Archive for October, 2017

The Word Always Wins

Sunday, October 29th, 2017

The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever (Isaiah 40:8, KJV).

Our Words

God created us with the ability to speak; however, the onslaught of technology has tried to take this away from mankind. Our words have power and can have a lasting impact. There are elements in life that can secure or even tear down our words. Context can destroy what we say, consistency can derail our words, and character can affect their weight. But, no matter the context or the power, our words possess the potential to fail. But, when God speaks, it’s entirely different.

God’s Word

The Bible is the infallible, divine Word of God. Sixty-six books in all, penned by holy men of God, moved by the unction of the Holy Ghost. The Word tells us where the Word of the King is, there is power (Ecclesiastes 8:4). People question the power of the Word, and even if the Lord is our King. We know the Word was in the beginning and it was with God and was God (John 1:1), and that same Word became flesh—Jesus Christ—and dwelt among us (John 1:14).

The Power of the Word

Because the Word is God and is powerful, it gives us victory every day that we live (I Corinthians 15:57). We cannot go into history and find any time where the Word of God failed. Every time the Word operated, it worked; when spoken, it came to pass. God will can, and will, create in us what He’s done in the world because His Word has power.

A Defender

God’s Word will defend us. It can defend us against any devil hell releases. The devil doesn’t know the difference between a little or a big Scripture. He cannot match the power of the Word of God. And, in the battle against our own flesh, the Word will thwart the affect sin has in our life (Psalms 119:11). Any time our old man (our flesh) tries to resurrect itself, the Word will kill it. There is something greater inside of us that will defend anything that happens on the outside!

The Victor

God’s Word is going to bring us victory when we commit it in our hearts. He’s told us to come out of the world and be separate (II Corinthians 6:17) and not to be conformed to this world (Romans 12:2). If we continue to fight and not be weary in well doing, we will reap in due season (Galatians 6:9). In all of this, we can take the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17).

The Word in Our Life

When we speak God’s Word, there is authority, and even nature obeys Him. We need to speak the Word into every situation we face and use it’s power. If we’re going to win, we need to use the Word of God. It has power in our lives and in the church house, but the greatest power we’ll see is when we take it and use it in the world! All Scripture is given to teach us how to live right, walk right, talk right, and be right (II Timothy 3:16). We can be who we could never otherwise be because His Word is active in our life. Remember Peter was able to walk on the water because of 1 word—come (Matthew 14:29)!

God’s Word is always the right answer. We need to make sure it’s planted in our lives and grow. It is a seed that cannot lay dormant. If we get it, use it, and let it grow, we’ll see just how much God’s Word can win in our life and in those around us.

My Spot

Wednesday, October 25th, 2017

Do you have a spot? Is there some place you like to sit or lay claim to everywhere you go?

I am one who has “a spot” in most environments I inhabit. I have my favorite seats in particular restaurants, a designated seat at the dinner table, stand near the same fibers of carpet during my weekly stand-up meetings—my list of “spots” is endless.

Why do I, or others, have spots? Humans are creatures of habit; we develop patterns and go to our safe zone as often as possible. And, most of us get a little upset when someone else inhabits our spot. Our world gets a little off-kilter when we can’t secure that safe feeling as we move about in this world.

I’ll be the first to admit (ashamedly) that I immensely dislike losing my spot. I’ll even go as far as putting my personal belongings in “my spot” to secure the location. I’ll show up ridiculously early to ensure my spot is occupied by yours truly. And, where I’m worst about this is at church.

You’re laughing at me, but in all honestly you’re laughing with me. I’m not a solo patroness in this movement. I’ve seen the rest of you coming with your bags, purses, Bibles, and the like, marking your territory on the pew. We act like space in church is going out of style sometimes…

I recently watched a documentary on Charles Spurgeon: a well-known English preacher, known for making the Gospel understood by the common man. He was so influential in his day he often preached to large masses of people—6,000 or more at a time. The community kept building new structures to accommodate such large groups coming to hear Spurgeon preach. People would come hours early to services just to get a spot on the pew. Individuals didn’t have the pleasure of sitting in their spot; they were lucky just to get a seat!

