Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I Can't Tell You That!

Ezekiel 12:24
For there will be no more false visions or flattering divinations among the people of Israel.

President Obama mustered up as much enthusiasm he could as he talked in the Rose Garden about the economic situation in America, “Every single day, I’m pushing this economy forward, repairing the damage that’s been done to the middle class over the past decade and promoting the growth we need to get our people back to work. I’ve got confidence in the American economy and, most importantly, I’ve got confidence in the American people. We’ve just got to start working together to get this done.”

As a leader you want to keep telling the people the “glass is half full” but sometimes we do them a disservice when we don’t tell them the water is about to run out. Just like the President, Pastors, spiritual leaders, have the responsibility to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth even as we try to inspire. There is a fine line between the truth and spin. We want to make sure we are always giving a balanced dose of truth and inspiration. Truth in itself is liberating for Jesus said, “If you know the truth, the truth will set you free.” Truth by itself is not always inspiring but it is sobering.

More than ever we must make sure we are in sync with what God is saying because people are hanging on to our every word as they try to get an answer to the question, “is there a word from the Lord?” I wish I could say the recession will end next year but I don’t know when it will end. One thing is for sure the sooner we turn back to God and stop being divided the quicker this recession will end.

Whenever there was a drought or famine in the bible it was often tied to disobedience and idolatry. When we get up and prophesy prosperity without social justice and righteousness we are “white washing’ corroded walls that will soon crumble in the time of storm. You can’t preach division, Glen Beck, and then “white wash’ the walls of America with rhetoric of “removing the poison of hate.” We’ve got to call it like it is. We are on the brink of implosion. As Dr. King said, “If we do not come together as brothers we will perish together as fools.”

1. We can’t be lying prophets just for profit. Telling people what they want to hear doesn’t help anybody. We are going to be in the recession longer than anybody wants and we must make spiritual and economic preparations for this drought. We’ve got to modify our lifestyles to keep up with the devastation of this drought.

2. No more false visions. Before we share our egos, we need to get out of the way and speak only what we hear from God. We have some long and difficult days ahead of us but if we can come back to God, joy will come in the morning.

3. We need to write the vision and make it plain so that the people may run with it, though it may take a while we need to wait on it for God’s vision will come to pass.

Dear God, let me speak only what you want me to share with your people. We need to hear from you. Just one word, for I know you’ll see us through. We are your people and we will not move until we hear from you.

In Jesus Name,


Monday, August 30, 2010

Give Me A New Heart

Ezekiel 11:19
I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them. I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.

The heart is one of the most vital organs in the body. It keeps the blood flowing through our veins pumping nonstop 24 hours a day. What an amazing miracle the heart is. Without the functioning of the heart we have no life in us.

The heart is also symbolic of the conscious center for human beings. Jesus said, “out of the mouth the heart speaks.” Jesus also said, “You honor me with your lips but your heart is far from me.” If we want our lives to mean something we have to ask God to help our hearts.

God told the prophet, Ezekiel, that the Israelites had turned away from him to worship idol gods. As a result, there was division in the land. God’s promise is that if the people would turn away from false gods he would return to his people and:

1. Give them unified hearts. A house divided against itself cannot stand. A heart divided can’t love. Jesus said, “You cannot love God and money.” For you will end up loving one and hating the other. In his healing, God restores unity to our hearts. The way God does this is by giving us a new spirit. God’s Holy Spirit is the force that bridges the gap between those dividing forces that threaten to keep us separated. Sometimes the division is internal and we are against our better selves. Paul said it when he asked, “how is it that I do what I do not want to do?” God helps us by giving us a heart that is not divided.

2. God will replace hearts of stone with hearts of flesh. Life can cause us to have a stony indifference and become hard in places where God wanted us to remain soft. Only God can remove the hardness from our hearts that have become hard from disobedience, disappointment, and disrespect. When we are hurt over and over there is a danger our hearts can become calcified from exposure to evil internalized.
God protects us and regenerates our hearts through unity and refreshing our hearts. God is able to give us heart transplants without invasive surgery. His Holy Spirit regenerates us from the inside out.

Father, today, I ask that you touch my heart and make my heart new again. Teach me how to love like you love. I’ll be strong, I’ll be gentle and even sentimental if I only have your heart. Thank you for my new heart.

In Jesus Name,


Thursday, August 26, 2010

How You Doing?

3 John 1:2
Dear Friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.

Wendy Williams has a famous greeting she borrowed from the vernacular of Southern Grandmothers, “How you doing?” it is a greeting that appears on the surface to be genuinely interested in your well being but with the comical twist given by Wendy it’s nothing more than a satirical greeting to open the show of shallow acquaintance, “how you doing?”

As Christians we really should want to know how other people are doing. In fact, we should be praying for the well being of those we are in relationship with. When we pray for others we are praying for their prosperity. The King James Version says, “I pray that you prosper even as your soul prospers.” Prosperity has been given a bad rap by televangelists greedy for selfish gain but it means way more than just money. The Greek word Euodoo means, “to have a successful journey through life.”

