Archive for November, 2017

Created and Waiting

Wednesday, November 29th, 2017

Black Friday. A phrase that ignites the adrenaline rush in some (a borderline fight or flight response), but triggers a pending sense of doom for others. The latter group boards themselves up in their homes for the day and waits for the storm to pass. The rest of the souls brave the masses to purchase the one item, with only so many in stock, for a fraction of the price, in the wee hours of the morning, all for themselves

I did the real Black Friday shopping thing a few years back. I stood in line out in the cold, freezing my toes off, just to get an item I wanted. Once cleared for takeoff, I scurried into the store, searched diligently for the sale item, only to find an empty bin.

Sold out. Don’t you hate that feeling? It’s the same one you get when you go to grab the last cookie and discover someone else (ahem your husband) already ate it… Don’t you wish there was one more made just for you, with your name plastered on it, so when you came to the store, they rolled out the red carpet just for you?

Okay, maybe that’s just me, but there are many things we miss out on, Black Friday aside. Stuff runs out, we miss out, and in the end, someone’s not a happy camper. That’s life. There’s not an endless supply of anything. And, contrary to popular belief, nothing’s “saved” just for us.

For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him (Isaiah 64:4, KJV).

God has existed from everlasting to everlasting and knows the beginning from the end. He knew what He would create for each one of us long before we ever existed and the pathway we would walk. He knew what we’d need and even what we’d want.

I really wonder at this concept of what God’s prepared for us. I’ve got a bit of an imagination, but I believe all our gifts, talents, provisions, miracles, etc. were created long before we ever needed them, but were placed on a shelf, and tagged with our name. They were customized, set aside, and preserved just for us.

But, the “me, myself, and I” won’t warrant God’s approval. This Scripture states He’s prepared blessings for us, but they come with a condition. We have to wait for Him or wait on Him. We need to worship, obey, and serve Him to be able to partake in these blessings. God moves only when we move.

This is where God grows even sweeter. We may have taken far too long to start living for Him, but He didn’t give up and sell all of the blessings He had in store for us. Someone else didn’t get the goodies because we were too slow. What God created for us waits for us.

But, it all waits until we wait on Him.

How do we do that? The obvious answer is to pray, read the Word, fast, and grow in God. But, waiting also takes another form—in waiting on others. You see, what we do for others, we do to Jesus (Matthew 25:40). When you shop with the intent on blessing someone else, you’re truly waiting on God. And, it’s in the waiting we will see our blessings.

This holiday season, remember what’s been created, is waiting. No matter how you wait, you’ll receive that which was created (and waiting) just for you.

God’s Mercy Covers All

Sunday, November 26th, 2017

And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not…But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry. And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, I pray thee, O LORD, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil (Jonah 3:10; 4:1–2, KJV).

A God of Mercy

God is a merciful God, a God of second chances, and a forgiving God. All of us have experienced a time in our lives when God has given us a direction, but we’ve chosen to move in opposition to Him. But, the moment we realize we’ve messed up, He forgives us, places our feet back where we started, and encourages us to begin again. He shows us mercy over and over. His mercy covers all.

The Power of Mercy

We are encouraged to strive for excellence and perfection in our walk with God. But, because of our flesh, we fall. The devil would like us to focus on the earthly constraints—what goes up must come down. He wants us to believe that when we fall, there’s nowhere to go but down. But, God’s mercy is there to catch us every time. Mercy encourages us to push forward with everything we have even when we’ve messed up and fallen flat on our backs. It’s God’s mercy that helps us prevail.

Mercy Through Us

The same mercy that God extends to us is the same mercy God wants to extend through us. We cannot sit on a judgment seat and look at others in their mess. We need to bind with God in mercy and be the vessel to help others up around us when they fall. We need to rejoice knowing the same mercy God is willing to extend toward us can lift up and restore someone else.

A Story of Mercy

Jonah chose to take a seat with judgment. God wanted him to go to Nineveh to preach repentance, but he went the opposite way. He knew the power of God’s mercy and didn’t want this to be extended to this wicked people. But, Jonah’s self-righteous attitude placed him on a boat, which became the catalyst for a storm for the others around him. Through it all, God extended his hand of mercy once again. God saved the sailors, caused a whale to swallow Jonah, and help him reach his destination.

When Jonah finally made it on the shores of Nineveh, he preached to the people. God wanted Jonah to understand He wasn’t a respecter of people (Acts 10:34). The same mercy He had given to Jonah, He had prepared for the people of Nineveh. And, God was using Jonah as a vessel to help preach the message of mercy.

