Tuesday, January 19, 2016
13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
It doesn’t matter what has happened in the past and it doesn’t matter that you have weaknesses or even that you have failed!
It is only when you begin to recognize your weaknesses that you begin to get stronger.
God is not finished with you yet!
When Paul was despairing for his life he realized that God still had work for him to do; there were more sermons to preach, more books to write and much more ministry to perform.
Sometimes our weaknesses can be our greatest assets!
A man walked into the First Christian Church and told them that he was not a beggar but that he didn’t have a job but needed some money and that he was willing to work.
They put him to work mowing the grass along with a few other things.
They decided to hire him as a janitor and asked him to fill out some papers. He said that he couldn’t read or write; so they didn’t hire him but they paid him for his work.
He didn’t give up; he took the money, bought some fruit and set up a fruit stand on the side of the road.
With his profit he bought more fruit until his business became very profitable.
After several years he had made a million dollars.
He went to the bank to open an account and the banker told him to fill out some forms.
He said that he couldn’t read or write.
The banker said, “Do you realize what you could be today if you were literate?
The man said, “Yes, I would be the janitor of the First Christian Church.”
You might feel inadequate but you are just the candidate that God is looking for!
God loves to take the foolish and confound the wise!
He loves to take that which is ordinary and turn into something extraordinary.
When you feel like giving up or throwing in the towel and when you feel like what’s the use; then remember that Jesus didn’t give up!
He didn’t throw in the towel!
He didn’t feel like His work was in vain!
We have been given a window of opportunity and we need to take advantage of it.
Forget those things that are behind and press on.
Reach, take hold of, and pursue the things of God.
Let’s give God our best and our all in 2016!
Wednesday, November 18, 2015
It has become rather easy for us to pass through Thanksgiving to focus our attention on Christmas rather than to grasp the real significance of it. Real Thanksgiving is a declaration of faith as we recognize the greatness of God. It is very clear in the Word of God that gratitude is at the very heartbeat of the life of the child of God. It doesn’t matter if you are reading the Old Testament or the New, we are constantly confronted with words of gratitude and praise.
When Mark Twain was at the peak of his writing career, it is said that his magazine and journal articles were worth $ 5 a word, which was a great sum of money in those days. A young Harvard graduate student sent Mark Twain a letter:
“Dear Mr. Twain: Enclosed please find $ 5. Please send me your best word”
A few days later, the student received a telegram with this single word response: “Thanks!”
It might be that “thanks” is the most valuable word in any language.
It is so easy to complain! If we get a little frustrated or irritated then we start to complain.I would say that the average person spends more time complaining than being thankful.
Complaining is counter-productive! Complaining will raise your blood pressure, make you look bad in front of others and for the most part is a waste of energy. Complaining is a lot like worry, it is a waste of time.
A famous stress researcher claims that two attitudes more than any other influences the quality of everyday life. The two emotions determine your peace of mind, feelings of insecurity, frustration and whether or not we will be a success in life. He says that the most destructive emotion is “revenge” but the one emotion that affects us more than any other in the reduction of stress is the feeling of gratitude.
Thanksgiving is so productive because it makes us forget our problems. It causes us to focus on the good things and positive things instead of negative things.
The word think and thank comes from the same root word. If we would spend more time thinking about the goodness of God then we would be more thankful. It’s impossible to be anxious and thankful at the same time.
I Thessalonians 5:18 “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you”
Thursday, January 30, 2014
1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves...
These are the last days in which the Apostle Paul warned of danger; one of the greatest dangers that he lists in 2 Timothy 3 is the fact that men/women will be lovers of their own selves.
Benjamin Franklin said, "He that falls in love with himself will have no rivals." It is also called narcissism from Greek mythology. A young man named "Narcissus" fell in love with his own reflection in the waters of a spring and pined away.
Narcissism is an egotistical preoccupation with self, personal preferences, aspirations, needs, success, and how he/she is perceived by others. It is a person that is totally absorbed in self and the center of his/her own universe.
Someone with the narcissus personality will be your friend and keep you close as long as you are useful. Once you do not have anything more to offer and they have taken all they want from you, you are history. You are no longer desired, wanted, or sought.
Self-love is the dominant characteristic of the last days and is evident by greedy, covetous and arrogant attitudes that are so prevalent in society today.
What has happened to true affection? Unnatural affection and perversion are embraced and even applauded by the world today.
These last days have brought times of great stress and duress; days of difficulty. It gives us an idea of the kind of seasons that the church can expect in the days ahead; they will be painful, perilous, hard to endure and hard to cope with.
We need to be prepared for the change in behavior we will encounter; friends and even family members will betray one another. People that you think are your friends today will be your enemies tomorrow!
Paul says to begin with; the reason why, is because men/women will be lovers of their own selves.
