Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Keep Your Conscience Clean

Acts 24:16
I strive always to keep my conscience clean before God and men.

As Parents, we stay on our children to keep their rooms clean. It’s nothing more embarassing than to have guests over and they walk into a dirty room and leave with the impression that you are a nasty housekeeper. My mother would always caution us with, “you never know when company might come over so keep this house clean!”

If we put as much effort into keeping our conscience clear as much as we do cleaning our rooms, life would be so much better. Our conscience is but one room in our psyche where we keep records of good and bad deeds we have done. When we live an unscrupulous life filled with compromise, we start accumulating old articles that make our room look like the worst house on “Hoarders.” It’s not enough to get rid of the stuff in the room or to clean the room. You have to make sure you don’t start hoarding stuff all over again. Hoarding starts with little stuff you think you can’t do without and before you know it you can’t move around your room because so much stuff is on the floor. The key after you clean it is to stop letting new stuff accumulate.

Paul says, “I strive to keep a clear conscience.” Why? Because Paul knew one day he would have guests. He believed that he would have to stand in judgment before God. He believed there would be a resurrection of the dead both the wicked and the righteous to stand before God. He believed one day he would have guests to visit the house of his soul and want access to that one room we don’t want anybody to see, the room of our conscience. It’s the room where we’ve stored all the sordid details of our hidden lives. The room where we’ve stored all the back room behavior we hope no one ever finds out about. One day, Jesus will walk through that room. In the meantime, the Holy Spirit walks through on a daily basis warning us to clean up before Jesus comes. Therefore, we should all strive to keep a clear conscience. How do we keep a clear conscience?

1. Don’t do anything in the dark that you wouldn’t want coming to the light.
2. Don’t tell lies, little or big. A lie is a lie.
3. Don’t whisper anything you wouldn’t want shouted from the roof tops.
4. Make sure your motives are pure.
5. Ask yourself, “if Jesus was here, would I be doing this?”

Dear God,
Give me a clean heart that I might serve you. Remove any junk from the room of my conscience and help me to keep it clean by making the right choices. Today, I’m keeping a clean conscience so when the Holy Spirit pays me a visit I will not be ashamed of my room.

In Jesus Name,

Monday, October 25, 2010

They Can't Understand

Acts 22:9
My companions saw the light, but they did not understand the voice of him who was speaking to me.

When God is speaking to you people around you can see the evidence but not necessarily understand what God is saying. What is important to remember is that it’s imperative that you understand the voice and shine your light for your friends to see. Don’t get concerned when they can’t understand the voice of God in your life just make sure you understand what God is saying. God will speak to you and even the closest people to you will not always understand what God is saying in your life. Make sure you hear God and that your light is not compromised.

When Jesus stopped Saul on the Damascus road he appeared as a blinding light as he asked Saul, “Why are you persecuting me?” Saul was terrorizing Christians because he was a Jew, a leading Pharisee. He was hunting down Christians to beat them and put them in prison for following Jesus. Imagine the confusion of his companions when he told them he was talking to Jesus. He was on his way to beat some Christians up and now he’s having a conversation with Jesus in the middle of the road.

Some of your friends don’t understand why you stopped in the middle of what you were doing to have conversation with Jesus. You were going one way and God sent you in a New Direction and people still can’t understand the voice. They can’t understand that you don’t want to go to the Juke Joint no more. They don’t understand why you won't have sex with them anymore. They don’t understand why you stopped spending all your money on them. God spoke and you stopped and they can’t understand the voice. You can’t wait for people to understand before you obey. I can show you better than I can tell you. Instead of trying to explain to people what he said, live your life in such a way that your light reflects the Glory of God in your life.

1. Get clarity on what God is saying in your life.
2. Walk on the street called straight.
3. Fast and pray so God can give you instruction for your New Direction.

Dear God,
Let my light shine bright as I am obedient to your voice. Whatever you tell me to do, I’ll do. Whatever you tell me to say, I’ll say it. Wherever you tell me to go, I’ll go. Just help me to understand your voice.

