Winning the battle of the mind

What we listen to ends up creating a framework in our minds. The more we listen to the same things, the more of a hold they have on our thinking. If we listen to negative banter all the time, we will develop a negative mindset. Negative banter comes in the form of what we actually hear out loud and in the form of the thoughts that pop into our heads. This is why we have to guard our minds and be careful what we let in. I learned that I had been too passive when it came to my thinking and it ultimately affected my belief system. I believed in God but my mind had holes in it. Holes that allowed negative thinking to seep in and to plug in the missing parts with negative parts. We have to be a lot more active in our heads. Thank God, the Lord gives us weapons to use against negative thinking. He knows the importance of what we hear and what we let grow in our minds. He clearly says in His Word that we should renew our minds. I know His encouragement is extremely crucial. God loves our faith. If our faith is tampered with and it is lacking substance, it is not solid and it is not the kind of faith that is pleasing to God. He wants us to have blind faith or total faith in Him. That kind of faith comes from hearing the message of the Bible over and over again and trusting it. We ought to make it a part of our thinking and it has to be engrained in us. The number one tool against negative thinking is positive listening. Positive listening based in the Lord. When we listen to the Word of God and we meditate on it, we go through the process of positive listening. It is active listening. Listening here is not just hearing and forgetting about what we hear. Positive active listening is listening to the Word of God, dwelling on it and giving it a chance to become a part of us. Then the Word invades our belief system and it stays inside of us.

Today I want to encourage you to watch what you listen to and make sure that the Word of God is a priority in your life. Friend, it will help you fight the negative thoughts the enemy wants you to dive into. He desires for you to drown in his oven of mental confusion. He is the king of overthinking and he uses that technique to weaken our faith and to isolate us from God. Overthinking doesn’t find constructive solutions and it keeps us in a mental jail that has no way out. Overthinking creates horrible realities that did not exist in the first place. Overthinking gives us faith in the negative and it sows deep seeds of doubt in us. It takes advantage of the fragile state of mind it promotes and uses that fertile soil of doubt for more doubt to grow. If you are battling overthinking now, distract yourself. Get out of that mindset by imposing another mindset on top of it. That mindset should be the mindset of the Lord. Get into the Word. Read encouraging passages that you have highlighted. Tear down the obsessive thinking by injecting the light of the Lord. God’s Word is a powerful light that can remove negativity. Be resilient. Keep going into the Word. Dig deep and find the strength you need. It is there for you. God will give you the power to overcome what is eating you inside. Trust Him. He will do that for you. He has what it takes. It is in His Word and it can destroy the strongholds of the enemy. The Word of God is so amazing and so strong. Stick with it and you will see a big change in your thinking. It will happen for you.

The Holy Spirit is a great ally. He will assist you in your fight against negative thinking. He will remind you of the love of the Lord and how much He takes care of you. This battle is already won. Now, you can get over the bad thinking. Get into partnership with the Spirit of God and arm yourself with His Word. Ask Him to guide you on this journey to a more positive way of thinking. The Holy Spirit always magnifies Jesus and that is a great way to conquer negative thinking. Stay focused on Jesus. Let your adoration of His majesty be a daily occurrence. Worship and praise Him more. Friend, it does work! It makes a huge difference in your mind. Praises are the gates of Heaven showing up at the threshold of your mind willing to come in and to transform you. I love getting lost in praise and worship. I come out of those beautiful sessions altered. My mind is more positive and my faith is intensified. However, I have to keep doing it. One praise session a week is not enough. Negativity doesn’t take a break so we shouldn’t take a break either. Let’s be active worshippers who listen to the Word of God as much as possible. Let’s work with the Spirit of God. Let’s be receptive to His guidance and let’s stay close to Jesus. We will win the battle of the mind when we fill our minds with the Lord. We can do this! We can win the battle of the mind in the name of Jesus! May God bless you and protect you and remember that He will always love you!
Suggested reading: Romans 12:12; 2 Corinthians 1:22; 1 Peter 1:13

