Monday, December 30, 2013

Giving God First Place!

The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. (Prov. 8:22) 

If some corporate position is the god of your life, then something terrible occurs within when it is no longer a future possibility. If your career, however, is simply a part of God's plan and you keep it in proper perspective, you can handle a demotion just as well as you can handle a promotion. It all depends on who's first and what's first. 

Breaking the magnet that draws things ahead of God is a lengthy and sometimes painful process. There is a line found in the Jewish Talmud that puts it well: "Man is born with his hands clenched; he dies with them wide open. Entering life, he desires to grasp everything; leaving the world, all he possessed has slipped away." . . . 

Just remember: Whatever is in first place, if it isn't Christ alone, it is in the wrong place. 

Living Above the Level of Mediocrity  

My dear friends, have you given God first place in your life? Have you given God first place in your sphere of influence? Have you ever asked anyone around you if they have ever done the same? These are very fair questions that will test not only the validity of your relationship with God, but will also reveal what you give more priority to. 

All of us (myself included) have either inadvertently or directly given more priority to something or someone over God. Given our sinful nature, it's always the flesh's natural tendency to want to do whatever it is we want to do regardless of the consequences in our relationship with God and with those around us. Having the ability to function independent is both a blessing and potentially (if left unchecked) a curse. 

I have been around Christians who have a very healthy outlook to their independence while at the same time functioning well around others without asserting themselves over others. On the other hand, I have also been around Christians who are so independent that they have a very difficult time in not only having relationships, but even more importantly, maintaining relationships. Jesus is the chief example of someone who not only gave His Father first place in His life, but as a result of His intimate relationship with His Father, He was also able to have very healthy relationships with those around Him. The key word here is interdependence

Let us pray friends that God will instill in us a very healthy perspective on what it means to be interdependent on each each other without denying ourselves the right to be independent. It's also very important that we can also be aware of not being overly dependent (clingy) as well. I personally value my independence while at the same time value being able to be dependent upon certain people very close to me. Maintaining that healthy balance is what allows us to experience interdependence.

Thank you so much for reading this far my friends! May God continue to bless you and keep you as you continue to give Him first place in your life. JESUS LOVES YOU AND SO DO I!!!...:-)

Saturday, December 28, 2013

God's Hand On Your Life!

My frame was not hid from you, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. (Psalms 139:15

Perhaps you never knew what it was to nestle securely in a parent's love. Your home life may have been strained or even fractured from your earliest memory. From a human point of view, your birth might have come at a difficult or awkward time in your parent's lives. It may be that you've never known the reassurance of a faithful mother and father who built their faith into your heart. When you think back on your growing up years, you realize you don't have much to shout about. 

I'd like to deliver a beautiful message to you, my friend. God's hand on your life may be just beginning to make its mark. That steep hill you've been climbing for such a long time may be the ramp to a destiny beyond your dreams. I do not believe there is such thing as an accidental or ill-timed birth. You may have arrived in a home that was financially strapped. You may have known brokenness, hurt, and insecurity since your earliest days---but please hear me on this:You were not an accident

Moses: A Man of Selfless Dedication 

As the year 2013 comes to a close within the next week or so, I have to take this opportunity to reflect how God's hand has been upon my life. To be honest, my life this year has had many ups and downs. As the year comes closer and closer to a close, there has been no doubt whatsoever that God has had His hand upon me throughout this year like years past. 

I always make it a point that God is indeed Faithful and True and God has indeed proven to me that He is faithful regardless of my short-sightedness and occasional lack of godly wisdom. God's hand upon my life has revealed to me His continuous interest in what happens in my life. Obviously, God's hand moves differently in the lives of His children. The purpose of God's hand moving in our lives is so that we not only acknowledge God and omni-presence, but to also give Him the glory, thank Him for what He has done, in through, and around as well as become a witness of His amazing grace, mercy, and love. 

With that said my friends, it's extremely important that we are able to recognize His hand upon our lives so that we can in return help others to recognize His hand upon their lives. Thank you so much for reading this far friends! May God continue to bless you and keep you in Jesus' mighty name! JESUS LOVES YOU AND SO DO I!!!...:-)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Segments Of Solitude!