In Jesus Name,

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

He Kept on Knocking

Acts 12:16
But Peter kept on knocking and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished.

There are so many people right now that seem to be locked up and locked out of opportunity. Last week, we had a job fair and over 1,500 people showed up looking for employment. We ran out of applications. Some of the people arrived an hour early because they were eager to find employment. Jesus told us to seek and we would find. Ask and it shall be given, knock and the door shall be opened. Sometimes, you have to keep on knocking.

Peter had miracously been delivered from prison because the church was praying for him. But sometimes when the church is praying for you they don’t believe it’s you when you show up knocking at the door of opportunity.

It has to be discouraging for men and women who’ve been delivered from prison only to get to the doors at the church, knock and the people there find your story too good to be true. So many people have served their time, made their mistakes, only to meet with disbelief after their rehabilitation. I was watching K-Ci and JoJo, Coming Clean when they went to meet with an old friend who was VP for Interscope. Their friend began to remind them of all the mistakes they made in the past without taking into account that they were attempting to come clean. K-Ci and JoJo have to remain clean and keep on knocking.

Rhoda the girl at the door told the people praying that it was Peter, the one they had been praying for was at the door. They said, “No that must be his ghost!” Which means that they really didn’t believe he’d be delivered and had already wrapped their minds around the possibilities of him dying.

You need to let people know, “I ain’t dead yet!” Show up and start knocking on the door when they don’t believe you, Keep on knocking!

That’s what Jesus had to do for us. He says in Revelation 3:20, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. “Keep Knocking.

Ways to keep knocking:

1. After you submit your resume follow back up with a call.
2. Stop by and see if there are any openings, go in, don’t just call.
3. There is one yes hidden somewhere behind a bunch of “no’s”
4. Be persistent until you breakthrough.
5. Keep knocking until you find the right door.

Dear God, give us perseverance to keep on knocking until the door of opportunity swings open. As long as there is breath in my body, I’m going to keep on knocking. Thank you for the open door and for giving me the strength to get past my adversaries. Now today I’m walking into my new season.

In Jesus Name,

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

God Doesn't Show Favoritism

Acts 10:34-35
Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.

The other day on “the View” Bill O’Reily categorically condemned all Muslims as terrorists and blamed them for the attacks on the World Trade Center. Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar stormed off the set in protest. Barbara Walters was upset with her colleagues for their unprofessional actions. She said, “We can disagree without being disrespectful. Joy and Whoopi are right to be upset but should have stayed on the couch and let Bill look ignorant on his own. Their outrage is understandable because this villinization of a group of people that is not monolithic has been the same kind of racist propaganda that has been used toward minorities and people of different faiths for years in America.

Sometimes conservative Christians feel they have the monopoly on God's favor and love, but God has used men and women of many faiths to inspire and change the world with people like Malcolm X (Muslim) who saw a connection between blacks, whites, Africans, and Asians toward the end of his life; Gandhi (Hindu) who inspired Dr. King with his non-violent protest, Dali Lama (Buddhist) and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (Christian). All of these people had one thing in common, they did what was right and feared God by standing up for the powerless.

God has to show Peter who has been raised a conservative Jew that he is to be inclusive with the love of God and sharing the gospel with people outside his comfort zone. Jews believed that it was not lawful for Jews to socialize with Gentiles but God sends Peter to sit on the couch with Cornelius, a Gentile.

The prayers and the good Cornelius had done for the poor had come up as a memorial offering to God. Cornelius was not a Jew or a Christian but his prayers and gifts to the poor came up to God as a memorial offering. Could it be that some non-Christians reach God before us? It’s not that we are more righteous but God wants us as Christians to finish the story of God’s redemptive work in the earth through his Son, Jesus Christ. Before we can share with our non-Christian friends until we must realize that we are not the only ones with God’s favor. The sooner we realize that we are all God’s children, the sooner we can help people to understand our View.

Here’s how we share our view:

1. Share the couch with people who don’t have the same view as you. Instead of being combative learn how to listen to other people even if you don’t agree with them. Agree to disagree without being disagreeable.