Amazing God

On Saturday night when I was praying, I kept talking about how amazing God was. I made a list of all the amazing things He does all the time and all the wonderful traits He has. I thanked God for His amazing ways. I said “Thank You Lord for Your amazing love, Your amazing peace, Your amazing joy.” I thanked Him for being amazing at everything He does and for sharing His amazing grace with all of us. I spent time focusing on our amazing God and no one else and nothing else. I think we don’t do that often. We talk about what we need more than we talk about the One who can give us all we need. We ought to talk more about His amazing presence and His amazing faithfulness. God is amazing in all His ways. He is not like any human beings. He is not like any event or any place we know. He is above it all. He is more amazing than historical events and facts. He is more amazing than humans’ biggest achievements. He is in a category of His own and He should be celebrated for being amazing and good. He is an incredible Lord and today I want to encourage you to celebrate how amazing God is.

God has amazing love for all of us. When we look at the definition of the word amazing, we find that it is something or someone that causes great surprise or wonder. God is the God of all wonders. He is wonderful in everything and He causes us to marvel at His greatness. Do you ever find yourself in wonder and in awe before God? If it doesn’t happen often, I invite you to discover the wonders of God. You can find them in His Word and you can locate them in your life. God is amazing at making our lives good even when things don’t look good. We need to take the time to look at our lives and see the amazing things that the Lord has placed in us and around us. Our amazing God has put some amazing attributes in us through the alliance between His Spirit and our spirits. When we give in to the Holy Spirit, amazing traits show up and we become imitators of the Lord. It is truly an amazing experience that can be a daily occurrence.

God has amazing peace and amazing joy for all of us. Peace and joy are two things that many of us pursue. We can have peace and joy through the world or we can have them through the Lord. I will always opt for the Lord’s amazing peace and love. Why are they amazing? They are amazing because they depend on God and not on our circumstances. God gives us peace and joy regardless of what is going on in our lives. He is the One who is going on in our lives and His presence alone trumps the misery and the pain that trials and tribulations can bring. God has amazing peace for you today, friend. His peace is much bigger than the strongest darts of the enemy. The fiery attacks of the enemy are not match for God’s amazing peace and joy. Start meditating on that truth. There is amazing peace for you that is invincible. No one can conquer the Lord and that makes Him amazing. Nothing can trample the Lord and that makes Him amazing. Nothing can prevail against the Lord and that makes Him amazing. You have an amazing Lord. Tell Him how amazing He is to you. Say it to yourself. Build a fortress of confidence in you of how amazing God is. May God bless you and protect you and remember that He will always love you!
Suggested reading: Nehemiah 1:5; Psalm 68:35; Romans 8:28

Waiting on the Lord

“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord” (Psalm 27:14) Being patient and waiting on the Lord is something I have been working on for a while. Even though I have made progress, I can still see that I have long ways to go. Patient is a great virtue and it is part of the fruit of the Spirit. I need to focus on the whole fruit and not just on the peel or on the seeds. The Spirit plants great seeds of His traits in us and those seeds need to watered. Looking at the seeds and being content with the seeds is not enough. It is like planting seeds in a garden and not touching it, not watering it and expecting that good things will happen. The rain will come and help but we have to be active and do our parts. We can’t rely on outside sources to make things grow. We can’t rely on outside sources to help us grow in the fruit of the Spirit. There are sources on the outside that will always assist us but we are encouraged to do the work within. Love, joy, peace and patience among other fruits, come from the Spirit but we have to be in sync with Him and be actively nurturing the fruit. The Bible talks about being doers of the Word and we should also be “doers of the Spirit” so to speak. We ought to do what the Spirit is motivating us to do. We should walk in love, tap into His joy, receive His peace and cultivate patience. Patience is key and the lack of patience can hinder our spiritual walk with the Lord.