My soul, wait you only upon God; for my expectation is from him. (Psalm 62:5)

Henri Nouwen called solitude. . ."the furnace of transformation." This doesn't refer to mere personal privacy for a twelve-second pit stop where we get a quick fix to reenter the race. It's more than that. It's an oasis of the soul where we see ourselves, others, and especially our God in new ways. It's where much of the "clutter" of life is identified and exterminated, thanks to the merciless heat of the "furnace." Soul surgery transpires as serenity  replaces anxiety.

In solitude, struggles occur that no one else knows about. Inner battles are fought here that seldom become fodder for sermons or illustrations for books. God, who probes our deepest thoughts during protracted segments of solitude, opens our eyes to things that need attention. It is here He makes us aware of those things we try to hide from others.

Intimacy with the Almighty

I have a confession to make to every single one of you! I love being in a place of solitude! Being in a place of solitude allows me to be able to gather any thoughts I have had of the day at hand. Being in a place of solitude also allows me to really spend uninterrupted time listening to God, reading His Word, and pray. There are numerous benefits to be in a place of solitude.

While I do enjoy and have found a great deal of benefit of being in a place of solitude, God has also made me aware of the dangers of staying in solitude. One of the dangers that really stick out to me like a sore thumb is the impression that it creates of being anti-social. Another danger is that fact that during that time spent in the place of solitude can also create lots of idle time. During that idle time, the possibility of our minds wandering could potentially create an opportunity for the enemy of our souls to project thoughts into our minds that will either discourage you or depress you. 

If I have gained anything from this post, it is that a proactive approach in trying to create a healthy balance between activity and solitude is a must so that every single area of our lives will please God and ultimately give Him the glory. Godly wisdom, due diligence, and sound judgement are the key ingredients to figuring out when to start each segment of solitude and when to end that segment of solitude. 

Solitude is good....but fellowship is better!

Thank you so much for reading this far friends! May God continue to bless you and keep you as you endeavor to gain godly wisdom in the area of solitude. JESUS LOVES YOU AND SO DO I!!!...:-).  

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Pull In The Anchor!

 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. (Matt. 6:12)

Have you ever done someone wrong? Have you been offensive? Have your actions caused hurt? To do nothing is not only in direct disobedience to Jesus' teaching, it also complicates your life. It adds heavier mental weights that you are capable of carrying. It's like dropping an anchor and then cranking up your boat's engine and putting it in gear. The anchor keeps catching and snagging on the bottom, making for a terribly uncomfortable ride across the water. How simple the solution! Just pull in the anchor. . . .
Let me give you a simple tip: We cannot be right with God until we are right with others.

Simple Faith

In the above picture, I couldn't help but take notice of what appears to be a cross dressed underneath a banner. The first thing that came across my mind, my heart, and my spirit is the fact that when Jesus died upon that old rugged cross, He did that for us because He had to be obedient in paying the debts of sin upon each and every one of our lives. As a result of His crucifixion, He didn't just bridge us to His Father, but He became the "Anchor" of our lives. 

Once Jesus has taken anchor in my heart, soul, and mind, my entire life's resolve has been to be able to see everything the way Jesus saw things during His ministry on earth. Adapting ourselves to the way Christ lived out His ministry can be very challenging and will definitely take a lifetime of learning what made Him tick as a human being. Obviously, we can't relate to His divinity, but as human beings, we have the ability to not only be able to relate to Him in regards to our humanity, but as Christians, we will have the ability to learn how to be led by the Holy Spirit. The Bible tells us that we will be able to do even "greater things" than He has done. 

To be extremely honest, I have often wondered what God is capable of doing in, through, and around my life.  Being the dreamer-kind-of-guy that I am, my grandiose imagination could not help but run wild with all sorts of thoughts. It was not until I have taken a spiritual gifts inventory questionnaire that it became evident of what my calling was shaping out to be. Some due diligence had to be done on my part, but in the process of due diligence, I had to remain anchored in Christ and allow the Holy Spirit to be the One to guide me and direct me as He sees fit. 

