Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Prisoners of Hope

Zechariah 8:4-5 (The Message)
4-5A Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies:
"Old men and old women will come back to Jerusalem, sit on benches on the streets and spin tales, move around safely with their canes—a good city to grow old in. And boys and girls will fill the public parks, laughing and playing—a good city to grow up in."

Zechariah 9:12 (Amplified Bible)
12Return to the stronghold [of security and prosperity], you prisoners of hope; even today do I declare that I will restore double your former prosperity to you.(A)

“Hope is a dangerous thing.” –Morgan Freeman, Shawshank Redemption. The Shawshank redemption is a movie about a man named Andy who is wrongly accused of murdering his wife. He is imprisoned, raped, tortured, and used by the warden. He speaks to his friend played by Morgan Freeman of one day being free. His friend tries to discourage him by not “getting his hopes up.” Morgan’s character had prison thinking. He couldn’t see beyond the bars because he had settled that his fate would end there but Andy wouldn’t let his Hope die, like Jesse Jackson he believed in keeping Hope Alive, he believed like President Obama in the “Audacity of Hope.” When everything around you says to give up something within you will not let you settle for what you see.

We are all Prisoners of Hope. There is something going on around us that does not resonate with what is in us. There is too much God has deposited in our spirits to let us settle for anarchy on the inside when we know what he’s promised on the inside. We are prisoners of Hope particularly as we look at the devastation of our inner-cities. Just yesterday I saw video footage of the beating death of an honor student in the streets of Chicago. These teenagers took planks, fists, and feet and beat a 17 year old honor student to death for no reason. These kinds of senseless acts of violence must be stopped. We cannot afford to sit in our prison cells of hopelessness and give up.

God gave Zechariah a vision that one day old men and women would walk the streets with their canes and young boys and girls would play in the streets. He tells the prophet to inform the prisoners of hope to return to the strongholds because he was about to release a heavenly militia to restore order. God says today I will restore your prosperity double to you. Prosperity is more than just money; it is also peace and health. God is going to restore double for our trouble but I believe he’s going to use ordinary people to do it.

The answer to being released from being Prisoners of Hope is found in Zech 7:9-10

1. Execute true Justice. Whoever videotaped that murder of that young boy did right by turning it in to the Police so they can prosecute every person that beat that young man. We need to start speaking up in our communities about injustice.

2. Show Mercy and compassion. If each of us were to start showing compassion to those that need help, we could turn the tide on senseless violence in our communities. Jesus said our neighbor is whoever needs our help.

3. Do not oppress the widow (single mothers) or the fatherless (products of single mothers), the Alien (Mexican immigrants) or the poor (many Americans as a result of the recession).

4. Let none of you plan evil in his heart against his brother. If we would each search our hearts and do good instead of evil we can turn this thing around. God told Cain that if we would do good his offering would be accepted like Able, but Satan was crouching at his door because he was jealous of his brother.

Dear God, release us from the prison of Hope to actualize your kingdom agenda on earth as it is in Heaven. Help us to restore peace and safety in our neighborhoods through our proactive faith and not sit idly by while our children are dying in the streets. Thank you today that my restoration finally begins. Today, I’m keeping my Hope alive that you will restore our prosperity. Today I’m keeping Hope alive!

In Jesus Name.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Don't Worry About It!

Luke 12:22
Then he said to his disciples, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on.

We are living in a time where everybody is anxious about the economy. I think the fear over our finances has taken over our anxiety over terrorism. People aren’t as concerned about Orange levels as they are their levels of income. We are more terrified of not being able to feed our families than we are with the next terrorists attack. Both are equally important but somehow what is going on in our homes has taken our focus and caused us to be anxious.

Like Jesus told Martha when she was bustling around in the kitchen mad at her sister for not helping, “Mary you are upset about many things but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen it and it will not be taken from her.”

When we choose Jesus and God’s kingdom there are certain things we don’t have to be worried about. It is fundamentally understood that God takes care of his own. It is natural for us to be concerned about what we are going to eat and what we are going to wear these are part of the basics for every human according to Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs. Maslow's hierarchy of needs is predetermined in order of importance.[5] It is often depicted as a pyramid consisting of five levels: the lowest level is associated with physiological needs, while the uppermost level is associated with self-actualization needs, particularly those related to identity and purpose. The higher needs in this hierarchy only come into focus when the lower needs in the pyramid are met. Once an individual has moved upwards to the next level, needs in the lower level will no longer be prioritized. If a lower set of needs is no longer being met, the individual will temporarily re-prioritize those needs by focusing attention on the unfulfilled needs, but will not permanently regress to the lower level.

Five Levels of the Hierarchy of Needs
There are five different levels in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs:

1. Physiological Needs

These include the most basic needs that are vital to survival, including the need for water, air, food, and sleep. Maslow believed that these needs are the most basic and instinctive needs in the hierarchy because all needs become secondary until these physiological needs are met.

2. Security Needs

These include needs for safety and security. Security needs are important for survival, but they are not as demanding as the physiological needs. Examples of security needs include a desire for steady employment, health insurance, safe neighborhoods, and shelter from the environment.

3. Social Needs

These include needs for belonging, love, and affection. Maslow considered these needs to be less basic than physiological and security needs. Relationships such as friendships, romantic attachments and families help fulfill this need for companionship and acceptance, as does involvement in social, community or religious groups.

4. Esteem Needs

After the first three needs have been satisfied, esteem needs becomes increasingly important. These include the need for things that reflect on self-esteem, personal worth, social recognition, and accomplishment.

5. Self-actualizing Needs

This is the highest level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Self-actualizing people are self-aware, concerned with personal growth, less concerned with the opinions of others, and interested fulfilling their potential.

