Thursday, December 30, 2010

Keep Your Clothes On!

Revelation 16:15
Behold, I come like a thief! Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed.

That which is done in darkness will be exposed to the light. Some great pictures have been destroyed in their development because they were exposed to the light too soon. Before the digital age, pictures were developed in a dark room where special lights helped to bring the image out of the negatives. Something good could come out of a negative when allowed to properly develop. The photographer’s vision could manifest if the negatives were not exposed. There was something beautiful that the visionary had intended to come out of this negative but he needed time in the dark room before the lights were turned on. If the lights were turned on too soon the world would never see the vision come out of the negative.

Many times our greatest work is not able to materialize because of shameful exposure. How many great men and women of God have been ruined by shameful exposure of something negative they had hid in a dark room? Some of us made it through this year without being exposed not because we are so much better than everybody else who did but because God gave you time to develop a negative into a positive.

God’s given us time to get it together but time is running out. In 2011, you should make sure everything negative is already finished and get your clothes ready so you will not be shamefully exposed.

1. Stay Awake. It’s important to be sober. Sometimes, when we are intoxicated with drugs, sex or alcohol we are sleepy. We don’t make good decisions when we are sleepy. Jesus asked his disciples, Peter, James and John to stay awake to watch while he prayed. He came back to find them asleep on the job. This is the hour to stay awake to be sober.

2. Keep your clothes. I always keep my clothes near my bed in case I have to wake up to defend my house or go see about the kids. Your clothes represent righteousness. Paul cautioned us to put on the full armor of God to withstand the attack of the enemy. Jesus talked about the man who was thrown out of the wedding banquet because he didn’t have on wedding clothes. We keep our clothes on when we are prepared for warfare and we are living right.

3. Avoid shameful exposure. God always gives warning before exposure. When Jesus comes back like a thief he will have already warned you before he comes this last time without warning. Get yourself together now because next time there will be no warning.

Dear God, thank you for giving me time to get my negatives together and turn them into positives. I'm clothing myself in righteousness and right living so that my good will not be spoken evil of. I want to be ready when you come.

In Jesus Name,

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

You're Too Close To Quit!

Revelation 14:12
This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus.

As the time of Jesus’ return gets closer the devil’s attack is going to increase because he knows his time is short. No one knows the time or day when Jesus will return but we can recognize the signs of the time; Wars and rumors of war, plagues, famines, and persecution of those who follow Jesus. It’s enough to make you want to give up. Many of us have suffered from Post Traumatic Stress disorder. It’s what most soldiers suffer with after they have been through the trauma of war and been through prolonged fight or flight. Although soldiers go through ten times worse trauma than we could ever imagine still our minds are fatigued from the stress of living through this recession.

This past year has made many of us entertain giving up the fight. One lady the other day said, “I’m tired, I can’t do this anymore. I just want to end my life.” I wanted to encourage you and her this morning by saying, “you’re too close to quit now!” There is a breakthrough, a turn around waiting on the Body of Christ. 2011 God is going to come through and restore much of what we lost last year. This economy is recovering but we have got to patiently endure or we will miss the turn around.

As Christians, we must practice patient endurance. The race is not given to the swift nor to the strong but to those that endure to the end. Those that wait on the Lord will renew their strength they will mount up with wings like eagles. They will run and not get weary. They will walk and not faint.

How do we patiently endure?

1. We have to encourage each other. As Christians, we have to consistently encourage each other through words of affirmation, inbox, texts and telephone calls. You should send someone a note of encouragement this morning. It could be the difference between life and death for them. I Thes 5:11

2. We have to encourage ourselves in the Lord. I Sam 30:6 sometimes instead of waiting on somebody to encourage you, you have to encourage yourself like David did.

3. Regularly attend worship. Hebrews 10:25 It’s in worship where we encounter the spirit of God and we can touch & agree with other believers through the power of prayer.