My dear friends, never forget what Christ has done for you and why He has done these things for you. Always remain mindful of the fact that if we are not anchored in Christ we will always be swayed be the enemy of our souls and the cares of this world. Always remember friends...Jesus has forgiven you! May God continue to bless you and keep you in all in Jesus' mighty name! JESUS LOVES YOU AND SO DO I!!!...:-)

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Don't Get Burned!

Be not deceived: evil companions corrupt good morals. (1 Cor. 15:33)
Compromise never works. We always get burned. Even though we rationalize around our weak decisions and tell ourselves that wicked associations really won't harm us ("they'll get better, our good will rub off their bad!"), we get soiled in the process.
If you put on a pair of clean white gloves on a rainy day and then go out into the backyard to the flowerbed and pick up a glob of mud, trust me, the mud will never get "glovey." The gloves will definitely get muddy. Every time. In all my sixty-plus years on earth, I have never seen glovey mud. Not once. In simple terms, that's what 1 Corinthians 15:33 is saying: "Do not be deceived :" Bad company corrupts good morals."
Dropping Your Guard
 I will openly admit it right here friends!

I know what it's like to get burned. I also know what it does to people who get burned in relationships of all kinds ranging from the most intimate to the plutonic friendships that we have in our offline and online relationships. In this day and age of social media, it's very simple to either burn and/or get burned. All it takes is for us to simply ignore those that may have been deemed unessential to our lives.

As hard as it may be to swallow this reality, it is exactly that, a reality. So many of us attribute the relationships we have to godly wisdom, when more often than not, it is really human wisdom that is being applied. When involved in any kind of relationship, as Christians, we have to have the discernment to exercise godly wisdom. If we don't, WE WILL GET BURNED! Got that? The whole idea of being unequally yoked with unbelievers doesn't just pertain to those we plan on marrying. It also pertains to relationships of every kind ranging from the kind of friends we keep to the kind of people we decide to do business with.

There is absolutely nothing pleasant about getting burned. When it used to be me doing the burning, in my ignorance, there was the so-called justification of why I choose to burn that person. More often than not, we usually reap what we sow. In my personal experience, as a result of all those years that I have burned the people that have placed their trust in me, I end up being the one on the receiving end of getting burned. Without a shadow of a doubt, it's humbling. I have since learned to never take the godly relationships I have for granted.

Just recently, God has given me one more year of life at the age of 40 years old. Little did I know that I have received over 90 birthday wishes. I took it upon myself to respond to every single one of the birthday wishes by embracing the friendships I have with them and expressing the gratitude I have in my heart for them and their families. My aim and goal as a Christian is to live out the rest of my life in such a manner that it will be pleasing to the Lord and to embrace everyone that I know and don't know. Will my life be perfect? Far from it! But one thing I know for sure. God will be pleased and the wonderful relationships that I do keep will be immensely blessed as I am able to contribute godly worth into each and every one of their lives.

Thank you so much for reading this far friends! May God continue to bless you and keep you all in Jesus' mighty name! JESUS LOVES YOU AND SO DO I!!!...:-).

Friday, December 20, 2013

Friendly People, Thoughtful People!

A man that has friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother. (Prov. 18:24)

If I had learned anything during my journey on Planet Earth, it is that people need one another. The presence of other people is essential---caring people, helpful people, interesting people, friendly people, thoughtful people. These folks take the grind out of life. About the time we are tempted to think we can handle things all alone---boom! We run into some obstacle and need assistance. We discover all over again that we are not nearly as self-sufficient as we thought.

In spite of our high-tech world and efficient procedures, people remain the essential ingredient of life. When we forget that, a strange thing happens: We start treating people like inconveniences instead of assets.

Laugh Again

There have been numerous times that I have given thanks to God for the amazing people in my life. It is because of the many friend and thoughtful people that I have had the privilege and honor of connecting with that have in some way, shape, or form influenced me into becoming the godly man that I am today.