When you exchange your fear for faith that God will supply all your needs it frees you up to pursue a higher level of consciousness. Don’t worry about it!
Jesus says look at the birds of the air they don’t worry about where they will sleep or what they will eat but God provides. Are you not more valuable than the birds? Don’t worry about it!

In this chapter Jesus helps us to deal with our anxieties or tensions between the temporary and the eternal by saying:

1. Don’t fear the man that can kill your body (terrorism) but rather fear God who after ending your life can put you in Hell for eternity.

2. Don’t fear that you are forgotten about and that no one is concerned about your welfare, because God knows every hair on your head.

3. Do not fear about provision, food, clothing, or money. One’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.

Don’t worry about it but seek first God’s kingdom and his righteousness and all these things shall be added. When we are busy fulfilling God’s righteousness through humility, social justice, and showing mercy to those in need, God will in turn provide what we need.

What God is saying today is: Don’t worry about it; I got the bill because you’re in my will!

Dear God, thank you for watching over me. Today, I want to be intentional about trusting you. Today, I’m freed up from worry so I can fulfill my righteous requirements of serving others. In helping others, I help myself, by storing up riches in heaven. I don’t want you to catch me with my work undone. Thank you for providing food, clothing and money to pay my bills. I ain't going to worry about it no more!

In Jesus Name.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

What Do You Smell Like?

Luke 7:37-38 (New King James Version)
37 And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, 38 and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil.

What’s that you have on? Has anybody ever asked you that? They catch a scent of what you have on, perfume or cologne, and they ask you what do you have on? We’ve all caught a scent of someone whether pleasant or unpleasant, whether faintly satisfying or overwhelmingly suffocating, we’ve all caught a scent and we all have a scent. Have you ever shook hands with somebody and then you can’t get their scent off of you? You can smell when certain people have been in a room because they leave a scent. What do you smell like?

If your character was your fragrance what would people smell when they come in the room? If your lifestyle had a smell what would you smell like to God?
Kat Von D, tattoo artist and star of “L.A. Ink,” a reality show that focuses on her High Voltage Tattoo business, has her own line of makeup that is carried at Sephora. Kat’s two fragrances – Saint and Sinner- were recently launched. "Every woman has two sides," says tattoo artist and beauty addict Kat Von D—and she’s created a fragrance for both that come out next month.

Saint is a sweet, addictive blend of caramel, vanilla and jasmine, while Sinner plays up a dark and mysterious side with hints of vetiver, plum and cinnamon. What happens though when you mix both scents? What do you smell like?

Jesus walked into a room where there were both scents. Saints and Sinners. A sinful woman came into the dinner where Jesus was the special guest and she kneeled down behind him at his feet with some fragrant oil. Her reputation stank but she had some fragrant oil. It’s obvious the men in the room had smelled her before because the men all paused when they smelled the scent of a woman and said that girl is Poison.

What do people whisper about you when you walk in a room? What do you smell like?
This woman had bathed in the forgiveness of God before she came in and as a result of her gratefulness she did something for Jesus.

1. She stood behind Jesus weeping. She didn’t come to be seen, she came to serve.
2. She stood behind him weeping. She was broken and grateful for what God had done in her life.
3. She washed his feet with her tears. Her cleansing led her to now be clean.
4. She dried his feet with her hair. She used her Glory to give him glory. She used her most beautiful feature to wipe dirt from His ugliest feature.
5. She opened her bottle of fragrant oil to anoint his feet. She gave a sacrificial gift that immediately filled the room with a fragrant aroma.

Then everybody recognized the scent. That’s that “sinful” woman. “How can he be a prophet and let this “sinful” woman touch him? Doesn’t he smell her?” Jesus said that the host reeked of arrogance and ungratefulness. He didn’t even give Jesus any kind of hospitality but this “sinful” woman was grateful because she had been forgiven much. She who was “a “Sinner” smelled better than all the “Saints.” Sometimes “Sinner” smells better than “Saint” when “Saint” is smelling himself and “sinner” is grateful for being saved. We smell good to God when we know that we are all “Sinners” saved by grace. Jesus told her your sins are forgiven and your faith has saved you. Go! YOU SMELL GOOD!

Dear God, wash me and make me clean. Anoint me with fragrant oil so I can make this room smell better when I walk in it. Let people smell you and not me. Every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before. Thank you for forgiving me and saving me, today I smell better and I’m ready to pour myself out for you. May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable before you and please your senses.

In Jesus Name,

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

How To Survive A Flood

Luke 6:48
He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock, and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock.

People in Atlanta are dealing with severe flash flooding. After months of drought they now have to deal with the other extreme of flash flooding. Roads, golf courses, and subdivisions are submerged under water. One lady was interviewed on CNN and she was still living in her home with her whole street flooded. She was living upstairs with downstairs underwater. She still had her home with some water damage but it was still standing because her home had been built on a firm foundation.

One of the first things a contractor will do when building any house is to lay a foundation.

1. The basic experience, idea, or attitude on which a way of life or belief is based: respect for the law is the foundation of commercial society.

2. A construction below the ground that distributes the load of a building, wall, etc.

3. The base on which something stands

4. The act of founding
The foundation will make sure the house withstands storms, is not easily shifted, and it doesn’t move by outside forces. This principle goes all the way back to Jesus’ day. Jesus said, “When someone hears his teachings and actually does them he sets a firm foundation.”

It is not enough to hear the Word of God but you must do what the Word of God says. Many of us are tossed and driven by every wind of new teaching because we don’t have a strong foundation. You can listen to great preaching every week and still not have a strong foundation. You can read the bible every day and still not have a firm foundation. It is only when you hear the Word and do what it says that God begins to pour the concrete in the foundation of your life.

