Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Going the extra mile!

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 "For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better.Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you." (Phil 1:23-24)

                        Are you willing to go the extra mile for the Lord? We go the extra mile for friends, family and even in our jobs, but are you willing to go the extra mile for Jesus? The Apostle Paul had to make a decision. While he was in prison suffering for Jesus, he was faced with a choice. A choice that had major implications and would impact future generations. 
                       The Apostle Paul wanted to go home and be with the Lord. He, probably, spent his days daydreaming about heaven. Imagine being chained in a dungeon and having rats as his companions. Imagine spending cold or hot nights in that dungeon. You could understand why he had a desire to depart. 
             In the midst of his circumstances, he decided to sacrifice his own desire to be in heaven and remain on earth for a while longer. Why? Not because of himself, but because of the love he had for his fellow brethren. Thank God, he chose the latter because we would not have had the rest of the epistles. Did you know that you can extend your life by faith? You don't have to settle for que sera, sera.
             Imagine the power to tell death---Not now, I have a job to fulfill. Yes, the Apostle Paul could have rested on his laurels. He could have said--I did what I needed to do, but no, he chose to go the extra mile! Why? The love of God constrained him to do it. Friends, that is why it is important that you understand the importance of fulfilling your calling. Each one of us has a calling. In fact, some of you may be willing to go the extra mile when you find out what you are called for. 
      Take the ministry of helps. The ministry of helps is one in which you clean the church, mop the floors and, at times, work in the kitchen serving food. It is not a job in which you are noticed, but God sees what you are doing. I have, personally, seen the brethren spend long hours into the night, making sure the church needs are met. These people are special. They are the ones who, after a church concert, are cleaning up and making sure things are in order.
        If you are faithful in the little things, the Lord will promote you. Philip was a deacon who was later promoted to evangelist. (1) The Lord used Philip in a great way and he'll do the same with you, if you are willing to go the extra mile. Are you willing to go the extra mile and spend more time in prayer for your Pastor? Are you willing to put a muzzle in your mouth and stop criticizing the Pastor? Pastors are human and make mistakes. It is so easy to criticize the Pastor, but try doing his/her job for a week or so and you will see that its hard work!
            So, friend, ask God to show you how you can go the extra mile. Let the love of Christ build up in you so that going the extra mile won't be a burden but be a joy. Remember as you give of yourself and your time, your labor of love won't be in vain. Who knows? Your actions could impact history and future generations to come. God bless. 

Prayer---Father, Thank you for speaking to me. Forgive me if I have been selfish. Help me to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge. Help me to grow in grace and perfect my love walk. Show me what is my calling and place in the body, so I can better serve you. In doing so, help me to go the extra mile and glorify you. In Jesus Name---AMEN! 

Scriptures: (1) Acts 6:5, Acts 8
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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Is Tomorrow promised to us?

                                         My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee. (Prov 3:1-2)

                                Death! It is a reality. Should the Lord tarry his coming, all of us are going to die. The question is when? Nobody likes to talk about death, but we face it every day. The death of a friend or loved one. The death of a well known personality. People are dying every day around the world, but one thing I want to address and that is about the statement---Tomorrow is not promised to us.
                          Allow me to burst your bubble and, at the same time, bring you some good news---Tomorrow can be promised to you! If you look at the above verses (Prov 3:1-2), you will find that following God's ways will lead to long life and that was under the Old covenant! The word says that we have a new covenant with new and better promises (1). So, friend, If you are a Christian and walk in the ways of the Lord, tomorrow can be promised to you!
                        Did you know that you can die before your time? That is a fact. Let's look at the verse below...
                       " Be not over much wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou die before thy time?" (Ecc 7:17) 
            From what I read in this verse, you can die before your time. Why? Be cause wickedness and foolishness will cut years from your life. Brethren, God wants us to have a long life and serve him. In fact, living long will satisfy the Lord.(2) The other question is why do people die young? First, a lack of knowledge(3). What you don't know can kill you. Second, if you are not a Christian, tomorrow is not promised to you. You do not have a covenant with God. God is not obligated to give you long life. Third, the word says we walk by faith and not by sight.(4). The fact that a Christian dies young does not negate the word. His promises still stands. 
                   A good example to this is II Peter 3:9. God is not willing that people die and perish in their sins, but everyday people die and go to hell. The sad fact is that they don't have to. Receiving Jesus is the key(5), but God respects the human will. The same holds true for all of his promises. We have to receive the word and then act on it. Faith without works is dead.(6)
                    We have got to stop looking at God's ways as just a bingo game. People say that when your number is up, that's it! Well, allow me to disagree. When you have a calling to fulfill--You should not die before fulfilling your calling. All of us in the body have a calling to fulfill and that is a fact. Look at the verse below----

"  The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints" (Eph 1:18) 

                  It is a sad fact that the majority of good, spirit-filled Christians do not know their calling. It is even sadder that a large group of them, actually, die without knowing their calling. God's wants us to know his will for our lives. Ask God to reveal his calling to your life and how to fulfill it. Pray the prayer of Ephesians over yourself everyday and I assure you---You will find your calling and place in the Lord! 
               So in this morning, know that you have a calling to fulfill. Know that until you fulfill your calling, tomorrow is indeed promised to you! I want to challenge you in this day---If you are not a Christian and you are reading this, you can enjoy life to the fullest! Write a new page in your life and accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Pray the prayer in this link and step into the most exciting adventure of your life! ( Make Jesus the Lord of your life today while there is still time--God bless! 