Have you been waiting for the Lord to do something in your life? Have you been waiting for a breakthrough or for a miracle? I understand that the waiting is probably the hardest part. It can be excruciating and painful but it doesn’t have to be. When David wrote about waiting for the Lord, he described something that all Christians can do. He is not referring to an impossible task. God has given us patience. Sometimes it is an overt part of us and sometimes we have to retrieve it deep down in our spirits but it is there, available for the taking. We can take steps toward having more patience and the number one step that has worked for me was exercising more patience. We can become better at it when we practice it. Find something to pray about and wait on the Lord. Wait for Him to direct you and wait for the answer but you should also wait on the Lord. It is a very powerful routine. Just spend time in prayer waiting patiently before God. Don’t say anything. Stay quietly in front of Him and let Him do all the talking. It took me time to get to that point but I wait on the Lord a lot now. I just stay quiet in prayer and focus on Him. If the grocery list starts crossing my mind, I remind myself that I am here for Jesus. I just say “Thank You Lord for being so good.” I just bring my focus back to Him by talking to Him.

In Psalm 27, David talks about crying out to God and asking Him for help. He also talks about dwelling in the house of the Lord all of his days. When I wait on the Lord, His house doesn’t seem far at all. When I wait on the Lord, I have more faith in Him and I know He is hearing my cry. When I wait on the Lord, I have all I need. It is me and Jesus and the world around doesn’t mean a thing. When I wait on the Lord, I receive more peace and more patience. When I wait on the Lord, I am where I should be and nothing else matters. When I wait on the Lord, I wait for victory and I know I am on the right path. When I wait on the Lord, He shows His face, He shows His love. I am never waiting in vain and that is what I am teaching my heart. David was confident that he would see the goodness of the Lord and that justified the waiting. Friend, wait on the Lord and wait for the Lord. Waiting patiently before Him as you meditate on His goodness. Wait for Him to answer your prayers. Just like David, declare that you will see God’s love manifested. The answers to your prayers might take a while but celebrate the Lord while you are waiting and enjoy every moment. Hold on to patience and live your life. See the great things the Lord has put in your life and expect blessings and breakthroughs. It will happen for you. Be patient and be expectant. Wait on the Lord and you will receive much more than you can imagine! May God bless you and protect you and remember that His will always love you!

Suggested reading: Psalm 27; Isaiah 40:31; Colossians 1:11

God is good all the time

“God is good all the time” has been a powerful phrase used in Christian circles for a while now. It sounds good. It is reassuring but when you sit down and think about it, it is more than that. It is not just a popular phrase. It is a declaration to live by. If we live our lives with the awareness that God is good all the time, we have a way of handling anything life throws at us in a drastic way. If God is good all the time then He is good today, He will be good tomorrow and He was good yesterday. If God is good all the time, He is good no matter what happens to me and no matter how I feel. If God is good all the time, it doesn’t matter what I think or what I believe that is contradictory to God. He is still good. If God is good all the time, my problems, my pain and my fears can’t change God. If God is good all the time, the devil can be as bad as he wants, he won’t remove God’s goodness from Him.

 

 Well the truth is that God is indeed good all the time and that truth will set you free, friend. Apply it to your life. Apply it to what happens to you. Apply it to your thoughts. Apply it as much as you can. By applying it, I mean that you should hold it against events and things in your life. Anything that elevates itself above the Lord should come to submission to His great name and to His goodness. Anything that is negative should be squashed with the truth that God is good all the time and He will see you through all the time. Today I want to encourage you to declare that God is good all the time and to see what that means for your life.

 

When something bad happens, we tend to wonder how God could let such a terrible thing take place. I have heard people say that if God existed or if He were good then bad things shouldn’t happen. The Bible explains that the devil is the king of this world and therefore there is negativity everywhere. He has access to everything and everyone and he can make life a living hell. Some people experience very traumatic events while others seem to have quite a good life. Now, if someone doesn’t know Jesus as his or her personal Savior, it doesn’t matter how bad or good their life is. They could be a millionaire or they could be the most popular person on the planet, as long as Jesus is not their Lord and Savior, their life is that living hell I was talking about. When we accept Jesus into our lives, that hell goes away and His goodness is manifested in our lives first through salvation. However, being saved does not mean that we will never suffer or we will never have problems.

