In The Fire But Not Burned

person holding lighter

Have you ever had a moment where you knew that God was speaking, moving, changing situations and circumstances on your behalf? Maybe it was a job promotion, a prayed-for pregnancy, a needed friendship in a time of trouble, or an unexpected check from a stranger. Maybe something awful happened, and yet you saw God’s hand in it. I knew of a couple that had a miscarriage and a few months later their best friend died and left her baby girl behind and they adopted her. You never know what God can do and how he can move even in the midst of what seems to be an awful situation. Be rest assured that God’s protection and his hand is always over the righteous- those whom he called children.

 

Just a few days ago, I was driving back late from a friend’s house and I was driving careful. The weather was muggy and it was dark. I didn’t see anything alarming and all of the sudden a heard an explosive thud on the side of my driver’s side. The noises ricochet from the driver’s side all the way down my entire vehicle. I looked back in my rearview to see what had taken a hit. Sure enough, there was a deer flipped over, legs kicking, and cars behind me going around it.

 

I braced myself for the damage that had been done to my car. My car was still drivable and I was less than 2 miles from my home. I drove the car home and immediately got out. I had prayed the whole way that there would be no damage to my car. I was shocked and utterly amazed to see that there were no dings or even a single scratch to my car at all. Some deer hair had been left behind on both drivers’ side wheels and deer fur was sticking to the side of the car.

 

But, there was absolutely no damage! How amazing is our God! My car should have had damage from the impact. But, alas it did not. My mother was amazed by the story and said that she had just prayed protection over me about 30 minutes before the incident! The power of prayer and the protection of God, I believe is what saved my car from being damaged.

 

Psalm 91:4 (The Message Version) says, “His huge outstretched arms protect you – under them you’re perfectly safe; his arms fend off all harm.”

 

This month of November, we are focusing on a few truths about God’s protection in our lives.

 

First, there is power of protection in prayer that cannot be dismissed. (Psalm 34:7 The Message Version) “God’s angel sets up a circle of protection around us while we pray.”

 

Second, when we pray we set thousands of angels to flight and where two or three are gathered in his presence and ask anything according to His will, it shall be done. (Psalm 91:9 The Message Version) “You who sit down in the High God’s presence, spend the night in Shaddai’s shadow, Say this: “God, you’re my refuge. I trust in you and I’m safe! That’s right—he rescues you from hidden traps, shields you from deadly hazards. His huge outstretched arms protect you—under them you’re perfectly safe; his arms fend off all harm.

 

And lastly, when we truly understand and get revelation that God is our source, our protector and our shield, we won’t live and respond from a spirit of fear, but we will respond with a spirit of sound-mind and a spirit of love. (Proverbs 14:30 The Message Version) “A sound mind makes for a robust body, but runaway emotions corrode the bones.”

 

When faced with a situation it can be very easy to get worried, to panic, to assume, and to run away from the fear of the unknown. But dear Christ follower, you are called to live from a place of power and authority. And prayer gives you the direct access to the Father of the Universe. He is a Father who is always looking out for and protecting his children even from things that we cannot see in the natural.

 

If you are currently not a Christ follower and you want this peace and protection that is offered to you by Jesus over your life, come and ask him to be Lord over your life.

 

In His love we are made new!

 

 

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Greatness Is Costly But Worth It

woman beside river between buildings

It is good as a believer to understand that there is a cost for following Christ. It might not always be easy. There may in fact be stumbling blocks, mistakes, heartache, and misunderstanding, then you ask yourself IS it worth it? As we review some of the characters in the Bible that endured suffering, our prayer should be to allow the finished work of Christ to carry us through to completion and to finish strong the race to which we have been called.

All of the great men and women that we look up to in the Bible had weaknesses. Just look a Noah, he was afraid to build a huge boat and close the doors off to the rest of the world, but in the end he obeyed and completed his finished work as God commanded. David messed up bad. And I mean really bad. He had someone killed because of not wanting to be found out about his adulterous affair. YET God still used him and went down in history as one of the mightiest of kings during Biblical times. King Solomon known as the wisest king to ever live was King David’s son. King Solomon lost himself to his riches and his thousands of wives. The Bible records that at the end of his life, he saw all that he possessed as meaningless. You may recall, Jonah was afraid to go the save people that hated God so he ran. He ran straight into the belly of a whale … three days later he was given a second chance. Peter was a hot head and cursed a time or two in his life. He was always picking fights with people who came against Jesus. Heck, he even denied Jesus three times, and yet he too was forgiven.

