Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Wind Is Against Me

Matthew 14:24-25
The boat was already a considerable distance from the land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them walking on the lake.

It stormed all night! Thunder, lightning, and high winds seem to take over the usual tranquility of the night. We had to cancel bible study because of a severe tornado warning. In the middle of the night I received a call that the burglar alarm was going off at my place of business. I had to take off driving in the middle of the night with lightning flashing, rain coming at me sideways, and the winds rocking my truck. The winds were against me.

Have you ever felt like the winds were against you? Every step of the way adversity seems to be coming against you. Alarms are going off all around you and you are heading out in the middle of a storm trying to take care of your business. Sometimes it’s surreal. You are sitting there in the midst of all that is going on and asking God, “Are you serious? You want me to keep going with all this going on in my life?” The winds are against me!

The only saving grace that you have is that Jesus sent you out there in the first place. Jesus had sent his disciples across the lake after he had fed five thousand people with limited resources. His cousin and friend, John the Baptist, just got his head cut off and Jesus was trying to get his mind right through prayer and solitude. He sent his disciples across the lake and as soon as they got half way across a severe wind storm broke out. The winds were against them.

Douglas Miller said it best in his song “My Soul has been anchored in the Lord,”

Though the storms keep on raging in my life

And sometimes it's hard to tell the night from day

Still that hope that lies within is reassured as I keep my eyes upon the distant shore

I know He'll lead me safely to that blessed place He has prepared

But if the storms don't cease and if the winds keep on blowing in my life

My soul has been anchored in the Lord.

God will never guide you where he will not provide for you and yours. Sometimes, when the winds are against you it’s a good sign that Jesus sent you. We don’t always have the luxury of having the wind at our backs but sometimes the wind is against us. The enemy knows you are trying to get to the other side of your situation and meet up with your destiny. Don’t be surprised that the winds are against you right now. What does it look like to have the wind against you? Opposition from competitors, financial challenges, relationship issues, a sluggish economy, and natural disasters.

The good news is that if God sent you he will come to see about you when the winds are against you. The bible says that Jesus came during the fourth watch of the night, that was about 3:00 am. Have you ever awakened at 3:00 am for no reason? The height of spiritual warfare takes place at 3:00 am but it’s also the time that Jesus comes to see about you. When you find yourself with the winds against you here’s what you need to do:

1. Keep rowing. The disciples were doing what their master had told them to do even though they were facing adversity. Keep rowing! It might take you longer but you’ll eventually get there.

2. Look for Jesus! They looked out in the storm and saw something coming. They thought it was a ghost but it was Jesus. Sometimes, what you think is something threatening is actually Jesus coming to see about you.

3. Talk to Jesus. Peter said, “if that’s you Jesus tell me to come out there with you.” You have to discern between Jesus and a figment of your imagination. You have to pray to make sure Jesus wants you to step out into a storm. If it’s Jesus he will keep you afloat in the time of storm. If it’s not him stay in the boat!

4. Obey Jesus. When Jesus tells you to step out, you have to obey him even though the conditions don’t look favorable. Keep your eyes on him and don’t listen to the winds. Listening to the winds instead of Jesus will cause you to sink fast.

5. Get back in the boat after Jesus picks you up from sinking. The storm didn’t stop until Peter and Jesus got back in the boat. Get back in church. Get back in ministry and watch your storms die down.

Dear God,
Thank you for sending Jesus in the time of my storm. I was afraid with the winds and waves but I felt a blessed assurance after Jesus showed up. My soul has been anchored in the Lord and even though the winds are against me, I’m determined to get to the other side. Thank you Jesus, I can see the distant shore and the breaking of a new day.

In Jesus Name,


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Home Court Disadvantage

Matthew 13:57
And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “Only in his hometown and in his own house is a prophet without honor.”

Last night the Memphis Grizzlies played an amazing game against the Spurs at home in the Fed Ex Forum that has been affectionately renamed the “house of grind.” The place was electric with fan frenzy. There is something special about playing at home that gives you that extra boost of confidence through support of the people. In many stadiums and arenas, the crowd is known as the sixth man because of how the fans add power to the team. Having a home court is supposed to be an advantage.

The only place ‘home court’ is a disadvantage is in the arena of the anointed. Many times people who are anointed in the area of ministry are honored more away from home than they are by their own. The closer people are to you the more common you become. It’s hard for people to see you because they see you every day. This can happen in ministry and in marriage. You can take a team like the Seattle Supersonics with a mediocre response from their fans and relocate them to a town hungry for a team like Oklahoma and get totally different results. Home court should be an advantage but sometimes there is no honor amongst our own.

After being successful everywhere else in healing the sick, raising the dead, giving sight to the blind, Jesus comes to his hometown and preaches in their synagogues. They were amazed but not convicted. They were impressed but not converted. They wanted to know where did he get all this wisdom and how is he performing all these miracles because we know who his mother and father are. We know where he lives. We grew up with him and they went from being amazed to offended!