Jonah had seen the mercy of God extended too many times in His life, and had come up with a scenario in his mind of how God would respond to the people of Nineveh. He camped outside of the city in hopes of seeing the destructive hand of God. But, God isn’t willing for any to perish (II Peter 3:9). Just as He had done for others before, God blessed the city of Nineveh for their repentance.

Mercy Covers All

God has given each of us the ability to grow in the abundance of His mercy. He will not put us through anything we cannot handle (I Corinthians 10:13). When we fail and mess up, we must seek out His mercy to make it through once again. We must remember that His mercy will cover all.

Giving Thanks

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017

I vividly remember the Thanksgiving season in preschool and grade school. It was a time earmarked by construction paper taped together to assimilate pilgrims hats, cuffs, buckles, and aprons. Random feathers were tied and glued to more construction paper to feign Indian headdresses, and beaded safety pins on shoes to denote moccasins. We wadded up colored tissue paper and glued it to—you guessed it—more construction paper, to give it the appearance of corn kernels, which were then strung up by some kind of yarn…

We children would don ourselves with these paper creations, take on the role of an Indian or pilgrim, and go stand on opposite sides of our classroom. Then, like a game of red rover, we’d all ban together, walk half-way across the room to meet the “newcomers,” and offer up our paper-constructed items to one another as a gift of friendship and desired fellowship.

In my naïve mind, I pondered how much the pilgrims and Indians loved construction paper. And, they must have had some uber-strength kind because mine always ripped if I breathed too hard…

Trust me, I realize the introduction of the colonists and the Native Americans did not meet this picturesque reenactment. But, if I could learn anything from this role play all these years later, it was the concept of bringing something to go along with thanksgiving.

I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD (Psalms 116:17, KJV).

Thanksgiving in North America is typically anchored on large family gatherings—food, fellowship, and fun. And, everyone pitches in for the Thanksgiving festivities by bringing food, games, themselves, or providing the location for the family to gather.

We all give a little bit of something to give thanks. That’s why it’s called Thanksgiving.

Most of the time, we don’t think about how God truly structured thanksgiving. In the Old Testament, people brought different sacrifices to the priests. So, thanksgiving was about sacrifice—it was thanks, they gave it, and it cost them something.

God expects our thanksgiving, but it isn’t going to be free. Sometimes our thanks is going to be in the form of giving money to a charitable donation or a family in need. Sometimes our thanks will be giving our time serving the less fortunate. But, in all cases, our thanks will be in giving God ourselves. It’s the greatest sacrifice we can give to say thank you to the One who paid it all on the cross. Our sacrifice of thanksgiving for His.

This Thanksgiving, don’t forget that it’s about giving thanks. And, more importantly it’s about sacrifice. What are you willing to give in your thanks?

 

Recognizing Our True Identity

Sunday, November 19th, 2017

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy (I Peter 2:9–10, KJV).

People like to focus too much on the negative aspects of the church. If we look, we’ll always find something wrong. Focusing on only the negative aspects will give the impression of a weak or powerless church. However, there there’s always someone still worshipping God, following the Word, and someone who realizes they are a child of the King. There’s still always someone who knows their identity.

God wants to show His power and authority through His children, but it requires us remembering who we are.

Chosen Generation

Scripture tells us we are a chosen generation. Chosen means that we were picked out by preference. And, we are a generation of people with the same experience and live for a common cause. We have all been hand-picked by the Lord of glory to live for Him and be a part of His church!

Royal Priesthood

Royal means magnificent, splendid, and regal. There was a time when only the high priests were able to step into the presence of God. But, God chose us to be a part of the priesthood who were able to experience His magnificent glory. But, when Jesus Christ died on the cross, we became a royal priesthood to feel the shekinah glory of God.

Holy Nation

Everyone normally wants to be everything but holy. God has the power and ability to transform anything unholy to be holy. When Moses was on the backside of the desert, he encountered a burning bush. God told him to put off his shoes because he was standing on holy ground. He transformed the mundane into something holy. And, God does the same for us today—He transforms us and makes us holy when He puts His Spirit in us (I Corinthians 15:19).

Peculiar People

After calling us chosen, royal, and holy, God didn’t choose to call us weird. We are a peculiar people—we have been purchased by the blood of Jesus! And, when we were purchased, we belonged to only 1—the One God Almighty.