 

 Sometimes because we are saved and we are winning souls for the Lord, our lives are made more complicated. The enemy will always try to stop God’s work but that shouldn’t stop us from spreading God’s love and goodness. God will be good no matter how bad the enemy is. That revelation shed some major light in my life. If the enemy messes up with my life and hurts me, it doesn’t diminish God’s goodness. When the going gets tough, our awareness of God’s goodness can help us get through the hard times. Why? When we recognize that God is always good, we praise Him all the time. We honor Him. We exalt Him and we respect Him. These are all actions that bring deliverance because they bring the Spirit of the Lord into the scene and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. Remember how good God is today. Write it on the walls of your heart and say it out loud. You will stir up your faith and confuse the enemy.

 

The Lord is a stronghold on the days of trouble. Your bad days can seem to be extremely bad but the Lord’s goodness is a stronghold. It can’t be altered and it can’t be deleted. It is a force to reckon with. It is indestructible and invincible. Next time you are having a bad day, call on the goodness of God. Say how much bigger and stronger the goodness of God is. Stand your ground. God’s goodness is holding you and blessing you. You are protected. You have a refuge. God’s goodness is your refuge. It is a place of peace and a palace of hope. I love calling it a palace because it underlines the majesty of the Lord. His hope is housed in a palace that is magnificent. God’s goodness is beautiful! On the walls of the palace of hope are paintings of God’s goodness. You are in the paintings. You are there with a smile and with peace on your face. God is so good that He sent His Son so you can be that smiling person in the painting. Know that things are going to get better. Turn to Jesus. He is going to get you out of that mess. You are going to smile again and you are going to be at peace again. God is good all the time. Let His goodness show you how much He loves you. Stay in faith. The best is yet to come!

Suggested reading: Nahum 1:7; Mark 10:18; Romans 8:28

You have a magnet for blessings in you

The Spirit of the Lord dwells in you. God is in you. His presence is in you. It’s up to you to focus on it and let it flourish in your life or you can ignore it, live your own life and miss out on the greatest adventure ever. Life is an adventure and when we decide to be with God, we know that the adventure will end well. We anticipate that there will be ups and downs but the Lord stays with us through thick and thin and He blesses us along the way. Greater is the One who is in us than the one who is in this world. What does the One in us look like? What is He like? Throughout the Bible you see that He is love and that He blesses people. You have a God who has an abundance of blessings living in you. He is the One who makes things possible. I call Him my blessing magnet. He gets good things for me. Not because of who I am but because of who He is. I have a powerful magnet in me and He makes my life so much better!

 

A magnet is a piece of iron or a material that exhibits the properties of magnetism. It attracts other materials. God is not made of iron but He is more resistant and more solid than anything and anyone. He possesses the properties of magnetism and attracts goodness to Him because He is goodness. He doesn’t bring bad luck. He doesn’t bring luck at all. He provides blessings. God is the biggest blessing there is and He spreads His love. God creates blessings. As the creator of blessings, He has the authority to bring blessings into our lives. He said that if we remain in Him and His words remain in us, we can ask anything and it shall be done. Isn’t that a blessing? Now, what does that imply? We know the Holy Spirit dwells in us so why do we have to remain in Him? It’s because like I said earlier, we can deny the Spirit in us. We need to remain in the Lord which means that we need to acknowledge Him, follow Him, talk to Him, pray to Him, exalt Him and cherish Him. He can’t be a once-a-week fascination and a six day-a-week desolation. We can’t praise Him on Sunday and abandon Him the rest of the week. Remaining in the Lord is crucial.