This month of October, we are focusing on a few key points. We have to remember as imperfect humans, we will inevitably make mistakes while living in this life to serve our perfect God:

Secondly, Jesus died for us while we were yet sinners. (Romans 5:8) There is absolutely nothing that we could have done to have earned that kind of love. We have been called out of darkness into the light. We have been given the privilege to sit at the feet of Christ … we are one with Him. . (Romans 8:29)

Thirdly, our sanctification is secure and it will be carried on to completion of every good work that was started in us until the day that Christ Jesus returns (Philippians 1:6) This means that we do not have to fear that Christ will give up on us as we continue to pursue after His heart and will for our lives.

Lastly, when we truly understand and get revelation when accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. He paid it all… His yoke is easy (Matthew 11:29-30)

When faced with a difficult situation it can be very scary to learning how to let go and let God. This is why we must train ourselves to trust God with every decision, so that He may lead us to the desires of heart as He planned right from the beginning of time.

Christ follower, do not fret when difficulty arises, but instead rejoice that these things are happening to you. Instead, be very glad … for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world. (See 1 Peter 4:12-13 The Message Version)

If you are currently not a Christ follower, come and enjoy God’s promises for your life today.

To Him Be the Glory!

 

Egypt in Us

Do you remember hearing the story about the children of Israel and how they were delivered out of bondage from Egypt? Do you remember how God delivered them from slavery through Moses? The story talks about how the Israelites walked out of slavery and walked into the desert, which may have appeared to many perhaps as another very hopeless situation. For many people this probably sounds and appears strange that God would take his chosen people from bondage to a desert where there there would be no food or water. The truth be told after years of captivity, the Israelites appeared and spoke like Egyptians. They acted like the Egyptians and according to scripture in all honesty the Israelites basically had lost their identity and knowing the absolute GREATNESS of their God. God knew the Israelites would have to be cleansed of their Egyptian mindset. He knew He had to get Egypt out of them just as he knows He has to get the Egypt out of us! In other words, anything in our life that exhausts itself in place of or that is contrary to His Word has to be uprooted.

If we are honest, we can all admit there are times in our lives as a Christian or as a non-believer, that our past may haunt us into believing we are going backward in our thinking and actions, when in fact it is one of the oldest tricks of the enemy. Sometimes we can be triggered by certain smells, tastes, or the touch of an individual that mesmerizes or allures us into recounting a past hurt. Whether we choose to accept this concept or not, this bondage that crips our spiritual consciousness has to be uprooted and replaced with truth. The truth is there will always be an enemy lurking to distract us from the will of God.

Sometimes, familiar or past experiences feel better to us versus taking the next steps towards our future, which can often feel scary. It is during those scary times or times of uncertainty, we are placed in unique situations for the purpose of learning how to trust our heavenly Father. During our seasons of learning, how to stretch our faith, it is during those times we learn God our Father will never leave nor forsake us!. For the Israelites, it may have seemed to them God had abandoned them … because they found themselves in a situation where they had to totally rely on Him for food, shelter and protection against the Egyptians. As it may appear and feel to us during our seasons of stretching. What it really comes down to is the Egypt in us is a mindset or perspective that prevents us from seeing challenging circumstances as great moments in times to soar. When we realize that God shows up to show out, He will always do what no man or woman can ever do.

It is extremely important that we don’t let ourselves become blinded by physical attributes of our past, which can sometimes be played over and over again through social media or listening to music that suggests things were better when … we didn’t try to make things better. To get the Egypt in us out of us, we have to intentionally engage our heart and mind to focus on those things that edify the one who created us, which will positively reinforce and rehearse that our best life is always in front of us if we believe! Truthfully, the children of Israel spent more time complaining than giving thanks to God for having been delivered out of slavery. We to must choose not to become preoccupied with the business complaining. When we change our perspective / mindset, we change our future, because blessings are all around when we BELIEVE!

Somewhere before the Promise

Joshua 21:45 reminds us, “Not one of the good promises which the Lord had spoken to the house of Israel failed; all had come to pass.” The truth of the matter is the promises of God are sometimes manifested after a storm in life or in the midst of the storm such as: the lost of a love one, sickness or a financial obstacle. Each of us is awaiting a promise. Perhaps, your promise is a word that was spoken over you when you were a child, pertaining to your future spouse. Whether your promise came to you in a form of a reoccuring dream or a parent’s prophetic word, the outcome depended upon your perception and understanding of the power of God.

Our belief system is the backbone of our successes in life. We need only believe in our heart for whatever it is and it will come to pass. Maybe your promise is a place you long to visit. Maybe, you and your spouse are believing for a child. Whatever, you are believing for, in order for these promises to come into fruition there has to be a renewing or a change in your thought process. In other words, there has to be a transformation in the way we think, act and speak. This is known as your ‘WHY’. Life is full of detours. The detours of life always involve a series of tests that prepare us to receive the promises of God. These detours or mishaps in life rarely are pleasant and are usually unescapable. The detours or mishaps should be viewed as vitally needed spiritual training.