The Hebrew word, shalom, can be translated “prosperous” which means “completeness, safety, health, soundness, and contentment.” When we pray for others we are asking God to put these elements in others lives but the key starts with the condition of our souls. You cannot do good unless you are doing good.

It starts from the inside out. It means that as we are living according to God’s principles and experiencing his blessing God prospers us. That’s how I’m doing? I’m doing good so therefore I’m doing good! It’s not about works, it’s about being. When I’m right with God I’m doing good! How you doing?!

Dear God, thank you for making me to prosper from the inside out. You’ve been so good to me keeping me safe, granting me success, giving me good health. I’m doing good! I pray you would allow my friends and family who seek your face this morning to experience the same prosperity in their lives.

In Jesus Name,


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

You Will Be Rescued!

Jeremiah 39:17
I will rescue you on that day, declares the Lord; you will not be handed over to those you fear.

When you do good, good comes back to you. You cannot help others and others not eventually reciprocate. Whatever a man sows that he shall also reap. Oftentimes, we think our good deeds go unnoticed but in fact God is watching and he is the rewarder of all things good.

Jeremiah, the prophet, had been dogged out for no other reason than prophesying what God told him and that was that Israel would be destroyed, King Zedekiah needed to surrender or die. The people didn’t want to hear that this great nation which had always been on top had to surrender to anybody. Because of their wickedness God was destroying this city. Jeremiah gave the people warning before destruction to surrender to save their lives but instead of listening they beat Jeremiah and threw him in a well with no water and left him to die.

The only person who stepped up for Jeremiah was a black man who was a servant named Ebed-Melech, the Cushite. He pleaded with the King to let him rescue Jeremiah or he would starve to death in that muddy well. When you are faithful to God, he will send the most unlikely of people to pull you out of your situation.

Ebed-Melech with some other men sent down some old rags for Jeremiah to tie around him so that they could pull him out of that muddy well. After they pulled Jeremiah out, not long after that the city was destroyed. The Babylonians killed all of King Zedikiah’s sons in front of him, and gouged out his eyes. They took the rest of the people captive but left the poor with land and vineyards including Jeremiah.

The king of Babylon gave special orders to give Jeremiah whatever he asked for. Jeremiah told Ebed-Melech a word from the Lord. This city will be destroyed but I will rescue you on that day, and you will not be handed over to those you fear. When you do good to others, God will:

1. Lift you out of pits. Ebed-Melech lifted Jeremiah who in turn lifted him out of harm’s way through the word God had given him.

2. Give you whatever you ask for. The enemy blessed Jeremiah by allowing him to return to his home and give him whatever else he asked for. Favor is when people who don’t even like you have to bless you.

3. Rescue you from your haters. Even though the city was under siege God told Ebed-Melech that he would be delivered from those he feared. God will put you in witness protection when you stand for him and help others out.

Dear God, thank you for lifting me up when others wanted to destroy me. You are the lifter of my head. Thank you for giving me my land and granting me whatever I needed. It’s a privilege and honor to serve you and I thank you for hearing my despairing cry. It was your love that lifted me.

In Jesus Name,


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

God Hears You!

1 John 5:14-15 (New International Version)
14This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.

There are times in our lives when we are not sure if anybody is listening to us. We feel like we don't have a voice and we are stranded on an island of indifference. We cry out to what appears a bronze sky with no entry into heavens corridors hoping our cries alert someone or something to aid us in our situation. The most primitive cry that we let out in times of trouble is, "somebody please help me!" We just want somebody to come to our rescue. While at the same time we are losing consciousness of our spiritual confidence that God is listening.

It was this cry that God heard in Egypt when his children were oppressed and he sent Moses to tell Pharaoh let my people go. God still hears his oppressed and "recessed" children crying out. He's just been waiting for us to call his name again. Through Jesus Christ we have confidence that whatever we ask of him, if it is his will, God hears us!

The reason we have this confidence is because Jesus told us, "if you abide in me and I abide in you ask whatever you will and I will do it for you!"

1. We have confidence because of our relationship with Jesus. Jesus said if you ask in my name, I will go to the Father on your behalf. Jesus is our mediator and God hears us because of our relationship to him.

2. We have confidence because we are doing God's will. When you are doing what God told you to do you just know that God is going to show up on your behalf. God will finish what he started in you. As long as it's his will it's his bill.

3. We have confidence because he hears us and we know we have what we have asked for. When we ask God for anything and we know that it's in his will then get ready to receive it because you already have it. You should walk into the job interview with confidence if you already prayed about it and you know God wants you to have it. Go to sleep if you prayed about it because you are getting ready to get it if you are confident that God wants you to have it.

Walk in confidence today knowing that God hears you and you are in his will and you have what you asked for. God hears you!

