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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Are You Growing Through Your Struggles? 3A

There have been times that all of us have felt like we were being swallowed up by our troubles and setbacks.  Jesus says, “In the world you shall have tribulation but be of good cheer for I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Recently I read where researchers did a study on the Moses Sole fish in the Red Sea. They found out that it has an incredible protection around it. The sharks in the sea love going after this fish, but there’s one BIG problem. When the Moses sole fish is in the shark’s mouth ready to bite down on their dinner, they soon realize their jaws are locked up and paralyzed. The fish releases a toxic poison that stops the shark from its purpose. What it thought was going to be a hearty dinner ends up being an unpleasant experience.

There will be times in your life that it may appear that the enemy will swallow you up in your situation, but God is always giant steps ahead of the enemy. He has the power to paralyze the enemy and give you the Victory. You need to understand just how much God loves you, and places His angels on assignment to protect you.

I’m not saying that if you serve God that nothing will ever happen to you. But I am saying that God is greater than the weapons that Satan has aimed and designed against you. “No weapon formed against you shall prosper.” (Isaiah 54:17) God is able to stop the enemy dead in his tracks and turn him away. Stand up today and believe that “Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. (I John 4:4) Be victorious today and GROW through every struggle because, “If God be for you, who can be against you?” (Romans 8:31)


Sunday, June 28, 2015

Are You Growing Through The Struggles? 3

When I was a kid, my father and mother would take us on different trips and vacations. My two sisters and I would constantly ask over the hundreds of miles, “When are we going to be there?” Dad would patiently respond, “Not yet; we still have a ways to go.”

God still says to each of us in our journey with God, “You still have a ways to go.” Do you believe that? I have been serving the Lord for many years, but I still believe in my deepest heart, “I still have a ways to go”. There are places in God that I have not arrived at or attained yet. Paul said, “I press toward the mark.” Are you pressing for more in your growth with God?

It’s dangerous to think that you have arrived, that there’s no room for your growth. There are several things that you will say when you are truly growing.

James 1:2-4 says, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” Notice that James said, “WHEN,” not If.

                 You Know You’re Growing WHEN:
You Don’t Bellyache about your Troubles! When you’re saying, “I can’t believe they did that to me: Why didn’t I get the promotion? What a witch she was to me in that ordeal.” God is saying in your troubles, “Keep smiling, keep singing, keep pressing, keep loving, keep joyful, and keep the spring in your step.” Three Hebrew men in Daniel Chapter 3 could have easily whined their way into the fiery furnace, but they chose to believe in their God “Regardless.” One of the miracles was that the three men were not complaining about their ordeal. Rather they stood up with their faith for their God knowing that He was able to deliver them.

You Don’t Think The Struggle Is Strange. 1 Peter 4:12 says, Think it not strange the fiery trial is to try you as though something strange has happened to you but rejoice....” One of the tricks out of hell is to convince you that this test is some strange event that’s happening to you. Whatever God allows is always brought about for your success. Don’t ever believe that God doesn’t have your back in everything! Believe He has your best interest at heart. His ways are higher than your ways. God never, never makes mistakes, He is always working everything out for your good!

God Gets All The Glory. After the three Hebrew men were thrown into the fire, King Nebuchadnezzar said, “Didn’t we throw three men in the fire? I see a fourth man and He is as the son of God”. 28 Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego! He sent His angel to rescue His servants who trusted in Him.” Praise reveals our growth.

You Declare, “The Lord is My Helper”. Have you been in a situation where you can now declare, “The Lord is my Helper?” You know without any doubt that God got you out of your ordeal. That’s when you know you’re growing. Declare today,” If God be for me, who can be against me?”

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Are You Growing In God? 2

Anyone knows that thousands of acres of corn, peas, peanuts, and potatoes don’t just “show up” in the field; somebody has to be intentional about growing them. God is clear that “We are not meant to remain as children.” (Eph 4:14) He wants us to grow up. Growth is not automatic. It takes an intentional commitment. You must want to grow, decide to grow, make an effort to grow and persist in growing. It always starts with a decision.

 Here are four things to consider in your own spiritual growth in God.