When you have been called and anointed don’t be surprised if you are not honored at home. You’d think there would be a home court advantage but sometimes it’s a disadvantage because:

1. Familiarity breeds contempt. When people are around you a long time the novelty wears off and they begin to see the natural more than they are able to see the super on your natural. In relationships, it’s called taking the other for granted. Have you ever noticed that your spouse looks better when you take them out around other people? It’s not that they look any better but it’s because other people take notice of what you have become used to.

2. They are offended by the prophetic because they can’t get past the man. Some people appear more anointed because you don’t know them. If you knew them you probably wouldn’t be able to handle their humanity. Some of the most anointed are the most eccentric. That’s why Jesus had to pray before he selected his disciples. Even Judas was offended by how Jesus handled the expression of appreciation from the woman who anointed him. He wanted that money to be used for the poor (himself) but the woman wanted to honor Jesus.

3. Family are too familiar to receive because they see you as equal not anointed. Even Jesus had to shift his family dynamics by saying, “those that do the will of my father are my family.”

4. You can’t do many miracles around people whose faith is tainted with familiarity. This is why you have to move away sometimes to do the same things that you could have done at home. Could this be why Lebron James took less money to leave Cleveland and go to Miami?

How do you strengthen your Home court advantage and honor your prophet?

1. Don’t make your pastor/leader/spouse so familiar that you stop seeing God in them. Step back every now and then to appreciate the person that God has put in your life to lead you. Pray for them and honor them through obedience to their leadership.

2. Give Honor where honor is due. 1 Timothy 5:17
The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.

3. Honor the position while relating to the person.

4. Give your prophet/pastor home court advantage. The more you cheer/support/believe the better they do. The Memphis Grizzlies theme is, “we believe.” Now that the fans believe, the players are playing like they believe. We need a home court advantage at church and at home to keep on winning.

Dear God,
Strengthen our home court so that we can give our very best to you. Thank you for grounding moments when we realize that its not about us but its about you. I’m not here to take your Glory but to give you more. Thank you for the moments when home court pushes me beyond what I thought I could accomplish. Thank you God for being in my court and pushing me past my humanity into the place of the prophetic.

In Jesus Name,

Monday, April 25, 2011

An Unoccupied House

Matthew 12:43-45 (New International Version, ©2011)

43 “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. 45 Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.”

When we go on vacation we always get someone to stay in our house because it’s dangerous having an unoccupied house. Thieves are crafty, they will stake out your house to study your patterns so they will know when no one is home so that they can break in and steal. That’s why I’m reluctant to pout on Facebook or Foursquare where I am because the enemy can read updates as well. You need to be careful using Social networks to give up your location both physically and spiritually. Many of us are broadcasting to our demons that my house is unoccupied. Our idle and empty posts about being sexy, angry at someone or being just plain ignorant in our posts gives room for the enemy to come in because he sees that there’s nobody in our house. Our house is unoccupied.

Jesus says that when an impure spirit comes out of a man it goes through arid places seeking rest and it doesn’t find any. When we were saved by Jesus and delivered from our impure spirit that spirit left us looking for somewhere else to rest. God made that impure sprit vacate your house that’s the peace you feel when you first come to know Jesus as your personal savior; you join the church, and head in a New Direction.

That Sprit is somewhere in your neighborhood staking out your house looking for a way back in your life. He doesn’t have to work too hard because you keep giving status updates. “Single, I’m mad; I hate you so much right now. Sitting at home bored…” He comes back to find your house swept clean unoccupied and pout in order. The key word here is “Unoccupied.” You’ve been saved but you haven’t been filled. You’re not in Bible study. You’re not in ministry. You stopped praying. You no longer come to church. You are unoccupied.

The evil spirit goes to get seven other friends and they move in your unoccupied house. Your condition is worse than before you met Jesus. The way we make sure this doesn’t happen is that we have to make sure our spiritual house is occupied. The word Occupied means:

1. To fill up (time or space) make sure you fill up your time and space with the Holy Spirit. Fill your time and space with Holy pursuits.

2. To dwell or reside in. Make sure Jesus lives in your house through a relationship.

3. To hold or fill (an office or position). Every believer should have a position in the body of Christ. We each have a gift we are supposed to use in saving others. The greatest position is to be a servant.

4. To seize possession of and maintain control over by or as if by conquest. Paul said, “I beat my body to make it my slave.” We must be disciplined so we can maintain possession over our house.

5. To engage or employ or concentration of. Study to show yourself approved. Enroll in New Direction University, our online bible study classes so the devil will not find your house unoccupied. Get in a bible believing church and become an active part of the ministry there. Go back to school and finish your degree.

Dear God,
Thank you for cleaning my house. Now help me to fill it with good things. Help me to work out my soul’s salvation. An idle mind is the devil's workshop. He can’t come back to my house because I’m occupied. Jesus is in my house, and the vacancy sign has been removed. Today, I will be occupied with pleasing God. Sorry devil there is no vacancy for you.

In Jesus name,

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Don't Touch Him!