When we understand our ‘WHY’ it empowers us to change our perspective for truly understanding and receiving the promises of God known as the ‘Blessings’ of God. We learn what is meant by, “ keeping the main thing the main thing”. We pray and wait! Waiting in this instance figuratively speaking not literally. We should always be working towards our dreams and ambitions with a spirit of expectancy. Expecting the promise of God to be fulfilled in our life and in our family’s life does not mean we stop and do nothing. No contrary to popular believe, we should always be walking and working with a vision in sight. We MUST learn how to discipline our thoughts by learning how to remain single or laser focused, even if feels like all hell is breaking out around you! Keep your goals in sight, knowing faith without work is dead. Philippians 4:18-19 states, “I have received FULL PAYMENT and have MORE THAN ENOUGH. I am AMPLY SUPPLIED … “This scripture is a reminder, THERE WAS AND IS FULL PAYMENT AND WE HAVE MORE THAN ENOUGH.

Your promise will come, if YOU believe! Our God supplies ALL our needs!. We need only trust and obey. We don’t need the promise to validate us. We’ve been validated by the promise maker. Whatever promise you’re believing and waiting for, know you have it!. We must keep putting one foot in front of the other and allow the process to work in and through us. We are being changed or transformed daily from the inside out out. It’s called the renewing of our mind and the way we act.. Simply put, “Somewhere Before The Promise can best be interpreted, God cares most about the condition of our heart. He knows our thoughts are a reflection of the condition of our heart. Therefore, change the trajectory of your thought life then you will come to see and understand there are Blessings All Around When You Believe!

The Heroes in Your Life

boy child clouds kid

“The Heroes in Your Life”

Who do you admire or look up to? In other words who are the heroes in your life? It’s fair to say, if we will admit it, most of us have at least one person we look up to for advice because trust or value their opinion. That special person knows exactly what to say and do to make us laugh, cry or ponder about a major decision. For some, it might be a parent or a grandparent, a coach, a trusted friend, an entertainer, an athlete, a pastor of a local church or a teacher. My “sher-o” or special person who I admired and looked up to was my grandmother.

She taught me everything; especially as it pertains to keeping my home loving and orderly. I spent countless hours watching my grandmother command the kitchen’s every detail. My grandmother had a very interestingly graceful way of making cooking appear fun and easy. While spending time in the kitchen with her, she’d mead the dough for rolls all while having a very simple or in depth conversation with me about whatever was on my mind. Our conversations sometimes would last for hours. I assisted her with the preparation and serving of grand meals for our entire family.

Perhaps for you, It might have been your elementary school teacher because she was nice and always smiled. How about your best friend in college? You may have watched him or her succeed at everything they attempted, or won national championships in the sport they dedicated their lives to.

Heroes are all around us. They are the people that we aspire to become. Our heroes are those special individuals who possess gifts and attributes that help us set our trajectory of how we hope our life will one day turn out.

The problem with this truth is we are looking at a man or a woman rather than our Father who is in heaven. When we replace His love or displace our love and affection to looking at a moral man or woman (or anything else for that matter!) we are allow those persons or things to rob us of our relationship with God, which is a form of idolatry. The word idolatry means: excess devotion to, or reverence of some person or thing. Reverence by definition means: tinged with awe.

Each of us are born with a basic desire to be loved and accepted. Problems arise when we look to another human being as an example or god of success. It is a perfectly natural desire to experience relationships and community. The problem comes in when we care more about our external relationships around us than we do our relationship with the Lord.

Placing a person, place, or thing in the driver’s seat, which can be viewed as a our hero has to be proceeded with caution. Reverence for anything over God in your life can easily become an idol. While, I must confess my grandmother was my “sher-o”, it was many years later and she had gone home to be with the Lord that I came full circle to understand nothing or no one can ever be place ahead of my Father who is in heaven.

The truth of the matter is we must continually guard our heart and motive behind who we desire to pattern our life after. Most importantly, we must always keep Christ at the forefront of our hearts never losing sight of him as our first love. John 8:32 says, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” This is a truth that we all need to be reminded of at times.

Having heroes in our life is NOT wrong. It’s about place value in heart and life. Psalm 3:2-6 states, “But you, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high. I call out to the LORD, and he answers me from his holy mountain. I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me. I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me on every side.” This is a reminder, our help comes from the Lord and He alone sustains us. He is our hero and He MUST be first in our lives.

