Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Palm Sunday begins the Passion Week of Jesus' life which is the seven days before His crucifixion. I cannot even begin to imagine what was going through the Savior's mind as He knew what type of death that He must die. However Hebrews 12:2 gives us a glimpse of what he was thinking. It says, "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." The Good News translation of this verse gives it more clarity. "Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from beginning to end. He did not give up because of the cross! On the contrary, because of the joy that was waiting for him, he thought nothing of the disgrace of dying on the cross, and he is now seated at the right side of God's throne."
Jesus had joy in his heart at the thought of presenting us His church before the Father. The joy gave Him the strength to endure. William Barclay said this of endurance, "Endurance is not just the ability to endure a hard thing, but to turn it into glory." Hallelujah! The humility of Jesus death on the cross was turned into glory! This is why the scripture tells us to look to Jesus. Don't look at what you are going through. Look to Jesus. His death was turned into glory so that you and I can know that whatever hard thing that we are going through shall be turned into glory!
Another verse that gives strong encouragement through the hard things of life is Romans 8:28, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." Whatever it is that you are going through right now will work out for your good! It's all in the mix; the good, the bad and the ugly! The great Apothecary, Jesus, will take it all, turn it around and transform it into a glorious testimony.
The enemy wants to discourage you and tell you that your hard thing is the worst thing ever. He lies and says that no one else has experienced what you are experiencing to create a sense of despair. If you are feeling like this, you must look to Jesus! Look to the cross! He died so that you could be free from all discouragement, depression and despair. He shed His blood therefore you are free, forgiven and full of His love. So instead of feeling down, look up by faith and see Jesus! He died so you could be free!
As you go through this week keep your eyes fixed and focused on Him. Reflect on the fact that Jesus died so that you could be free. He went through all that He went through so that you get through all that you are going through. So instead of being discouraged, encourage yourself with James 1:2-4, "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing." So my beloved brothers and sisters, look to Jesus and count it all joy! He will perfect that which concerns you!
Until next time...
Love, peace and blessing,
Monday, March 18, 2013
As I sit here on a beautiful beach in Hawaii, my heart swells at the grandeur and beauty of God. Only God could paint this beauty on the canvas of earth for us to enjoy! I am truly grateful to be here to see the Lord's handiwork.
We are also the Lord's handiwork created by Him for good works which He has already prepared beforehand (Ephesians 2:10). Since we are created by Him, like Him and for Him, what is it that we cannot do in Him? We live in such a negative culture that says, "I can't," to the smallest thing. As believers, we must rise above the common fray of the world's negativity and declare, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
This short little verse packs a punch and I am challenging you to bring it into the everyday reality of your life. For example, it has been proven that if a person walks for thirty minutes a day five days a week will improve the overall health of that individual. Some of you reading this may say before even thinking, I can't do that. I don't have time. I don't like to walk. Well, if that is you, I ask, why can't you do it? You might not know why you feel you can't, but truth be told, the reason why YOU can't is because you SAID you can't.
I'm here to tell you that you can walk thirty minutes a day five days a week because you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you! There is nothing you can't do with God's strength infused in you by His Holy Spirit! Think about that verse. If it says you can do ALL things through Christ then it means you can do ALL things through Christ! However, you must take this theology from the recesses of your mind and bring it into the reality of your life and get to walking or doing whatever else that you have said that you can't.
It is in your DNA to do it, and now, there is nothing to it but to do it! I am excited because I am about to live this truth out in my life today and swim across a lagoon. We met some people here who do it regularly and we were inspired to give it a try. When I came out to the beach today with my sister, I told her that the only thing that would prevent us from doing it would be not having a swim cap. Well, the guy who is swimming right now as I write, gave both of swim caps! Excuse is eliminated! Lagoon swim here we come!
As he was going for his swim, the last thing he said was, "The time to do it is now." I could have turned a cartwheel in the sand at his words! The time is now to do the thing that you have been saying that you can't do! Don't say that you can't because you can. You can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens you.
So what are you waiting for? Start walking, running, writing, sewing, drinking water, making music, living right or any other thing that you may feel you can't. I am here to tell you there is nothing that you cannot do in God! Yes you can do ALL things through Christ. The time is now to employ your faith. There is nothing left now but to do it, and when you do, don't forget to give God the glory for He is the one who gave you the strength to do it!
Well, until next time. I'm off to prepare to swim the lagoon! Whoo hoooo!
Love, peace and blessings,
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
It is in every human being to know what to do. When you don't know what to do you know to ask someone what to do. For example, we have all heard of "maternal instinct." There is no manual on how to be a mom, but every mother instinctively knows how to nurture her children. How do mom's instinctively know? Where does this instinct come from?
It comes from three little letters that stand for a really big word. I know about this little lettered big word, but I needed to do some research to bring clarity to myself for the sake of what I am going to share with you. I discovered that it's simple and complex at the same time. However, when you understand the pragmatics of how it pertains to you, spiritually, it will change your life.
Ok, so, these three little letters, DNA, stand for deoxyribonucleic acid. It is found in the nucleus of every cell and carries the genetic code for all living things. The genetic code carries the instructions for everything humans need to grow, develop and live. I told you, it was simple and complex! Stick with me! Biology class has just ended. You are about to see how it all applies to you.
The Bible says in Matthew 25:14-15, "For the kingdom of heaven is as a man traveling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey." Notice that all three of the servants received talents according to their ability. Once they received the talents, the master went his own way.