I Samuel 24:6
The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, to raise my hand against him; for he is the Lord’s anointed.

It’s only natural to want revenge on someone who has done you wrong. Without cause people can pursue you and persecute you because you are a threat to their insecurity. I saw an old movie the other day that was entitled, “God forgives you I don’t.” That seems to be our mentality today. We’ve lost our capacity to show mercy towards those who have offended us. We don’t leave room for God to come in. You must have a respect and relationship with God in order to avoid touching the wrong people. There have been times when we wanted to put our hands on someone but it’s not our place to do so. When someone has wronged you God sees it and he will deal with them. You don’t have to touch them.

Saul had chased David into a cave, backed him into a corner. Saul took three thousand choice soldiers to look for David. He thought he had David trapped somewhere in the goat hills. Little did Saul know that he had fallen into David’s trap. The pit he dug for David had been the one he would fall into. Saul went to relieve himself in a cave where David and his men were hiding. The men told David this was the day God was giving his enemy into his hands. Can’t you see it? David is hiding in the dark recesses of a cave. Saul is using the bathroom with his back to David, not even knowing that he’s in there. David has a knife in his hand and is listening to all of his men telling him, “God is giving your ‘enemy’ into your hands. Right when David lifts the knife he is conscience stricken and cuts off a piece of his robe instead. He starts thinking this is God’s anointed! I can’t kill him! This is the King of Israel. I can’t do this.

The first thing that gets us in trouble is listening to other people tell us what God is telling us to do. Most people would have jumped on the opportunity to kill this former boss who was trying to them; not David. He had too much respect for God and the position of King. David respected the position even though he didn’t like the person. It wasn’t just about the person but this would affect the people. David took himself out of the equation and thought about the impact of killing God’s anointed.

He cut off a piece of his robe while he relieved himself and let him walk out of the cave alive. Then, David let Saul know I could have killed you but that’s not who I am. Don’t let evil people change your character trying to get revenge. That’s not who you are!

Show them that you are better than they are by doing good instead of evil. In verse 17 Saul tells David, “you are more righteous than I. You will be King over Israel.” Saul had to acknowledge that David was the better man because his actions were righteous. Make sure your actions prove your enemy wrong about who they think you are and right about who God made you to be.

Dear God,

Give me restraint when I want revenge. I know you see those who want me to fail so I will not retaliate but I will wait on you. You have decreed in your word, “Touch not my anointed.” It’s not my job to be judge and jury but I am a witness that I’ve done everything I can not to touch them. It’s in your hands now.

In Jesus Name,

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

My House Is Still Standing

Matthew 7:25
The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against the house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.

One of the most vulnerable feelings is being in your house when there is a terrible storm outside. It’s a mixture of security and anxiety at the same time. You hear the winds and the rain, you hear the thunder roll and see the lighting flash all the while wondering if your house will be able to stand against the storm.

Last night, we lost our power about midnight as the storm was raging against our house. We heard the wind beating against the house and we scrambled in the darkness to get our children downstairs just in case the tornado sirens we heard were accurate. After I made sure our mothers were safe in their rooms and the boys were asleep in our room, I prayed and slept in shifts. You don’t really sleep through a storm but you do your best.

Even though we still don’t have power, I’m glad to say my house is still standing and my family is doing fine. Not everybody can say that. There have been so many people that have been devastated by tornadoes and floods this year. To be able to wake up in your house is a blessing. We’ve all been through some kind of storm and we can thank God that our house is still standing. The old folks used to say that this old building keeps on leaking and my soul has got to move. They were referring to their bodies as their earthly house. Eventhough our literal houses may have been destroyed or foreclosed, we still have our earthly house that has been kept during the time of storm.

The thing that keeps a house in the time of storm is the foundation. Jesus said that when we hear the word of God and act on it, it’s like building your house on a firm foundation. When a house is built on a firm foundation it can withstand the strongest storms. If God’s word is not our foundation, we will not make it through the storms in life. There was a song that said it best, “On Jesus Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.” We have to make sure we lay a solid foundation in our marriages, our business, our lives, and our ministry in order to make it through your storms.

This is how you set your foundation:

1. Make sure you level the ground. Before a foundation is laid the contractors have to get equipment to level out the place. The ground has to be prepared. That may mean removing things that don’t belong there. Digging out dirt so you can replace it with that which is going to hold you. You can’t pour until the ground is level. Quit trying to pour on unlevel ground.

2. You need some tension cables. These cables strengthen the concrete. These are the ties that bind. There needs to be something inside the concrete that holds it together. These are the values in a relationship or an organization. There have to be some shared beliefs. Jesus said, “where two or three are touching or agreeing there I will be in the midst.” When we touch and agree we keep the foundation from cracking.

3. You have to pour the concrete. This is the word of God that you pour into the relationship. It’s not only the spoken word of God but it’s also the word that you put into practice. Grass withers, flowers fade, but the word of our Lord stands forever. Keeping pouring word in your foundation.