4. Obey God’s commandments. James 1:23 Jesus said if you love me then keep my commandments.

5. Remain Faithful to Jesus. Revelation 21:7

Dear God, give us the strength to endure. Our reward awaits us if we do not shrink back. We overcome by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony. Weeping may endure for the night but Joy comes in the morning. Thank you for getting me through the night. Its morning Time!

In Jesus Name,

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Signed, Sealed and Delivered!

Rev. 9:4
They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads.

I’ve done a lot of foolish things that I really didn’t mean. I could be a broken man but here I am, signed, sealed, delivered, I’m yours.—Stevie Wonder

Whenever a King sent out a message he would sign the letter which made the decree irrevocable, seal it with wax and imprint of his signet ring which gave it authority, and it would be delivered by a messenger.

You and I are that letter. We are a letter written by the hand of God for the world to read. 2 Corinthians 3:2-3 2 You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. 3 You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

When we belong to God we are Signed, Sealed, and Delivered

1. Signed. When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and savior the Holy Spirit writes on our hearts the word of God for the world to read. Our names are written or signed in the book of life. When there is an athlete or an artist with gifts or talents, often times they wait to be signed before their careers take off. Our gifts/talents will never take off until we allow God to sign us up for the Christian jubilee and write our names on the row. I’m glad God signed my name.

2. Sealed. Once we have accepted Jesus and follow him we cannot be snatched out of his hand. There is an invisible seal on your forehead that lets the devil know, “you can’t touch this one!” the Jewish people wore phylacteries on their foreheads to symbolize that God’s word is written on their foreheads, that means it is on the forefront of their minds. Exodus 13:9. As Christians we anoint the foreheads with oil as a sign of God’s presence on the lives of people. We are sealed by the blood of the lamb.

3. Delivered. When we are signed and sealed the promise is that we will be delivered when God unleashes his wrath during the great tribulation and judgment. The only reason some of us are still alive is because we’ve been signed, sealed, and delivered by Jesus.

Dear God,
I thank you for signing my name in the Book of Life. Even though I’ve done some foolish things I’m still yours. Your love and the blood of Jesus purchased me. Your grace has sealed me for the Day of Judgment. On that day I will be delivered because of your great love for me. Not just for me but for all of those who give their lives to you to be delivered on that great day. Here I am Lord, Signed, Sealed, and delivered…I’m yours!

In Jesus Name,

Monday, December 27, 2010

Don't Stay Down!

Revelation 2:5
Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.

Shaun White, gold medalist in snowboarding is a skating phenomenon. Whenever you hear his name you are expecting him to win. You don’t think about a great snowboarder like him falling. You always envision some incredible flip or turn. He doesn’t even look human. This red head wonder is just as rare as the gene that makes him red-headed. In an interview, Shaun White admits that he has fallen from great heights but not many times. He said, he fell once right before his gold medal attempt. “I got back up and smiled and said to myself, “good I got that over with now let’s go for the gold." The bible says that all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God. There’s not one person who didn’t fall short this year. The problem is not falling, the problem is falling and realizing how far you’ve fallen.

Life can get so busy and we can move so fast that we don’t realize how far we have fallen from where we were. This is the time of the year where we can soberly look back and see how far we’ve fallen from our ideal place in God.

The reason we look back is not to torture ourselves but to make adjustments so you can go for the gold and not all for the same thing in the New Year. We can’t afford to stay down. There is too much greatness in each and every one of us. You don’t want to die not having reached your full potential. If you have fallen this year here’s what you need to do:

1. Repent. a. be sorry: to recognize the wrong in something you have done and be sorry about it.

1. b. change ways: to feel regret about a sin or past actions and change your ways or habits.

Feeling bad about a fall is only half of repentance. Changing your ways is the second part to your recovery.

2. Do the things you did at first. What things are you talking about? Why would I repeat what made me fall? Not those things! Do the things that got you to the top before you fell? i.e. praying, fasting, studying, exercise, practice, serving, giving, praise & worship, fellowship. Whatever spiritual disciplines had you shining and flying return back to those things.