This is incredible! They were all given talents and the master just left! They were not given any instructions on what to do with the talents. Now read what they did with what they were given. "Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord's money. After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them" (Matthew 25:16-19).
The two did something with what they were given. How did they know what to do? It was in their DNA! They had, you have instinct for increase! This parable is teaching that when you are given something, you ought to instinctively know to increase it. When you are serving in any area of ministry as a leader, and come to a place where you don't know what to do, your instinct should kick in and tell you what to do.
Unfortunately, many in the body of Christ function like the third slave. "“ Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’ “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed" (Matthew 25:24-16). This servant was afraid so he hid the talent. As a result, the master called him wicked and lazy. In the servants mind, his fear justified why he hid the talent. The master only heard a weak excuse because he allowed fear to hinder his instinct to increase. He may have been afraid, but he still had instinct. Fear and laziness kept him from doing what was in him to do.
The spiritual application of the story is this. You don't always need instruction. Sometimes you ought to do what you know to do. Each servant was given an opportunity to no longer be a servant, but a son. Wherever you are serving in your church, working on your job or at home, your position is requiring you to increase what you have been given. The choice is now yours. Don't allow fear and laziness hinder your God-given instinct for increase. I charge you to rise up and be a son. Son's don't need commands. They just need an opportunity to increase.
Let this teaching penetrate your heart and mind so that you can function in the full capacity that your were created to function. You were created to increase. It is in your DNA. You have instinct for increase! Until next time, opportunity awaits!
Love, peace and blessing,
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
A few months ago, I certified to become a Zumba instructor. Right after that, I went through the process to get my Group Exercise Certification. It was a process for both, and there was something that was required of me to receive the certifications. The same thing that was required for the certifications is also required of every born-again believer who desires to be righteous representatives of a risen Savior! That thing is discipline.
The Bible says in 2 Timothy 2:15, "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." The first word in this verse lets us know that casual perusing of scripture is not enough. In order to be a approved workman who rightly divides the word of truth you have to study. And study takes discipline.
When I was preparing for the group exercise certification I had to study. Every day I took time out to go over the material by reviewing, rehearsing and reciting it to pass the test. Believer's must do the same thing. We must review, rehearse and recite the Word of God and live it, that we would be right representatives of the Lord Jesus Christ. It cannot be a casual reading or cramming of the word of God. We must study and then take what we have studied and bring it into the reality of our every day lives. And this my friends, takes discipline.
So at this point you must ask, "Am I disciplining myself to study and live the Word of God?" It's a simple, yet valid question because many Christians have succumb to the spirit of the age and have become false advertisers of the truth they say they study. They have become F.A.T. Christians because of a lack of discipline to study and live the truth they say they believe.
"Fat," is such a strong word, and no one overweight likes to be referred to as "fat." So, instead they use words such as, fluffy, full figured or thick. Well, whatever word you chose, the bottom line is that when a person is overweight it is a public display of lack of discipline. Spiritually speaking, when a Christian does not live this gospel they say they believe, it is largely due to a lack of discipline.
If you have been living life as a F.A.T. Christian because of a lack of discipline, today is the day to repent and make the midterm corrections. Start with 2 Timothy 2:15 and begin to study the Word of God. Meditate, marinate and muse of the truths in the Bible. Allow it to transform your life so that you can become an approved workman by bringing glory to God in your everyday living. As you purpose to apply what you are studying, you will surely see almost immediate result; and that my brothers and sisters will definitely please the heart of the Father.
Love, peace and blessing,
Friday, March 1, 2013
I am so excited about this love message. We really can love like God! The key is to apply the keys to unlock God's love in our hearts so that we can be living epistles of His love! If we don't apply what we learn, it will forever go down in history as information. If we apply what we learn, the information will become revelation and everyone will see the manifestation of the information that we have learned. Glory!
Yesterday we looked at the first key which was love your enemy. Today we will look at the next two keys to perfect our love life. I'm excited and expecting lives to be forever changed! We can love like God.
The second key is love first. 1 John 4:19 says we love Him because He first loved us. While we were yet deep in our sins, Christ died for us. That's love! He came, lived, died and rose again, before we even acknowledged who He was. He showed that He loved us first, by letting us know that His love for us was unconditional.
So the pragmatics of the second key is love first. It's that simple. You be the first one to show love, forgive, give, say hello etc. I'm telling you that if you love first instead of waiting to be loved, it will transform your life! Our selfish nature wants to be loved first so it tends to be a little hesitant at times in giving it out. However, Jesus already loved us first, so we can love first too.
The third key is a simple four word sentence. Love is a command. It is not a suggestion or something that we can just take or leave. No. The Bible says in Matthew 22:36-40, "Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."
The word "commandment" is in this text three times. It is to reiterate the fact to all believers that love is not a suggestion, but a command. With that said, What are we waiting for? To obey the command to love, displays a believer's love for the Lord. It says in John 14:15, "If you love me keep my commandments." 1 John 5:3 says, "For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. As you can see, to love is to keep God's commandments and those commandments are not grievous or bad.
I pray that this helps your love life with God, yourself and everybody else. You now have the keys to walk in love and display that you are truly His disciple. Remember, the key to the keys is to apply them to your everyday life. So the next time your love life is challenged, remember; love your enemy, love first and love is a command!
Love, peace and blessing,