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Saturday, August 30, 2014

Praising God in Your Midnight Hour

Who in the world can still Praise God when they've been hit by a Tsunami, semi-truck or been betrayed by a close friend? Are you in the middle of a divorce, bankruptcy, a recent bad report from the doctor, or you just found out that your kid is on cocaine? In the natural, it’s impossible and mind boggling to “Praise the Lord” when Hell is knocking at your door.

Paul and Silas had just been arrested, beaten with rods and placed far inside the inner prison. But at midnight, Paul looks over at Silas and says, “Let’s pray and sing praises unto our God.” (Acts 16:25) Silas could have looked at Paul cross-eyed but instead took to heart his words and began to pray and sing unto the Lord.

Is it really possible to PRAISE God in such a time of difficulty? 

·      FOCUS. Each of us must constantly correct our attention upon our Lord if we are to stay on the trajectory of PRAISE to God. Paul and Silas were busy doing the Lord’s work when Hell came at them with a vengeance. Your flesh may feel like crawling up in your bed with the blinds shut and sinking deeper into your darkness and despair. They placed Paul and Silas in the deepest darkest part of the prison, yet Paul decided to still Praise His God.

·      FAITH.  Paul declares, “I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7)  A tree can look pretty on the outside with its bark, but the inside of the tree tells the real story. Recently a huge tree fell in my front yard during a strong storm. When it fell I came to realize that the inner core of the tree was rotting away. It’s only when your inner man is full of faith that you will stand in the tough places. Paul’s praise was a sign of the inner rich faith in his heart. You will either choose faith or fear, courage or cowardice, tenacity or timidness.

·      FIGHT. Paul said, “I have fought a good fight.” (2 Timothy 4:7)   Fighting without any armor is out right dangerous! God provides us the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, shoes of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, the sword of the Spirit, and the ability to pray in the Spirit. Why would you want to fight in your own might and power? You will lose every time without Gods armor on you.

The devil will attempt to knock the wind out of you because he doesn't want to hear any praise to God out of your mouth. When Paul and Silas chose to PRAISE HIM, God shook the prison doors with an earthquake and the chains fell off as they were delivered from prison. Do you have focus, faith and some fight in you? Keep it up, and victory will come your way.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Have you placed your Joy on hold?

Three men were climbing up a steep mountain when one fell thirty feet. His friends asked, “Are you okay?” “Yea, I just broke both of my arms.” His friends said, “Hold on and I will throw you a rope.” As they started pulling him up one said, “Did I hear you say you broke both of your arms?”  He responded, “YES.” “Well how are you holding on to the rope?” He responded, “With my teeeeeeeeeeeeeth.”

That might work getting back up the hill, but I’m convinced there are things that some are holding onto that are causing them to lose their battle. God says “Let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” Hebrews 12:1b


SINS?  David thought nobody would find out about his secret plot in killing Uriah and committing adultery with Bathsheba. It was hidden approximately nine months, but during that time, David’s joy had dried up. Psalms 32:4 explains, “My moisture is turned into the drought of summer.” It wasn’t until Nathan said, “David, there is sin in your life.” Then David came clean and God restored his lost Joy.

PAST?  Failures and hurts can set you back. Some people just can’t get past their past. A minister said he was praying one day, “Father, why does the Devil keep reminding me of my past?” God replied, “Because he’s running low on material!” Repent, and then move on. God says He will “not remember your sins”     (Isa 43:25). There’s only one good reason to bring up the past, and that’s to learn from it and grow wiser.

DOUBTS? Without faith, it is impossible to please God. Holding on to doubt will keep you away from Gods best for your life. Moving into that new job, tithing 10% of your income to God, serving where your gifts honor and build up the church all require faith. Your life’s highest calling will always create the highest level of joy within you. Are you walking and living in Gods design for your life?

FEARS? For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”     (2 Timothy 1:7)You can’t live in Joy and fear at the same time. What are you holding on to that is bringing you such a great return? God teaches us to step out and trust in HIS power to succeed with our God given life. Stop expecting others to bring you success. Don’t wait for flowers to arrive. God gave you a seed; start growing some of your own with your faith.

DISCOURAGEMENT?  David had lost everything at Ziglag, his wives, his children and his Joy. David’s men were so discouraged that the men spoke of stoning their leader. God says, “David encouraged himself in the Lord.” If you don’t change your focus on God, you may never recover the blessing that God wants you to obtain. When He sought the Lord, God instructed him to go after what he had lost. David recovered everything that he had lost. Encourage yourself today in the Lord and watch what God will do for you.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

When Life Goes Haywire?