Dear God, thank you for hearing my cry and answering by and by. Lord today manifest what I have asked of you that my enemies still know you hear me. God you are my strength and my redeemer. It is you who lifted me out of the deepest pits and set my feet upon the high places. The same way you showed up in my Egypt is the same way you are going to show up today. Thank you for hearing my cry. I know you still hear me.

In Jesus Name,

Monday, August 23, 2010

Favor in the Desert

Jeremiah 31:2
This is what the Lord says, "the people who survive the sword will find favor in the desert; I will come to give rest to Israel.

Jeremiah 32:15
For this is what the lord almighty the God of Israel says: Houses, fields and vineyards will again be bought in this land.

Trouble don't last Always; Though at times it seems perpetual. Every one of us is fighting hard to stay afloat in this economy and every day we are bombarded with the leaked reports of the sluggish economy. It takes everything we have not to capitulate to the helplessness that permeates the media but if we focus our attention on what God says we have hope.

When Jerusalem was under siege by the Babylonians, God told Jeremiah that his punishment of Israel wouldn't last forever. They were being punished because of their idol worship. God was trying to get them to turn back to him. He told Jeremiah not everyone would be destroyed.

God said everyone who survived the sword would find favor in the desert. Those of us still alive and with our faces set toward God are experiencing favor in the desert. Favor means that God will allow us to make transactions in the wilderness and under siege that will benefit us in the future.

While Jeremiah was in lock down and under siege his cousin came to sell him some land and he put the deed in a clay jar so it would last a long time because God wanted to use it as a sign to show that houses, fields and vineyards will again be bought in this land. Before they disobeyed God he brought them into the Promised Land where every person had their own land, vineyard, and sit under their own tree. After the punishment/recession once again God promises those that have favor that they will get those things back. That which was desolate God is going to build back up.

If you are still alive and turn back to God you should start looking for opportunities to rebuild what was devastated. If you can't do anything but purchase the land then just put the deed away until you have the capital to build. You have favor in the desert!

Dear God, thank you that during this recession we have favor. Thank you for using us to rebuild what was devastated. God you are so good to us and our faces are set on you, the author and finisher of our faith.

In Jesus Name,

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Are You Fishing on the Right Side?

John 21:6
He said, "Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some." When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.

It can be frustrating when we've been working hard and don't have anything to show for it, you often hear people ask, "Are you working hard?" Your reply should be, "No, I'm working smart, not hard." When you are not operating in the will of God, when your lifestyle is out of sync with God's holiness you will find yourself working hard with nothing to show for your effort, but when you are living right God will bless you with overflow.

Peter and four other disciples decided to go back to their fishing jobs after Jesus had been executed on the cross. When Jesus is dead to you it's easy to go back to what you use to do and think that will sustain you, but if he called you from it you can't be productive going back to it.

They fished all night then the next morning Jesus showed up. They didn't recognize him but he recognized them. He asked them if they caught anything. They said, "No, we've been fishing all night." He said, "Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some." They did just what he said and they caught so many fish they were unable to pull them in. Right away they recognized it was Jesus back from the dead and Peter jumped in the water with his clothes on to swim to Jesus.

What a wonderful feeling to have Jesus back in your life and to fish on the right side of the boat. When you fish on the right side of the boat that's when overflow comes in your life.

Are you fishing on the right side of the boat?

1. God will not bless illegal activity. Proverbs 1:19Such is the end of all who go after ill-gotten gain; it takes away the lives of those who get it.

2. There's no right way to do the wrong thing. Proverbs 16:2All a man's ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the LORD.

3. Are you doing what Jesus told you to do? John 10:27My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.

Dear God, help me to fish on the right side of the boat. I don't want to waste another day doing it my way, give me increase as I do what you tell me to do. I'm fishing on the right side of the boat today. Thank you for showing back up when I didn't have anything to show for my life. When you showed up my life had new meaning. Thank you for helping me to get back on the right side.

In Jesus Name,

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Locked Up With No Peace

John 20:19
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!"

Fantasia Barrino was found in her closet a couple of weeks ago with an overdose of pills. Her family was able to get her to the hospital in time to pump her stomach and save her life. Fantasia who at one time had so much going in her favor has recently found herself in debt, in danger of losing her home, and embarrassed by a sex tape scandal. No one knows why she overdosed and hid herself in a closet but we can only empathize with the pressure she must be under trying to climb out of debt, trying to support her family, trying to resurrect a career all while the whole world is entertained by her dilemma on reality television. Maybe she was searching for fabricated peace in her closet trying to go to sleep and never wake up.

Hiding behind locked doors with no peace or with fabricated peace is not the way Jesus wants his followers to live. Fantasia needs to know there is another way to deal with the troubles of this world.

Jesus' disciples were also trying to hide behind locked doors because their leader had been publicly executed. They felt they were next. When you feel the world closing in on you, sometimes the only option appears to be to run and hide out of fear of the unknown.

What I love about Jesus is that locked doors will not keep him out. It wasn't time for Fantasia to die and neither is it time for you to die or give up because here comes Jesus!