It is men/women who are responsible for the frightening times that the church has to face. Evil men/women who are under Satan's influence and deception; men/women whose behavior is self-centered, immoral and hostile toward God.
Self-centered, selfish and proud individuals who will spread evil and heresy throughout the church bringing division and strife. Jude warned that they have crept in unawares into the church in these last days.
In order to counteract the spirit of this age; we must fall totally in love with Jesus Christ! That's the cure and the antidote for the "Narcissus Syndrome". We must love God more than life itself:
"And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment."
Let me challenge you to go after God and to love Him with all that is in you. Give Him your best and give Him your all!
Thursday, October 03, 2013
"Et tu Brute, then fall Caesar"; a Latin phrase meaning "Even you, Brutus?".
These most famous words in English literature speak of the betrayal of a friend. Julius Caesar lamented that his close friend Brutus was stabbing him leaving him without hope.
We expect our friends and family to stand by us through thick and thin. If we can't count on our friends and family to pull us through hard times then who can we count on?
Do you realize that the only people that can betray us are those who are close to us? Jesus said in:
Luke 21:16 "And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death."
Notice that He doesn't say anything about enemies; it's family and friends, the ones closest to us. It's people that have inside information and knowledge. It's people that we have let down our guard with and been vulnerable to. People with whom we have shared our life's stories, secrets and sorrows.
That's what makes betrayal so painful; you never see it coming! But even if you could see it coming it would be no less painful.
Don't forget that Jesus experienced betrayal by one of His chosen disciples. During the ministry of Jesus, Judas Iscariot was working behind His back to betray Him. Judas was an eyewitness to the miracles that Jesus performed and he not only partook of communion but allowed Jesus to wash his feet.
The betrayer has the ability to smile in your face while stabbing you in the back; without blinking an eye.
I have learned that when someone tells you that they've got your back they may possibly mean that they have put a bull eyes on your back. They've got your back ready for target practice.
How is that possible? How can we get to such a place to where we will betray someone even to death?
12 For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him:
13 But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance.
14 We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company.
One of the greatest trials we can go through and one of the greatest hurts is when someone you really love, a friend or a family member betrays you.
Psalm 41:9 "Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me."
Sometimes our friends can hurt us very deeply. David said, "The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart; his words were softer than oil, yet they were drawn swords".
A betrayer is often the same person you go to church with; how sad and disappointing it is when church members, people we fellowship with in the house of God, turn against us and hurt us.
David prayed and said, "Lord, you are the only One who can take care of this. I don't understand it. I'm not going to return evil for evil. I'm just going to leave it with You."
If we really want to be like Jesus we will be a friend who blesses instead of betrays. Jesus is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.
Betrayal hurts deeply; its never justified and you never feel exonerated. How we respond to betrayal is a true test of our faith. When others do their worst towards us then the only righteous recourse we have is to leave it with God.
Matthew 24:10 "And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another."
Matthew 24:12 "And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold."
Tuesday, July 30, 2013
People are surprised to find that a lot of things that are said as scripture are not scripture such as:
• “This, too, shall pass”
• “God helps those who help themselves”
• “Spare the rod, spoil the child”
• “God works in mysterious ways”
• “Cleanliness is next to Godliness”
• “Rob Peter to pay Paul”
It really bothers me when I hear someone tell those who are going through a great difficulty that the Bible says: “God will never put more on you than you can bear.”
I lost my dad on April 10, 2007 and six days later I lost my brother on August 16; two family members in less than a week’s time.
Well meaning people said to me and my family: “God will never put more on you than you can bear.”
Let me tell you, there is no comfort in that saying!
It is like so many other things that people hear and retell as the gospel when it isn’t. It is simply not in the Bible!
It is something that has been taking out of context that does not apply to human suffering and tragedy.
1 Corinthians 10:13
13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
God will not allow temptation to be so great that we cannot resist it. So out the window goes the argument: “The devil made me do it” or “I just can’t help it”.
He’s talking about TEMPTATION which is totally different from burdens that are unbearable.
Even the great apostle Paul wrote:
2 Corinthians 1:8 (NLT)
8 We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it.
The Psalmist felt the heavy burden of sin as overwhelming in:
4 For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me.
I am not so super spiritual that I can handle everything that comes my way in life. When death, sickness and disease come it is more than we can bear. When there is financial reversal, marital difficulties and trouble in the home; it is more than we can bear.
How can you tell a couple who are convulsing before the lifeless body of their newborn baby that “God will not allow more to come on you than you can bear”, and expect that to give them some kind of solace.
How can you tell that to a grieving widow who has just experienced the sudden passing of her husband in the prime of his life?
There have been many things that I have gone through personally that were more than I could bear.
When you stop to think about it; if we could bear everything that comes our way then we wouldn’t need the Lord to help us.
It is cruel and unjust to tell people that they can handle whatever they are going through because God will not allow more to come on them than they can bear.