The church of today needs to realize that have been chosen by the King of kings and Lord of lords to do a work in His Kingdom. Do you now know who are you are?

Neither Good Nor Bad

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017

Helpful. Somewhat helpful. 7. 10. Very likely. Somewhat likely. A. B. Yes. No…

Do you see an imaginary scantron sheet in front of you? A meld of table lines and empty circles, perhaps? We’ve all found ourselves taking a survey at one time or another. Surveyors alike, they all want one thing—our opinion.

I don’t like taking surveys. They’re annoying, and every time I think I’ve reached the end of that yellow brick road, another one starts. But, I feel obligated to take them because I’ve been on the other end of the spectrum before—I’ve been the one wanting answers. However, there’s also a small part of me that believes my opinion will be the catalyst for great change.

Our opinions sometimes hold weight and other times they’re just our “two-cents.” Various scenarios encompass our lives every day, and we’ve got a storage room full of opinions about them. Many times, we can’t voice our opinions, but even if we can, it won’t change the trajectory of the outcome.

In Scripture, Abraham’s servant was instructed to find a wife for Isaac from his own kindred. The servant prayed about how he’d recognize the right wife for his master’s son, and asked God to identify the woman as one who’d offer him to drink from a well’s water along with his camels. It was Rebekah who came with marvellous hospitality and offered up a cool, refreshing drink (Genesis 24:1–7).

The servant then approached Rebekah’s father, Bethuel, to speak about everything that had transpired. At the end of his oration, he asked:

And now if ye will deal kindly and truly with my master, tell me: and if not, tell me; that I may turn to the right hand, or to the left. Then Laban and Bethuel answered and said, The thing proceedeth from the LORD: we cannot speak unto thee bad or good. Behold, Rebekah is before thee, take her, and go, and let her be thy master’s son’s wife, as the LORD hath spoken (Genesis 24:49–51, KJV, emphasis added).

After being presented with the circumstances, the backstory, and a forthcoming decision, Bethuel had an interesting answer—we cannot speak unto thee good or bad; one way or the other; there’s nothing we can say… He realized this had all come to pass by the Lord’s doing. And, because of that crucial factor, he couldn’t have an option.

When God renders a work in our life, we don’t have the right or the authority to judge it. We can’t say, “this is good” or “this is bad.” Everything’s God’s will, and it falls into a category all by itself. If you looked at a scantron, you wouldn’t see multiple choices. There would be one choice, one answer, and that would be God’s will!

Our human minds like to try to define God and the works of His hands. But, we must remember that what God mandates, creates, or determines is up to Him, and Him alone. His ways are higher than our ways and thoughts higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8–9). Our “two-cents” holds even less weight in the mind and sight of God. He’s God and we’re not!

However, we can rest assured knowing that all things will work together for our good if we abide in God and are obedient to Him (Romans 8:28). The next time you face that unwanted or unsure circumstance, don’t judge it. Thank God for allowing His will to come to pass in your life, and that He knows the plans He has for you (Jeremiah 29:11).

The Explanation of Thanksgiving

Sunday, November 12th, 2017

And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt. Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life. For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt. Haste ye, and go up to my father, and say unto him, Thus saith thy son Joseph, God hath made me lord of all Egypt: come down unto me, tarry not: And thou shalt dwell in the land of Goshen, and thou shalt be near unto me, thou, and thy children, and thy children’s children, and thy flocks, and thy herds, and all that thou hast: And there will I nourish thee; for yet there are five years of famine; lest thou, and thy household, and all that thou hast, come to poverty (Genesis 45:4–11, KJV).

The Bigger Explanation

It’s easy to give thanks to God when things are going “well” from our perspective. But, we don’t give God thanks when we don’t understand the circumstances in our life. Paul told the church we must walk by faith instead of by sight (II Corinthians 5:7). He admonished the church to remember all things work together for good for them that love God (Romans 8:28).

Too often we get a picture in our mind as to what the blessings of God should look like. Then we try to prescribe to God what needs to happen in our lives by our definition of goodness. But, God is bigger than what we think, feel, and know based on our own experiences. The explanation of God is more important than our experience.

The Hidden Thanks

Every miracle doesn’t always look like a miracle. Every door doesn’t always look like a way out. There are hard edges of our lives we must endure because they are vital to our faith. Many times, our trials are the only way to get to the ultimate glory God is trying to pour out in our life.