When the floods of Life come they will test what you have built. The house represents what we construct in our lives, our careers, families, ministries, businesses, unless the Lord builds the house the builders build in vain. What we build will be tested by storms and streams.

The streams represent the currents of culture, the rapids of religion, and the waves of the world. These outside influences can beat against a house visciously in the time of storm but if our foundation is set then they can huff, and they can puff, but they will not be able to blow the house down because our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus Christ and his righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus name. On Jesus Christ, the Solid Rock, I stand. All other ground is sinking sand!

Dear God, strengthen my foundation through obedience to your word. Though the storms of life will come, I’m sure I will survive the flood because my soul has been anchored in the Lord. Just like a tree planted by the waters I shall not be moved. I’ve been through the fire, I’ve come through the flood but I’m still here. I’ve been kept by your love.

In Jesus Name,


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I Came Because of Your Words

Daniel 10:12
Do not fear Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come because of your words.

When I hear my children call me I pay attention no matter what I’m doing. I could be engrossed in writing a sermon but if I hear “Daddy.” I stop and say, “Yes Son.” But if I hear “Daddy, Daddy come hear quick!” I jump out of my seat to make sure everything is okay. Their words make me come and see what is going on.

Daniel was beloved by God because of his righteousness. He saw the city he was in was under judgment, and it would be for Seventy years. Daniel was so grieved that he fasted and prayed. (Daniel 9:3) Daniel didn’t play the victim he told God, “we've been wicked and haven’t obeyed your commands but we need you, so we can turn from our iniquities and understand your truth.” (Daniel 9:13).

Then God told Daniel the punishment would be complete in Seventy weeks. God sent one like the Son of man to Daniel, some would say this was Jesus Pre-incarnate, to tell him something after Daniel had fasted, confessed their sins, and interceded for his people.

1. Do not fear. When we earnestly cry out to God, he hears us and will come to us. David knew of the confidence of God’s presence when he said, “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me.” God’s presence takes away our fear.

2. From the first day that you set your heart to understand and to humble yourself before your God. The other day Kirk Frankly tweeted, '"kirkfranklin” there will b no celebs in heaven. Only grateful, broken, & desperate. I'm learning God loves me, but He don't need me.' Humility. “God is trying to speak to us in these difficult times but we must discern the times and set ourselves in a humble position to understand what God is saying.

3. Your words were heard, I came because of your words. It’s not the quantity of your words but the fervency of your words that gets God’s attention. The fervent and effective prayer of the Righteous avails much. We have got to carve out some time every month to fast and pray or else there are no words to compel God to come see about us. Sometimes, God will come when we don’t say something but by then we are already in a mess. Sometimes, I have to go check on my kids because they are too quiet. By the time I get to where they are they are already into something that gets them in trouble with daddy. God wants you to talk to him, call him so that your words and your prayers can end this destruction due to our iniquity. He’s waiting for your words.

Dear God, forgive me of my silent complicity towards wickedness. My voice has been compromised in the chorus of the silent. I open my mouth today to say forgive us of our sins and come see about your children. We need you. Don’t turn us over to ourselves but deliver us from all evil. We still love you and need you more than we ever needed you before. Thank you for hearing me Daddy, “Can you please come quickly.”

In Jesus Name,

Monday, September 21, 2009

I Didn't Know My Own Strength

Luke 4:14

Then Jesus returned in the Power of the Sprit to Galilee, and news of him went out through all the surrounding region.

There was a lot of excitement on the return of Whitney Houston after 7 years of being in the wilderness of cocaine addiction. Her interview and testimony on The Oprah Winfrey Show was poignant and powerful as she talked about how God brought her through recovery to deliver her first album in seven years. Whitney closed the show with a powerful song that says, “I Didn’t Know My Own Strength.” Oftentimes, we don’t know how strong we are until we go through a wilderness experience to face our demons or the devil himself.

It is only when we detox or fast that we are able to combat our demons with our spiritual strength. Jesus fasted forty days preparing himself for his return to Galilee. Before he faced the public for the greatest three years of his life he had to get himself ready for his return.

The devil put him to the test by trying to twist the Word of God for self-gratification but Jesus knew the Word for himself and brought the voice of the enemy in check with the Word in proper context. As a result, Jesus returned in the Power of the Sprit and news of Him spread. You don’t have to pull a Kanye and try to keep your name alive with media stunts while intoxicated but when you sober up and are filled with the Spirit, God will make the news come to you.

Usually when we try to make a debut or return we get this backwards. We market our image then show up without power or substance. Whitney, like Jesus, stayed gone until she was cleansed and filled with the spirit. Oprah asked her was she off drugs for good. Whitney said, “I’m taking one day at a time, I’m an addict.” That’s real substantive answer. We must do the work of sobering up before we return. When you are restored spiritually and face your demons, God does your marketing for you. Your gifts will make room for you and bring you into the presence of Great men.

Before you return make sure you take 40 days to:

1. Fast. What is it you need to pull away from or get out of your system? For some of us we may need to go into a drug rehab or go to counseling to get some addictions out of our system. Some of us may need a few days to fast from food or drink so we can hear from God again.

2. Pray. We need to go into our prayer closets and not come out until we get an answer.

3. Face your demons. The devil tried to tempt Jesus with what Jesus already had the power and promise to experience. He tempted him with shortcuts. He tempted him with Self-Medication but Jesus fought back with the Word of God. You have to know the Word to use the Word.