Do you have Determination? Can a lack of it affect your marriage, finances, health or your spiritual journey with God?  Each of us in life will battle and struggle with issues all of our life. When someone says, “All is good,” that’s really not true. Regardless if things are good in your money matters, there may be some funky deal going on with your marriage or your kids. The better question is this, “What will you do when things go haywire in life?”
Paul said, “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow--not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love.” (Romans 8:38) Are you convinced or determined to keep pressing regardless?
Paul faced many pressures in life as he was doing the will of God. He faced being imprisoned, stoned and left for dead, thirty-nine lashes five times on his back, three times beaten with rods, three times shipwrecked, bitten by a viper and on and on it goes. But he still said, “Nothing shall separate me from the love of God.”
The worst thing you could ever do is to get out of sort with God when life goes haywire! You may never understand all your troubles and issues in life, but God has a love for each of us even when things don’t seemingly go right. Paul said, “I would have you to know the things that have happen to me have happen for the furtherance of the gospel.” (Phil 1:12) That says a lot friend. God is saying when nothing makes sense; “Trust Me,” “I’m in control.”
There was never any sense from Paul, “God, you do for me, and I will do this for you.” Paul wasn’t asking, “God, why are you allowing all this heartache and grief?” Neither was there, “Lord if you don’t lighten up, I’m done.” All of these thoughts and doubts in our hearts lead to being dishearten and discouraged which could lead to abandonment.
Make up your mind, regardless of the stress, pressure and setbacks in life; God has the final say over your life. However God chooses to use my life, “Here I am Lord; use me for your honor and illumination.”   

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Joy? 5

Canadian Geese have learned to flock together in their journey south and north. The lead bird is there to reduce the air drag on the birds behind them. It’s been proven that it lifts the load of the flock some 73%. That’s a smart set of geese who learn to fly with one another. Could this also be true about investing in friendships? Who needs a friend? Have you taken the time to be a friend to someone?

God’s word is clear; each of us needs one another! When God created the sun, moon, stars, heavens, animals, sea, vegetation and man from the dust of the earth, He said, “It is good!” But when God saw that man was all alone, for the first time He said, “It is not good.”

Why would it be any different today?  Does God still declare that it’s not good for man to be alone? “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” Eccl 4: 9, 10

The book of Acts vividly describes the early church. As the church grew, people began to meet from house to house. This gave opportunity for the body of Christ to share, love, support, and to encourage one another. Church is not supposed to be a place to just take in and strengthen your own journey; but it should be place where you invest and encourage others in the faith journey.

Dealing with different personalities can present challenge. David dealt with the personality and jealousy of King Saul. He actually attempted to kill David 21 times. David would either fall apart or look to his God who’s greater than all the threats of Hell.

Sooner or later you will deal with “High Maintenance People”

1. “The Critic”, always complaining; the “needles” in the balloon factory
2. “The Martyr” who always plays the victim
3. “The Pessimist”; when they smell the flowers, they look for the coffin
4. “The Steamroller” is blindly insensitive to others
5. “The Gossip” loves to spread rumors and leak secrets

                   “Don’t expect Friendships to just Happen!”

You must be: Friendly to have friends.
You must be: Giving, not just taking.
You must be: Forgiving, regardless of your hurt and pain from someone.
You must be: Willing to take a Risk, knowing some will burn you!
You must be: Able to work at building relationships.

During a horrendous storm a goose may get separated from the flock. There is VALUE in being a friend to one that’s become discombobulated in life. If you've become disoriented, lay aside pride and accept a Jonathan that God will put in your path. “God has a friend for EVERYBODY.” Today, be a friend to someone God puts in your path; give away your love, encouragement and support. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Joy? 4