 

When we follow the Lord and we make Him our priority, we allow His Spirit to express Himself in us. We connect with Him. We become intimate with Him and we stay plugged in. Our words also play a big role in the magnet process. If we keep the Word of God in us and we use it, we will attract the promises of the Lord. They will be manifested in our lives. Our words are powerful. What we say can build us up or bring us down. We should use our words to build up the Lord in us. We should make sure that our words are in sync with His Word and that they honor Him. This is the power of faith in action. When we trust God and His Word is the foundation of our faith, amazing things happen. God meets our needs according to His riches in glory. We all have spiritual needs and God can meet them. We all have material needs and God can meet them. We all have emotional needs and God can meet them. Whatever we need, when we remain in the Lord, we can get it as long as it agrees with His will.

 

The Spirit of God encourages us to bless others. We are heirs of the Lord and part of His inheritance is His goodness and His kindness. We are blessed so we can bless others. Let’s be sure that people are exposed to the magnet for blessings in us. Let’s share the Lord with others. Let’s speak about His love for everyone and let’s talk about the peace that is at the center of His message to the world. When we give to others, we are blessed. We don’t give so we can be blessed. We give because love enables us to give. It’s not an obligation. It’s an honor to be able to give to others the way the Lord gives. The Lord will bless you and keep you. He will protect you and always love you. Give the gift of eternal love to people in your world by spreading the Word of God. Preach through your demonstration of love. Share without expecting anything in return. Thank the Lord for all the blessings He is bringing into your life and be generous to others. You have a magnet for blessings in you. Reveal Him to the world!

Suggested reading: Luke 6:38-40; John 15:7; 1 John 4:4;

God is with you in the storm

Yesterday was a very busy day. I drove to four different towns to run errands to go to some appointments I had. It was a long day. I had breakfast but then I didn’t eat again until 6 pm. I got tired and I was frustrated because of some work I had to get done for Monday and I knew none of it would get done yesterday. I like driving so that part was not a problem until I had to drive to my last destination and I felt the weight of the day. I wondered why I had to be in the car so much in such bad weather. We had torrential rain and some flooding. Then I saw one of the most beautiful rainbows on my way to my last meeting. It was a vibrant and solid rainbow that no one could miss. I heard deep down inside that the Lord wanted time with me and all this driving allowed me to listen to Him. The rainbow got my attention and made me refocus on the Lord. He is that rainbow that has beautiful bright colors and who can be present despite the bad weather. After the storm comes the rainbow. The nice thing about that rainbow is that it stood there in all its beauty when the rain was still falling on the side. Yes, the Lord is there in the middle of the storm. It is a matter of shifting our focus. We need to take our eyes off the storm and keep them on the Lord. I want to remind you today that Jesus your Savior is with you in the middle of the storm. You may have heard that before but it’s a reminder that can brighten your day.

 

The rainstorm yesterday was so bad I could hardly see anything when I was driving. The storms of life can be so bad that we can hardly see straight. All we see is chaos, failure and destruction. Some storms are there to destroy us but the Lord is there to save us. He is not just holding an umbrella over us; He is the umbrella. He is our refuge and our shelter. I don’t want the storms of life to push me around and to make me feel like I am in an endless cycle of bad weather and bad luck. I got tired of the storms when I got to know the Lord better. I used to be the perfect victim until I found out that Jesus has the victory. Then it dawned on me that I didn’t have to go through the storms with my head down and my heart broken. Storms come every now and then and I thank God that they don’t last but I also thank the Lord that He outlasts all storms. He keeps on going and going. His love keeps on giving and giving. His arms keep on protecting and protecting. The Lord never gets tired of blessing us and helping us. If you are in a storm today, don’t get scared. Don’t get frightened. The thunder might be roaring like a beast ready to devour you but the Lord is like a roaring lion who is ready to rescue you.