The bible says Jesus came through the locked doors and told the disciples, "Peace be with you!" He breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit!" This mirrors the creation narrative when God breathed into Adam the breath of life and he became a living being. When we feel dead and helpless we should ask Jesus to breathe on us and into us the Holy Spirit and watch him breathe new life into our situation. Come out of that closet and let God do a new thing in you! It's not time to die! You shall live and not die and proclaim the works of the Lord's hand in your situation.

When you find yourself in a bind, instead of hiding in your closet you need to make sure you:

1. Don't lock yourself away from God. In the time of trouble he will hide you under the shadow of his wings. When we are in trouble we should run to God and not from God.

2. Don't take your life, give your life to Jesus.

3. Receive inspiration from the Word of God in the bible, preaching and gospel music. Let God inspire or breathe into you through His word.

Dear God, breathe into me the breath of life, so my heart may be Holy and my soul made right. I will not give up until I go up. Just as you healed Fantasia, the disciples and me; so also heal all of those who are hiding behind locked doors out of fear on today.

In Jesus Name,


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Where's the Sheep?

Jeremiah 23:4
I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing." Declares the Lord.

Watching over sheep can be a challenging job because sheep are prone to wander. If you have ever taken the time to observe sheep you will notice they eat with their heads down which causes them to wander into dangerous territory without even realizing they've stayed away from the flock. Their only saving grace is that they have shepherds who watch over them to 1)go after them when they stray 2) protect them from predators 3) help them when they are injured 4) feed them when they are hungry 5) love on them when they are afraid.

The problem is not the sheep. Sheep are going to be sheep. Sheep wander. Sheep get in trouble. Sheep get scared. The problem is not the sheep the problem is that Shepherds aren't being Shepherds.

God tells Jeremiah in Chapter 23, verse 2, "Because you (shepherds) have scattered my flock and driven them away and have not bestowed care on them, I will bestow punishment on you for the evil you have done. It's evil not to watch over the sheep. It's evil not to know the condition of the sheep.

It's time for real shepherds to rise up and care for the flocks. A shepherd can effectively watch around 200 sheep, therefore the more sheep you have the more shepherds you need. The larger the church the more shepherds you need on the leadership team. What frustrates the sheep is when they focus on one shepherd and don't receive care from the other shepherds on the team. Notice God says, I will place SHEPHERD(s) over them. We have been stuck with an old paradigm that there is only one shepherd in any given church. What frustrates the shepherd is when he or she tries to live out this unrealistic paradigm. That's why Jethro all the way back in the Old Testament had to save Moses from this deadly paradigm of ministry when he was single handedly trying to lead close to a million people out of Egypt into the promised land.

Exodus 18:17-21 (New International Version)

17 Moses' father-in-law replied, "What you are doing is not good. 18 You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone. 19 Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you. You must be the people's representative before God and bring their disputes to him. 20 Teach them the decrees and laws, and show them the way to live and the duties they are to perform. 21 But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.

Small group leaders, bible study teachers, ministry leaders, campus pastors are all shepherds who are under the Sr. Pastor who is under the Chief Shepherd Jesus. You have been gifted to help watch the sheep and are here to help your pastor get those lost sheep back where they belong. Maybe the question is not where's the sheep but where is the shepherd? Look in the mirror this morning it might be you.

Dear God, help us to effectively care for your sheep. Raise up more shepherds so that we can reach those who've strayed away or have been driven away. Use me to be your shepherd to help my lost brothers and sisters to find their way back home. Lord send us more shepherds after your heart.

In Jesus Name,

Monday, August 16, 2010

Will You Deny Him?

John 18:25
As Simon Peter stood warming himself, he was asked, "You are not one of his disciples are you?" He denied it, saying, "I am not."

Everybody wants to be a part of something great, something bigger than themselves. When other people are enthusiastic about someone or something it is contagious. It is only when something becomes controversial or unpopular that we see enthusiasm begin to wane.

There is a difference between a fair-weather fan/friend and a devoted follower. Fair Weather friends/fans will be there as long as it appears that you are winning or your popularity ratings are up in the pools, but as those numbers begin to dip you start to see who was with you out of hype and who was with you out of hope. Jesus is my Hope for tomorrow or as Tye Tribbett sings, "He's everything to me," but sometimes it's tempting to deny Him than it is to die with Him.

Jesus was arrested and was on his way to be executed one of his most adamant followers tried to prevent his arrest by cutting off the ear of one of the arresting officers. Jesus told Peter to put away his sword. When Peter saw Jesus' surrender and arrest it took something out of him, not only the fight but the will to follow. Have you ever lost your will to fight or to follow? When you are following someone under attack and they don't fight back or perform the way you thought they should it makes you have second thoughts. You start distancing yourself because this is not what you signed up for. Have you ever been in a place where you denied following Jesus because you thought you would be associated with his condemnation? Peter denied Jesus but it started when He:

1. Followed Jesus from a distance. After Jesus was arrested Peter followed him to the judgment hall from a distance. He wanted to be close enough to say he followed Jesus but not close enough to be accused of being a disciple. We do this when we have a casual allegiance to Jesus that leads us to church on Sunday but through the week we keep a safe distance so people won't think we are really serious about following Jesus. It might offend somebody.