You have to be Intentional about your growth. Our family has enjoyed putting puzzles together in our home for years. But they didn’t just “fall into place” in the middle of the night. Somebody in the family sat down and worked on one section at a time. We would always start by building the borders first; then we worked toward the center. God starts the same way. He builds one piece of the “border” at a time. First your salvation; then He fills you with His Holy Spirit. God says, “Add to your faith virtue and to virtue knowledge and to knowledge...”(2 Pet 1:5-7) Read on and you’ll see everything to add. It won’t just happen, you have to make an effort for it to happen.

You have to overcome Distractions to see God’s Development. Each of us faces distractions with life. Your job pulls at you. Stress mounts up in a strained relationship. Your health challenges you. Everywhere you turn, there is adversity, winds and bitter situations. Moses was on a journey to take Israel into the Promised Land, but within three days of coming out of Egypt, they faced a huge hiccup. They were thirsty and came to the bitter waters of Marah. They begin to complain at Moses with cruel statements. “God has brought us out here in the wilderness to kill us because there weren't enough graves in Egypt.” God showed Moses the answer to making the bitter waters sweet. “Cut down the tree and the waters will be made sweet.” (Ex 15:24, 25) The cross, and Christ on Calvary’s tree is our answer to every bitter situation in life.

Never, Never, Never Lose Hope. You may be stuck today in your growth. Just because you are up in years doesn’t mean you’ve grown in God. Have you gotten stuck in a bitter situation with the betrayal of a friend, or a failure in your journey? Maybe you’ve come to a breaking point with an explosion at work, in your marriage or with your kids. God is more concerned about your development than your deliverance, your character than your comfort, and your confidence in Him than your conflict in life. He is more concerned about your believing in Him than the test at your bitter waters. The bitter waters are the only thing that will show us what’s really inside of us.

If you’ll Press beyond Marah, you’ll find Elim. When they pressed beyond Marah, they came to Elim where they found 12 springs of water and seventy date Palm trees. (Ex 15:27KJV) Those who press on will find new fruit they’ve never tasted before and new springs they’ve never drunk from. Interestingly, the dates from those Palm trees have great nutrition with many benefits. Research it and you’ll see. God has an oasis for your growth today if you will make the effort to GET UP and move forward in His love, joy, peace and grace. Decide today that, “The Rest of my life is going to be the BEST part of my life.”

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Are You Growing In God?

How long has it been since you looked at your baby pictures? You may say, “Wow, it’s hard to believe how much I’ve changed over the years!  So have you grown? “Yes.” Each of us have grown bigger, taller, smarter, stronger, more intelligent and hopefully wiser and yes Better looking too! But what about in your walk with God? Can you say that you’re closer to Him today than you were ten years ago?
Why do some grow in their faith with God and others seem to lose ground? It’s easy to blame others and other things for our lack of growth in God. “Well Danny, if it hadn’t been for my going through a divorce, bankruptcy, cancer, or my kid on drugs.” It’s easy to look at the negative things that have happened; but what about looking for the good, the gold and the glory. God won't waste anything in your life.
God says, “He can bring good out of our pain.” Joseph said to his brother, “What you meant for evil, God meant it for good.” (Ex 50:20) Here are a few checkups to consider as you continue your journey with God. Why not:
Examine your Hunger for God Are you moving ahead regardless of your adversity?
Examine your Worship to Him every day, not just on Sundays!
Examine your Fellowship with believers.  Are you in a small group growing?
Examine your Serving God at Church. Are you using the gifts He gave you?
Examine your Attitude.  Are you still smiling in the midst of your struggle?
Examine your Faith.  Are you still pressing even when all Hell is coming at you?
Examine Loving your Spouse.  Do you press when your emotions are in the tank?
Examine your Loving your Neighbor Will you forgive when you've been injured?
Examine your friends.  You can’t hang out with negative people and be positive.
Examine your tongue.  You can change your world by changing your words…    Remember, Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” (Pro 18:21)
These probing questions are only clues to realizing where your walk is with the Lord. Icebergs in the ocean only reveal about 10% of how big they are beneath the water. Each of us should take these examinations through The Word of God and His Holy Spirit to help us reroute our path from the dangers that try to sink our vessel. Had the leaders on the Titanic chosen to be vigilant and watchful and change her course, 1,500 plus lives may have been spared! Somebody went to sleep below the deck and on the deck of the ship, and the nightmare of the century started to unravel. If only somebody had taken seriously, earnestly the journey they were on in those treacherous waters!
Hebrews 12:1 declares, “Let us lay aside every weight and the sin that doth so easily beset us.” Paul says, 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age,[a] against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Eph 6:12)

Choose to say, “I’m going to win; I’m going to make it; I’m going to overcome; I’m going to finish the course that is set before me; I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me.” Then you can finish strong the course that is set before you! So are you developing forward; GROW for it? “Don’t make excuses, don’t blame the past. The rest of your life can be the best of your life!”