The irony of it all is that these are not the only kind of people that have greatly impacted my life. There are also the kind of people that are not so friendly and thoughtful. Those people have also taught me very invaluable lessons in life. Those people have taught me how not to act under no circumstances. Mind you, I will be the first to admit that under a moment of weakness I can potentially turn into an unfriendly and un-thoughtful person. I'm extremely confident in the Lord that all of us at one time or another have acted in some way that is contrary to what we have learned in Sunday School or what our godly parents have instilled into us as we grew up in our earlier years.

My dear friends, this particular post should serve all of us (including myself) as a reminder that with God by our side and as we continue to grow in our relationship with Him as He instills His wisdom into us through the various experiences. The timing of this post outta enables us to reflect not only in this past year, but in the years to come that there will always be some incredibly friendly and thoughtful people out there. Whenever we have the opportunity to meet one of these people, let us thank God for them and never take them for granted.

Thank you so much for reading this far my friends! May God continue to bless you and keep you as you endeavor to be that friendly and thoughtful person in every single area of your life! Always remember friends...JESUS LOVES YOU AND SO DO I!!!...:-).  

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Precepts and Principles!

Teach me good judgment and knowledge: for I have believed your commandments. (Psalms 119:66)
Whenever you see the scriptural phrase "This is the will of God," you know for sure that's God's will. You also know that to disobey is to break His Word. Other clear indications of His leading are the precepts and principles in the Scripture.
Precepts are clearly marked statements like "Abstain from sexual immorality." That's like saying, "Speed Limit 35." What is speeding? Anything over thirty-five miles per hour. That's a precept.
Then there are principles. . . and these are general guidelines that require discernment and maturity if we are to grasp them....Like the sign that says, "Drive carefully." This may mean forty miles an hour on a clear, uncongested highway, or it may mean ten miles an hour on an ice-covered curve. But it always means that we must be alert and aware of conditions; it always means we have to be discerning.... These principles require wisdom and discernment.
The Mystery of God's Will

By God's grace, and His grace alone, I have been a law-abiding citizen my entire life. I must admit that there have been moments during my teenage years to want to do things that my mom wouldn't agree with. I have never gone so far to attempt drugs, not even alcohol. Thank God! There was a time during my youth that I found precepts (laws) and principles regardless of where they come from dull and boring and very restrictive to my "freedoms".

Years later, I came to the understanding that God has provided us with precepts and principles as a way to provide guidance and not restrict us from fulfilling the calling that God has upon our lives. The above devotional demonstrates to us and clarifies the role that precepts and principles have in our lives. To forsake and take for granted the precepts and principles means that we reject God and His sovereignty over our lives as we choose to live out our lives in rebellion to God. Quite frankly, the idea of rebelling against God is quite unnerving and at the very least, very disturbing as our societies continue to corrupt and deteriorate in an accelerated and rapid manner. With that said, let us be mindful of the way we live our lives before God and before man.

Thank you so much for reading this far friends! May God continue to bless you and keep you as you make every effort to follow and stay with the precepts and principles that have been ordained by God Himself as we redirect those efforts to be in obedience to those in authority that God places before us. Always remember my amazing friends...JESUS LOVES YOU AND SO DO I!!!...:-).  

Monday, December 16, 2013

A Loving Father!