Dear God, help me to return with Power. Clean me up so I can have some substance. Help me to defeat my demons so I can come back to ministry with power. I don’t want to have a form of godliness with no power to go with it. Send me through spiritual boot camp so that when I come back, I’m better, I’m stronger. I realize that I don’t know my own strength because I’ve never used it, because I have not resisted to the point of shedding blood. I’m ready to go into extreme training so that I can return with power. I’m ready Lord.

In Jesus Name,


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Can You Get Me In?

Revelation 22:14
Blessed are those who do his commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.

At some point and time in our lives we have all been to some venue be it a sporting event, concert, or a bumping night club where we wanted to get in but didn’t have access to enter. Your only hope was that you knew somebody on the inside or the person who worked the door. What you would do was call the person up or try to get their attention to ask them, “Hey can you get me in?” Depending on the relationship and how generous they were, they might get you in. There is nothing more satisfying then to get in somewhere that you know you wouldn’t have made it in without your inside connection.

What is it that you can’t get into without an inside connection? It might be a job. It could be access to a loan. It could be admission to college. It could be putting your business plan in the right hands. That’s why it’s good to have a good name and not burn your relational bridges because you never know who you are going to need.
There is one place we all want to get into later. People are dying to get in here. You’ve never seen anything like it either. The view is breathtaking. There is a river of pure crystal water that runs through the middle of the city. The streets are translucent gold. There is a tree which bears twelve different fruits every month. Then there is a tree of Life which can heal any disease. The place is so beautiful, there is no sickness, no more pain and no more dying and God himself illuminates the whole city with his Glory but everybody can’t get in, you’ve got to have an inside connection.

One day we will all have to stand in line to get in. There is no VIP section. Celebrities, the average Joe, rich people and poor people, will all be standing single file in the same line and only one person can get you in and your name has to be written in His book of life through a previous reservation. You can make reservations now by…

1. Calling on the name of Jesus to be saved from your sins. Romans 10:9 if you confess that Jesus is the Son of God and that God raised him from the dead you shall be saved.

2. You must keep his commandments. You must honor the relationship. You can’t dog Jesus out in life and then expect him to let you in at the after-life. Some of us will get to heaven talking about, hey Jesus, “Can you get me in?” Jesus might say, “‘depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

3. If you have kept his commandments and your name is in the book you can walk in and get your healing. It says they will have the right to the Tree of life. When Adam and Eve were put out of the garden, God put angels with flaming swords in front of the Tree of Life so that humanity might not live forever, now in heaven He reverses it and gives access to the tree of life but everybody ain't going to get in.

4. Access is granted only through Jesus. God wants us all to get in but everybody who says, “Lord, Lord” ain’t getting in. Only those who really know Jesus and have given their lives to him, to serve him, to be his disciple, are going to get in. You need to make reservations right now there’s still room and you still got time.

Dear God, can you get me in? I know that this life is not the main event. When this curtain closes there is an after party where everybody wants to go. Many are called but few are chosen. Lord sign me up for the Christian Jubilee, write my name on the roll, I’ve been changed, and the Lord has lifted me, I want to be ready when Jesus comes! Help me to live a life consistent with His commandments so I will not be turned away at the gate. Jesus can you get me in? I want to hear you say, “Well done my good and faithful servant, you’ve been faithful over a few things now come on in here and I’ll make you ruler over many.”

Thank you Jesus!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Lights Out

Revelation 21:23
The City had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the Glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light.

One of the most feared things in a city is a “Black Out.” When a big city experiences a power outage chaos soon ensues. There is looting, home invasions, robberies, rape, and all kinds of mayhem because criminals feel safe under the cover of darkness. They can hide in the dark and they know that the buildings are defenseless with no alarm systems.

In many cities, it would appear that we have power outages. Anarchy seems to be the order of the day, violence in the streets, disrespect in the House of Representatives, rudeness on the stage, criminal activity in our schools, murder at Clark Atlanta and Yale University. Much of this is happening with the Lights on. Therefore the Power outage doesn’t have anything to do with electricity but has everything to do with Power. When we turn away from God it leads to a Power Outage. Through our disobedience we tell God he is not welcome and he leaves the city because we don’t allow him to dwell within us. God is a “gentleman” he will not stay where he is not welcome. Even Jesus told the disciples, “If you enter a town and you are not welcomed there then shake the dust from your feet.”

Some of our cities are dark because we turned the Lights off. The old folks used to sing this song, “This Little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine, all in my home, I’m going to let it shine.” What happens when we don’t let our lights shine at work, at home, in the sinners face? It’s lights out!

Comedian Jack Black caused a “black out” the other night when he prayed for Satan at the VMA’s. It was supposed to be a joke but God was not laughing. We’ve allowed the devil to come in because he feels most comfortable when the lights are off.
In the fulfillment of all things when Satan’s 1,000 years of reign are over God will return with a new city where there will be no need for lights.

Until then, we need to turn the lights on. How do we turn the lights back on?
Through our own individual witness. Our witness is how we live our lives for Jesus. By the way we live people ought to be able to see Christ in us. But the word witness also means Martyr. We have to be willing to die so that others may see the resurrected Christ in us. Polycarp is said to have known the Apostle John, and to have been instructed by him in the Christian faith. Polycarp, in his turn, was known to Irenaeus, who later became Bishop of Lyons in what is now France. Polycarp was denounced to the government, arrested, and tried on the charge of being a Christian. When the proconsul urged him to save his life by cursing Christ, he replied: "Eighty-six years I have served him, and he never did me any wrong. How can I blaspheme my King who saved me?" The magistrate was reluctant to kill a gentle old man, but he had no choice.