4. The Cement has to cure. The word needs time to solidify in the life of a person, relationship, organization before you start building on it. Don’t be in a rush to build on something new and the cement hasn’t been cured. Just because somebody looks good doesn’t mean they are cured. Make sure it’s cured before you build on it.

Dear God,

Thank you for keeping me through my storms. You’ve been building my foundation for years. People see my Glory but don’t understand my story. All of the hardships, the studying and the trials went into the mixture of my foundation. What’s been keeping me is the mix of the good and the bad that went into my foundation. Your word is the cement that has solidified me into a mature believer. The successes you’ve allowed me to see are the walls to my house. The storms come to test and see what kind of material I’ve been using over the years to add on to my house. The only thing that has kept me is the firm foundation of Jesus Christ. Thank you that my house, my family, my ministry, my life are still standing because of the work you’ve done in me. Thank you that my house is still standing.

In Jesus Name,


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Without Cause

Psalm 35:7-8
Since they hid their net for me without cause and without cause dug a pit for me, may ruin overtake them by surprise—may the net they hid entangle them, may they fall into the pit to their ruin.

There’s a great book I’m reading called, “The Cause Within You,” by Matthew Barnett which talks about how every person in order to be fulfilled needs a Cause. A cause is something that is God-inspired, an assignment that includes your purpose, passion and gifts. People who have a cause are productive, generous and happy. People who don’t have a cause are jealous, vindictive, and violent. Some of the greatest people are those who have discovered their cause. Some of the most dangerous people are those who don’t have a cause.

David had a cause; he was anointed to be king over Israel. Saul was no longer King because he had been rejected by God due to his disobedience. Saul was jealous of David and wanted to kill him without cause. David said they dug a pit and cast a net. When people are without a cause they become jealous of people who do have a cause. When people who don’t have a cause become miserable with their own lack of purpose they expend their energy trying to bring you down. They dig pits. Pits are holes they dig through gossip and false accusations hoping you fall but when God is on your side those people fall in their own pits. You don’t have to worry about gossipers and people telling lies on you when you have a cause, because God will protect you and cause them to fall in their own pits!

People without a cause also use nets to try to get you caught up. Nowadays, they use the interNET, to get you caught up in mess. When you have a cause those people wind up getting caught up in their own net. Oh what a tangled web we weave when oftentimes we do deceive. Don’t allow yourself to get caught up in other peoples mess on the web and the net. Fly above all your haters by being focused on your cause.

Don’t abandon your cause over people who attack you without cause. Your Cause is bigger than their attack. God will cover you and allow you to finish your cause. David prayed to God, May ruin overtake them by surprise—may the net they hid entangle them, may they fall into the pit, to their ruin. Then my soul will rejoice in the Lord and delight in his salvation.

Dear God,
Silence those who attack without cause and help me to stay focused on what you’ve called me to do. Thank you for vindication and salvation.

In Jesus Name,

Monday, April 18, 2011

Sometimes You Got To Act Crazy!

I Samuel 21:12 David took thse words to ehar and was very much he pretended to be insane in their preseence.

Psalm 34:19
A Righteous man may have many troubles but the Lord delivers him from them all.

There are some situations in life that we get in that are crazy and there are other situations we get out of by acting crazy. Sometimes, you have to make the enemy think you’re crazy to get them off of you. It’s not that you’re really crazy or lack integrity but sometimes you might have to go there when you are in dire straits. You’ve heard people say, “don’t make me act crazy up in here.” What they are saying is that they might have to alter their personality in order to get through a particular event. Even Jesus told his disciples to be as shrewd as serpents but as innocent as doves. In this ' dog eat dog' world, there may be spots and stretches where you might have to “feign craziness” just to get through.

Matthew Barnett, pastor of the Dream Center, in LA decided he would spend the night on the streets of skid row. One of his members who was a former drug addict and recovered in The Dream Center told his well meaning pastor that he couldn’t go out there on the streets smiling and looking clean. He said that street people have a sixth sense and would know that he didn’t belong there. He told him not to make eye contact and to stay to himself. He also told him to take a worn out bible. Pastor Barnett said this will really make me stick out! The man said, “Pastor, street people still respect the word of God, it’s the only hope they have left.” Even though you might have to act crazy never let go of the word.

When David had been chased away by Saul, he had to run away into enemy territory with no army.(I Samuel 21:10-14) King Achish recognized David as the champion of Israel that had antagonized his people. David was in hostile territory and he had to think quickly. He started acting crazy! He let drool hang out his mouth and drip into his beard. He started scratching on the wall. David a mighty warrior, David a man after God’s own heart, David who would soon be one of the greatest king’s of Israel was acting crazy! The King said, “This man is crazy! I don’t need any more crazy people around here, get rid of him.” This saved David’s life. After God got him out of this David gave God a crazy praise and wrote Psalm 34 where he said, “a righteous man may have many troubles but the Lord delivers him from them all.

There are some places where you can’t be all spiritual you might have to act crazy.