 

This is what I suggest you do during those storms. If you can’t find your refuge, sing your way back to Him. God is right there with you but there is a storm getting in the way and that is probably why you can’t find Him. When I was driving yesterday, it got very dark even though it was late afternoon. The rain came down so hard that I thought I was going to get into an accident. I sang. I turned up my praise music and I sang to the Lord. I sang my way back to Him until I was calm and collected. Then I saw that rainbow again. I didn’t see it physically but I could see it inside of me. The Lord, my God was shining bright and smiling like a rainbow coming out of the clouds. He was above the clouds. He was untouched by the bad weather. He was in my heart where He always is and the praise opened my eyes to that reality that never changes.

 

The Lord is with you in the middle of the storm. He sees your tears and He feels your pain. Get into His circle of peace and joy and let Him restore your serenity and your joy. When the storm comes, Jesus is never far. The One who can quiet all storms is still strongly present and you can have peace in the middle of that storm when you hang on to Him. Praise, sing, pray. Find your way back to Him in the stormy weather. The rain will end and the rainbow will show up as beautiful as ever. Stay encouraged!

Suggested reading: Isaiah 43:2; Matthew 8:24-27; John 14:27

Patience is a supernatural fruit of the Holy Spirit

Patience is a supernatural fruit of the Holy Spirit and it is a fruit I have been trying to add to my spiritual diet every day. I can tap into joy and peace and other fruit but patience sometimes requires more effort on my part. I find that when I have peace, patience is not hard to find. I can be patient while waiting for a blessing or while waiting for something good that I know is going to happen. When it comes to being patient while waiting in faith, it’s a different story.  My mind likes to question my faith and asks me why I am being patient about  something that might not take place. That is when I have to silence my mind. I put it on mute and I turn up the volume of God’s Word. The Word of God tells us to be patient in tribulation. Why? Because we display the character of the Lord and we express the fruit of the Spirit even when the pressure is on and that is pure faith. The Lord is not asking us to find patience outside of us or outside of the realm of possibilities. We have His Spirit inside of us and that is where we can find supernatural patience. Then how do we extract this amazing fruit? Today I want to answer that question and encourage you to keep resorting to the Lord’s patience and to live a life dominated by the fruit of the Spirit with an emphasis on patience.

 

David once declared “I will wait patiently for the Lord.” It is a great habit to wait on the Lord patiently. It is great to close off the world and open up to the Lord in prayer and meditation. Meditation can be hard to achieve if we don’t have patience. Patience is key in connecting with God. If we try to rush or to get to God too fast, it won’t happen. Getting an answer to a prayer can take time and God wants us to wait patiently. Waiting is winning. You win strength. You win faith and you win wisdom. The Lord knows that we ought to be patient in all things because that is the best way to receive from Him. There is power in the waiting. There is power in patience. Patience demonstrates God’s power in our lives. It shows that we are connected to the Holy Spirit and we are in sync with the Lord. The world says,“ Let’s get everything instantly”. The Lord says, “Wait for everything patiently.”

 

When David waited for the Lord patiently, the Lord heard his cry and answered him. God listens and hears us. If we don’t hear back it doesn’t mean we were not heard. It means that we have to get on His “timing plan.” He has a plan and He has the perfect timing for everything. Your answer will come. Your breakthrough will come. Timing is everything and God wouldn’t make you wait if waiting weren’t the best thing for you. God is so patient with all of us and we are so impatient with His blessings. Patience dictates what we should be doing while waiting. We should continue to praise and pray and we should practice all the fruit of the Spirit. Love is the biggest fruit in the basket of the Spirit and love is patient. When we have the patience fruit, we can love better. We can love and help others. It takes a lot of patience to deal with people. Imagine how much patience it takes for the Lord to “deal with us.” When we are patient with one another, we embrace God’s call for love. Love can wait forever because it is patient. Walk in love and you will walk patiently. You can’t be patient without love.