Polycarp was sentenced to be burned. As he waited for the fire to be lighted, he prayed:

Lord God Almighty, Father of your blessed and beloved child Jesus Christ, through whom we have received knowledge of you, God of angels and hosts and all creation, and of the whole race of the upright who live in your presence: I bless you that you have thought me worthy of this day and hour, to be numbered among the martyrs and share in the cup of Christ, for resurrection to eternal life, for soul and body in the incorruptibility of the Holy Spirit. Among them may I be accepted before you today, as a rich and acceptable sacrifice, just as you, the faithful and true God, have prepared and foreshown and brought about. For this reason and for all things I praise you, I bless you, I glorify you, through the eternal heavenly high priest Jesus Christ, your beloved child, through whom be glory to you, with him and the Holy Spirit, now and for the ages to come. Amen.

The fire was then lit and shortly thereafter a soldier stabbed Polycarp to death by order of the magistrate. His friends gave his remains honorable burial, and wrote an account of his death to other churches.

1. Reading and Living the word. God’s word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my pathway.

2. Lift up Jesus, Jesus is the light of the world.

3. Make sure your church or business is a light on a hill and not light under a bush. We ought to illuminate our communities with our presence through philanthropic and humanitarian efforts.

4. Transform your community by literally lighting up dark places. Wherever criminals feel safe hiding, throw some light on it. When there were shootings at a night club 500 yards away from us we threw some light on it and we will continue to do so.

When God comes back to take over the city there will be no need for lights because God’s glory will illuminate it. There will be no sun or moon because God’s Glory which is greater than the lamination of the sun and the reflection it gives to the moon. The Lamb is the Light. Jesus is the Lamb that was slain for our sins. When he was crucified the sun refused to shine and the earth was covered in darkness because two suns (sons) couldn’t shine at the same time. Whenever we crucify Jesus we kill the light. Maybe our cities, our business, our homes have experienced “black outs” because we have killed the light. Turn your lights back on! Lift up the name of Jesus because he is the light of the world, shining through us.

Dear God, help me to lift up Jesus through my behavior. May people see his light shining in me throughout the day. This little light of mine I’m going to let it shine in the sinner's face, I’m going to let it shine, at work I’m going to let it shine, all in my home I’m going to let it shine. God use me to give light to others until you come back and light the whole city up.

In Jesus Name,


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

God Is Faithful To Those That Are Faithful To Him

Psalm 145:14-15

The Lord upholds all who fall and raises up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look expectantly to you, and you give them their food in due season.

David once said, “I once was young, now I’m old and I’ve never seen the Righteous forsaken, nor his seed in the streets begging for bread. (Psalm 37:25)” The key phrase here is, “I’ve never seen the Righteous forsaken.” God has a way of looking out for his children that are committed to living Right. There is an overwhelming sense of security when you know you are living right vs. when you know you are not living in God’s will.

The Psalmist says that God upholds all who fall. With this economy in near collapse, there are a lot of people who need God’s help to get back on their feet. The question is, “have we been seeking God’s face and not just his hand?” We must commit ourselves to making God a priority as Jesus said, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and his Righteousness and all these things shall be added to you.”

God restores our dignity; he raises up all who are bowed down. With the way things are now its hard for a lot of people to hold up their heads but God is a lifter of my head. I will lift up my eyes to the hills because my help comes from the Lord; He is the lifter of my head.

The eyes of all look to God with expectantcy. Every morning we ought to wake up with expectancy. When your ways are pleasing to God, you ought to expect something to happen. When the Israelites were in the wilderness God allowed Manna and Quail to come out of the sky to feed the hungry nation. God is still opening up the windows of heaven for those that are looking with expectancy. He will give us our food in due season. Due season means that we may not get it at the same time as other people but when it’s our season, God will give us what we need when we need it the most.
In order to benefit from the faithfulness of God we must put ourselves in a position to receive it. We must be committed to God in order to be recipients. God is faithful….

1. To those who call upon Him. Jesus said, “Ask and it shall be given, Seek and you will find, knock and the door shall be opened. “When we call upon the name of God and ask it in Jesus name, it shall be given.

2. To those who fear Him. Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools [a] despise wisdom and discipline. Fear means reverence. When we have a healthy respect for the Holiness of God, it signals to God that we really do know who he is and the acknowledgment of Him as God then creates a release of provision because we are His children.

3. To those who love Him. Jesus said, “If you love me then you will keep my commandments.” God has said, “You say you love me with your lips but your heart is far from me.” It’s time for us to show God we love him and not just say we love him.

Dear God, I’ve been distracted and off focus. You are my priority as well as my life line. In you I live, move, and have my being. I’m expecting breakthrough for your people because we are calling on your name. As we shift our allegiance back to you, please hear our cry and feed us till we want no more. Thank you for being a faithful and on time God. We love you and today we are going to show you by living out your commandments.

In Jesus Name,


Monday, September 14, 2009

Heart Attack

Ezekiel 36:26

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

I was absolutely stunned when Kanye West interrupted Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech by saying that Beyonce had a better video. Young Taylor stood there with her mouth open in disbelief as the crowd booed Kanye with disapproval. It’s like I was watching a reversal of Rep. Joe Wilson when he rudely interrupted President Obama in the House of Congress. Then earlier that day I couldn’t believe how irate Serena Williams became as she cursed at the Line Judges. There seems to be an epidemic of disrespect and meanness spreading faster than H1N1 in our country. America had a heart attack and it started in the house of Congress. Whenever there are issues with the heart it’s because there is a blockage in the arteries.

Spiritually, America is suffering with a hard heart that has been stiffening over time because of our inability to deal with our issues. We played around with them when we studied the exit polls and looked at how older whites were voting for McCain and younger college educated whites were voting for Obama. We had heartburn when former President Clinton mentioned that Obama would win South Carolina because of the black vote. We had heart palpitations when Jesse Jackson said he wanted to cut Obama’s testicles off because the “N” word was talking down to black people. Eventhough, CNN did a wonderful job with “Black in America”, we still don’t want to talk about racism in America.