2. Fellowshipping with non-believers. Peter was warming himself by a fire with people who were against Jesus. Our denial starts when we are hanging out with people who don't love him like we do. When you can't be vocal about Jesus then you are hanging with the wrong crowd.

3. Forgetting what he promised Jesus. Peter told Jesus that if he got arrested or had to die then he would suffer with him. Like Peter we have the greatest of intentions when we have goose bumps under inspiration but it's another thing under the perspiration of persecution. Will you deny him under pressure and forget what you promised him? I promised him that I would serve him 'til I die.

It's easy to deny Jesus when the pressure is on and his popularity is down in the polls, but the question today is, "are you one of his disciples or just one of his fans?

Dear God, today I want to show and prove that I am a follower of Christ. No matter how lonely or unpopular it might be I have decided to follow Jesus. Though none go with me still I will follow, no turning back, no turning back.

In Jesus Name,

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Don't Get Tired Now!

Jeremiah 12:5 If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?

Looking from the outside in it always looks easy to accomplish what other people have worked hard for. People may never say it but they are thinking, "I can do that!" People see your Glory but they couldn't live your story. The race you are running is the race you were "graced' to run. God gave you the unique ability to run the race that you are running.

Jesse Owens will always be remembered for defeating Adolph Hitler's philosophy of Aryan racial superiority by winning four gold medals at the 1935 Olympics in Berlin. He also raced a horse and won in Cuba but his greatest feat was a year before the Olympics in Ann Arbor, Michigan at the Big Ten Conference when he tied the World Record in the 100 yard dash at 9.4 seconds and broke the world records for the broad jump, 220 yard dash and the 200 yard low hurdles.

The astounding thing about these records was that they were set after Owens had fallen down a flight of stairs and was suffering from back pain and they were accomplished in a span of about 70 minutes. Had Jesse Owens quit after his fall, he never would have defeated the Germans, he never would have raced a horse and won. If you stumble in the open country and give up, how will you compete on the World's stage?

Don't get tired now...

1. Train hard while the cameras are not on you. If you are going to fall it's better to fall at the beginning than to fall at the top. Whatever you do train hard so you can run hard when the camera is on you.

2. If you fall down get back up. Sometimes, we have to run through our pain with a greater goal in mind. Forget those things which are behind you and press toward your goal.

3. Run beyond the expectations of others. Jesse Owens could have bought into the racist ideology of the Germans but instead he knew who he was and he had trained for this. He ran so fast he beat everybody.

4. Win at foot races before you try to beat horses. Jesse won in Ann Arbor after falling down the steps, he won in Germany against all odds, and just for fun he beat a race horse. Run your foot race before you try to show out for fun.

Dear God, give me the resilience to get up and run after I fall. Give me the courage to run in the face of hatred and evil. Give me the stamina to finish strong, for I know the race is not given to the swift nor to the strong but to those who endure to the end.

In Jesus Name,


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Let's Do Something New

A New Command

John 13:34 A new Command I give you: love one another as I have loved you, so you must love one another.

With all the hostility in the White House; with all the partisanship divides, with all the racial tension, with all the tension with Immigration Reform, with all the controversy of Proposition 8, we need a new Law! There ought to be a law passed that we Love Each Other! This is no warm fuzzy, romantic love this is a love and acknowledgment of the common distinction that we are all human and worthy of respect. It is a love that originates from the response of first having been loved by God.

Maybe that's the problem; if you've never experienced the love of Jesus Christ yourself you can't reciprocate with others what you haven't received yourself.

Even on the eve of his betrayal by Judas, Jesus tells his disciples, "I'm giving you a new command that you love one another as I have loved you." If our new command is to love one another as Jesus loved us the question is, "How did he love us?"

1. He loved us while we were yet sinners. Jesus didn't wait 'til people were 'lovable' he loved people while they were still messed up. Oftentimes we have to wait until people are presentable before we can show them empathy or give them our respect but Jesus conversed with prostitutes, demoniacs, hypocrites, and sinners. It was his initiation of love that helped people cross the bridge to salvation and healing.

2. He loved those who society said were unlovable. Jesus often interacted with outcasts by being compassionate to their suffering. Whenever he saw disenfranchised people his heart went out to them and his love drew them in. The illegal aliens, the homosexuals, the impoverished, and the misunderstood need our love today. So often we say love the "sinner" hate the sin but we have gotten stuck on the hate part but haven't initiated the Love.