Choose This Day

Life is all about choices. Our choices are directly related to our quality of life. Every decision we make impacts our life in some way or another.  According to Sam Silverstein, “Our choices affect our thoughts and our thoughts affect who we are”. It is because every choice is followed by a consequence. These consequences are a reflection of good or evil; positive or negative; healthy and / or unhealthy outcomes. In life, there will be those situations that are completely out of our hands. While we may not be able to control what happens, we CAN control how we react or respond to life’s most challenging situations. When we learn and teach our self how to accept the bitter with the sweet, it will make us stronger. The negative situations or circumstances we experience in our life either make us bitter, or make us better. It’s all comes down to: choices, perspectives and consequences. When we allow negative energy to fester, it intercepts the growth of a better version of ourselves. Whether it’s a negative relationship, loss of a love one, a bad church experience, job demotion or job loss disapproval, discontent and despair are real feelings, which is why God’s Word has to be our refuge. Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. In other words, a change in perspective is the power to change the outcome.

God knew us before we were in our mother’s womb. He knew seasons would come that would stretch our faith. Bottom line bad things are going to happen in this life. As a matter of fact, Jesus warned us, but He also promised, “Take heart! For I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Moreover, while living on this earth we have the opportunity to live an abundant life HERE and NOW. The abundant life Jesus promised us is seeing goodness in every situation regardless of what it may look like. Our freedom can only be found in Christ it’s a place of love, joy, peace and contentment. It all comes down to your faith. What are you believing? Whose report are you going to believe? Our choices, perspectives and consequences are symptoms of a much bigger picture. Choose this day to acknowledge the fullness of our Lord. Our Creator wants only the best for us. We need only OBEY and BELIEVE by FAITH … we have whatever we ask. Remember, it is not in our timing we receive, but in His perfect timing. Brothers and sisters, we need only keep the main thing the main thing!

You are blessed to be a blessing … Agape.

A Matter of the Heart

“You, my brothers and sisters were called to be free. Do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather serve one another humbly in love” Gal. 5:15. Loving people through good times and bad times; means mastering the art of building up others! It has nothing to do with ethnicity or color! It’s a matter of the heart! In this dark broken world many are blind and can only see black or white particularly as it pertains to race, social class, privilege, gender, and other divisive categories. It’s so easy to get caught up in outward appearances. In truth, it all comes down to a matter of the heart. Our heart houses our true value.  In the midst of what’s now being called the “me too” movement, pro-police advocates, and anti-police/ anti-authority advocates, we are literally living in the generation of false prophets and people consumed by their own false sense of freedom versus the spirit of truth.

This evil false sense of reality has made God’s people powerless in their quest to set the captives free.  Our truth, we are world changers called to impact this world by walking in love and spreading the good news, which is the truth about Jesus; his birth, his crucifixion and his death. We need only look around us! The time is now for adjusting our thinking so we can see how we can best serve the people around us rather than our own selfish desires. Choosing to live by kingdom principals; selfless versus a selfish life opens our eyes to understanding God’s abundant grace and mercy for us as His children. We are then able to fully exercise our power and authority in the earth.

“Therefore, I urge you brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice holy and pleasing to God. This is your true and proper worship.” Romans 12:1. We live in a society where we are taught at a very early age to mask or hide our pain and suffering. In other words, displaying any sign of discomfort, pain or strife is perceived as weak, thus making it very difficult for us to know or understand what it means to be in touch with one’s true feelings. In truth, the skeletons in our closet keep us bound. It’s only when exposed and bought to the light that true freedom can be felt. Take a moment to think about a time when you or someone you loved kept what you both perceived to be a bad dreaded secret, just between the two of you. How did you feel? Did you ever get physically sick at the mere thought of the secret? The fact of the matter is as long as you kept that secret hidden or in the dark, nothing positive or negative became of it, but the instant that secret was uncovered, that’s when things changed. The real truth of the matter is God created us because He loves us and He wants a continual lifelong relationship with us.

He never intended for us to keep things hidden from Him. We are supposed to expose any thought or action that promotes a spirit of fear. This is why it is so vitally imperative we humble ourselves to loving and serving others.  Real freedom is truly liberating when we begin the journey of studying God’s word The Holy Bible, only then by taking the steps necessary for living a guilt-free and shameless life, which comes through faith in believing in the blood sacrifice of Jesus. Loving people in good times and bad times has everything to do with trusting the God spirit in us to share gifts and faults with one another. In the Holy Bible the book of James in chapter five verse sixteen states, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” When we realize we were created to have relationship with the Father and each other, it’s then that we begin to understand our purpose and destiny. “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.” I Peter 4:8.

When we open our heart to be sensitive to others, we tap into synergy. This fuels or empowers us supernaturally to be able see and understand everything around us from a completely different perspective. This synergy of supernatural power is birthed out of our heart’s desire to buildup others during their darkest hour. I received my healing when began training myself to focus on giving away what I needed for myself: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. In learning how to truly love others, simple acts of obedience and a selfless agenda has bought me joy beyond my wildest dreams. Young or old each of us yearns to be loved, this can only be accomplished or satisfied through our social, emotional and spiritual relationships with our Father in heaven and the people around us. Serving our neighbor is love personified and truly a matter of the heart and it is the ultimate “game changer”.