We made great advancements in coming together as a people of all races, beliefs and backgrounds to elect our first African-American President but we have not dealt with the issues of the heart. What we are angry about is not what we are really angry about. The Elephant in the living room is not the democratic elephant spending money on “Big Government,” if that were it somebody would have went off a long time ago when we incurred a trillion dollar deficit over a war that we lied about. Could it be that the racial tension in America has lay dormant for so many years that it’s caused blockages in our relationships and surfaces in ideological arguments? Could it be that we have a Christian exterior but the heart is turned to stone? People will know we are Christians by our Love. With disrespect spreading faster than H1N1, we need a cure and the only vaccination is the blood of Jesus.

During the time of Ezekiel, Israel was a corrupt Nation. God said their ways were so corrupt that they were like a woman on her menstrual cycle (Ezekiel 36:17). The way we are treating each other in America is just nasty. God told Ezekiel “I’m getting to the heart of the matter." There are three things God needed to do for Israel that he also needs to do for the “United” States of America:

1. Verse 25 - I will cleanse you with water from all filthiness and idols. Our morality has been corrupted by our idols which are money and greed. God has to cleanse us so that our motives are right. While we are arguing over surface issues our country is dying with heart disease, literally.

2. Verse 26 - I will give you a new heart and put my sprit within you. Our only hope in America is a heart transplant. We will never be able to work across party lines and racial lines until our hearts have been fixed. The Holy Spirit is able to regenerate our hearts so we can love each other with the Love of God. God is a heart fixer and a mind regulator.

3. Verse 27 - I will put my sprit in you and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you will keep my Judgments and do them. When our hearts are right in God’s sight then we are able to carry out his statutes and his word. The only way for this country to live out the true meaning of its creed that all men our created equal and endowed with certain inalienable rights such as Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is that we need a heart transplant. God has to make our hearts soft again. We don’t know how to love each other because we are so much into seeking our own way that we have forsaken God’s way.

Each of us must be the change we want to see. Last night Beyonce personified that grace when she called Taylor Swift back up during her award for Video of the year. She showed a great heart by allowing this young lady the dignity of receiving her award without a disrespectful interruption. Everybody deserves respect even when it appears you’ve lost.

If we are going to turn the tide of disrespect we each need to search our hearts for any kind of hatred, racism, or sin and ask God, “ Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

In Jesus Name,

Thursday, September 10, 2009

New Day, New Mercies I See

Lamentations 3:22-23

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because his compassion fail not, they are new every morning, Great is your faithfulness.

There have been times in our lives where we felt like Indiana Jones stuck in the Temple of Doom. The walls were closing in on us and everywhere we stepped was booby traps. Everyday brings with it new challenges but also new mercies. Sometimes it feels like God has forgotten about us because we are sitting in the dark and struggling financially. Any normal person would have given up with all of the hardships some of us have experienced but there is something or somebody who keeps us from being consumed.

Jeremiah said, “It is through the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed.” In the book of lamentations Jeremiah laments the ruin of his people and his nation. I felt like that last night with President Obama trying to present his case to a divided house. My heart ached seeing our nation wrestling with an inherited national debt, people dying, and leaders divided. Jeremiah felt the same thing with his people living through God’s judgment for their harlotry and disobedience to God’s will. Babylon had ravished the nation leaving people homeless, hungry, and without Healthcare. Through the book of Lamentations, Jeremiah cries out to God for relief, but right here in the middle of his plea he makes a proclamation and remembers the Loving side of God.

1. Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed. If God did not have mercy the whole Nation would be wiped out with disease, famine, and poverty. When disease and pestilence comes through Judgment, it affects the Righteous and unrighteous. Jesus said, “It rains on the just and unjust but the comfort is knowing we serve a merciful God and we are not consumed.

2. His compassion fails not. God can’t stop Loving even when he’s angry. It’s bad theology to pray death on a President because that’s not the kind of God we serve. If we loved a President who lied about a war, can’t we love a President who you disagree with on Healthcare reform? God wishes that no one would perish but all might be saved through repentance of sin.

3. His mercies are new every morning. If you woke up this morning that’s because God loved you enough to give you New Mercies. What you do with it determines how long trouble lasts. Jeremiah said in verse 26, “It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the Salvation of the Lord.

4. Great is God’s Faithfulness. God is faithful even when we are not. God is a rewarder of those that diligently seek him. God will not turn his face from his children who turn from their wicked ways and seek his face again.

Dear God, thank you for keeping us through dangers seen and unseen. Please turn this recession around and lift this darkness from us. We are your children and we thank you that we are not consumed. Father, I fear for our country because the disrespect for you and our leaders is getting out of control. People are hiding their hatred behind ideology and religion and they don’t represent your spirit. I pray that you would hear the cries of your people and turn this country back to you. Pour your Spirit on us so that we may heal the sick, set the captives free, clothe the naked, and feed the hungry. Fill us with your compassion so that we can really be One Nation under God, indivisible. Thank you for your New Mercies, I think I can make it today as I await your salvation.

In Jesus Name.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Go There!

Jeremiah 40:4

I free you this day from the chains that were on your hands. If it seems wrong for you to come with me to Babylon, remain here. See, all the land is before you, wherever it seems good and convenient for you to go, go there.”