3. Don’t lose your light. If you do not repent Jesus will have to take your anointing and give it to somebody else. Verse 5 If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.

Dear God, I’m ready to get back up. I’m repenting and returning back to you. I know from where I’ve fallen and I’m determined to do the things I did when I first received you. Take me back, take me back, Dear Lord, to the place where I first received you and restore the Joy of my salvation.

In Jesus Name,

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Seeing Is Not Believing

John 20:29
Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

So many times we’ve heard people say, “You got to see it to believe it.” Often it is something so incredible that we’ve got to actually see it before we can mentally consent to the actuality of the occurrence. Many economists say the recession is lifting. Companies are reporting profits for the first time in three years, but for many people who are still unemployed they are not so quick to co-sign to this optimism because they have to see it before they can believe it.

There is a spiritual dimension to this as well. God is a present help in the time of trouble ready to open the floodgates at anytime. Jesus is alive and ready to operate in our daily affairs, but you have to believe it before you see it. For God so loved the world that he sent his only son, that whosoever would believe in him will not perish but have everlasting life. The key to our survival and our everlasting life is the ability to believe over seeing. We walk by faith and not by sight.

Many of us are like the disciple Thomas a.k.a. “doubting Thomas.” We have had fellowship with Jesus. We’ve seen him work miracles. We believe he existed. We also know about his death. The challenge is believing that he’s still alive after his death. Christmas is easier than Easter. I think it’s easier to wrap our minds around a virgin birth than a resurrection from the dead but both of them require us to believe without seeing. Thomas, one of the disciples, when he heard that Jesus was alive didn’t believe it. He said, “I will not believe it until I have physical proof.” We all struggle with our faith from time to time and Jesus will show up to meet us where we are. He comes though locked doors. Sometimes, he will even come through closed minds. The first thing he does is:

1. Give you peace. Jesus said, “Peace be unto you.” Prior to coming in on “doubting Thomas” Jesus had come in and breathed the Holy Spirit on the Disciples. It’s the Holy Spirit that gives us peace and reminds us of the things that Jesus taught the disciples when he was with them physically. The Holy Spirit is God’s presence within us.

2. Give you his hand. He gave Thomas his hand to touch the nail print. Jesus still gives us his hand to guide us in the right direction. God provides us with pastors and teachers to be our guides.

3. Let you reach inside. He told Thomas to put his hand inside his side. When we get involved in ministry helping the poor, widows and orphans; the least of these; it’s like putting our hands into the gaping wounds of Jesus. You can’t feel him if you are not involved in ministry. You got to get your hands dirty.

4. Stop doubting and believe. We’ve got to believe it before we see it. Arrest those seeds of doubt and replace them with faith. It is impossible to please God without faith.

Thomas believed after he saw and touched Jesus. Jesus said, "Because you’ve seen me you’ve believed, blessed are those who have not seen and have yet believed. I’m a “yet” believer. It hasn’t happened YET but I believe. I haven’t seen it YET but I still believe!

Dear God I can’t see it but I believe you will come through. It doesn’t feel like the recession is lifting but I believe you are a heavy load lifter. God, I thank you for blessing us and for coming through just when we needed you the most.

In Jesus Name,

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

When Your Life Was Low

Always remember my friend,
The world will change again.
And you may have to come back
Through everywhere you've been.

When your life was low,
You had nowhere to go.
People turned their backs on you,
And everybody said that you were through.

I took you in, made you strong again
Put you back together.
Out of all the dreams you left along the way,
You left me shining.

Now you're doing well
From stories I hear tell.
You own the world again.
Everyone's your friend.

Although I never hear from you,
Still it's nice to know
You used to love me so,
When your life was low.

I took you in. I made you strong again.
I put you back together.
Out of all the dreams you left along the way,
You left me shining

Now you're doing well
From stories I hear tell.
You own the world again.
Everyone's your friend.

Although I never hear from you,
Still it's nice to know
You used to love me so,
You used to love me so,
When your life was low.