On Oct. 13, 2010, Thirty three miners who had been trapped underground for more than two months all returned to the surface after a successful rescue operation that inspired Chile and riveted the world. The miners traveled up a narrow, nearly half-mile rescue shaft in a specially designed capsule. Being a part of a rescue mission has to be one of the most gratifying, fulfilling and rewarding things you will ever do in life.
When Jesus came to earth 2000 years ago, He came to transform and save people from a horrible pit of sin. Before He left this earth, He said; “Follow me and I will make you to become fishers of men.”  (Matthew 4:19) He said, “Go into the entire world and preach this Gospel.”  (Matthew 28:19) Many people have MISSED OUT on the JOY of reaching people for Christ.
What is the SECRET in Winning people for Christ? It won’t happen without:
ENTHUSIASM:  Webster says; “That’s a strong excitement about something.” Can you imagine how the blind man responded to Christ and others after gaining his sight for the first time? Let’s not lose our excitement after being saved by God’s incredible, indescribable love and grace!
PASSION: Without fire inside an engine, you’re not going to move very quickly in your vehicle, unless a horse is pulling you! Each of us needs God’s passion within us that says, “I must speak up and tell others what Christ has done to save and transform my life.”
COMPASSION:  Ninety percent of those who come to the Lord are in a crisis. Do you know someone who has experienced a loss in their health, marriage, or their job? God wants to use you to reach down and show the love of Christ in their need. It was a simple act of mowing my neighbor’s yard when he had a heart attack that God opened the door for Christ to change his life.
SENSITIVITY:  Every day we should ask the Lord to direct our paths in reaching those without Christ. Jesus was led to a tax collector who was curious to see Him. Zacchaeus climbed up a sycamore tree to see Christ. Jesus said, “Zacchaeus, Today I must abide at your house.”
AUTHENTICITY: Nobody wants what we have unless we are the “real deal”.
CREATIVITY:  A church member, the other day, said to me, “My old neighbor who moved into your neighborhood is still talking about the pie you brought him.” I ask the Lord, “How can I reach new ones moving into my community?” Listen, God will use acts of kindness to show the love of God. Don’t ever give up on reaching people and YES, you will experience GREAT JOY in Winning People for Christ.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Joy? 3

How many days and nights have YOU put your Joy on HOLD? Each of us knows what it is to get hung up at a stalled red-light, being thirsty waiting on a waitress to refill our drink, or sitting in a waiting room to see the doctor when you have a hundred other things to do. It’s easy to get on edge in the Wait!
David said, “This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.”(Psalms 118:24) All of us know it’s just not that easy. David had many seasons in his life where he had to wait on the Lord to deliver him in his difficulty. Somewhere in life, if you’re to enjoy this day, your faith has to say, “My God knows best.”

Most of our restlessness as a born again believer is over not trusting the Lord in the wait. I can’t tell you the times that I have had to wait on a promise. When I was young in my training, I wrestled with, “When will God open the door for the dream ministry?” I have also watched God act, when I was saying, “God, do you still know where I am?”

The lesson to be learned is this. When God finally opens the door will you then say like I did, “Why did I waste so much time being restless, frustrated, aggravated, annoyed in the wait when God had it all planned out after all?

Learn to enjoy THIS DAY that God has made for your life. Refuse to say, “I’ll be happy WHEN my miracle, my break-through, or my victory comes”. NO, say like Paul, “I Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice.”(Philippians 4:4)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Joy? 2

It’s amazing how many voices you and I have to process in a given day. The other day I was picking up some things left from my daughter’s wedding on the other side of town that was in an unfamiliar place. I plugged in the location in my GPS and headed out. On the way my wife called and said, “Please leave an extra tip for one of the girls who did an outstanding job.” I responded, “I’ll be glad to but I’ll have to find my bank and get some cash.” So now I not only have my Google maps GPS talking to me, I have NOW turned on my Apple map to find my bank in route to the other side of town. So now I have 3 voices talking to me at the same time. I got a pretty good laugh out of it and did finally find the place to get some cash and reached my destination.
Each of us has to deal with voices that we process day by day. How you process those voices in your head can be frustrating, aggravating and even nerve wracking. How do you deal with the Voices from your spouse, kids, workplace, iTunes, media, news, enemies, and people that are annoyed with you getting in their way? The way you process these issues can affect you keeping your JOY. I have learned what can BUILD up and PROTECT your Joy
Allow the VOICE of HIS WORD, to be what guides your trajectory each day.  God has prepared a table to lead and encourage your path.
Allow His VOICE in Prayer to calm your nerves and your frustrations. One word from God in prayer can bring peace that nothing else in life can.
Allow TIME SPENT in the HOUSE OF GOD, to renew, restore, and rejuvenate your spirit. Gods words instruct us NOT to forsake the time we get together in the house of God so much more as you see the day approaching of His return. (Hebrews 10:25)
Allow the HOLY SPIRIT, to help you with all your decisions. He promises that HE will guide and lead us into all truth. One bad decision can be costly in your marriage, job, or your dream.
Did you know people with joy can add years to their life? In recent studies it’s proven that people with joy add years to their life. No wonder God’s Word says, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.”( Proverbs 17:22)