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Driven "God Has BIG PLANS For You."

“They that go down to the sea to do business in deep waters will see the wonders of God.” (Ps 107:23) I love to go deep sea fishing. When I fish in the Florida lakes, I pretty much know that I’m limited to fish that don’t require a large rod and reel. But when I go to the ocean, I’m excited, knowing that there’s no telling how big a fish I might pull out of the sea that day.

Why would any of us expect anything less than God’s Biggest and Best for our lives? You say, “Danny, “You don’t know about my setbacks, my disappointments, mistakes and my fears.” But have you ever realized just how Big and how Much the Heavenly Father loves you. He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die on a cross for your sins so you could have the Biggest and the Best creative plan for your life.
God is Bigger than your Setbacks. I read about a police officer who was responding to a 911 call, Eder Loor, 28 was stabbed in the face, neck, and the brain. The New York Times reported that the knife’s three–inch blade was just one millimeter from what controls his motor functions, vision, the nerve that gives sensation to the face and a major artery. Hell made an attempt to stop his destiny, but God was bigger than all those weapons against him. God is big enough to bring you into your destiny in spite of hell’s plots.
When Jesus was in Capernaum, four tenacious men decided to get their paralyzed friend to Jesus. When they got close, these friends ran into a major setback. The crowd was so large that the house was full. Not giving up, they chose to climb up and take the roof off to get to Jesus. Good thing they did, because Jesus saw their faith and the man walked out on his own two feet. The crowd said, “We've never seen anything like this before." (Mark 2:12)
God is Bigger than your Disappointments.  Tell me who hasn’t experienced their own share of disappointments. But that’s not a reason to doubt and disbelieve that God doesn’t have a greater plan than your situation. God entrusts ordinary people with extraordinary tasks so that He might demonstrate His power through us. Does the task fit you perfectly? Cast it aside for a better challenge. God always calls us to something greater than ourselves. Allow God to turn your disappointments into divine appointments.
God is Bigger than your Mistakes, You say, “Well Danny, God couldn’t use me, I have made too many blunders;” Hmmm, “Then how did God use Abram who got ahead of God and took Hagar to have Ishmael instead of God’s planned son Isaac? He later became the father of a great nation, Israel. How did God use Moses who got impatient and murdered an Egyptian solider instead of waiting for God’s timing? Later God used him to see Israel delivered out of Egypt.
God is Bigger than your Fears.   I heard a story about a man named Nick. He was a big, strong and tough man. He worked at the railroad yards for many years. But Nick was a chronic worrier. He was always fearing the worst might happen. One summer day, the crew was told that they could leave an hour early. Nick was out working in one of the refrigerated boxcars when somehow he accidentally got locked inside. He didn't have a cell phone and everybody was gone. When he realized he was trapped in that car, he began to panic. He started screaming at the top of his lungs. He guessed that the temperature was well below freezing. He thought, "If I don't get out of here, I could freeze to death. The more he thought about it, the colder he got. Shivering almost uncontrollably, he found a piece of cardboard in that boxcar. He wrote a note that said, "So cold. Body getting numb. These may be my last words." The temperature in that car where he froze to death was 61 degrees. Nick froze to death because he was convinced in his thinking that he was in a freezing car. The thing he feared came upon him. Choose today to see God’s Best and Biggest PLANS for your life. He will not fail you. “PRESS ON.”