But always remember my friend,
The world will change again.
And you may have to come back
Through everywhere you've been.
The world will change again.



Do You Follow Jesus

John 10:27
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.

Twitter is the leading social network next to facebook. Millions of people get a chance to follow some of their favorite celebrities, athletes, and leaders. They are able to get great quotes, nuggets of wisdom day to day and line by line, even minute by minute uploads of the lives of the people they follow. It’s almost like you are invited into their worlds to walk with them. People like Lebron James “King James” have over a million followers, Aston Kutcher challenged CNN to get more followers, he won. If Jesus had a twitter page, how many followers would he have? He would probably have over a million as well because being a follower on Twitter is often quite passive. All you have to do is read the person tweet that you follow. You can re-tweet, and you can attempt to direct tweet if they are following you.
Following Jesus in real life is different from being a follower on Twitter. If you follow Jesus in real life:

1. You listen to his voice.

2. He knows you. It’s not some one-sided admiration. There is a mutual acknowledgement, no matter how many followers he has. He knows every single one of us and replies to twitter & direct messages. He knows when you re-tweet his messages, but loves when you repeat his life more.

3. They follow me. His followers actually live out what he does and go where he went.

4. They have eternal life.

5. They will never perish.

6. No one can switch them and block them from following.

Dear Jesus, thank you for letting me follow you. I appreciate when I tweet you and you always respond. It’s also neat that when I call you, you’re always there. The best part is that out of all the followers you have, you still know me. I will follow you til' the day I die and then I will follow you again.

In Jesus name,

Monday, December 20, 2010

It's Your Turn But Not Your Time

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

Every child wants to go first in whatever they play. It’s amusing to see my seven year-old's team jostling for position for every drill in practice. ‘We talking about practice (my Allen Iverson voice).’ They are jumping in front of each other, pushing to go first. The coach has to remind them that everybody is going to get their turn it’s just a matter of time.

It doesn’t change much once we become adults we just know how to hide it better. We still push or politic our way to the front. We self-promote and manipulate our way up front but what we need to realize is that in life we are all going to get our turn when it's our time. Be anxious for nothing but be ready; for you know not the time nor the hour. Success comes when preparation meets opportunity. While we are waiting for our turn and our time we should be studying to show ourselves approved. We should be doing what God told us to do so that when it’s our time he will find us faithful. Whatever we do we should be doing it as for God and not for men. It might be your turn but is it your time?

Jesus was prepared but he would not be pushed into a premature place. His brothers wanted him to make a public appearance during the feast of tabernacles. Jesus purposely stayed away because the Jews wanted to take his life. His brothers, ignoring the threat, were more focused on the fame. They told him, “No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things show yourself to the world.”

In this Youtube world we live in, everyone wants to show themselves to the world before they have anything to show. “Look at me, I’m not ready but I want you to see me.” Not so with Jesus. He was prepared and he was ready but it wasn’t his time. Jesus told his brothers, “The right time for me has not yet come, for you any time is right.” You can’t let anybody talk you into doing something when God has not released you. There is a time and a season for everything.

How do you know when it’s your time?

1. You don’t have to force it. When God is in something he makes a way for it to happen in your life. You don’t have to invite yourself anywhere. One of the wisest things my pastor Quinton Yates told me was, “never ask anybody to preach. If it’s meant for you to come they will invite you.”

2. You don’t have to manipulate it. You don’t have to steal your blessing like Jacob did. What God has for you it is for you.

3. The resources will be produced. When it came time for Jesus to fulfill his destiny he told his disciples that they would find a colt that has never been ridden before tied up. “If anybody asks you why you are untying it, tell them the Lord has need of it.” What’s amazing is that when they found it nobody argued with them because it was his time.

4. You will have peace about it. You just know that you know that you know when it’s your time. God will give you an innate sense about it.

5. God will open up the doors. There are some opportunities that you couldn’t have generated on your own that you will know without a shadow of a doubt that God did it.