What we do with out rime determines where we will end up. It’s hard to decide what to do when your hands are free and you are free to go wherever you want to go. The choice is between two places, Babylon or Jerusalem. Babylon is the place of captivity, where everyone has gone because of their disobedience to God. Jerusalem is God’s city but it's been ravished by the enemy and awaits restoration. You have to work the land but you can’t work it unless you go there. Babylon is a great city but it’s controlled by the enemy. Jerusalem is God’s city but it's been destroyed by the enemy. I’ve been set free by the enemy due to the fact that I’m chosen by God. Which way do I go? Go there!

Oftentimes, when you hear people say “don’t go there!” There is a place where others dare not go because it is a place people try to avoid. They will say I can’t believe you “went there.” “There” is a place that needs to be addressed but nobody wants to “go there” because they are inconvienced or it’s not popular to go “there.” “There” is a place that has been devastated by the enemy but if I “go there” I can speak to what happened and why it happened but eh question is “”Do I have to go there?” If you are going to see true restoration you have to “go there.”
When you “go there” God will make your enemy bless you! It’s in the text.

When Jeremiah decided to go back to the devastated Jerusalem and dwell with the remnants the captain of the guard gave him three things:

1. Rations. There was no food in the land. Jeremiah said the people were out in the streets begging for bread and wine. They were moaning from hunger but he was given rations. God made the enemy give him something to eat because Jeremiah “went there.” You got to understand that Jeremiah “went there” before he “went there.” He was obedient to what God told him to do even when it was unpopular to do so. He told Israel that they needed to turn back to God while they were still experiencing prosperity. After the land was devastated and people were hungry, Jeremiah was still eating because he “went there.”

2. Gift. The captain of the guard gave Jeremiah a gift. It could have been money, it could have been clothes, but he gave him a gift. When you “go there” God will bless you with gifts. Your gifts will make room for you and bring you into the presence of great men. When Mary and Joseph “went there” to give birth to Jesus away from home in a manger, God sent foreigners with gifts to bless Baby Jesus. When you have Jesus with you foreigners will bring you gifts even when you are inconvenienced by manger situations. Go there!

3. A place to stay. The Captain of the guard told Jeremiah to go take residence with somebody in charge in the city. When you go there God will open up doors and give you a place to stay.

All I need is my freedom and some rations, my gift, and some place to start over, but I got to “go there” in order to get it! You know what you need to do today?! Go there!

Dear God, help me to go there and not be afraid to speak truth to Power, to speak truth in love, to shed light where there is darkness. Give me the strength and the courage to “go there” even when it seems inconvenient to do so. Thank you for going there with me and for “going there” for me. You didn’t have to go to Calvary’s Cross to die for me but Jesus you “went there” hung, bled, and died so that one day I could “go there.” Thank God I’m HERE!

In Jesus Name!


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Stay Here

Jeremiah 42:10
If you will still remain in this land, then I will build you and not pull you down, and I will plant you and not pluck you up. For I relent concerning the disaster that I have brought upon you.

There is a temptation to run away when things aren’t going right. It's easier to abandon what is devastating and run to what seems to be working but what God wants us to do many times is to stay where we are. Yes, God is a progressive God, he is always moving forward, but in order for us to catch up with God sometimes we have to stay where we are.

Jerusalem and Judah had been devastated because the people over the years had been disobedient to God, burning incense and making offerings to the “Queen of Heaven.” The Queen of Heaven was a false god that personified the lusts and cravings of Israel. In their minds, they faired better when they were making sacrifice to the “Queen of Heaven” but Jeremiah reminded them God was being patient with them because he didn’t want to wipe them out but the destruction they were now experiencing was a result of God’s judgment. The people that were left after most of the people had been killed or taken captive wanted to know what God wanted them to do. However, when they inquired of Jeremiah they already knew what they wanted to do in their hearts. They had their bags packed and ready to go to Egypt. This inquiry was just a formality. It’s how we come to church every week. We already know what we are going to do we just want to see if God or the preacher is going to co-sign to our mess.

They said, Jeremiah, Keep it 100% real, what does God want us to do about this devastation, this famine, this recession. What does God want us to do? God told Jeremiah that he sees the hardship of his people and he is relenting from his judgment. He’s about to turn the economy back around under the condition that they remain in a devastated land and let God build them back up.

God said he would:

1. Build them back up and not tear them down. God wants to rebuild what he allowed to be torn down. Whatever the enemy devastated, God is getting ready to rebuild it if we would only stay where we are.

2. He would plant them and not pluck them. God is about ready to plant where nothing was growing but we got to stick around long enough to see it grow.

This didn’t sound appealing because building and planting takes time and the people wanted immediate prosperity and protection in Egypt. It’s hard to build and plant when you want what you use to have immediately under the false worship of a lustful and materialistic era. This is the time to rebuild and plant and you want to run to the immediate.

They told Jeremiah, “You made that up! “That’s not what they wanted to hear. Jeremiah told them if they left that God would wipe them out and he would tear them down and pluck them up in the land they were fleeing to.

This is the time God wants us to be still and restore order back into our own devastated lands.

1. Work on your own marriage instead of tipping out for greener pastures. What looks like green grass on the other side of the fence is really artificial turf. Get your fertilizer out and take care of your own grass.

2. Restore order to your own community instead of abandoning it for a nicer neighborhood. Foreclosed homes are just homes ready to be restored and empty buildings are potential businesses and ministries waiting to be birthed.

3. Make your church better instead of running to another church and making it worse. Don’t leave before it’s time for you to grow and help your church be better.

4. Stay on your job and make your company better instead of going somewhere else that looks stable just because it’s bigger. If there is no struggle there is no progress. It takes a small business 3 to 5 years before it sees its first profit.
Unless God builds a building the builder builds in vain. Unless the Lord watches over a city the watchmen watches in vain. Be still and know that He is God!