3. He gave up his life for ours. Greater love has no man than this then he who would lay down his life for his friend. When Jesus died for us we were enemies of the state. He died hoping we would do the right thing. Today, people almost need prenuptial agreements before they can even be friends. God's love does what is right by people before they reciprocate. When you love with God's love you do what is necessary for the good of the populace without holding back the love that is necessary for people who are not very friendly. Agape loves even when it doesn't feel like loving.

Dear God, help me to love like Jesus. For the betterment of everybody else help me to die to my way of doing things so the nation, the community, and the organization can be healed. Help me to love my neighbor as I love myself. The love you give me today allow me to give it away to every person I meet. Let them see Jesus in Me. They will know we are Christians by our love.

In Jesus Name,


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

This Can't Wait

John 12:7 Leave her alone, Jesus replied. It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial.

Have you ever bought something so special for somebody you loved that you just couldn’t wait to let them have it? I’m terrible when it comes to giving surprise gifts because I can’t wait to see the joy on the person’s face when they open it. That’s how we should be when we are opening our gifts to God. Each of us have a gift from God and for God waiting to be opened but we can’t wait until Jesus is dead before we open it up.

Some may say Jesus already died and was raised from the dead but I would say we were living in a time where society is trying to kill His witness and we need to open our gifts now to show our love to Him.

Hebrews 6: 4It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5who have tasted the goodness of the Word of God and the powers of the coming age, 6if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because[b]to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.

Jesus was visiting the house of his friends, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus who was just fresh out of the grave himself from the miracle of Jesus raising him from the dead. Mary was so overwhelmed with gratitude that she broke open some perfume she had been saving for Jesus’ death and poured it out on him in the house. The scent filled the room and got everybody’s attention especially Judas. When we give it ought to leave a pleasant aroma in the house. On Sundays when the people of God give with a generous heart it ought to cause the whole house to smell good. Mary couldn’t wait until Jesus was dead she had to give him her gift while he was present.

Judas got mad because he saw how much money was being wasted. He said, “This perfume is about a year’s wage and could have been given to the poor.”

First Lady Michelle Obama was being criticized last night for taking her daughter and her friend, who just lost her father, to Spain for a mini-vacation. CNN analysts were saying it was the wrong time to travel somewhere as nice as Spain during a recession. That money could have been used for the poor in the Gulf. We are still going to be a trillion dollars in debt for years to come but Michelle needed to minister to her friend and daughter right now and by the way, they paid for the trip out of their own money. The same people who are crying about how much money she spent are the same ones trying to block health care reform and financial relief to those who are unemployed.

Judas wasn’t concerned about the poor, he was mad because he was helping himself to the money in the funds designated to the poor. He was getting money from “special interests.” Mary gave out of a sincere place and this couldn’t wait. When it comes to our own lives we all need the same kind of urgency when it comes to giving our gifts to Jesus. This can’t wait…

1. When you want to bless someone who’s been a blessing to you.

2. When the Joy of giving it now…supersedes timelines or perception. The impact of my gift now would be greater than if I waited.

3. Urgency of the need to give outweighs the timing of the sacrifice. There may be a traditional time set to give my gift but the urgency and my discernment tell me now is the time.

4. You want to give people their flowers while they are alive to smell them. Bless people who mean the most to you while they are still alive not when they are dead.

Dear God, I pour myself out to you today because I appreciate all of what you’ve done for me. Today, I’m going to bless somebody special in my life not because it’s their birthday, anniversary, Christmas, or their funeral but just because I love them and appreciate them. This can’t wait!

In Jesus Name,

Monday, August 9, 2010

Jesus Wept

John 11:33 When Jesus saw Mary weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.

Oftentimes we feel like God is some arbitrary and aloof deity that could care less about what we are going through. When we are facing debt, death, and destruction does God really care about us? Even though there are times when we don’t feel the closeness of God doesn’t mean He is not on His way.

When Lazarus was sick Jesus didn’t show up until after he was dead. Even though he had the power to raise him from the dead there is something more powerful than Lazarus’ resurrection. It was when Jesus got to the house of Mary and Martha. When he saw the people weeping for his friend Lazarus, the bible says, “Jesus was deeply moved in his spirit and he wept.”

God doesn’t always prevent suffering but he feels our pain when we do. Sometimes our suffering isn’t about us it’s about the people around us seeing Jesus in our situation. The most powerful verse in the bible is “Jesus Wept,” Because it shows the empathy of God. Death was never supposed to be and that is why Jesus came to defeat the grave and take the sting out of death. Jesus Wept!

The next time you are going through something hard and you feel like God doesn’t care about you I want you to remember the story of Lazarus and remember:

1. Jesus Knows. Jesus got word that Lazarus was sick and at the point of death. He stayed where He was two more days because He knew that God was going to get the Glory out of the resurrection of Jesus. When you pray to God, God will send Jesus. It may not be when you want but He’s on His way.

2. Jesus Cares. When Jesus got there He consoled, He encouraged, He taught, and He cried. Jesus cares about us and our situation. When He shows up let Him minister to your broken heart.