2. Let God lead you to people who are open to receive. Cornelius prayed to God and helped the poor. When people have a good heart they are open to truth.

3. Step out of your tradition to share with people who don’t necessarily see it like you do but they have a good heart. You may be the person to introduce them to Jesus Christ. If you are Christ-like then you will imitate Him by talking to everybody.

4. Realize that we can learn from each other.

Dear God, enlarge my viewpoint so that I can truly see that you’re not a respecter of person but that you love all of your children. Thank you God that you don’t show favoritism based on titles, denominations or world views but you accept all people from every nation who fear you and do what is right. Show me today who you want me to share my faith with on today. I’m ready to share my couch with the right people so we can head in the right direction.

In Jesus Name,

Monday, October 18, 2010

Live by Faith Not Fear

Job 3:25
What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me.

One of the over arching themes in the rescue of the 33 Chilean miners was their faith. Groping around in the darkness without knowing if they would ever be found much less rescued, the men tried to encourage each other but they were also real, “we may get out and we may not. In fact, we might die.” In the meantime, they acted like they were going to get out by rationing out the food and praying. Seventeen days later, they heard a drill breaking through the surface. One man said, “I held on to God’s hand, the best hand. I had no doubt that God would bring me out.”

The men focused on getting out not dying. Whatever you focus on is what will manifests in your life. You have to imagine something good breaking through the surface no matter how long it takes. Just like the miners, Job was in a dark place. In this chapter, he’s regreting the day he was born because it seems like God has forgotten about him. He’s lost all ten of his children, he lost all of his flocks, his house, and now his health is failing him. When it’s dark in our lives and we can’t see the hand in front of our faces, it’s easy to feel like God is not there but you have to keep the faith that help is on the way.

How do we live by faith?

1. Speak those things that are not as though they were. When the world was dark and without form, God spoke, “Let there be Light!” and there was Light! Being made in the image of God we can speak Light into dark situations. Someone once said, “instead of cursing the darkness light a candle.” Your words are candles. You should speak life not death. When you find yourself in the dark it’s best to make sure you speak light and life.

2. Believe that all things are possible with God. The miners said we never stopped believing that we would be rescued. Believe you will get a job. Believe this recession will lift. Believe the war will be over. Believe you will get out. What is impossible with man is possible with God.

3. Pray in faith. He who prays must believe that God is able to do what he is asking God to do. James 1:6 (New International Version)

6But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.

Dear God,

I’m ready to be rescued. I know it’s been dark for my brothers and sisters in America during this recession. It’s been dark for the people of Haiti with 1.5 million people still homeless living in tents but I pray that you would send relief and help us all to turn back to you and live by faith and not fear. I see myself in the future and it's brighter than it is right now. I see the American people with jobs and creating a greener planet. I see the Haitian’s with homes and better government. I see the war in Afghanistan over and our troops at home. I’m confident that you will bring us all out and we can celebrate our deliverance together.

In Jesus Name,

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Why Are You Standing Here?

Acts 1:11
Men of Galilee, they said, “Why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.

Don’t you hate it when you are headed somewhere and you look up ahead only to see multiple break lights coming on and then your car stops behind a mile long procession. Its stand still traffic! I always try to find an alternative route because I’ve got somewhere to go.

Normally when you see somebody in standstill traffic smiling it’s because they have nowhere to go or they have time on their hands. But why do people who have some where to go and have options choose to just stand still looking around?

God has given us instructions through Jesus to go somewhere, “Go and make disciples, teaching them whatever I have taught you.” Instead of moving some post-modern disciples are just standing around wondering when things are going to change. When is the recession going to lift? When is Jesus coming back? “Sometimes, the church is content to stand around staring into the heavens but not doing anything on earth. Sometimes, we are so heavenly minded that we are no earthly good.