Dear God, thank you for ordering my steps. You know my end from my beginning. I trust you to show me when it’s my turn and my time. I am non-anxiously awaiting my turn and listening for you to tell me when it’s my time.

Thank you Jesus,

Thursday, December 16, 2010

How To SIlence Your Haters

I Peter 2:15
For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.

When Lebron James went back to Cleveland to play against his former team, he faced a very hostile arena. People shouted every mean obscene thing you could imagine along with signs, t-shirts, and nasty chants. One could argue that Lebron deserved some of this hostility because of how he made his announcement of departure but then on the other side of the coin you could argue that he had the right to leave as a free agent. For Seven years, this young man gave his best to his hometown but now “a player has no honor in his own hometown.” ‘Akron Hates You!’

Lebron never got visibly upset or said anything bad about the people of Cleveland but he silenced the crowd. He silenced his haters with his exceptional play and team victory in a convincing win. I’m sure he was hurt but he let his actions speak for his character. He played with dignity and won with dignity. His haters were silent.

Whenever you are out front people will always have something to say about what you do. Being a Christian automatically guarantees you will be hated on. Many of us have to work in hostile environments with people who hope we fail. It comes with the territory. Jesus said, “If they hated me they will hate you also.” No matter what they say there is a way you can silence your haters:

1. Do good..By being morally correct. I Peter 2:12
2. Do helping other people. I Peter 4:10
3. Do good by being successful in your field. Matthew 14:5
4. Do good by not returning evil for evil. I Peter 3:9
5. Do good by being nice to your haters Proverbs 25:21-22

Dear God, thank you for silencing my enemies with Kingdom success. Today, let my work speak for me. I will not waste energy on negative people, instead, I will do something positive to silence my haters. Thank you for making a banquet table in the presence of all my enemies. I give you all the Glory today and thank you for your peace and favor that rest on me.

In Jesus Name

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I'm Joyful About My Trouble

James 1:2
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds

Joyful, Joyful we adore thee, God of Glory, lord of love;

Hearts unfold like flowers before thee, opening to the sun above

Melt the clouds of sin and sadness; drive the dark doubt away

When we think of Joy we think of the radiance of God’s Glory and the feeling of exuberance because of the good things that accompany God’s presence in your life. We think of the bliss of a loved one that brings a smile to our face like Anita Baker felt when she sang “you bring me Joy when I’m down.” But who thinks of Joy when you are going through trials and tribulations? Who has a smile on their face when they are going through hard times?! We should! Why?

As believers in Jesus Christ we can have Joy in a season of recession because we know there’s purpose in our tests. There is something God is trying to accomplish through my trials that I can be joyful in advance about.

When it seems like you have trials on every hand it simply means that God is up to something.

Count it all joy because:

1. The testing of your faith develops perseverance. It is the ability to endure. When an athlete trains they put their body through all kinds of tests so that they may be able to endure when it’s regular season. If you've never been through any tests you won’t be able to preservere when it’s your season. The testing of your faith means God is getting you ready for a new season.

2. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature. God’s got to grow us up. In order for a baby eagle to grow and fly the mother eagle puts thorns in the nest to make the baby uncomfortable so they will leave the nest and fly high. If it’s uncomfortable in your life right now count it all Joy because God is getting ready to give you Eagle wings to fly higher than you have before!

3. Perseverance must finish its work so you can be complete. There are aspects of our personalities that God has to work on and most of the time when we are going through tests it's because we haven’t passed them yet. God needs to complete what’s missing in our personality through this test.

4. Perseverance must finish its work so you will not lack anything. In other words, God’s teaching us to find peace in the middle of our storm. The word Shalom means, "nothing missing, noting broken.” At the end of what we are going through is Peace which surpasses all human understanding.
Count it all Joy!

Dear God, thank you for my trials, for they have come to make me stronger. I’m joyful this season because Jesus is working on me. I’m becoming more mature day by day. He’s perfecting me through my trials and I shall come forth as pure gold!

In Jesus Name,

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Stay Free

Hebrews 13:5
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; Never will I forsake you.”