If your life is in danger. You can’t walk around in a dangerous place naive and green. You have to discern is this where I act shrewd or where I show my innocence. Sometimes, you have to blend in with the craziness just to get out with your life. There were times in urban youth ministry where I had to feign craziness just to let them know I’m just as crazy as some of ya’ll, don’t play. LOL
If doing so will get you out of enemy territory. Being meek is not being weak. Even Jesus turned over the money changing tables when he was angry. You have to allow God to use your righteous indignation when it is warranted. That doesn’t mean you lose your temper but you constructively use your anger.

Only as a last resort. The bible says as much as it depends on you live at peace with all men. Then, there are other times when you might have to feign crazy for about five minutes to let people know I’m not the one.

Notice that David didn’t hurt anybody, he didn’t curse anybody, he just acted in a way that threw the enemy off so he could get out.

Sometimes, the way we throw our enemy off is to give God a crazy praise. It confuses the enemy when you give God praise and nothing is going right in your life. That’s crazy! It confuses the enemy when everything is going wrong in your life and you are still clapping your hands in praise. That’s crazy! When your enemies are persecuting you and you pray for them, that’s crazy! When your enemy tries to be evil to you and you overcome their tendency to be evil with your capacity to be good, that’s crazy! When somebody does you wrong and you have to the nerve to forgive them, that’s crazy! When you keep on speaking and they don’t want to acknowledge you that’s crazy! Being crazy is being counter cultural to the point that you stand out. Pray to God so that you will know when to act crazy and when to give him crazy praise!

Dear God,

Thank you for delivering me from crazy places and crazy people so that I can give you a crazy praise. I don’t want to have to act crazy today but I will if I have to. Thank you for delivering me out of all my troubles. When I look back over my life its crazy just how good you’ve been to me and I can’t help but to take five minutes right now and give you a crazy praise!

In Jesus Name,


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Who's Got Your Back?

I Samuel 14:7
“Do all that you have in mind,” his armor bearer said, “Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul.”

Can you remember in grade school when an occasional bully would pop up and how good it felt when you had your partner standing behind you saying, “I got your back man!” when you’ve got “people” standing behind you it makes you feel stronger and more confident. The opposite is also true. When you have to face opposition with nobody behind you, your confidence wanes and you feel dwarfed in comparison to your opposition. There’s just something about having that voice of strength and companionship that lets you know, ‘I got your back!’

Each of us needs to identify someone who has our back especially before we go into battle. It's been said that you find out a lot about yourself in a fight but you also find out a lot about who your friends really are as well.

Jonathan, who was the son of King Saul, was growing impatient by the day at the fact that the soldiers of Israel were losing morale and had dwindled down to 600 men. They were waiting on the Thousands of Philistines to come against them at any moment. Jonathan told his armor bearer, ‘let’s go get them before they get us, God is able to save us with a lot of men or just you and me…what do you say?’

First of all, Jonathan talked to the right person, his armor bearer. An armor bearer accompanied military leaders to bring along extra weapons and defensive equipment that would be expended during a battle. Who is it that accompanies you into battle with extra weapons? Mind you, the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but spiritual. Who’s accompanying you that prays for you, has good advice, has resources? Who’s got your back? Is it your best friend? Is it your spouse? Is it a co-worker? Everybody needs somebody, who believes in you and will help you fight the good fight of faith.

Jonathan’s armor bearer said to Jonathan, ‘I got your back!” Here’s how:

1. Do all you have in mind. Two men against thousands?! Is he suicidal?! NO! He’s been walking with Jonathan a long time. He’s seen God move on his life. He’s operating out of faith not fear. You need somebody who’s been walking with you long enough to know when they recognize a God move and also be able to give you wise counsel when you try to take a flesh move. The armor bearer heard God and told his leader do all that is in your mind. We need people that can push us to do all that is in our mind to do against impossible odds.

2. Go ahead! He gives Jonathan the power to lead. Even though they got your back your armor bearers still need you to lead. They can’t fight your fight but they can support you in it.

3. I am with you heart and soul. When someone has your back they are in it! They are not just there in body but their heart and soul are in it. You know when people are just going through the motions. The worst thing that can happen is to have somebody who’s watching your back whose heart and soul are not with you. If your heart isn’t in it let them know before you go to battle.

Jonathan and his armor bearer scaled a wall and defeated 20 men by themselves in an area about half an acre. God took care of the rest by throwing the Philistine army into a panic causing them to kill each other. Jesus said, “Where two or three are gathered, there I will be in the midst.” All you need is one true friend and Jesus. Who’s got your back?

Dear God,

Thank you for giving me true armor bearers in the form of a praying wife, a prophetic friend, and a supportive staff. I can face anything because you give me strength through my friends and by the power of Christ that operates in me. Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world. Thank you for watching my back and giving me the strength to face what’s in front of me. Today, I am more than a conqueror through Christ who gives me strength.