Prayer: Dear Lord, Thank you for speaking to me in this day. Thank you that you want to show me your calling for my life. Lord, show me what is my calling and my inheritance in the saints. Help me to fulfill my calling and forgive me for speaking foolish things. I bind every foolish word that I have spoken and render it void and useless. I declare in this day that my tomorrow is promised and I will fulfill your calling and purposes for my life. In Jesus name---Amen! 

(1) Heb 8:6
(2) Ps 91:16
(3) Hosea 4:6
(4) I Cor 5:7
(5) John 1:12
(6) James 2:20


Monday, July 29, 2013

Get a hold on God's rest!

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That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth." (Deut 11:21) 

                        Happiness in life! Who doesn't want it? Well, friends, I have good news----God wants you to be happy and enjoy good things. We have a religion of gloom and doom. It is a sad state of affairs when we hear that we have to have it tough and be unhappy until we get to heaven. Nothing could be further than the truth! Please do not misunderstand me--We are going to go through tough times and tribulations in our lives. On that same token, we need to bear in mind that there will be moments in which God will give us a piece of heaven and have us enjoy life here on earth!
                   The apostle Paul was a happy man even though he was in jail. (Acts 26:2) Why? Because he considered himself a prisoner of the Lord. His mind was not focused on his circumstances. The word of God tells us that we have the MIND OF CHRIST. In other words, when we allow our thoughts to be captured and conformed to the word of God, that is when we will see results. Circumstances should not dictate our level of joy. 
                     Yes, Paul suffered. He was, no doubt, whipped and put in a dungeon. He was, also, chained to two soldiers and probably had rats as his companions. Paul did not allow this to deter him from the joy of the Lord. As he focused his mind on Christ, his circumstances changed. Soon, he was given favor with the soldiers as he won them to Christ. 
                       Afterwards, he gained some freedom to fellowship and even went to church. Eventually, he was put under house arrest and enjoyed life to the fullest. God can make your prison "Heaven", if you let him. Lately, we are hearing news that we may be thrown in jail for our beliefs in America. Fret not. If such a thing happens, be happy as Paul was. As we follow Paul's example and win our captors for Christ, our prison can become heaven. 
                 Another funny example is a Christian preacher who had the nickname Pinguin. He was mean as a rattle snake and was a menace to society. Soon, his ways caught up with him and was arrested. The judge threw the book at him and he was to spend many years in jail.
             To make a long story short, somehow he got saved. Soon, he started a ministry in prison and won souls, but something strange happened. His superiors and parole board noticed that he had changed and gave him an early release. But, it gets funnier! He refused to get out of jail. 
                  He was so involved in saving souls and ministry that he wanted to stay. The authorities had to "arrest" him. In doing so, they got him out of jail and into the civilian world. Maybe you are in a prison. Maybe you are in torment and see no way out. I've come to tell you that your misery can be your ministry! Take Paul's example and be a happy person. Refuse to let life's circumstances dictate your joy! 

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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Is God in control?

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                        "  I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live"  (Deut 30:19)  
                              Have you ever heard the saying---"God's in control?" People will use that saying in the midst of trials and testing, but is that really true? Many times, we hear people say----"I cannot believe in a God who allows bad things to happen to innocent people. Where was God in the Sandy Hook killings? Why did those children have to die?" Then, we would have answers like----"God's ways are mysterious and we cannot figure them out." While tragedies like this happens and people have a hard time coping, we need to, nevertheless, find answers to why bad things happens to innocent people.
            First, we live in a fallen world. Since Adam sinned and bowed his knees to Satan, it opened the door for tragedies that has affected innocent lives through the centuries. The good news is this---There is an answer and its Jesus! He died for our sins and has provided a way to answer life's toughest questions. Let's start with analyzing Deut 30:19. As we study this verse, we find that there are two witnesses---Heaven and Earth. Some important words are spoken here and it is to our advantage that we pay attention to this.
             This verse speaks of choices---Life and death. Blessing and cursing. Everyday we are faced with choices. What to eat for breakfast. What to wear to go to work, but friend, we have the choice to choose life or death. You may say--That's easy. Serve the Lord and live right for the day. That, in itself is true, but it goes deeper than that. 