Didn’t it all used to be so simple then? You remember back in the day when you were young, but we’re not kids anymore but sometimes I wish I was a kid again. We were so carefree! Playing outside, making tents in the house with a blanket and two kitchen chairs, eating hot chocolate chip cookies fresh from the oven, and no worries in the world. As a child, we were free to be children because of the provision and protection of our parents. Now little hands and mouths are dependent upon us to afford them the freedom to just be children.

Even as we grow older there is a need for us to retain our child-like freedom. There is a way to hold to the wonder and amazement even as we handle the responsibilities of being older.

1. Keep your lives Free from the love of money. The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. The love of money is at the root of this recession. It was the greed of Wall Street and big banks that caused little people to borrow more than they could pay back. Money is not evil it’s the love of money that is. Money is a tool for us to live and bless others. A better translation is, “the lust of money is the root of all evil." One of the things I remember as a child is that we didn’t have a lot of money but we had a lot of Love. If you have Love you can still have a good Christmas because Christmas is about celebrating the fact that God so loved the world that he gave his only son that whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life.

2. Be content with what you have. How many shirts can you wear at one time? How many pair of shoes can you wear at one time? Some of us have so much already that we would be embarrassed if you could travel to some impoverished home where families are living with no running water or electricity in the 21st century. We have so much to thank God for. WE are blessed. Take time to thank God for what you already have and share with others who have nothing.

3. Take comfort in knowing that God said, “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.” As bad as it seems the good news is that God is still here.
It reminds me of a little girl who was waiting after school for her daddy to pick her up. All the school buses had left the parking lot, and now the administration was leaving. It started raining and the little girl just stood there. One last teacher was leaving and saw the little girl. She offered to give her a ride but the little girl refused and said, “my Daddy said he would pick me up, I’ll wait.” There was no panic in her eyes. The little girl was just as content as if the sun was shining. The teacher was not going to leave until the Father arrived. The daddy pulled up an apologized to the teacher and the little girl. There had been a wreck on the interstate. The little girl wet but happy looked at her daddy and said, “It’s okay Daddy, I knew you would never leave me.”

The Holy Ghost our teacher will not leave us comfortless until the Father arrives to pick us us. Be content with what you have until your Daddy shows up. He’s on the way.

Dear God,
Thank you for not leaving me in this storm. It hasn’t been easy but thank God I’m still free! Sometimes, the heaviness of responsibility feels like stinging rain but your grace is shelter in the time of storm. Whatever state I’m in I’m learning to be content and it is well with my soul.

Thank you Father!

In Jesus Name,

Thursday, December 9, 2010

They Got To Go!

Titus 3:10
Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him.

I’ve seen some great players traded, suspended, and released because they became a distraction to the team. Whenever one person’s behavior or agenda threatens the teams chemistry that person, no matter how gifted has to go.

Even Jesus had to check one of his prime time players, a disciple named Peter. Jesus’ mission was to bring in the Kingdom of God and save many lives through his death on the cross. He would constantly remind his team (disciples) of his mission and why he was sent by God but one day Peter decided to voice what he had always been thinking, “this ain’t gonna happen!” Now Peter meant well but he was in his flesh and spoke emotionally charged words that threatened to divide the team. Jesus had to put him in check real quick by saying, “Get behind me Satan for you want the things of men and not the things of God.” Peter loved Jesus more than anybody, he was very zealous, he was faithful, but he became divisive. Jesus didn’t cut him from the team but he warned him and called out the spirit of division acting through Peter. Satan’s role is to steal, kill and destroy. His best method is division with gossip, arguments and hidden agendas.

Peter was warned and got back in his rightful place. When we run into divisive people we have to warn them that divisive people cannot remain on your team. After the second warning that person needs to be released from your team no matter how gifted or talented. John Maxwell in the Law of the Bad Apple says, “Everybody on your team knows who the bad apple is, they are just waiting on you to do something about it.” The longer you wait the more credibility you lose with your team. If you don’t release the divisive one from the team, the team will release you as the leader, either physically or emotionally.