Blessed are the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of your countenance. (89:15)
Contrary to popular opinion, God doesn't sit in heaven with His jaws clenched, His arms folded in disapproval, and  deep frown on His brow. He is not ticked off at His children for all the times we trip over our tiny feet and fall flat on our diapers. He is a loving Father, and we are precious in His sight, the delight of His heart. After all, He "has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light" (Col. 1:12). Think of it! He's put us in His inheritance!
Remember that the next time you think God is coming down on you. You have the reason to give thanks. You don't have to qualify yourself for His kingdom. His grace has rescued you.
Hope Again
There are some of us that have been blessed and privileged to have a wonderful father by our sides. There have also been others (myself included) that were not so fortunate. On a personal note, it has taken me many years after accepting Christ as my Lord and Savior to learn to acknowledge God as my "Heavenly Father". The only way I ended up learning that God is indeed my heavenly Father has been through many, many years of trial and error. The "concept" of God as my Father was so foreign to me that it was initially very difficult to embrace that possibility, much less celebrate it.
To make a long story, short. My awareness of God as a loving Father went from "concept" to reality after I have learned of that reality through the lives of the various men and women that have sown their prayers and word of encouragement into my life as I would go through the various storms that life has to offer. I have also learned in this whole process that God can and will use me in the same manner that He has chosen to use those that He has surrounded me with. I was in a missions trip to Colombia when I was given the opportunity to express God's love for the "least of these". I was able to minister and express the love of God through the lives of autistic patients and kids in special needs programs. I also get to express God's love every single day with my handicapped brother who just turned 41 last month. God is so loving and gracious with all of us friends! Isn't He?
Thank you so much for reading this far friends! May God continue to bless you and keep you in Jesus' mighty name! JESUS LOVES YOU AND SO DO I!!!...:-).   

Saturday, December 14, 2013

No Fear Of Failure!

The wicked flee when no man pursues: but the righteous are bold as a lion. (Prov. 28:1)
When will we ever learn that there are no hopeless situations, only people who have grown hopeless about them? What appears as an unsolvable problem to us is actually a rather exhilarating challenge. People who inspire others are those who see invisible bridges at the end of dead-end streets.

There was a Cabinet meeting in London during the darkest days of the Second World War. France had just capitulated. Prime Minister Churchill outlined the situation in its starkest colors. Quite literally, the tiny British Isles stood alone. Grim faces stared back at him in stoic silence. Despair and thoughts of surrender were written in their looks. The visionary statesman momentarily remained silent, lit a cigar, showed a hint of a smile, and with a twinkle in his eye, responded to that dispirited company of officials, "Gentlemen, I find it rather inspiring."... What a great line! No wonder people followed the man. Fear of failure never entered his mind!

Dropping Your Guard

Fear of failure can be a very scary experience. Fear of failure has a way of paralyzing us from being able to step forward and moving in confidence that God will help us every step of the way in whatever endeavor He has prepared us for. How do we counter-act the fear of failure? Since we are already on the path of godly wisdom, we need to learn how to apply God's wisdom when it comes to dealing with fear of failure.

For starters, we must come to an understanding that fear of any kind is usually an illusion in our minds that creates an apparent reality to make us think contrary of the reality at hand. In the case with most phobias (fears), what is usually required is that we have some type of positive reinforcement from friends and family to mentally and emotionally stimulate us. 

What if the source of our fears are a spiritual one? This is where God Himself gets involved. God enables us to conquer our fears through the power of the Holy Spirit. As we surrender our fear of failure to God in prayer, the Holy Spirit intervenes on our behalf by providing us the peace and assurance that only He can provide. Being aware of God's presence and sovereignty in our lives will be the difference-maker between experiencing victory over fear of failure.

Thank you so much for reading this far friends! My hope and prayer is that you will continuously seek God in your quest to not only overcome the fear of failure, but also any other kind of fear that you are presently confronted with. May God continue to bless you and keep you all in Jesus' mighty name! JESUS LOVES YOU AND SO DO I!!!...:-).      

Thursday, December 12, 2013

God's New Morning Message!

The LORD opens the eyes of the blind: the LORD raises them that are bowed down: the LORD loves the righteous: (Psalms 146:8) 

Do you know what God's fresh, new morning message is to us? Whether the sun is shining brightly or whether it's pouring down rain? Whether the morning is bright or whether it's gray and overcast? His promise is the dawn itself....Every morning the Lord comes through with His encouraging message, "We're still on speaking terms, you know! I'm here. I haven't moved. Let's go together today."...

Trust God to remember you. He won't forget your name. He won't forget your circumstances. He certainly won't forget your prayers....Trust Him, He remembers you.