Right before Jesus ascended back to heaven he gave instruction to his apostles (sent ones) to remain in Jerusalem until they received the Holy Spirit. When he was taken up into the sky they just stood there. Two angels came and asked them, “Why are you standing here?” We don’t have time to stand around we need to:

1. Go to our upper room to pray v. 14
2. Go to our upper room to Study Scripture v. 15-16
3. Go to our upper room to choose leaders to replace those that have betrayed us. V. 21
4. Go to our upper room to receive the Holy Spirit, Chapter 3
5. Leave the upper room to go make disciples

Dear God, help me to keep on waiting. Build my momentum so I will not become stagnant. Empower me with your sprit so I can make disciples of others. Thank you for sending me. Now I’m ready to go!

In Jesus Name,

Monday, October 11, 2010

You're Looking In The Wrong Place

Luke 24:5
In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men (angels) said to them, “why do you look for the living amongst the dead?”

Many of us are on a search for meaning and purpose in life. In our search we travel many places looking for love, fulfillment, joy and satisfaction. Our search carries us to various places where we are sorely disappointed when we run into dead ends.

How many times have we gone searching for something only to get there and it not be there? It is an empty feeling to go through life never finding what it is we are looking for. Could it be that the reason we keep on ending up empty handed is because we are looking in all the wrong places?

On the third day of Jesus being in the grave the women went to the grave looking for Jesus body to embalm him but when they got there the tomb was empty. Two angels appeared with their appearance being like lightning. The women were so afraid that they bowed their faces to the ground. The Angels asked them a good question, “Why do you look for the living amongst the dead? That is a good question for us this morning, “why do we look for the living amongst the dead? Why do we try to find spouses in a night club? Why do we try to make careers out of illegal activities that lead to prison or death? Why do we try to sustain highs in places that lead to extreme lows? Why do we seek inspiration from toxic people? Why do you try to find spiritual vitality in dead tradition? Why do we seek the living amongst the dead?

1. They settled for a dead man because they didn’t have faith that Jesus was alive. It’s amazing what we settle for when we believe Jesus is dead. We don’t have to spice up dead men when we can run to a living Savior.

2. They lowered their expectation because of their trauma. When they saw Jesus beaten and crucified it left an indelible imprint upon their psyche that He would never get up after this. What have you gone through that seemed to beat all the hope out of you? No matter what it was you have to believe that God can still bring life out of death.

3. It felt natural to go there. Their tradition led them to a grave to embalm a dead man. Every now and then you have to go outside of what is customary to find new life.
The Good News is that the Angels met them in a dead place and told them that Jesus was not there He had risen. God will send Angels to your dead end and send you where you can find what you’ve been looking for...Stop looking for the living amongst the dead.

Dear God, send me in a New Direction this morning. I’m tired of looking for the living amongst the dead. Change my perspective so I can change where I look. Show me the risen Jesus so I can leave this dead place and these dead people. I’m ready for something that’s new and causes me to live in my Purpose.

In Jesus Name,


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Live in the Fast Lane

Ezra 8:21
I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask him for safe journey for us and our children, with all of our possessions.

We travel with little thought of just how dangerous the highways really are. The old folks were right when they said, “he kept me from dangers seen and unseen.” On Average 114 people die each day in car crashes in the United States. It’s important to drive defensively because you never know what mindset people are in on the highway. Put on your seat belt, stop texting while driving, and fast. Dad he say, “go fast?!” No. I said, “Fast!”

We should be traveling in the fast lane. There is a lane on the Highway that allows drivers who are slower to drive on the right so that drivers who are fast can pass them on the left. On a good day you can get where you are going quicker with less stops in the fast lane. Now you shouldn’t speed in the fast lane but you are allowed to go the speed limit while there are others who choose to do just the minimum. Every now and then you have to go around people who are just content to do the minimum especially when I have somewhere I need to be.

As Christians, God gives us a fast lane when we are traveling. Fasting is a way for us to ask God to give us a speed pass and a cover of protection. A speed pass is not a license to break the law but to go through toll booths without stopping. He also gives you angels to watch all around you to protect you from hurt, harm, and danger.