1. If your brother or sister sins against you go to them one on one. Matthew 8:15
2. If they don’t listen to you. Take one other person with you. Matthew 8:15
3. If they don’t listen to either one of you tell it to the church. Matthew 18:17
4. If they don’t listen to anybody then you have to let them go. Matthew 18:17

Dear God, give me the discernment to recognize divisive people and to give them proper warning. I know you are a God of reconciliation and a God of release. Help me to know when to do one or the other. More than anything don’t let me be divisive by being a gossip, partisan or petty but as much as it depends on me let me live in Peace with all men and be a team player.

In Jesus Name,

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

We Need The Gym & The Church?!

I Timothy 4:8
For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

Pretty soon the Gym will be crowded again. After the over-indulgence through the Holidays people will try to get back on track with their bodies and their diets. I always have a silent laugh to myself as I see all kinds of people that I haven’t seen all year trying to shed those unwanted pounds from months of neglect. Don’t get me wrong it's good for them to be there but know this, it’s going to take more than a month to get your body into shape and it's going to take more than the gym. It’s going to also take the church.

Paul said that physical training is of some value but godliness has value for all things. Jesus said, “I have come that you might experience Ife and life more abundantly. The word life in Greek is translated ZOE which means one who is possessed of vitality or animate. This vital and animated life is both physical and spiritual which is a combination of a spiritually grounded life housed in a healthy body. The majority of physical activity is managed by mental and spiritual will. You will hear many athletes say that 90% of their sport is mental; meaning that if they can ever master the spirit, the will, and the discipline then the physical part is easy. Look at Tiger Woods, one of the most skilled golfers in the world. His struggle right now is not in the physical, his struggle is emotional and spiritual. Once he centers himself in the Spirit then you will see a new and improved Tiger. Look at Michael Vick. You can arguably say that he is playing his best football ever because of the conditioning of the Spirit and a spiritual coach in the person of Tony Dungy. That’s why the apostle Paul said I beat my body to bring it into submission. You are fully alive when you are able to combine the gym(physical conditioning) and the church (spiritual conditioning).

1. Get in some cardio 3 X a week. I Cor. 9:24
2. Get into some weight training Hebrews 12:1
3. Take some boxing lessons or sparring class. I Cor 9:26-27
4. Study the word of God as a workout. 2 Timothy 2:15
5. Focus on four areas in your conditioning of your total person. Mark 12:30-31

Dear God, I’m ready to get into shape, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. This coming year I’m staying in the gym and in the church every week so I can be fit for the King and the kingdom. I pray that my diet will allow me to look ten times better than everybody around me like Daniel and his three friends. Get me in shape Jesus as I get ready to live like nobody else so I can live like nobody else. Thank you for life and Life more abundantly!

In Jesus Name

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Do You Have Any Clothes On?

Col 3:12
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.

Whenever it’s time to go I always have to remind my boys to put their clothes on ahead of time. Daddy’s ready to go and they are still running around half-dressed. Especially now that it’s cold outside I have to remind them to be fully clothed or else they will get sick.

We are living in a cold world where our Father has to remind us early to be dressed so we can go out in the world and represent him. We can’t go out into this cold and indifferent world half dressed because we will catch the coldness of a world that seems to be devoid of human compassion and Godly love.

There are some clothes we need to make sure that we put on as God’s chosen people before we go outside:

1. Compassion. This is the ability to see people hurt or in need and we actually are moved to help them. Compassion comes from having spent time with God and we see people the way God sees them.

2. Kindness is the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. When people meet you are they meeting a friendly person or a grumpy person? What’s behind that smile, sincerity or sarcasm?

3. Humility is having a low view of one’s importance. It’s like being an Undercover Boss 24 hours a day. Even though your gifts and experience are greater you still act like it’s your first day on the job. You are humble and eager to help.

4.Gentleness. Is when you are mild in temperament or behavior. Gentleness is exerting enough pressure to where you are helping without hurting.