The Mystery of God's Will

This particular devotional is a major eye-opener. This has opened my eyes to the realities of the fact that so many people have taken the most critical part of our day for granted. That part of our day is called morning. Instead of dedicating a few minutes of our time to God in prayer and reading something from His Word, we are quick to grab our cell phones or jump in front of our computer to see what has unfolded in our social media platforms.

I am among the many people that have been and still are guilty of this. I openly admit that I have struggled in the past in this area and have slowly, but surely gotten better over an extended period of time. To dedicate any part of our morning to the Lord in prayer and in the reading of His Word requires a great deal of discipline and self-accountability. We often struggle with this and have often taken it for granted because we are lacking discipline in other areas of our lives that are often overlooked.

Like we so many other areas of our lives, we need to develop the discipline and personal accountability to prioritize our mornings to the Lord. As a result, we will experience God throughout the course of the day with further clarity. As we dedicate more time to the Lord in the morning as well as throughout the day, we will always be more in tune with whatever message may have for us at the moment.

Thank you so much for reading this far friends! May God continue to bless you and keep you in Jesus' mighty name! God definitely has a morning message for every single one of you! Make every effort to take the time to listen to Him in prayer and through His Word! JESUS LOVES YOU AND SO DO I!!!...:-).

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Five Cheers For Mom!

She looks well to the ways of her household, and eats not the bread of idleness. 28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her. (Prov. 31:27-28) 

What does motherhood require? Transparent tenderness, authentic spirituality, inner confidence, unselfish love, and self-control. Quite a list. isn't it? Almost more than we should expect. Perhaps that explains why Erma Bombeck used to say that motherhood takes 180 movable parts and 3 pairs of hands and 3 sets of eyes...and, I might add, the grace of God. If you happen to be a mother, here's one guy who applauds your every effort. Five cheers for all you do!... 

Remember the Skin Horse in The Velveteen Rabbit? All his stuffing was starting to come out, his hair had been "loved off," but how valuable he was!....Carefully kept mothers don't have secure kids. Carefully kept, untouchable "velveteen mothers" turn out fragile, selfish, untouchable children. But unselfish, giving, secure moms somehow manage to deposit healthy, wholesome kids into our lonely, frightening society. 

                                                                 Growing Wise in Family Life 

Okay. I get it. It's not exactly Mother's Day just yet. So why all the pomp and circumstance about motherhood when we have just finished celebrating Thanksgiving Day? Even though that is a very good and valid question, I can easily respond to that question with another question. Why not? In my honest opinion, why wait until Mother's Day to honor our mothers? God tells me in His Word to honor your father and your mother. In my case, it just so happens that my mom has played the role of both mom and dad to four kids. I happen to be the youngest of those four kids well on my way to turning 40 on December 18. 

My mom, as a single parent, has essentially had the honor and privilege to see all four of her children graduate out of high school. My mom has also made an immense impact in the lives of many other people in an almost surrogate mother kind of way. When it comes to my mom, I have so much to thank God for. With that said, in correlation with the recently passed holiday of Thanksgiving Day. I thank God for my mom! I'm also confident that many of my readers have wonderful moms as well. 

The whole point to this post is that we all have a responsibility before God to honor our moms because there are plenty of moms past and present that have influenced our lives and history altogether. Then there will be more moms that will continue to influence more lives and further alter the course of history as God will continue to use all the mothers throughout the world making an eternal impact in the lives of their own children and the lives of other children in their communities and to advance the Kingdom of God here on earth. 

Always remember friends....LOVE AND CHERISH YOUR MOMS!!!...:-)

Thank you so much for reading this far friends! May God continue to bless you and keep you in all of your relationships especially with your moms (and dads). JESUS LOVES YOU AND SO DO I!!!...:-)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

God's Plan For Hope!

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. (Jer. 29:11) 

God knows, right down to the final nub, exactly where you are in life. He sees. He cares. He is aware. And best of all, He is touched by it. 

