. But, our pack-rat-like tendencies aren’t just limited to worthless, meaningless things. They’re pretty substantial, and they come in the form of money, time, and talents.

Jesus shared a parable about a rich man in Luke 12:16–19:

And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry (KJV).

In this parable, the rich man was blessed with a bountiful crop. Instead of sharing his excess or blessing with others, he devised a way to “hoard” his excess.

Like the rich man, God has blessed each of us in many ways—and He’s blessed us with more than we ever deserve! We may not all be blessed with financial excess, but we are each blessed with different talents, abilities, and time allotments.

Quite simply, God didn’t call us to store up our resources. His blessing and provision in our life is meant to overflow onto someone else (Luke 3:38). God’s ultimate design is for His people to be a vessel for His use, allowing resources pass through our hands to minister to someone in the kingdom.

God doesn’t always bless us with free time every week to sit and relax. There may be a ministry He wants us to fulfill with our time. That raise or extra financial blessing may be to help out a family in need, sponsor a child, or help with the church’s building fund. Our special talent may be used to fill a gap in God’s kingdom as an accountant, painter, editor, teacher, etc.

Bettering our own lives is tempting to do because it’s a human instinct. But, today, let’s try to evaluate what God’s placed in our lives and how we can use it for His kingdom. We might be able to spare an extra 15 minutes a day in prayer, lifting others to the Lord. God may be speaking to us about launching a ministry in the church or community. Or, God might be working on our hearts to give a little more to kingdom work or to those in need.

Whatever the case may be, let’s not be a pack rat today. We don’t need to hoard. We can let go and use what God has placed in our lives for His kingdom.

Fighting for Your Marriage

Sunday, September 4th, 2016