In prayer, I reflected on this happening. What would all of our churches be like today if people had to come early just to find a spot in the church house to hear the Word of the Lord preached? I marveled how at one point in Spurgeon’s life they had to institute a ticket distribution process for attendees. If you didn’t have a ticket, you didn’t get a spot.

God laid a question upon my heart that I will ask the world today. If our salvation was based on securing a ticket, to what lengths would we take to get one? Would we do everything in our power to reserve our spot? Would we sell all that we had to get a ticket (Matthew 13:44, 19:21)?

Is our relationship with God today more than a habit for us? Getting in our spot with God should go beyond just securing our “safe” feeling. Missing time in our spot should make us more than a little upset and off-kilter. Securing and occupying our spot with God is truly a life and death situation.

While we shouldn’t trample over other church-goers to get into the God’s house, we should make an effort to reserve our spot. At home, let’s make sure we’ve got a spot to spend some time every day with the Lord. If we seek to get a spot here on earth with Jesus, we’ll have one waiting for us up in Heaven (John 14:3). And, our heavenly spot already has our name on it.

So, I’ll ask you again, dear reader. Do you have a spot? If you don’t, it’s not too late to get one.

This Little Light of Mine

Wednesday, October 18th, 2017

When I was a young child, I remember being asked in school what I wanted to be when I grew up. I’m not quite sure where I came up with the idea, but I wanted to be an astronaut. I was fascinated with the idea of going up into space, seeing the stars up close, and exploring the universe.

When I was older, I watched an enthralling documentary on an astronaut’s life in space. I saw how they slept, floated around in a zero-gravity environment, used the restroom/shower facilities, and even fed themselves.

You’d be surprised to know that the one aspect which deterred me from pursuing a career in aero-space was how astronauts ate their food from a tube. Yes folks. NASA never saw me step one foot onto their premises because of how they packaged space food…what a shame.

But, today, years later, I’m still amazed when I look up at the stars. The night’s sky covered in a blanket of twinkling stars just takes my breath away. There’s such beauty in how God created these giant balls of burning gasses to show light to us on earth, even miles and miles away.

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven (Matthew 5:16, KJV).

We are called to be a light in this world. We all seem to say, “Sign me up, I’ll be the star—I’ll shine the light of Jesus.” But, we don’t realize what letting our light shine really entails.

Stars constantly burn hydrogen fuel; it is the burning that emits light. There’s a lot of energy that goes into burning the fuel. So much, the star eventually expends all its energy—burning all its hydrogen fuel—and dies. That’s the whole life of the star.

To be a light on this earth, it’s going to cost us something. It’s going to require self-sacrifice. Being a light that shines forth to all men is going to take our time and our energy—for life. Consider the star. The bigger the star, the brighter the light, but also the greater the sacrifice. It spends its whole life shining.

If we’re going to be a light that shines brightly and cannot be hidden (Matthew 5:14), we’re going to need to put for a lot of energy/effort. And truthfully, that might equate to a greater sacrifice than we realize. Our light needs to be bright enough that it’s visible to the people in this lost and dying world.

Do we have what it takes to shine? Are we willing to sacrifice by whatever means necessary so someone sees the light? If this means putting our lives down (John 15:13), are we willing to do it?

Due to the distance of many stars, many will die out years before the light travels to the earth to be visible in the our atmosphere. If you’re giving your all today, and letting your light shine, but aren’t seeing the harvest, just wait. The light you’re letting off may still be traveling on, and it just hasn’t become “visible” to the right people yet. There isn’t a light we’ll put forth that won’t impact a soul. Everyone looks up at the stars at least once in their life, and there’s always a star that glistens just a little brighter that catches their attention.

Let’s learn a lesson from the stars today. There are some of us that just need to let out a light. Some of us need to work a little harder to shine a greater light. And, there are some of us who are already shining—don’t ever let your light go out. Keep working in the kingdom and letting your light shine. You have no idea how far and bright your light will shine.