The enemy of our souls wants you to think differently. God doesn't care. He's left you in this mess for so many months. How unfair! Those around you, those at work, your neighbors, live like the devil, and they're making it fine. And here you don't even have a job. You don't even have enough to cover the credit card bills. What kind of God is that? 

Or maybe some young mother-to-be, stretched to the limit already with other young children and crushed responsibilities, cries out in her heart, "My situation is more than I can bear!" And God replies, "My daughter, I know what I am doing. I know the pain of your heart right now. I know you feel overwhelmed, overloaded, pressed down. But believe Me, I am touched with your situation. And I have a plan! I am working out the details of your deliverance even now. Trust Me!"

                                                 Moses: A Man of Selfless Dedication    

This post and the above article is the epitomy of the struggles of humanity and in this case a Christian that continues to grow and mature in their loving relationship with God. On the one end, the black bold letters is a reflection of what the enemy of our souls will say to discourage us in our walk and hope that we fall from the faith. On the other hand, the closing paragraph is a direct reflection of the passion and love He has for us. 

In my personal life, I have seen the hands of both God and the enemy of my soul in a very active way. In a very minute way, I can relate to the young lady as she struggles with making ends meet and the enemy of her soul is whispering lies into her ear in an effort to sabotage her way of thinking, speaking, and doing things. After the enemy of our soul does what he knows best, God comes into the picture to intervene in this young lady's life to comfort her and assure her that He has a plan of deliverance because He was touched by her situation. 

It is truly amazing how all of us as Christians can relate to the struggles of the young mother-to-be in the illustration above. There is so much more to the battle between the enemy of our souls and God than simply looking at our earthly needs. Our earthly needs or the lack thereof is a direct reflection of our spiritual condition. A good example of this is when we struggle financially. Our financial struggles are usually (not always) a symptom of potential disconnect between ourselves and God. Obviously, I have only given you and example since other areas of our lives can also potentially reflect our disconnect from God Himself.

My dear friends, it's always helpful to remind ourselves of the sovereignty of God. Today's post will always serve as a reminder to me and all of you that God has definite and legitimate plan for our lives. The plan is elaborated in Jeremiah 29:11. No matter what it looks like right now in our lives, the words from Jeremiah 29:11 provides us with the assurance that the kind of plan that God has for us is a plan of hope. God, through the Holy Spirit will empower us with the strength and resolve to maintain that hope that God has a plan of deliverance for our lives. 

Thank you so much for reading this far my friends! May God continue to bless you and keep you as you maintain the hope that God will deliver you from the situation you find yourself in! JESUS LOVES YOU AND SO DO I!!!...:-)

Friday, December 6, 2013

Power To Overcome!

Apply your heart unto instruction, and your ears to the words of knowledge. (Prov. 23:12) 

Can't and won't. Christians need to be very careful which one they choose. It seems that we prefer to use "can't." 

"I just can't get along with my wife."
"My husband and I can't communicate."
"I just can't discipline the kids as I should."
"I just can't give up the affair I'm having."
"I can't stop overeating."
"I can't find time to pray." 

Any Christian who takes the Bible seriously will have to agree the word here really should be "won't." Why? Because we have been given the power, the ability to overcome....

We're really saying "I won't," because we don't choose to say "With the help of God, I will!"

                                                        Day by Day with Charles Swindoll 

I have often heard the following song sang so many times in our churches today: This Is How We Overcome. This song just so happens to be one of my personal favorites. In my personal experience, this song is symbolic of the victory we can and will one day achieve in our Christian life experiences. 

As spiritual and emotional fulfilling this song is to us, there are still those of us that experience no more that just an emotional experience from it. As a result, we have a whole bunch of people that walk out of our church services the same or even worse than they came in because only intellectual assent was given to the word "overcome." The harsh reality of not overcoming the various trials we experience will result in being overwhelmed by the adversity of those trials.

What it boils down to is perspective. Can we find upside in adversity? Sure we can! That all depends on the vantage point we find ourselves in. In all honesty, the only way that we will ever get to find any kind of upside in adversity is by lifting our eyes to the One who has the best vantage point of all, God. If we fail to keep our eyes on God, the adversarial circumstances of our lives will no doubt overwhelm us because we would be too caught up in the current of adversity. Before we ever realize it, the adversity that surrounds us will appear to become bigger than God Himself when in all reality it's God Who is and always will be bigger than anything will will face.