3. He knows how much we can bear. He asked Mary to show Him the place where they had laid Lazarus. At some point God acts to remove the stench and the sting of death in your life. Show Jesus where you have laid your pain and watch Him perform a miracle in your life.

Don’t you ever give up and don’t you ever give in. Jesus loves you and He is weeping with you.

Dear God thank you for sending Jesus when we were on the verge of a meltdown. We know that you care about us because Jesus wept. When we hurt He hurts. He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities, and the chastisement of our peace was upon Him. Help us to be like Jesus today to rejoice with those who rejoice and to weep with those who weep.

In Jesus Name,

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Is This The Right Time?

John 7:6 Therefore Jesus told them, “the right time for me has not yet come; for you any time is right.

If you are not careful people will talk you into something that you are not ready to get into. Many times the people who are pushing you are not pushing you out of support but out of curiosity. They are afraid to do what they are asking you to do but nevertheless are pushing you into something that you are equipped to do but are not ready to do. They want to see what will happen when you are “out there.” What’s confusing is that they are pushing you in the right direction but it may not be the right time.

There is a time for everything and you have to know what time it is. Malcolm X once said, “Never trust a man who doesn’t wear a watch.” As a leader you need to know what time it is. There is an internal clock that God gives us to know when it’s time to move into our destiny. Other people have their own clocks set by perception, anxiousness, and sometimes sabotage but you can’t go by their time because it will push you prematurely into a place that God has for you but has not prepared for you. Daryl Coley said, “He’s preparing me for something I can’t handle right now.”

When Jesus was nearing his “time” of crucifixion, he received death threats in Judea. It was the Passover and he purposely stayed away because of his death threats. His brothers urged him to go anyway because they thought he needed the “exposure” to be a “public figure.” The bible said his brothers didn’t even believe in him, meaning they didn’t understand his purpose. They were trying to make him into a celebrity instead of seeing him as their savior. They wanted to push him into a role that God didn’t even have assigned to him. They were riding off of his popularity without being sensitive to his risks. It’s always easy for people to push you into something when you are paying all the costs.

Don’t let people push you out too soon, not even your closest relatives.

1. Be clear on who you are and where you are going. If you don’t know where you are going people will create somewhere for you to go. Be clear before they put you “out there.”

2. Don’t operate by other people’s anxiousness. The bible says, “Be anxious for nothing.”

3. Don’t promote your self over your purpose. If it doesn’t have anything to do with your purpose then don’t waste your time no matter how popular or promising it looks.

4. Don’t let people with nothing to lose advise you on when to move. Jesus told his brothers, “For you any time is right.” For people that have nothing going for them and they are living vicariously through you any time is right. For people that are too afraid to walk in their own destiny anytime is right for you to move. Go by your own your watch that is set to God’s time.

5. Wait for God’s green light. There is an inner peace God will give you when it’s time to move. If you don’t have peace, don’t move.

Dear God, I want to move when the time is right. It might cost me everything to listen to the wrong people and move at the wrong time. Today, I’m waiting on you. When you say go I’ll be ready to move until then I’m still waiting on your green light. Because those that wait on the Lord will renew their strength. They will walk and not get weary; they will run and not faint. Thank you God, I’m ready when you are.

In Jesus Name,


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Food Is Spoiled!

John 6:27

Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.

Have you ever gone into your refrigerator looking for leftovers with your mouth set on tasting what you had previously eaten only to be disappointed with the green moldy stuff growing on top of your food? Food has an expiration period that will not allow it to be kept for long periods of time.

We can’t put our hopes in things that have an expiration date on them. Our problem is that we try to preserve things that were meant to expire. We try to preserve relationships that were seasonal. We try wrap up something that was only supposed to be consumed for one week and you are trying to go back to it next month. Food is the best when it’s consumed fresh and the essential vitamins and nutrients are present. When food sits too long bacteria starts to get in it and it is not as healthy for us as it was when it was fresh.

In Jesus time, they didn’t have refrigerators so you ate everything fresh. That is why Jesus prayed, “Give us this day our daily bread.” When the children of Israel were going through the desert on their way to the Promised Land God gave them daily manna or bread from heaven. If they tried to keep it over night it would spoil and have maggots in it. God was trying to teach them that their dependency should be upon him and not the false security of storing up bread.

Bread also represents that which sustains us. In the 70’s bread was a slang word for cash. Many of us have lost a lot of bread this year and we thought that putting our bread in stocks and in the bank would ensure its safety, but that bread spoiled. Many of the people following Jesus after the miracle of the loaves did so because they wanted more bread but not because they wanted more Jesus. Jesus explained he was the bread of life and that people shouldn’t follow him just for food that spoils but to follow him for food that endures for eternal life.

When we follow Jesus for material things we will continue to stay hungry and often find spoiled food in places we thought it would keep, but when we follow Jesus for the right reasons we will be filled with good things. Our dependency should be upon God to supply our daily bread and not spoil ourselves with material things that take our eyes off God.