When we look at the life of Joseph, we walked through many hard edges. But, regardless of the trials he faced, he realized why they happened. His brothers thought they were responsible for his life’s hardships, but Joseph saw the bigger picture. He knew there was something God was trying to do in all of it.

When describing what happened in his life, Joseph’s explanation came from his faith, not by what he saw and experienced. And, the same must be true for our own lives. When we focus on the pit, the prison, the lies, or the hard edges, we won’t see what God is trying to do. God is trying to get us to focus on the bigger picture!

The Thanksgiving Explanation

Instead of focusing on the negatives, we must see the positive in what God is doing. Therefore, when we look to explain our life’s experiences, we need to learn how to best relay what God is doing; proclaim your experience! We must seek to tell the story of what God is doing through applied wisdom (Proverbs 1:20). If we don’t have the wisdom today to look at our situation with another perspective, we can ask God and He will give it to us (James 1:5).

Through all things, we must trust the Lord (Psalms 20:7). Even if we don’t have all the answers, trusting in the unknown of God is better than the answers of man. We may not ever know everything there is to know about God, or the purpose of His plans, but let’s see the greatest picture of all. All things happen to give God the glory (Romans 11:33–36).

How God Heals Us: Emotionally

Thursday, November 9th, 2017

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised (Luke 4:18, KJV).

Our Emotions

Contrary to popular belief, God cares about our emotions. Consider Israel in the wilderness (Exodus 15). They journeyed for a long time, sought water to quench their thirst, and only found bitter waters. But, God stepped in, healed the waters, and spoke a truth to His people: if they would follow Him and keep His commandments, He would heal them (Exodus 15:26).

Emotions were created by God and are a tool He uses in our lives. When we say we feel, sense, or hear God, it’s all channeled through our emotions. Researchers note there are 6 basic emotions: anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise. And, Jesus demonstrated every one of these in Scripture. If we were made in His image, we’re going to experience these emotions as well.

We’ve been often taught emotions shouldn’t matter, but this is not the case. The truer statement is that our emotions should not be the place we live from (Jeremiah 17:9). Our human spirit impacts our emotions negatively, and it can keep us from what God wants in our lives.

An Emotional Healing

God seeks those who have a broken heart and contrite spirit (Psalms 34:18), and He desires to heal the brokenhearted (Psalms 147:3). God wants to heal and restore us spiritually and emotionally from our state of sin and condemnation. In reality, being brokenhearted is a spiritual sickness, and God wants to provide a healing from this sickness like He does with any physical ailment in our bodies. We still need to have the same faith to believe God is able to heal our hearts as He is everything else!

Hurt comes from disappointment, which is stemmed from unmet expectations. Our expectations may not be met because they aren’t realistic, healthy, or take us to the place we need to be in God. But, how can we overcome these emotions and feelings of hurt? If Moses was able to throw a branch into the bitter waters to make them sweet (Exodus 15:25), there are things we can do in our lives to transform and heal our broken hearts.

Emotional Healing

Comes from Being Honest and Accepting Personal Responsibility

In the story of the prodigal son, there was a pivotal moment in his life. He realized he had messed up and had hurt himself by his own hand (Luke 15:13–19). We need to have a balanced perspective in our life to help healing enter. We must realize we are always a contributor—on a large or small scale—to the hurt in our lives. We have to come to our senses and realize we’ve sinned, be honest with ourselves, and take responsibility of the part of the hurt we own.

Comes from Fellowship

The early church continued daily in fellowship (Acts 2:42). Fellowship (the Greek word koinónia) means contribution in relief and spiritual fellowship. We must fellowship with one another, but more importantly with our Lord and Savior—He will cleanse us from our sins (I John 1:7)! Emotional healing will never come from being alone. Run to the church and into fellowship; God knew it wasn’t good for mankind to dwell alone (Genesis 2:18). Relationships are fundamental to healing emotions (Ecclesiastes 4:9–12).

Comes from a Submitted Mind

Emotions start in the mind (the heart) and are the seat of our emotions. Scripture tells us the importance of being in control of our thoughts and bringing them in subjection to Christ (II Corinthians 10:3–6). We must destroy the thoughts we know that deepen our hurt, remove thoughts that work contrary to the knowledge of God, and enslave our thoughts to obey Jesus. We must be transformed by the renewing of our mind in the Holy Ghost (Romans 12:2).