What Holds You Back?

Sunday, October 15th, 2017

And he went out from thence, and came into his own country; and his disciples follow him. And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house. And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching (Mark 6:1–6, KJV).

God always has a plan and purpose for each of our lives. We are no different from the people who lived during Jesus’ day. He wanted to heal the people (as He does for us); however, He couldn’t do all that He wanted in Nazareth because of their unbelief.

Jesus had poured out miracle upon miracle in other locations. We see examples in numerous Scriptures: people came to Jesus who needed deliverance and healing (Matthew 8:16, 15:30; Mark 3:10, 6:13). He healed many and delivered many. In fact, in some cases, we see where He healed all people. God’s desire to bless His people also continues through His disciples (Acts 8:5–7); many are to be healed by God working through us. When Jesus shows up there are great things and great joy.

In Nazareth, the people failed to recognize the need for faith (Matthew 18:18–19). And, because they didn’t believe, Jesus wasn’t free to perform miracles. God will work where He can find faith—He can do the work alone, but He wants to partner with our faith!

Scripture speaks about a woman with an issue of blood. She suffered for many years and had tried everything else to cure her sickness, but nothing worked. However, she decided if she just touched the hem of Jesus’ garment, she would be healed (Mark 5:26–30). When the woman reached out to lay hold on Jesus’ garment, she felt her healing. Jesus told her that her faith is what made her whole (Mark 5:34). The faith had to spring forth from her mind before she felt it in her body. When our faith comes in unity with God, miracles will flow.

Faith is the ability to believe in something strongly, even when we don’t know where it’s coming from (Hebrews 11:1). If we believe and expect (exercise) faith correctly, we will see the miraculous in our lives. But, most of us misuse the “expectation” in life. When we doubt, worry, or distrust God, the blessing of the expectation doesn’t manifest correctly. We’ve chosen to believe in the wrong things.

The one roadblock stopping God from moving is us alone. We need to use our faith and expectation properly to see the promises of God in our life. For the woman with the issue of blood, she saw her miracle when she decided in her heart that God could heal her (Mark 5:28).

God wants to do something in our hearts today (not just in other churches and in other people). Let’s believe that He can and will do something for us. We need to ask Him to turn our faith around and we’ll see Him work right where we’re at.

Savory Sweets

Wednesday, October 11th, 2017

It’s fall—I absolutely love this time of year. There are festive pumpkin and leaf decorations, beautiful colors in nature, crisp weather, and wonderful sweets. Fall is the time for s’mores, kettle corn, and candy corn. And, I’m obsessed with all three.

I’ve alluded before to the fact that I have a tendency to stockpile items in my home because I never know when I’ll run out. And, due to the seasonal goodies, I try to do the same. But, food goes stale and it just doesn’t taste as good at other times of the year. Something about the fall brings out the flavor—I promise. So, without the option to save these items for a rainy day, I try to “get my fill” of them while I can.

At the start of every fall, I’ve felt so deprived of these items that I never think I’ll tire of them. But, a few s’mores later, sparse half-popped kernels of kettle corn, and a handful of candy corn, I’m done. My sweet tooth gets fulfilled far too fast, and I’m satisfied until the next year.

I’m amazed that even with the anticipation and excitement of the fall, and the opportunity to devour (if I so choose) mounds of these confectionaries, the goodies lose their glamor—a good thing goes bad really quick. The appreciation for the savory snacks subsides because I’ve had way too much.

Enjoy prosperity while you can, but when hard times strike, realize that both come from God… (Ecclesiastes 7:14, NIV).

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you (I Thessalonians 5:18, KJV).

In our walk with God, we don’t like trials. We don’t like lacking. We don’t like waiting. If we had it our way, we’d ask God to inundate us with miracle upon miracle. We’d never face another dark day in our lives, and would want every day to be full of s’mores, kettle corn, and candy corn.