It is not about what we can bear; it’s about what God can bear!
1 Peter 5:7
7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
He can handle all of our cares; He can carry the weight of the government and the world on His shoulders.
We cannot handle everything but God can!
There are things beyond our strength but not beyond the strength of God.
When we look to the cross we are reminded of this broken and sin cursed world that we live in but it also reminds us that we are not alone.
God understands what we are facing and what we are going through at all times. It is through faith in God that we understand that He is there to help us in times of trouble and to bear our burdens.
1 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
2 My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.
God loves us and He understands about the burdens of life and that is one of the reasons He has given us the church.
The church is of great value when we are facing the heartaches and burdens of life.
Galatians 6:2 a
“Bear ye one another's burdens”
In the church we have one another to help us through difficult times. We are surrounded by those in the household of faith who can sympathize and empathize with us.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
It offers no comfort to tell those who are hurting that God will not allow more to come on them than they can bear; in fact it hurts them deeply.
Just remember, what is unbearable for you is not unbearable for God. What you can't handle; He can!
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
What's on my mind and heart today?
Well, here goes...
I am deeply troubled and burdened about the direction of the church as a whole. It seems that with each generation we are losing something very valuable and precious.
I think about the people of Ezra's day and how they reacted to the temple being built.
12 But many of the priests and Levites and chief of the fathers, who were ancient men, that had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice; and many shouted aloud for joy:
13 So that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people: for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the noise was heard afar off.
The older people remembered what it used to be like and the new could not compare to the old. But for the young people who had not experienced anything else it was a time of celebration.
Judges 2:10 b
"There arose another generation after them, which knew not the Lord, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel."
These are the days when "another" generation has come to the forefront and introduced a new way and new doctrines such as:
* Word of Faith
* Manifest Sons of God
* Kingdom Now
* Apostolic Movement
* Third Wave
* New Breed
Churches have changed their names in an effort to sound hip, cool and relevant. Preachers have gone from clerical to casual and the church has traded the spiritual for the superficial.
Catchy sounding phrases have been introduced to the church and made into doctrines.
* Head and not the tail
* Have faith in your faith
* Wealth and divine health
* Name it and claim it
Supposedly if you "speak it" then you can have it! Claim cars, houses, jobs and even a future wife or husband. But if it's something negative such as sickness or disease then don't speak it and it won't happen!
There are people running all over the place chasing gold dust and angel feathers. People are chanting and swaying trying to have some sort of ecstatic or euphoric experience.
Matthew 12:39 a
“An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign”
There are false spirits invading the church! The church has been infected with false doctrine and false anointing.
Gullible people will follow emotional experiences and seducing spirits; they will follow wild fire and bizarre manifestations.
How can we be so shallow and fickle to embrace an unholy spirit and endorse it.
There’s an unholy spirit that has seized many of our churches.
You can tell it by:
• Hypnotic and rock music
• Chanting just like they do in Hinduism, Buddhism and the New Age Movements
• Laughing and jerking uncontrollably
• Crying, screaming and dancing
Where’s the soberness, sobriety, alertness, watchfulness; if possible the very elect will be deceived.
We need to beware of this unholy spirit that is nothing more than a counterfeit from the devil.
All of these things make an individual sound "super spiritual" and yet often these same people are some of the most vicious people you will ever meet. They have left a trail of hurt, disillusionment and despair everywhere they have been. The bible warns of wolves disguised as sheep.
Matthew 7:16 a
“Ye shall know them by their fruits.”
Backslidden Israel shouted so loud that the earth quaked, but by the end of the day the Philistines had plundered them.
The anointing is not worked up and manufactured manifestations.
If we had the fear of God we would never pretend to have the anointing.
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Staying focused is a real challenge these days! There are so many things that are working against us and that seek to draw us away from our goal.
When Nehemiah was working on the wall he had to stay focused. He received an invitation to come down from the wall but he refused. He said;
"I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?"
But the distracters were persistent; four times they sent a message urging Nehemiah to come down and meet with them and each time they received the same answer. Nehemiah said "NO" to their request to meet at Ono!
Distractions can come from any direction at any given time but we must stay focused.
We have to make up our minds what our top priority is; we must be determined!
The work of God is a great work! It is a great work to set the captives free, to heal the sick and to minister to the poor.
It is a great work to preach the gospel and to see the lives of men and women changed by the power of God and His Word.
There is opposition to the work of God that He has called us to do.
1 Corinthians 16:9
“A great and effectual door of ministry is opened to me, but there are many adversaries.”
We have an enemy who wants to stop the work of God so he works to hinder us and to discourage us. He wants to prevent us from fulfilling the call of God.
Many times where there is a great door of opportunity in ministry, there is also great opposition.
If Nehemiah had come down from the wall and stopped God’s work he would have never finished; that is the enemy’s goal, to hinder and distort the truth.
We have to stay focused!