Comes from a Prayerful Attitude

Somehow we think venting will ease our hurt. But, Scripture tells us a fool vents his feelings, but a wise man keeps them to himself (Proverbs 29:11). The only avenue we should seek is prayer; we must talk to God when we’re hurting (Philippians 4:6–7). Only when we talk with Jesus will we experience the peace we need in our hearts and situations.

Comes from a Church that Creates a Culture of Comfort

II Corinthians 1:3–4 tells us an important truth: God is our comforter, but in turn, we must comfort others in their times of hurt. If we stay connected with God, the Holy Ghost will flow through us and teach us naturally how to comfort people in times of trouble. If we have the Holy Ghost, we’ll operate in the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22–23), and this will help to heal the emotional hurt around us.

The Enemy of Emotional Healing

The biggest enemy of emotional healing is anger. Anger can exist in our lives, but it must not be allowed to persist and rule our lives! Anger has the propensity to make us stupid (Proverbs 14:17) as it will rest only in the hearts of fools (Ecclesiasts 7:9). Jesus became angry in Scripture, but He never sinned (Ephesians 4:26)—we must do the same. If we allow anger to reside continually in our lives, we’ll never be emotionally healed.

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on November 8, 2017 with Pastor Nave

A Father to the Fatherless

Wednesday, November 8th, 2017

I remember the day the envelop came in the mail. I hurriedly tore open the seal, and pulled out the contents. My fingers quickly shuffled through the paperwork as I eagerly searched for the “enclosed” item. There, a little boy under the age of 5, with sunken, tired eyes and a hesitant smile, gazed up at me from the picture. My heart caught in my throat as I wondered how someone this precious didn’t have any parents, someone to love him, or tuck him in every night…

I was attending a Ladies Conference several years ago when I first heard about Tupelo Children’s Mansion (TCM). TCM is a home for lost and unwanted children, where children can receive love and care from the ministry staff and house parents. But, TCM is unique, in that the children, campus, and other needs are completely supported by donors.

The Lord immediately spoke to me about supporting this ministry, and I went home to talk with my husband about it. Shortly after, we became sponsors of a little boy. Through the years, we’ve been blessed to see several children adopted and placed in good, Christian homes.

Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name JAH, and rejoice before him. A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation (Psalms 68:4–5, KJV).

There are thousands of children in the US alone that live without the love of earthly parents, and millions more throughout the globe. Like many of the children at TCM, they haven’t known love most of their lives. While some people have refused them love and care, they all have a Heavenly Father who is looking out for them, and providing a greater love than any parent could give.

God is able to send forth every good gift unto us and to these children (Matthew 7:11), especially without the aid of any human. He’s God, and there’s nothing impossible for Him! But, He chooses to ask us to partner with Him and to be a vessel He can work through on earth. He wants to use our hands and feet, the finances He’s blessed us with, our time in prayer, and so much more, to help children in need.

Sunday, November 12, is Orphan Sunday. This is an opportunity for all of us to stand for and support orphans (Isaiah 1:17). We are called to care for the children who have no families, uphold them in prayer, fast for their spiritual well-being, and be a help in any capacity we can.

If you are financially able, be a partner with TCM, or an organization of your choice. If you can’t support a child alone, join a friend, and be a dual-supporter. My husband and I have been blessed beyond imagination for being a sponsor to these children. You have no idea what God has in store for you if you’re willing to help out someone in need.

If you can’t help financially, you can fast for them weekly, pray for them daily, and ask God to open the doors of your finances to be able to bless an orphan in need. Let’s not forget our charge to help the orphans. Our Father wants us to help, and experience the joy of seeing a child grow into something God always intended them to be.

The Difference in Your Thanksgiving

Sunday, November 5th, 2017

And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole (Luke 17:11–19, KJV).

The Importance of Thanksgiving

Most of us think about thanksgiving the same as giving praise. But, Scripture teaches us thanksgiving has a place in God’s heart all by itself (Nehemiah 12:46; Psalms 69:30, 110:4). In the Old Testament, thanksgiving was allocated as a specific praise, defined by a specific offering (Leviticus 7:11–14).

There are some blessings we’ll never receive until we learn to thank God. We must offer thanksgiving at our own will (Leviticus 22:29). This is why God loves it when we give Him thanks—it’s our thanks. There’s a thanksgiving we can only give based on the blessings He’s put in our lives.