But, what we don’t realize is if every day were full of miracles (the best of the best of God)—dining daily on the “sweets” of life—we’d become bored with God’s blessings really quick. They’d stop being the delicacy that they are, and we’d stop worshipping and giving God glory for them.

Today, we appreciate every miracle God manifests in our life. We live for His presence, blessing, and anointing. We can never allow God’s blessing become “too commonplace” for us. If it did, it would no longer be a miracle in our eyes. And, we would no longer seek after it.

God, in His infinite wisdom, knows this about us. He knows, that like me and my fall treats, would go all in too fast, and then get sick and not want any more. This is why He holds back on us a little bit—He makes us seek after Him. God wants to know how hungry we are for His presence, and wants us to appreciate every bit of Him when we get it.

I’m reminded of a song from my childhood with lyrics that spoke about a fanciful world comprised entirely of lemon drops and gumdrops. If the case, we’d walk around with our mouths open wide. But, if it was filled with spinach and beets—let’s be honest, most of us would starve.

What we perceive to be bad is for our good; it’s just in a different wrapper (Romans 8:28). So, let’s eat up what God has for us, and be extra grateful when it’s really good. Know when the presence of God pours into our lives, we’ll never get sick of His sweetness, and will savor it just a bit longer.

Counting Never Counts

Sunday, October 8th, 2017

For the king said to Joab the captain of the host, which was with him, Go now through all the tribes of Israel, from Dan even to Beersheba, and number ye the people, that I may know the number of the people. And Joab said unto the king, Now the LORD thy God add unto the people, how many soever they be, an hundredfold, and that the eyes of my lord the king may see it: but why doth my lord the king delight in this thing? Notwithstanding the king’s word prevailed against Joab, and against the captains of the host. And Joab and the captains of the host went out from the presence of the king, to number the people of Israel…. So when they had gone through all the land, they came to Jerusalem at the end of nine months and twenty days. And Joab gave up the sum of the number of the people unto the king: and there were in Israel eight hundred thousand valiant men that drew the sword; and the men of Judah were five hundred thousand men. And David’s heart smote him after that he had numbered the people. And David said unto the LORD, I have sinned greatly in that I have done: and now, I beseech thee, O LORD, take away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly (II Samuel 24:2–4, 8–10, KJV).

The Cause for Counting

There was a time of peace during Israel’s existence when King David decided to take a census of the people. To us, this doesn’t seem like a terrible activity—we do it today. However, there was a different cause for counting. There was a deep seed stirring in David’s heart.

David never numbered the people at any other time; it didn’t matter to him. He didn’t care about numbers especially when he faced the giant Goliath all alone. There was a time in his life when the name of the Lord was enough; when he had complete dependence on God. However, instead of relying on his faith (as he had in the past), he now sought to find faith in his flesh.

David ordered his leaders to number the people. It took them so long to count, it took 9 months and 20 days. During this time when he was waiting for the counting to complete, David’s focus wasn’t on God—it was on himself. There was a root in the counting. And, that root was pride.

The Plague of Pride

Pride can be a private war we wage within ourselves and can be locked up in our heart and mind. But, pride is too big to be hidden. It will eventually come out in every area of our life. We are a Nation that used to trust in God. Because of this, we experienced the blessings of God. However, we’ve become so accustomed to the blessings of God, we’ve been lulled asleep into believing everything is all right with our lives. What we need is to complete a deep dive into our hearts to unsurface any root of pride in us.

Indicators of Pride

We Feel Entitled

When we think someone owes us something, we deserve something, or that we’re better than other people, we are experiencing a manifestation of pride. We should never feel this way. God has provided every blessing in our life and we’d have nothing or would be nothing without Him. We can never forget where God brought us from or what He’s done in our life. God wants to continue to work in our lives and shape us into something pleasing to Him. When He identifies pride in our lives, He will work to remove the defect and build us up greater and stronger. We can never be upset when God tries to wear us down to fix us—He is the Potter and we are the clay.