Ezra got in the fast lane when he was going back to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. He had the permission of the King to go back, he had resources to purchase the supplies, but he was afraid to ask for protection because he boasted to the king how God’s hand was with him in his work. So instead of going back asking the King for more resources he got in the fast lane and asked God for protection. Here’s how you get in the fast lane:

1. Proclaim a fast. Every so often we need to humble ourselves through fasting so that we can tune into God. Every now and then when you are driving on the highway they will give you a sign that says, tune in to a certain station for information on the highway. Fasting allows us to tune into heaven’s radio station to hear God’s instruction and get his protection.

2. Ask God for a safe journey for your family, co-workers, and your possessions. When you are specific about what you need for God he will give it to you in the fast lane. It’s something about humbling yourself and praying that God takes heed to.

3. God will protect you in the fast lane. Verse 31 says the hand of our God was on us, and he protected us from enemies and bandits along the way.

We should live our lives in the fast lane. Occasionally we should humble ourselves to see God’s protection and provision in a supernatural way. Instead of just jumping in our car assuming you will get there safe make sure you get in the fast lane. Slow down and Fast!

Dear God, help me to slow down and fast. I need your help to make it safely to my destination. I’ve got favor from the king; I just need your hand of protection so I can finish what you sent me to do. I’m traveling down the King’s Highway in the fast lane and I know you’ll get me through.

In Jesus Name,

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Are You Interested in Savings

Luke 19:23
Why then didn’t you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?

I made a deal with my sons that for every “A” they made on their report cards they would get $10 and their mother said that she would match what I gave. Jordan got his report card first and made six “A’s!” Wow! I was proud of my son and opened up my wallet and felt like I was being held up. LOL. His eyes lit up when he got my money and his mother’s money. I told him it pays to get good grades. He counted all of his money and even had some stashed away from previous gifts and he asked me, “daddy can I open a savings account?” I said, “Yes.” He asked, “Will I get interest?”

It was amazing to see a sixth grader interested in a savings account. He didn’t ask to go to the store to buy toys, clothes or candy. He wanted to go the bank and deposit his money to get interest.

What have you done with the money your father gave you? Is interest working for you or against you? If you are in debt with high interest rates it's working against you, but if you are like Jordan with cash in hand and you invest it in interest bearing accounts it's working for you. (see Dave Ramsey’s, Financial Peace for more info on getting out of debt.)

Jesus told a parable of a King who left his workers with Ten Minas a piece. Two invested their money and gave him back more with the interest they had earned but one of them hid the money out of fear that the one who gave it to him would take it away. Why would he hide it from the one who gave it? Isn’t it odd that we hide our money from our heavenly father?

When we refuse to tithe or give our offerings it’s like we are telling God, “I don’t trust you with your own money.”

The two that invested their money got cites for their investment. The one who hid his money got his taken away and given to the one who already had ten. The owner said, “I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away.

If you are interested in Savings you must learn to trust your father and put his money in things that give interest to your money. If you aim to live a kingdom life then the formula looks like this: 10% tithes, 10% savings, 10% philanthropy, 10% investments, and live off of %60. If you are just starting off and you want to build toward Kingdom living then your formula should look like this: 10% tithes, 10% savings, 80% living expenses.

Are you interested in Savings?

Dear God, thank you for your gifts of money you have blessed me with. I pray I would be a good steward and give you back more than you gave me. I want my life to be lived earning interest to build your Kingdom. Thank you for looking out for my best interest, now today, I choose to deposit my appreciation into heaven's bank account by doing good to those around me. I owe you me.

In Jesus Name,


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Don't Shut Up, Speak Up

Luke 18:39
Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Nobody knows more what you need from God than you do. When the opportunity comes your way to finally be heard there will be some people who will try to silence you because it threatens their agenda. Sometimes people will try to discount your voice because of pecking order. Since you are not leading the way then your words don’t carry weight in their eyes but God wants you to speak up and not shut up.

Jesus was passing by a blind man on his way into Jericho. What got this blind man’s attention was that there was excitement and energy in the air he hadn’t recognized before. It was something different about today. He has asked what was happening. Notice he didn’t say “who is it?” he said “what was happening?” he felt the possibilities of something supernatural. When you lose one sense the others get stronger. Maybe you need to ask God what’s happening where you are this morning. Could it be that Jesus is up to something?