Thanksgiving is going to be a loud declaration. If we want to give God thanks, we must open our mouths and articulate what’s inside of us. It’s a testimony of what God has done for us. Jesus cannot be testified about if our thanksgiving cannot be heard.

Difference Between Asking and Crying Out

When we render ourselves to a spirit of thanksgiving it will overwhelm us. In the Scripture setting, the lepers lifted up their voices and cried out to Jesus. The distance from Jesus required them to lift up their voices, but the same is true for us today. There is a required passion and effort that must be demonstrated in our voice to give God thanks.

Difference Between Needing and Receiving

We must prepare for what we’re asking for. The Disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray (Luke 11:1), but Jesus took it a step further. He taught them that they must expect God to fulfill what they asked for. We must realize that we serve a good Father, and He wants to give good gifts unto His children. There are many things we don’t receive because we don’t ask (Luke 11:19), but even more, we don’t have because we’re not persistent in asking. Let’s not give in too soon in making our petitions to God!

Difference Between Being Cleansed and Made Whole

Of all the lepers who were healed, there was only 1 who turned back to thank Jesus. Upon his thanksgiving to the One who healed him, something happened. He became whole—he wasn’t just cured, he was restored. We cannot miss our opportunity to give thanks. We can’t be happy with God just taking away the symptoms in our lives. We cannot stop giving thanks until we’re made whole.

What Thanksgiving is About

Thanksgiving is truly all about giving God the glory He deserves. Interestingly, Jesus didn’t equate the leper’s thanks as just thanksgiving. He noted the leper gave Him glory. Thanksgiving is going to give God all the glory (II Corinthians 4:15). Our thanksgiving is not just about being grateful, but attributing that thankfulness to someone—Jesus Christ.

Our thanksgiving to God is just as important as prayer (Colossians 4:2) and needs to be present in our life, without ceasing. It should flow from us because of everything our Savior has done. Are we ready today to make a difference in our thanksgiving?

How God Heals Us: Our Physical Body

Thursday, November 2nd, 2017

And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee (Exodus 15:26, KJV).

A Healer

People referred to God by many different names or attributes in the Old Testament until His name was revealed at the birth of Jesus. However, one of those names was Jehovah Rapha, which means, the God who heals. We know the Lord is our healer, but there are many different ways that He can heal. In this study, we’ll look at how God heals us physically.

Present Illness

Many people wonder if God is a healer, why is there sickness. Disease and illness are a result of the fall of humanity. In the Garden of Eden, God commanded Adam and Eve not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:16–17). But, they disobeyed and sickness was born out of disobedience. The immediate consequence for Adam and Eve was the separation from the tree of life (Genesis 3:22–24). However, the first death that occurred for them was a spiritual death.

Sickness in our life still occurs because we still have the same body that has the curse and judgment from God way back from the Garden. God’s original plan was never for His children to face sickness, but even after the fall, God had a plan for man (Genesis 3:15).

Instruction for Healing

God’s Word gives us instruction for receiving physical healing.

Exercising Personal Faith

In Scripture, the disciples faced a situation where their faith fell short and they were unable take part in healing a young boy. Jesus explained that some things aren’t conquered unless coupled with prayer and fasting (Matthew 17:21). This teaches the believer that there is a part we must play to be used by God in physical healings. We are told signs will follow those that believe—one of which is the ability to lay hands on the sick and see them recover (Mark 16:17). God has invested the ministry of healing in the hands of His church; He desires to honor His Word and His people.

Faith must be present for physical healings. For Naaman to be healed of leprosy, he had to wash in the river Jordan seven times (II Kings 5:14). He received a healing because he obeyed the instructions of God’s Word  through the prophet and servant. The woman with the issue of blood was healed because of her faith (Mark 5:34). Healing will not come until we are obedient and believe God.

Our faith is increased when we hear the Word of God and the wonderful works of His hands (Romans 10:17). When we hear how God has healed others, our faith is increased and we believe He can do the same work in our lives.

Uniting with Other’s Faith

Our faith also must be coupled with other believer’s faith. We have greater faith for the healing of someone else than we do for ourselves. So, binding together in prayer and fasting with other Saints is vital to receive healing in God’s Kingdom.

In Scripture, we see an example where a man was sick of the palsy. Unable to move, his friends carried him to see Jesus. When they couldn’t get to Him because of the press, they climbed upon a roof and let the man down through the ceiling to reach Jesus. When Jesus saw their faith—the faith of the man’s friends—it resulted in the healing of the man’s body (Mark 2:5).