We Always Look for the High Seat

Jesus told His followers that if you go to a banquet, we should never sit in the place of honor, but to sit in the lower seat first. If we seek out our own position, accolades, or position, we are looking for a seat that doesn’t belong to us. When David sought to number the people, his focus went from God and went to himself. He didn’t seek the low seat, but the exalted seat. We need to remember our lives are all about servanthood and not being served. So, let’s get out of God’s chair and get working to complete the Lord’s will.

We Can No Longer be Taught

When we think we can no longer learn, pride is working in our life. Joab tried to keep David from allowing pride to overtake him. He was David’s trusted confidant. But, David wouldn’t listen to anyone around him. We can’t stop looking to learn. If we’re willing, God will open our eyes to learn and grow for the rest of our lives. He can use any vehicle to teach us, but we can’t miss an opportunity because pride is in our life.

The Root of Pride

Pride seeks to stop God’s plans and follow its own agenda. The root of pride is found in our hearts and it comes straight from Satan. It is what comes out of our heart that will defile us (Mark 7:20), and with pride in our lives we will surely fall (Proverbs 16:18). God will always resist the proud and give grace to the humble (James 4:6).

Because David decided to count, the death angel came and killed 70,000 people. Pride doesn’t just destroy us, but will affect other people’s lives. But, the one way to cure pride is sacrifice. David realized it was going to cost him a hefty sacrifice to end the effects of pride. In a place of repentance, we can find the grace of God. Pride is no match for the blood of Jesus Christ.

Web Warriors

Wednesday, October 4th, 2017

I don’t consider myself a runner, but I run from time to time. My preferred running environment is indoors, where it’s climate controlled, I have access to a water bottle, there’s fan blowing in my face—you know the works. The true UNrunning experience. However, occasionally, during certain times of the year, I’ll run outside. But, this is only after I’ve given myself a pep talk, outlined a course, and mustered up enough courage to face the bugs.

There’s nothing like running right into a spider web and having no one there to spot the spider going for a ride on your head for the next 15 minutes. And then, not to realize it’s there until it slowly drops down the side of your face—to which you assume is a bead of sweat—but later to discover that it most definitely is not.

Have you ever seen anyone run and/or walk into a spider web? They’re trolling along and then out of nowhere they start flailing every which direction, bending at awkward angles, pulling every muscle known to mankind, and then batting at themselves like they’ve done something wrong. I’ve dubbed this the spider dance. I can spot “the dance” 20 miles away, in light rain, and a little bit of haze. And, if I’m on my game, I can even pinpoint the type of web the individual’s walked into. Yes, I’m that good (you should see my badge).

We’ve all been there. We look ridiculous, freaked out, but have every valid reason to be. But, to the onlooker, if they aren’t an expert like me, they have no idea why we did what we did. The spider web is pretty much invisible to them, and even up-close is nearly impossible to see—unless you’re right there in the middle of it.

We’ve all walked into a web in our lifetime, but not all webs are from arachnids. In our spiritual life, our webs might be strongholds and chains built up by lies, thoughts of worthlessness, trials/tribulations, stress/worry, unforgiveness, etc.

No one sees us walk into these webs except for us. When we start behaving outside of the “norm”—our emotions run high, we withdraw, or move differently—we know why, but others don’t. Others might point at us and laugh because they don’t understand, or push us to “get with it” because they don’t see the web. It hurts. To us, getting out of our web seems a little impossible.

But, here’s where the spider dance comes into play…

I can spot “the dance” because I’ve been there many times. So, I know without a shadow of a doubt when someone’s walked into a spider web. If I’m nearby, this activates my fight/flight response. I immediately go into scouting mode to seek out a potential spider on the select individual. I’m there to help because I know what it’s like. I know the panic. I’ve been there. But, I’m also a web warrior.

Although our various webs are invisible, there’s a hope of help. God will put us in contact with someone who can detect what’s wrong because they’ve been in the same web before (Psalms 20:2). They’ve been hurt, they’ve been brought down by negative thoughts/feelings, they’ve been through a loss, they’ve been through the battle. And, God came and rescued them and/or led a web warrior into their life to help spot their web, identify the spider, and get them cleaned up and calmed down. And, you know what? They survived.