Somebody said, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” This could have been another cue to shut him up. ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’ There was a saying amongst the people that asked, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” How many times have we let popular opinion of somebody who can help us, override what we need from God? We will often let the demonization of popular opinion make us shut up and stop short of getting what we get because we believe what other people have to say without seeing it for ourselves. “You know he’s from Nazareth. Yeah he drinks with sinners, he’s friends with tax collectors, and they say he leads a cult…”

The blind beggar says, “Jesus Son of David, have mercy on me!” Son of David is a messianic title. The blind beggar sees what the others could not. This was God’s anointed and he shouted for his help. They told him to shut up, instead he got louder. How bad do you want it? If you want it bad enough you will not shut up, you’ll get louder.

Your sense of urgency and faith will get Jesus’ attention. When he stops don’t ask him for what you are used to asking for, today ask him for the impossible. It would have been easy for the beggar to ask him for some money, he was a beggar. Everybody expected that he would ask for money because he was a beggar. Instead, when Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do?” he answered, “I want to see!” Because if I can see I won’t need to beg anymore.

Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God.

Dear God, I want to see. I will not shut up just because other people don’t think I have the right to be heard. I feel something supernatural happening and I need you to do the impossible in my life today. I want to see my breakthrough. I want to see my healing so I can get up and praise you today. I will not shut up, I’m about to get louder!

In Jesus Name,

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Stepping Stone Not A Stumbling Block

Luke 17:1
Jesus said to his disciples, “Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to anyone by whom they come.”

Nothing is meaner than when one person purposely trips up another while they are walking. You may remember in grade school when you were walking, minding your own business, and you tripped over somebody’s foot who thought it would be funny to see you fall. What is it about human nature that we are entertained by seeing someone fall? We almost get giddy when someone falls from grace.

Why do we like to see people fall? Is it because we really want to believe that it’s not possible for people to walk upright? Is it that we never really like the person? Is it that maybe we were secretly envious of the person who fell? Or maybe we just want the person to come back down to our level to make us feel better about ourselves. I’m not saying that all of us enjoy seeing people fall. Many of us are grieved by the latest current events with one of the most influential spiritual leaders falling from grace. This is a day of great sadness. When one of us falls, all of us get bruised. As Christians, we must make up our minds that we are going to be stepping stones and stumbling blocks.

Jesus said people are going to stumble. It’s only natural that we lose our balance every now and then. All have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God. In the natural we have all tripped over our own feet or slipped/tripped over something. Sometimes, we tripped only to be relieved that nobody saw it. Then other times we had to get over the embarrassment of everybody seeing it, but what hurts the most is when the person you trusted trips you up.

Now look closely here. I’m not blaming the victims for tripping up the one who tripped him. When Jesus warns the disciples about tripping people up, he’s warning those that are stronger to look after those that are weaker. He’s chastising the ones who should know better than to trip up the “little ones.” It’s normally the older who should be looking out for the younger or the stronger looking out for the weaker in the faith. Jesus says, “woe unto you who causes one of these little ones to stumble.” As leaders/Disciples of Christ, we should be stepping stones and not stumbling blocks.

It’s a sin to trip people on purpose. We are stumbling blocks when:

1. We mislead people for our own selfish purposes.
2. We misuse our knowledge on people who have limited knowledge
3. We set traps that you know will cause people to fall.
4. Not warning people that the bridge is out up ahead.
5. Not sharing the truth of the Gospel of Jesus with friends who are going the wrong way.

Today, instead of celebrating somebody’s fall, think of a way to help somebody get back on their feet.

Dear God, forgive me for being entertained by other people’s falls. Help me to make sure nobody around me trips over me. Give me integrity to always look out for the interests of others and to seek the best for those that walk with me or by me. Show me how to keep the path clear of obstruction, give me sound teaching so that I can be a stepping stone for others to go higher in you.

In Jesus Name,