Driven By His Presence 2

In last week’s Sunday Morning service, I took one of my neckties and auctioned it off for $140.00. Now let me explain. The tie originally sold for about $30.00, but being worn several times, now wasn’t worth more than two or three dollars. The reason somebody gave that much for it was not because of its present value, but because I said, “The person who gives the most money today for this tie; all the funds will go to missions.” Somebody believed in “Missions.”
What are you putting value in and on today? Many place a lot of values on their jobs, family, possessions, or their future retirement. God desires for us to place our value on Him and His design for our lives more than anything else in life. There is nothing wrong with putting value on your family, your job and things God blesses you with but, we must NEVER place anything of more value than His design for our lives.
I recently heard how someone purchased a Picasso painting for 179 million dollars. Why would someone pay that much for a painting? Even though I couldn’t and wouldn’t ever make such a purchase, we should ask ourselves. “Are there other things that I do place value on more than God’s design for my life?” God teaches us how to follow and chase after His design more than anything else in life.
Follow God’s Principals for your life. The word of God gives us clear principals to follow. “Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” His principles will always line up with God’s perfect design for your life.
Follow God’s Presence. Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” (Ps 16:11) If you truly want to follow God’s design, The Holy Spirit is the one that will lead you into all truth. He came to direct us into His perfect will. Do you value His will today more than your status, fame or fortune?
Following God’s Presence will give you His Power.  Many people have a dream but say, “I don’t have the know-how or the gifting’s or intelligence to see my dream.” I was the last person on the planet that ever thought that I could be a pastor. God says, “He calls the weak things of the world to confound the mighty.” Sooner or later you need to realize, “It’s not by might nor by power but by my Spirit says the Lord.” (Zech 4:6) Just who are you leaning on today?
Following His Power will take you into His Promises. It was God’s power that opened the Jordon River for God’s leader Joshua and Israel to go across into the Promise Land. What are you believing for? Don’t get weary now, in due season you will reap if you faint not. There are promises that I am still waiting for. “Eye hath not seen nor has ear heard the things that He has prepared for them that love Him.” (1 Cor 2:9)
Remember, His Principals will lead you into His Presence that will take you into His Power to see all the Promises of God come to pass in your life. Follow Him and You will fulfill His design.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Driven By His Presence 1

Lecrae Moore, simply known as Lecrae, is an American Christian rapper, songwriter, record producer and actor, He recently walked into a store to purchase a white t-shirt. He was shocked as he saw the price tag of “640.00.” He went to the clerk and said, “There must be a mistake; what’s the real price?” The response was, “The special sales price is right; it’s because of whose name is on the shirt.”

Did you know that Jehovah God has created you and has placed His name on you as His child? You and I are His workmanship and He places value on the plans and designs He has for our lives. When He designed us, He tells us HOW to find His will and plan for our life. Before Jesus left this earth, He states, “I will send the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, who will guide you and lead you into all truth.”

Jesus says, John 7:38 He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.39 But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.”

Being driven by the Holy Spirit is one of the greatest eye openers you’ll ever discover in life. Attempting to go without God leading you can be not only frustrating, but also devastating! God led Israel with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. (Ex 13:21) Why would we attempt His plan with our own, know-how, experience or our “stinking thinking?”

He designed the earth by His Spirit, so He sends His Holy Spirit to lay out the plans and designs for your life. Before David was ever crowned King of Israel, Samuel was ready to pour oil on one of Jesse’s sons. Why not Jesse's first son Eliab? Why not his second, Abinadab or his third, Shimea? After Samuel had gone down the row of seven sons, he asks Jesse, “Do you have another son?” Jesse said, “Just one more, David; he’s young, a shepherd in the field watching the sheep.” It was God’s Spirit leading Samuel to anoint the next King of Israel, David. “God’s ways are higher than our ways.”

David was handpicked to do the work of God. He’s also chosen you to do His will. It won’t happen with your savvy, intelligence or your capabilities. You can’t do it without His Spirit’s anointing or His empowerment on your life. Some have placed values on Picasso’s paintings in the millions of dollars. One recently sold for 179 million dollars! Tesla’s new cars now sell for as high as $200,000. A Tibetan mastiff puppy sold recently for $2 million in China. Tom Brady and his wife sold their mansion in Brentwood, California for $40 million. But what’s valuable to God? Its one being Driven to do His Will and Plan.

God places more value on His will, design and plans than the most expensive yachts sold in the world. What’s going to really count when you walk into eternity? I have stood by the bedside of many who were in their dying moments before they left this earth. I have never heard one ask, “Can I see my trophies or my accolades one more time?” “How about one more spin in my luxury automobile?” “Could I see my bank statement one more time?” No, No, No!

It’s sobering to realize that one day we will all give an account for what was really driving us in this life! What are you being Driven by today?