Thank you so much for reading this far friends! May God continue to bless you and keep you as He enables you to overcome anything that you are currently facing right now. JESUS LOVES YOU AND SO DO I!!!...:-).

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Real Riches!

 In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Col. 2:3) 

From the looks of things, you're pretty impressive. You've got a nice place. And I suppose your neighbors would agree that you're a hard worker...climbing right on up that ladder toward success, right?...

Your salary is good and your material possessions are growing in number, but...the truth is you are empty on the inside and you're faking it on the outside. Not one thing you own in your "kingdom" has brought you the happiness you long for. So you're thinking, "Maybe if I could land that better job," or "get into that bigger house," or...or....

But don't allow the smoke screen of more money to blind your eyes to the truth. There's a lot more to being rich than making more money. Seneca, the Roman, was right "Money has never yet made anyone rich." Do you want riches? Then listen to Jesus: But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you (Matt. 6:33)

                          For the real riches, try switching kingdoms 

                                                                          Living on the Ragged Edge

I must admit friends. There have been moments when I would laugh hysterically when people are so quick to run to the next "big thing" in an attempt to experience a small measure of success for the sake of getting rich. Do I laugh at the volume of failed attempts? No. To be honest, I find no joy whatsoever in seeing people fail in any endeavor they pursue. I used to be one of those people that pursued the next fad to hit the marketplace because there is so much hype surrounding that product or service. Let's just say that I have been humbled to say the least.

Since we are on the path of not only finding, but experiencing God's wisdom in our lives, it's EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to understand that in order for us to experience the riches God has for us, we MUST first seek Him and then seek out godly counsel to be able to make informed decisions about the kind of endeavor God would want you to pursue. One of the ways of knowing whether or not you are not on the path that God wants you on is the actual confirmation (feedback) you receive from your godly friends, especially those that have already been seasoned in that particular area of influence.  

Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety. (Prov. 11:14) 

Proverbs 11:14 says it all my friends. Please don't make the mistake that I and so many others have made in pursuing the first job or entrepreneurial opportunity that comes along our way without first going to God in prayer and sitting down with a handful of godly friends to provide the biblical advice that will help you make an informed decision based on obedience to God and His Word. 

Thank you so much for reading this far friends! May God continue to bless you and keep you as you endeavor to make godly decisions based on His wisdom and the counsel of godly friends and family! JESUS LOVES YOU AND SO DO I!!!...:-)

Monday, December 2, 2013

The ABC's Of Love!

Hatred stirs up strife: but love covers all sins. (Prov. 10:12) 

"I accept you as you are."
"I believe you are valuable."
"I care when you hurt."
"I desire only what is best for you."
"I erase all offenses." 

We could call that the ABC's of love. I don't know of anybody who would turn his back on such magnetic, encouraging comments. 

There's nothing shallow about authentic love. Nor is it a magic wand we whip out and wave over a problem with a whoosh, hoping all the pain will go away. Real love has staying power. Authentic love is tough love. It refuses to look for ways to run away. It always opts for working through. It doesn't cop out because the sea gets stormy and rough. It's fibrous and resilient.... While the world around us gives the opposite counsel, love stands firm.

                                                                  Dropping Your Guard

Love is often misunderstood and can be quite fickle sometimes. Love, when introduced in the manner that it's meant to be acted on, can be a delightful experience and a blessing to everyone involved. Love, when misunderstood, will have the propensity to create an awkward situation and in some rare instances hostilities will be made resulting in resentment. Love requires wisdom because it's extremely important to not only know, but understand the difference of the various kinds of love and how to apply them in the various circles that God has placed us in.

Thank you so much for reading this far friends! May God continue to bless you and keep you in Jesus' precious name! JESUS LOVES YOU AND SO DO I!!!...:-)