In Jesus Name,

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

There's Power in my Weakness

2 Corinthians 12:9
“My Grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in Weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

To keep us from being conceited God allows a messenger of satan to torment us. Why would god allow that? God has to remind us that his all surpassing power we experience comes from him and not us. In other words everything we’ve been able to accomplish because of his favor and his grace is not because we were so smart or good. We need to be reminded that we didn’t get here on our own. It seems the ones God uses the most are the ones that experience the most torment. Bishop TD Jakes wrote a book called, “Why Me?! Because You’re Anointed.” The more anointed you are the more likely you are to catch hell. Paul says God allows a messenger from hell to torment you to keep you from being puffed up. The enemy has to have permission before he can mess with you.

Have you ever been tormented by something? The word torment means: 1. Great physical pain or mental anguish. 2. A source of harassment, annoyance, or pain. 3. The torture inflicted on prisoners under interrogation. There are seasons of torment when we wonder why we have to go through this as believers; it’s during these seasons that we are actually growing stronger. God’s grace is sufficient because his power is perfected in our weakness.

Like Paul, we’ve all asked God to take these tormenting thorns away from us but God leaves them there so he can perfect his power through our weakness. God remove these thoughts. God remove these haters. God remove these painful memories. God remove these proclivities. God says, “No! For when you are weak, when you are struggling, that’s when I can perfect my strength through your weakness!”

When we are weak:

We are more humble and God can speak to us with our undivided attention.
We are more alert because we are in fight or flight mode.
Our prayer life increases. Hannah didn’t get her breakthrough until she was broken and praying in the temple so hard that the priest thought she was drunk. God heard her and gave her Samuel.

God increases our anointing. When Samson was captured by the Philistines and they tied him to the grinding stone the bible says his hair began to grow back. He killed more enemies that day than he did his whole life.

God shows up on our behalf. The Psalmist says that when my enemies came in like a flood, God lifted up a standard against them.

When we are weak it helps us refocus on what’s really important.
It’s less of us and More of God.

Dear God,

I count it all joy today for my thorn. It’s actually made me a better person. I’m stronger, wiser, and better because of what I’ve been through. Thank you for your power. When I’m weak you are strong! Thank you for seeing me through my struggle.

In Jesus Name,

Monday, April 11, 2011

Don't Stop Now!

I Samuel 12:20
“Do not be afraid,” Samuel replied. “You have done all this evil, yet do not turn away from the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart.

There is a tendency amongst people that when they’ve done something wrong they are too ashamed to come back around to face the people or person they wronged. The psychology of ‘shame’ will not allow us to get back to where we belong. We are paralyzed with fear that we might be rejected or held accountable so it’s just easier to turn away.

Even in our best intentions we fall short of pure devotion to God. We get into trouble when we start looking around at other people and what they have that we want. We get caught up in acquiring what we don’t need and then discover that it’s not even what God wanted for us. No matter what you’ve done that may have pulled you away from God, you can’t stop pursuing your relationship with God and turn away to idolatry.

The Nation of Israel had messed up with God by asking for a king because the other Nations had a King. God was their King who brought them out of slavery in Egypt, brought them through the wilderness for forty years, and brought them into the Promised Land to defeat their enemies. After they got settled in the land, they wanted what everybody else had,…a King. Isn’t it amazing how God brings us through so much but once we are settled we start wanting what everybody else has and replace God with people or stuff?

What’s wrong with wanting a King? Why is that evil? It was almost like making a golden calf to replace the true and living God. Moses’ absence for forty days and nights on top of the Mountain receiving the Ten Commandments led to anxiety for the people. They needed something physical to replace the Spiritual. Whenever we replace the Spiritual leadership of God with Physical representation (idolatry) we sin against God.

How many times have we made idols out of Kings, Presidents, Pastors, spouses, boyfriends, girlfriends, jobs, cars, houses, etc? Nothing or noone should replace God’s place in your life. Well what do you do if you already replaced God with people or stuff and you just feel too ashamed to come back to God? You need to exclaim to God like the old R&B crooner, “I’ve been loving you a little too long but I aint’ gonna stop now!”

1. Do not be afraid. God loves you so much and he knows we are prone to sin. Perfect love casts out fear. Verse 20

2. Do not turn away. Resist the pull of the flesh to turn away from God, instead, run back to God. Verse 20

3. Serve the Lord with all your heart. Get rid of anything that is blocking your wholehearted devotion to God. Verse 20

4. Do not turn away for useless idols. Nothing and no one can take God’s place. V. 21

5. God will not reject his own people. God created us in his image and like a loving parent he will not reject his own. V. 22

6. Pray and get somebody to pray for you. Samuel told Israel that he would continue to pray. The only reason we are still here is because somebody prayed for us. V. 23

7. Get taught the difference between right and wrong. Studying the word of God and hearing the preached word can save your life. V. 23

8. Fear the Lord. Have a healthy respect for who God is and return to a state of awe and leave a place of familiarity. God is not your buddy he is an awesome God. v. 24

9. Serve him faithfully with your whole heart. Find some place in ministry or missions where you can serve God. Idol hands and minds are the devil’s workshop. V. 24

10. Consider what great things he’s done for you. When you stop to think about what God has done for you, you will realize that nobody or nothing could ever take his place. V. 24

Dear God,
I can’t stop loving you. You are my King and I worship you and serve you with my whole heart. Kings and Kingdoms will all pass away but there is something about your name. I submit to your authority and I love you more and more each day.