Dear God, give me the discipline to remain in a land that I would rather leave. This devastated land is my promised land but I have to rebuild it after it's been devastated through disobedience. It's not that you have left us, but we left you. Now we re-turn our faces back to you and we humbly submit our plans to your will. Help us to rebuild what was torn down and plant what was plucked up.

In Jesus Name,

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Why Are You Sighing?

Ezekiel 12:7

Why are you sighing? That you shall answer because of the news…
Nobody likes bad news. As a matter of fact my consumption of the news is limited because of the over-saturation of negative news. It seems to be one tragedy after the other. Every now and then there are glimpses of good news but they are out numbered by bad news.

Don’t just think because I shelter myself from bad news that it stops the events from happening. Sometimes I need to hear the bad news so I can make adjustments in my life to deal with what might be coming my way.

People in certain parts of California need to hear where the fire is spreading so they can evacuate before it hits their home. People in America need to listen to get updates on the swine flu to see where their children and elderly can get vaccinated. There are impending, potentially catastrophic events we can avoid if we listen to the news.

Ezekiel got the news from God that Jerusalem was about to fall because they had not kept God's commandments and their eyes were fixed on their Father’s idols. God was about to unleash Judgment on his people because they abandoned his commandments.
God told Ezekiel to look at the news of what was headed toward Jerusalem. He told him to:

1. Sigh with a broken heart. We ought to see what’s going on in the world and it break our heart. If we were to really look at the world the way God sees it, we would be weeping. When Jesus looked over Jerusalem and saw the people who looked like sheep without a shepherd, he wept. We’d rather watch American Idol than look at the condition in Somalia or see the murdering in Chicago. What we see in the news ought to break our hearts to move us into action.

2. Sigh with bitterness. Some of the things we see ought to make us angry. We ought to have a righteous indignation over global warming and failing inner-city schools. I think we have a lot of bitter Americans because their ideology is being challenged but God wants us to be bitter because our theology (thoughts about God) has eroded into every human doing what's right in his or her own eyes. God wants us to sigh with bitterness because his people have strayed from him. If we could stop arguing over policies and turn our attention back to righteousness and what is best for humanity I think we could change the news.

A lot of the turmoil we see unfolding is God’s judgment against man for his abuse of the earth, evil towards humanity, and forsaking God’s commandments but the BREAKING NEWS is that we haven’t seen anything yet! Revelation 8: 13As I watched, I heard an eagle that was flying in midair call out in a loud voice: "Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels!"

The good news is that we still have time to evacuate before we are consumed by eternal fire. The good news is that there is a cure for sin sickness. The vaccination is the blood of Jesus. If we turn back to God we can avoid catastrophe. For God so Loved the World that he gave his only son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.

Dear God, thank you for the Good News of Jesus Christ that he came to save the lost, die for the sinner, and defeated death and the grave. That’s Good News! Helps us to get the Word out about this impending danger of your judgments against the wicked before it’s too late. God I’m just a nobody trying to tell everybody about Somebody who can save anybody. Help us to save the World through the Good News of Jesus Christ!

In Jesus Name,

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

God Needs More White Blood Cells!

Revelation 7:14
These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

White Blood Cells or Leukocytes are cells of the immune system defending the body against both infectious disease and foreign materials. It’s important for the body to have a normal count of White Blood Cells in order to stay healthy. When they are low in number they expose the body to disease. These White Blood Cells make up 1% of a healthy blood sample but are vital to the health of the body.

Christians are God’s white blood cells to the body of humanity. We are supposed to bring Life and life more abundantly because of our spiritual genetics. The Apostle John sees a vision of a great multitude of people that no one could number of all nations, tribes, people and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb clothed in white robes. John asks the angel, "who are these?” The angel says, “these are they who:

1. Come through great tribulation. In order to become a part of God’s healing movement we have to overcome the tribulations that come our way. Romans 12:21
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. 1 John 5:4
for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.

2. Washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb. How do you wash your robes in Red Blood and get white robes? What kind of process can produce white robes out of red blood? Only God can do that. Only God can take a brown cow that eats green grass to produce white milk. Only God can take a sinner like me who lived a dirty life repented, and washed in the red blood of Jesus and made my soul white as snow. Only God can do that.

The name “white blood cell” derives from the fact that after centrifugation of a blood sample, the white cells are found in the Buffy coat, a thin white layer of nucleated cells. Centrifugation is a process that involves the use of centrifugal force for the separation of mixtures. Centrifugal force means to flee by the process as an outward force away from the center of Rotation.

When Jesus died on the cross there was a centrifugal force at Calvary’s cross that caused a separation. I was a mixture of sin and righteousness but when Jesus shed his blood, God shook up the whole earth and the curtain which separated the holy of holies from the secular people was split. There was a divine separation from good cells and bad cells. When Jesus rose from the dead three days later he made it possible for me to receive a transfusion. When God shook up the whole earth with the resurrection of Jesus it allowed you and I to be washed in the blood of the Lamb.

When we come together in two or threes we form cell groups. Where two or three of us are there Jesus is. We then become white blood cells able to fight off disease, sickness and foreign objects that threaten the existence of humanity.

Dear God, help us to be your white blood cells to fight off disease of sin, injustice, racism, oppression, and sickness. Use us to infuse humanity with a dose of your saving grace and the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. What can wash away my sins, nothing but the blood of Jesus, what can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. God, I pray that you would multiply Christian cell groups all over the place today. I pray that two or three of us would consistently start coming together at work, at school, at home so that we can fight off the disease of sin so that one day we will be able to stand before the throne of the Lamb in heaven many nations, many tongues, because we have been washed in the blood of the Lamb.

In Jesus Name I pray,