5. Patient. This means to be slow to anger. It’s the ability to wait without becoming annoyed.

Before you leave the house, go to work or walk in class make sure you have your clothes on; all of them.

Dear God, thank you for clothing me in Righteousness. I pray that I would warm up the room instead of adding to its coldness or being overcome by others frigidness. I choose to put on the full armor and to make sure it’s all tied up with Love. If I am lacking any clothing please cover me and stitch up any hole in my personality. Thank you for clothing me and covering me today.

In Jesus Name,

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Secret of Contentment

Philippians 4:12
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

One thing has remained constant through the years, the inconsistency of the economy. The economy has risen and fallen. We have experienced recession and depression, surplus and prosperity. We’ve seen extremely rich people and extremely poor people but it’s the people in the middle who have learned how to survive and live between both extremes. There is a balance in life that must be obtained in order that you might not be overwhelmed by the changing of the tides. It is the secret of contentment. Contentment is an ease of mind, willingness to accept circumstances as they develop. Contentment isn’t a matter with being content with our situation in life and never trying to improve it. It’s a matter of being content with what you have.

If we look around us right now we have so much to be thankful for; a roof over our heads, food to eat and clothes on our backs. We have a reasonable portion of health and strength, if we are still alive. I heard someone say the other day that the new definition of rich is having a job and being able to pay your bills. American’s are being forced to learn contentment.

This Christmas don’t worry about purchasing a bunch of material things for presents. Instead, focus on the presence of Christ and being present with your loved ones. What Jesus did by dying on the tree is more important than what we can put under the tree. I’m content knowing that the blood of Jesus covers me and my family. That is the greatest gift ever.

If you're old enough you’ve already lived through hard times before or at least read about people who have. If God did it before he can surely bring us through it again. Whatever state I’m in, I’m going to be content because I’m confident that my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus, whether well fed or hungry whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

Dear God, thank you for keeping us thorough this recession. It has been tough but the peace of mind you’ve given me has kept me through all of my circumstances. I pray for those who are anxious about their needs that you would supply all their needs. Give us the secret of contentment to make it through this season of lack until we can get to the season of plenty. I thank you for what I do have: my life, my health, my family. I thank you that I’m in my right mind! I’m alive! Thank you Lord for seeing me through and today I’m going to be content knowing you will supply all my needs.

In Jesus Name,

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Living Sacrifice

Romans 12:1
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy to offer your bodies as living sacrifices Holy and pleasing to god—this is your spiritual act of worship.

When I think about daily sacrifices I think about professional athletes who do not have the luxury of being lazy, sleep in late, eat a bunch of junk and get addicted to alcohol/drugs and still be effective. For the most part, professional athletes sacrifice pleasures for peak performance. They do it for a prize or a paycheck. As Christians we do it for a prize that will not perish, eternal life.

There are some things we could do but we choose to cut out as a sacrifice so that we can be more effective as a Spiritual Warrior. No soldier gets entangled in Civilian affairs. Everyday, as believers, we are supposed to report for duty by offering our bodies as living sacrifices.

How do we present our bodies as living sacrifices?

1. Avoid all appearances of evil.

2. If it causes someone else to be offended don’t do it. I Corinthians 10: 31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32 Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— 33 even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.

3. Love those who don’t like you. Matthew 5:44But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

4. Cast aside every weight that would easily entangle you. Hebrews 12

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

5.Pray “not my will but your will be done.”

6.Change your diet. When you want to achieve maximum results you have to change what you’re taking in. In working out, you can do all the physical exercise you want but if your diet is bad you will still be overweight.

7. If it is in your power to help someone do it. James 2:15-17 (New International Version, ©2010)

15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

Dear God, I present myself to you as a livng sacrifice. Its not about me, its about you getting Glory out of my life. It's not about my convenience it's about your Kingdom. It's not about what pleasures me it's about my purpose. I refuse to waste my life on me when I know it's bigger than me. I present my body as a livng sacrifice.

In Jesus Name,