                 " Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof." (Prov 18:21)

                    Did you know that you can be blessed by your words? This is not some new age teaching as some claim, but it is God's word! Many times, we listen to the news and hear of the high crime statistics. We, also, allow fear to dictate to us what to do. For example, many in America do not go to night services on Sunday because of the fear of becoming a crime victim. Brethren, thoughts are going to come to us. Everyday, whether you believe it or not, we will have bad or even crazy thoughts come to us. We need to take control of those thoughts and allow the mind of Christ to flow through us.
                When we allow the thought of fear to come to our minds, we need to grab a hold of our mouth. Why? Because if you speak your thoughts, you shall have what you say. Jesus said in Matt 6:31 to take no thought saying...
In other words, don't speak those thoughts. Don't say for example---"I don't go to church for fear of becoming a crime victim." Instead, say to yourself---I have the angels of God surrounding me because I am an heir of Salvation. In Jesus name--Amen! 
                 If we want God to be in control, we must do our part. He did his part by sending his son to the cross. He did his part when he gave his back to his tormentors and purchased healing for us. He did his part when he gave us all things pertaining to life and godliness. (II Peter 1:3). Now, we have to do our part and that is to use our tongue to speak life or death!
                     In fact, we as a body need to take out time to pray in the spirit. I know that we cannot avoid tragedies world wide, but we can make a difference in our circle of family, friends, community and even our nation. I am convinced that due to the prayers in the body is the reason that we have not had an attack of the magnitude of 9-11. In fact, many terrorist plots have been averted due to the power of prayer. 
                     Prayer is so important that it can change the course of history. In World War II, America was losing important battles against the powerful Nazi machines. Hitler had the best minds and technology. America was on its way to defeat, but it wasn't until the wives and mothers got on their knees. When that happened, America and its allies rose up to victory. 
                      That is why the Bible says to pray without ceasing. When you pray God's word in your prayers, something happens. Faith starts to rise up and before you know it, you are on your way to victory. So use your tongue and let God be in control! Start speaking life and blessing today! 

Prayer--Dear Lord, Forgive me if I have talked foolishly. Help me to control my tongue. Help me to speak life and blessing over my circumstances. I bind every word of unbelief and fear. I put it under my feet. I declare that this day, I am more than a conqueror. This day, I confess that I delight to do your will. This day, I confess that I love righteousness and hate iniquity. This day, I have more than enough to pay my bills. This day, I walk in divine healing and sickness and disease have no place in me. I have the mind of Christ and I make the right decisions each and every day. Thank you,Lord, for giving me the victory in this day. In Jesus name--Amen! 

Scripture reading---Deut 30

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Love of God!

                                                    Me and my granddaughter Kathy

"....And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God."  (Eph 3:19) 

                   This past July the fourth was one to remember for us. Our son Josh, his wife and granddaughter Kathy came from Florida to Virginia. We had a ball and spent some time together. As I ponder upon this, I find that life is so precious. Life passes us by at a very fast pace and we, sometimes, take our loved ones for granted. 
                   I have learned to savor life and take advantage of moments like this. A few weeks ago, my parents came to visit us. That, too, was precious. We tend to see our parents as towers of strength and think that they will, always, be with us. My time spent with my parents, especially my mother taught me otherwise. I noticed my mom had aged and had trouble walking. Time waits for no one. 
                   Getting back to my time with my granddaughter, something touched me deep in my heart. I noticed the love she had for me. When she arrived to spend some time with me, she told me that she missed me. With that statement, she smiled and gave me a hug. The saddest part was that when the time arrived for her to leave, she started to cry and wanted to stay with us.
            As I meditated on this yesterday in prayer, I thanked God for the love that my granddaughter has for me. It was a touching and humbling experience. Then the Lord spoke to me and showed me that he loves me much more than my granddaughter. With that I wept. 
              Why did I wept? Because like my granddaughter, our Father wants to spend time with us! How many times we made God weep because we make excuses not to pray? How many times he wants us to be in his presence, yet we put other things before him?
                   We have yet to comprehend the love of God. When we do get a sample of it, nothing else will matter. Yes, I am for working a job and spending time with family, but we need to spend some time with the Father ---Knowing him, loving him and getting filled with his fullness.
                 The world is looking for answers. Some look for drugs and alcohol to fill that void,but when you fill yourself with the fullness of God, you got it all. In this day, let's spend some time with the Father. Ask him to show you his love and be able to comprehend it. As you begin to understand his ways, you will enter a new dimension. A new experience, second to none that will change your life forever! God bless. 

Prayer--Father, help me to prioritize my time. Forgive me for putting things ahead of you. Forgive me for being sidetracked when I should have been praying. Forgive me for having fallen asleep instead of praying. Help me to understand the love you have for me. Help me to walk in love, not only with you but with others, so then I can be filled with your fullness. In Jesus name---Amen!