1. Oh taste and see that the Lord is good. When we taste of God and see how good He is nothing else compares. He is the only one that can sustain us.

2. Every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before. When you store up on the word of God it gets better every day. Some leftovers taste better after they’ve been left to marinate overnight but Jesus is the only food that gets better year after year.

3. He is our daily bread. Every morning we ought to seek out Jesus not for what He can give us but because of who He is. In him we move, live, and have our being.

Dear God, feed me 'til I want no more the bread from heaven. I want my labor to be for that which lasts. I want to live for Jesus and I know he will supply all my needs. Thank you for my daily bread.

In Jesus Name,


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Why You Doing That?

John 5:44
How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God?

Many times my youngest son will want me to watch him play basketball, hit a golf ball, or turn a flip. He is persistent in saying, “Daddy, Daddy will you watch me?” He will try his best to perform or execute correctly because he just wants to hear his daddy say, “good job!” It’s not the same when he’s just playing with his brothers without me watching, it turns into more of a competition and they seldom complement one another unless it is something spectacular.

In thinking about my sons playing it reminds me of how we live out our lives as adults. We start out seeking the approval and adoration of our fathers but end up in a tense competition with our peers, straining for their approval and killing ourselves trying to get it.

Why do we do what we do? Many of us leave the desire to please our Heavenly Father and press our way into the competitive fields of school and career hoping to be accepted and commended by our peers. There is a phase that all children go through somewhere around their teen-age years where the approval of parents doesn’t equal the approval of peers. It is only through maturity that we come back full circle and have a healthy balance of parental approval and peer approval. But in the middle of our growth and maturity it becomes less and less about pleasing our Father and more about hearing compliments from our peers. If you are not careful you can get stuck pleasing people and never make it back to pleasing your father.

The Pharisees were more concerned about public esteem than they were about pleasing their heavenly Father. They made more effort trying to please people with long prayers, fancy robes and demanding important seats in public places than they did serving God. Jesus was more concerned about pleasing his father and less about what people thought about him.

How liberating that must have been for Jesus to live his life focused on pleasing his father than being imprisoned by the opinions of his peers. Now this doesn’t mean you live with arrogance and disregard for your brothers and sisters. There is a balance between pleasing God and loving people. Jesus put it in perspective when he said the two greatest commandments were: Mark 12:30-32 (New International Version)
30Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'[a] 31The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'[b]There is no commandment greater than these."

Whenever you set out to do something always ask yourself why am I doing this? And remember:

1. It is more expedient to please God than to waste your time trying to please men.

2. Don’t compare yourself amongst yourselves. Live up to what God has created you to be not the opinions of others.

3. Only what you do for Christ will last.

Dear God, keep me humble and watch me today. When I know that my heavenly father is watching me it gives me strength, and focus. I just want to hear you say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant. You’ve been faithful over a few things now come on up and I’ll make you ruler over many.” Daddy please watch me!

In Jesus Name,

Monday, August 2, 2010

Who You Talking To?

Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water." John 4:10

It pays to be nice to people. It doesn't cost you anything to be freindly but more and more I run into people who are nasty for no reason. The South used to be known for its hospitality but that seems to have been replaced with "Southern Hostility." You could blame it on the heat but these hostilities seem to transcend seasons.

It's important for us to be aware of how important it is to be nice. My Grandmother said, "Its nice to be improtant but it's more important to be nice." You never know who you are talking to and how they can help you.

Jesus was hot and thristy one day and he stopped at a well in the heat of the day on the other side of the railroad tracks. A Samaritan woman was there and Jesus, a Jewish man, asked her for a drink of water. She got smart and said, "How are you going to ask me for some water when you know Jews and Samarians don't get along?' Jesus said, "If you knew who you were talking to, you would have asked him for a drink and I would have given you life giving water."

This woman didn't know she was talking to the source of her supply. Jesus was there to give her a spritual well that would satisfy her thirst for love for the rest of her life but she was too angry to see who she was talking to. Today, God may be sending you someone you think is a customer or stranger or maybe even an inconvenience, but in reality, they've been sent to bless you, but they can't bless you until you bless them by being nice!

Who are you talking to? Before you miss your blessing by being nasty, here's what you need to do:

1. Be the first one to speak. Especially if you work somewhere and a customer comes in don't let them speak to you first before you say something.

2. Smile when you greet people. It takes more muscles to frown then it does to smile.

3. Treat people like you want to be treated.

4. Don't racially profile people or generalize gender just because you had a bad experience with either one. Everybody is not the same.

5. Go beyond appearance and see what's on the inside. You could be talking to the millionaire next door or an angel from heaven.

Dear God, help me to be friendly to each person that I greet today. Somebody, I meet today is holding the key to what I've been looking for. I pray today that somebody would meet Jesus today when they see Him in me. I'm thirsty for you and if you show up I'll be glad to share what I have with you even if you don't look like the kind of person I would speak to. Open my mind today so that I won't miss you when you come my way.

In Jesus Name,