In Jesus Name,

Thursday, April 7, 2011

I'm Glad You're Sad

I'm glad you're sad 2 Corinthians 7:9 Yet now i'm happy, not because you were made sorry but because your sorrow led you to repentance. for you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us.

I've seen so many people miss an opportunity to help someone because they didn't want to hurt their feelings by telling them the truth. We don't want to make people sad or not like us, so often times we withhold truth because of the fear of making that person sad at the new information. When you see someone you are in relationship with doing something that could be detrimental to their future you owe it to them to speak truth in love even if they are saddened temporarily. Temporary sadness is worth it if we can help people live better lives in the long run.

The Apostle Paul had to write a letter to the church in Corinth about a man in the church who had been sleeping with his father's wife. The people in church knew about it but didn't 'say anything to the man. Paul told them to put him out in hopes that it would sober him up so he could come back to Jesus. This "Letter" Paul wrote, hurt the feelings of the church members in Corinth but Paul said, "i'm glad I made you sorrowful," because their "Godly" sorrow led to repentance. They had "Godly" sorrow.

There's a difference between "Godly" sorrow and "wordly" sorrow:

Worldly sorrow leads to death. It's Ego based. the truth is a threat to the way you see yourself. Often when the ego get's in the way, people run from the truth. Avoiding the truth leads to death. when you know the truth, the truth will set you free. Knowing requires intimacy. Intimacy requires trust. When you are in a relationship with somebody that trusts you, you owe it to them to speak truth but if they are "Worldly" chances are you will not make it past their ego.

Godly sorrow leads to repentance and salvation. This is when you are convicted in your Spirit by the truth someone shares. You see it as something that can make you better. When people share truth in Love you use a Spiritual filter that uses the T.H.I.N.K. model:

T. is it true. Is the informational that they are sharing with you factual?

H. is it helpful? Will this information help you to be a better person?

I. is it Inspirational? Is this information grounded in the word of God? Is it Godly?

N. is it Needed? Is this information that is revelational? Will it enhance my perspective?

K. is it Kind? Did they share it from a heartfelt place? What comes from the heart reaches the heart.

Paul said that writing the sorrowful letter (the truth) hurt for a little while but it had its intended result....repentance. Repentance means to turn from a direction of destruction and turning in the direction of salvation. Don't be afraid to cause temporary sorrow for long-term joy. Speak truth in Love. It may cause temporary sorrow but if they love you and you love them, they will thank you later.

Dear God,

Help me to share and receive truth. Give me the ability to press through the uncomfortableness of temporary discomfort for the benefit of long term salvation. Thank you for your letters that have kept me on the right road and heading in a New Direction.

In Jesus Name,

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

This Ain't No Yoke!

2 Corinthians 6:14
Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?

Sookie Stackhouse and Bill Compton’s relationship was doomed from the beginning. She is a human/fairy and he is a 173 year old vampire. People kept telling Sookie that it wouldn’t work but she kept thinking that Bill was different and thought she could change him. He showed glimpses of humanity but the reality was that he was still a blood thirsty vampire. His destiny was living as an undead person who’s only hope of living was dying and her destiny was to return to paradise with her fairy family.

This tormented couple from the HBO series TrueBlood really represent the relationships that we all try to manage; a mismatch of souls. We are drawn to somebody that we can never be with because ultimately we are not on the same spiritual page. We want to save somebody who doesn’t want to be saved. We keep giving them our blood, sweat, and tears only to have them bite us in response to their animalistic nature or the capitulation to their dark side.

Paul warned the Corinthians that they should not be yoked together with unbelievers. This ain’t no Joke being Yoked to people who are the opposite in nature. We try to romanticize mess in hopes that we can change the nature of the individual at the expense of our sanity and stability. Paul says don’t do it because this ain’t no Yoke! A yoke was an instrument used for two oxen to pull a plow together. In order for them to pull together the yoke had to be equal or even. If it was unequal one would be pulling more than the other.

Wickedness will always be pulling against righteousness. Righteous will always win but its draining to keep pulling against wickedness. The danger is that bad company will corrupt good morals. The other danger is that the wickedness of the other person will contaminate your righteousness to the point you abandon your path of righteousness. Pulling an unequal yoke will always get you off track so make sure you are paired with the right person.

Bill Compton, a vampire, couldn’t fellowship with Sookie Stackhouse in the daytime because the sun kills vampires. Wicked people hate anything to do with the light. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the light.” If your friends can't worship God, come to church with you, pray with you or walk in the light then you’re unequally yoked and are in love with a vampire.

A good relationship must be equally yoked:

You must both love Jesus. Jesus said, “if you love me then you will keep my commandments.”