Because of their deliverance by the mighty hand of God, they will be there to help you (Psalms 46:1). Even when you think that no one knows what you’re going through, what web you’ve just walked into, God does—and so does someone else. I can guarantee you help (a warrior) is on the way. Once you’re out of your web, you’ve had the “been-there-done-that” experience, you’ll don the web warrior mantra and be on the lookout to help others get out of their own webs. You’ll never know how soon into the future this will be.

If you’re in the middle of a web today, don’t think you’ve kept your “dace” on the QT. Someone’s seen it, the warning bells are going off, and God is sending a warrior your way. You’re in a web that isn’t going to win.

The Rest of Your Story

Sunday, October 1st, 2017

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light (Matthew 11:28–30, KJV).

The Opposite of Rest

Everyone knows to some extent what it’s like to endure stress. We’re no different from those living during the time of Jesus. When Jesus spoke, it was in response to seeing people were anxious, distracted, troubled, burdened, and stressed. Even though this was a few thousand years ago, there is still a state of unrest today. Satan is still working in the same manner regardless of the time, social, or political structure. He’s pouring out stress in some form or fashion that have the same detrimental effects on the child of God.

The Promise of Rest

Weight, burdens, and fear are all enemies of faith. But, Jesus shared a message that would change people forever. He told us to come to Him and He would give us rest. In the midst of the weight and pressure of life, Jesus has promised rest.

When His rest shows up in our lives (His perfect love) it will cast out all enemies of faith (I John 4:18). Fear, at its root, is demonic and out of the heart of hell. But, there’s a power that comes in Jesus’ rest that will overcome all the power of darkness.

Jesus wants to give us a rest that doesn’t just give us relief, but refreshes and recharges us. God doesn’t just give us rest on the outside, but rest in our soul. His rest will transcend anything we can do to our natural bodies.

Lessons in Rest

God not only wants to give us His rest, but have us learn from Him and about the secret to His rest.

Learn How to Laugh

Laughing is an important part of rest. The medical world teaches us laughing induces physical changes in the body that help increase our air intake, endorphins (feel-good chemicals), relieves our stress response, gives us a good relaxing feeling, and so much more. However, long before science identified the positive effects of laughter, God told us in His word that a merry heart will do us good (Proverbs 17:22). When we enter into God’s rest, He will take care of our body. So, let’s start looking at the joy God has put in our life and learn how to laugh.

Learn to Pause

When we consider God’s Word, we know we can’t disregard any of it—it’s His Word and we need to accept all of it. In His truth, lies the importance of rest. God even demonstrated the need for rest. He created the world and all things in 6 days and rested on the 7th (Exodus 23:12); He built rest into every part of His creation. We need to stop and pause and not fill all of our time. God even gave us an automatic reminder for when we need to rest—night time! So, remember to pause and rest!

Learn to Let Go

We’re told to cast all of our cares on Him. God will put us into situations where we’ll have to trust Him to work and accomplish the task. All He needs us to do is realize the burdens in our lives are not for us to carry. He just wants us to be a vessel He can work through. We cannot get overwhelmed and flustered—He doesn’t expect us to do anything. He expects us to place it in His hands and allow Him to do it.

The Vehicle of Rest

The yoke was the wooden collar beasts of burden would wear around their necks. The 2 animals would work together to pull a load. But, in comparison to the yokes we wear, Jesus wants us to focus on His yoke. When our yoke is compared to His yoke, there is no question as to which one is better. His yoke is easy and light. The word easy in the Greek means useful, profitable, good, and agreeable. There is a way to yoke up with Jesus; we must come to Him!

Coming to Jesus is not a suggestion—it’s a command. There’s a rest for God’s people, but we must enter into it (Hebrews 4:8–9). To enter into His rest, we must be obedient to His Word and repent, be baptized in the name of Jesus, and receive the rest—the gift of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:38). Once we receive that precious gift, the rest for our souls, we’ll have all the rest we ever need—in Him.