Moving Faith into Action

Faith is more than an attitude or a mindset—it starts in the mind and works its way outward. James tells us faith without works is dead (James 2:26); it doesn’t mean anything unless we do something about it.

In Scripture, a man with a withered hand met Jesus. When Jesus told Him to stretch forth his hand to receive healing, the restoration of his hand didn’t happen until the man himself stretched forth his hand (Mark 3:5). His faith needed action to receive the healing.

Seeking Physicians

If we need faith, other’s faith, and action to receive healing, is going to see a doctor a sign that we don’t believe? Physicians and medical care are mentioned in Scripture. We see the following examples:

Physicians are not God and there are healings that are above their knowledge and ability. Remember, God’s intervention in any physical difficulty should be sought, but using earthly remedies are not condemned in Scriptures. King Asa is an example of one who worshipped God, but sought out physicians to help heal his diseased feet (II Chronicles 16:12).

A Time for Healing

Physical healings are not always guaranteed. God wants to bless His children, but He is not obligated to (Job 1:21). There will be times God chooses to heal and other times when He does not. Remember His ways and thoughts are higher than ours; therefore, He knows what’s best for our lives (Isaiah 55:8–9). God’s grace may just be sufficient for us rather than a physical healing. In our weakness, His strength will be made perfect (II Corinthians 12:9).

There is coming a time when there will be no more sickness, no more pain, no more tears, and no more sorrows. There is coming a time when death will be swallowed up in victory (Isaiah 25:8), and God’s people will see a new heaven and new earth—former things will be passed away and all things will become new (Revelation 21:4). Whether God chooses to heal now or on the other side, He is still our healer.

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on November 1, 2017 with Pastor Nave

Spiritual Shocker

Wednesday, November 1st, 2017

Here we are in the November of the year. There’s definitely a chill in the air that wasn’t there before. Every blanket known to man has been unsurfaced in the home, fuzzy socks dug out of the recesses of the dresser, and hooded sweatshirts and sweaters out from the closet.

With all the moving heavy fabrics, the inevitable is bound to surface at any moment—static electricity.

I remember the static wars my family would have in our home. There wasn’t any greater satisfaction than cloaking yourself with a heavy blanket, shuffling your sock-laden feet on the carpeting, and choosing your next victim. The unsuspecting onlooker (or napper) would receive the surprise of a lifetime when you ever-so-carefully reached out to zap them on the nose.

Like a good soldier in battle, you develop an ear for the sounds of your enemy. Scuffling in any capacity in the house sounded the alarm. Even the simple act of donning socks in the morning as a part of the dressing routine put the troops on high alert. Once you were zapped, you wanted to avoid that feeling again at all costs. No one voluntarily signed up for that powerful, energy-transfer experience.

As a child—and even as an adult (at times)—I sought to possess the power of an electric charge in the physical realm. There was just something about that experience which was exciting and remarkable. But, I have found there is a greater “current” we all can possess in the spiritual realm that packs even a more powerful punch.

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth (Acts 1:8, KJV).

Scripture tells us God will endow us with the power of the Holy Ghost—the Spirit, unction, or anointing of God. Just like static electricity, when we position ourselves in just the right place, with the right “materials” around us (the Word, prayer, and fasting), we become a conduit to transfer God’s power.

When you receive God’s power, and go forth into this world to witness, hearers of the Word—and your testimony—will be touched. Unbeknown to you, they will feel a prickling sensation in their hearts. God’s power is what surged through Peter on the Day of Pentecost when he preached to the masses. The men were pricked in their hearts and asked what they needed to do to be saved (Acts 2:37–39). That power, greater than a momentary shock, can change the lives of people forever!

And, those powerful jolts don’t just occur on the inside!

There is a transference of God’s power that’s more awakening than getting zapped with a little spark of electricity. I’ve been prayed for by mighty men and women of God and have felt God’s power flowing from them to me. If sickly—I’ve felt the flow of God’s healing. If weak—I’ve felt a surge of God’s strength recharging my spiritual (and physical) batteries. If burdened—I’ve felt the removal of my chains and the joy and peace of God’s presence surround me.

God has given you the ability to reach out and touch those who need prayer, and be a channel for the power and presence of God to flow, spark, jolt, or fire-up those who need a touch from Him! So, cover yourself in the Word, fit your feet with the Gospel of peace and the rest of the armor of God, and go shock a soul.