You should have something in common. If all you have in common is your sexual attraction your relationship will fade when the light comes on.

You must have the same values. Do you both believe the same family values? Is she a spender or a saver? Family first or work first?

You must be pulling in the same direction having the same goals.
You should share the same world view. What do you think about War? What do you think about Social Justice? What do you think about human rights?

Dear God
Thank you for yoking me with a spouse and friends who are headed in the right direction. Help me to always check myself to make sure I’m in alignment with your Holy Will so that I will not pull my spouse, my family, or my people in the wrong direction. Thank you most of all that I’m yoked to you and that your yoke is easy, your burdens are light. I’m glad I’m Yoked to you.

In Jesus Name,


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Don't Get Bitter Get Better!

Ruth 1:20
“Don’t call me Naomi (pleasant),” she told them, “Call me Mara (bitter), because the Almighty has made my life very bitter.

After you’ve been through so much in life it’s easy to become bitter with resentment. We’ve been in a season of loss and misfortunate events for so long that it becomes easy for us to give up and resign ourselves to an existence of bitterness but each and every day we have a choice to either become bitter over what we have lost or we can become better by going forward to retrieve what we no longer have.

If anybody had a right to be bitter it was Naomi. She lost her husband after they moved to Moab to survive the famine. Ten years later her two sons died as well. All she had left were her two foreign daughters in laws. She urged them to go back to their homeland of Moab because she doesn’t have any more sons for them to marry. Oprah leaves but Ruth clings to Naomi and says one of the most loving and unselfish things a person could say:

Ruth 1:16-17 (New International Version, ©2011)

16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.”

That’s a friend! One of the things that helps you not get bitter is when you have a good friend that refuses to let you go it alone. Your Ruth could be a spouse, a relative, a church member or a friend that refuses to let you go it alone. Sometimes, you need to be a Ruth to someone else when you see them slipping into a state of bitterness. You need to tell them, “I will not leave you!” I’m glad that Jesus is my Ruth. He told me, “I will never leave you nor forsake you!”

Naomi makes herself better by:

Going back home to Judah and Bethlehem. She goes back to Praise (Judah) in the House of God (Bethlehem). When you feel yourself getting bitter it’s time to get back in the House of God (church) so you can give him Praise in spite of your situation.

She goes back during harvest time. Keep your ears open to where opportunity is during this recession. Sometimes, you have to go where the harvest is instead of expecting the harvest to come to you.

Naomi encourages her daughter to go to work ; to find favor by gleaning. Naomi is too old to do the work but she is resourceful enough to show Ruth where to go.
She coaches Ruth on how to get a man. Who is it that you are supposed to be mentoring or coaching? In this season you’re in, it could be that God wants you to pour your best into someone else to get you out of your bitterness.

She benefits from the blessing of her protégée by becoming the great, great, great…Grandmotehr of Jesus.

Dear God,
Help us not to become bitter but to become better by moving from a place of loss to a place of harvest. Send Ruth’s in our lives to bless us with their loyalty while we bless them with our wisdom. Together, we will get through this famine and make it back to our harvest.

In Jesus Name,

Monday, April 4, 2011

God Made Us Unbreakable

2 Corinthians 4:8-9
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

It’s amazing how resilient the human spirit is. When you look at groups of people like Africans in America who survived the atrocities of slavery; Jewish people who survived the horrors of the Holocaust or the Japanese who survived an atomic bomb; The resiliency of humanity has not allowed the human race to be cut off in spite of man’s inhumanity to man. There's something God has deposited in each of us that makes us unbreakable. The Apostle Paul says that, “we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all surpassing power is from God and not from us.” The more we go through the more we realize that it’s God who’s keeping me alive.

We are unbreakable because:

1. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed. At times it can feel like the walls are closing in on us but what God has inside us can’t be crushed. Our inner fortitude will not succumb to outward pressure.

2. Perplexed but not in despair. There are things that happen that cause us to be bewildered but we never give up hope. Our ancestors had the hope of being with God forever even if their present hopes of freedom never materialized. That’s why they could sing, “Before I’d be a slave I’d be buried in my grave and go home to be with my lord.”

3. Persecuted, but not abandoned. God does not leave us in our persecution. Rather it is a sign that God is on our side. Jesus said in John 15:20 “if they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.”

4. Struck down but not destroyed. In other words, I’m down but not out. We never fail because we never give up. God gives us the ability to rise gain. Because Jesus got up from the grave we can get up out of whatever knocked us down.

Dear God,
Thank you for making me unbreakable. I’ve been through so much in my journey toward wholeness but you’ve been keeping me through it all. The more I go through on the outside the stronger I get on the inside. Restore those who are going through outward oppression and devastation. Bless the people of Haiti, Japan, Africa, Libya and Arabia. I pray you would lift the heavy yoke of injustice, pestilence, and violence off of all your children worldwide and help me to be an instrument of grace in assisting them. Help us to be unbreakable.

In Jesus Name,