 

My suggestion is that you meditate on patience every day. Find verses that talk about patience and get into your prayer closet and meditate on them. As you do, you will activate the patience that is in your spirit thanks to the Holy Spirit. Pray for patience and thank the Lord for the fruit of patience. It will grow. Feed your patience by exercising it every day. Find opportunities to be patient. There are many of them every day. Welcome them and walk in patience while holding hands with love and faith. You will see how patience develops and how connected you are to the fruit that is in you. The Spirit of Jesus desires for you and me to be patient and to tap into the power of that great fruit. Thank Jesus for the Holy Spirit. Acknowledge the Spirit in all you do and get Him involved. The fruit will become stronger and your patience will become a lifestyle. Thank God for the fruit of patience! His patience is supernatural because it transcends human patience. It’s in you. The Holy Spirit will guide you through the patience process. Trust Him!

Suggested reading: Lamentations 3:25-27; Romans 12:12; Galatians 6:9

Being God-centered is a game changer

I got saved when I was 14. I was on fire for the Lord. I just didn’t know much and I had no idea what to look for. I looked for God for years. I knew there was more. God was a giant. Jesus was a giant and I could only see a miniature version of Him so I went on this journey to find my great God. Too many things were giants in my life. Too many things took precedence over the Lord. I looked like I was growing spiritually going to church on Sunday and doing my best to be a good person. It didn’t lead me closer to God. It took me closer to religion and to a gospel where God was not the center. Too many things in my life were at the center of my attention and they were taking the seat that belonged to the Lord. It is easy to appear holy and good one day a week and live your own life the rest of the week. I made appointments with God based on my schedule but He had a totally different agenda for my life. I kept ignoring the signs and the messages. I had my own God, a small God and I focused on that. I feel like it took me years to be saved even though I was saved. After a long time I finally got a better understanding of what a relationship with the Lord looked like. I couldn’t be in the center of that relationship. I had to die to self and let God be God. It was hard but it was the most rewarding thing I have ever done. Dying to self is excruciating especially because of our old ways and the patterns we have had. However, it is the best way to get to know Jesus. It is what we need to have an encounter with Him. I held on to so much but when I let go, God came in. When I let go, my eyes were open.

 

I am talking from experience here but it’s experience that was generated by the teachings of the Bible. Things started to change spiritually for me when I put God at the center of my worship, my praise, my prayers and my attention. Have you ever realized how much of you can be at the center of all these things? It is a tough realization but when it hits you, it wakes you up from a sleep where dreams are about you and where God makes cameos from time to time. If we love God for what He does for us, we put ourselves in the center of everything. Why? Because we love Him for what He does for us and not for who He is. It’s not about who He is. It’s about what His actions are in our lives. It’s about getting something out of the relationship we have with Him. It’s about being satisfied by what He does and not simply by who He is. We should always be grateful and thankful for what He does. We should praise Him for that but our initial instinct should be to glorify Him and exalt Him for who He is. Jesus is our Savior. That is reason enough to celebrate Him. He is good and He is kind all the time. That is reason enough to celebrate Him. We were made to worship Him and not to worship His creation. He is the creator that deserves all our praises. Our relationship with Him should be about Him first. It should be about getting to know Him. Being content with getting to know Him more than getting excited about what He gives us.

 

There is a subtle trap we can fall into. It’s the trap of seeing God as a genie or a provider and nothing else. It’s the idea that the gospel is about gain and not about giving. It’s the idea that the gospel is more about self-improvement and self-empowerment and not about how God improves us and how He empowers us. All power goes to Jesus and our lives should reflect how we recognize His power and His sovereignty in our lives. It’s not the gospel of the “I am almighty through Christ who strengthens me.”  It is the gospel of the good news of Jesus who came to save us and who loves us. He does empower us and He should be regarded as the source and the essence of the power in our lives. Becoming more God-centered was a game changer in my life. I gave Him more of my time. I started having regular worship and prayer sessions every morning and every night. The worship was all about Jesus. I sang my heart out. I cried because of His goodness and I did all that in the privacy of my dorm room. My phone was on silent. I removed all distractions and I had my time with the Lord. It became the best time of my day.  He became the center of my attention. My life took a turn for the better when the better part of it was all about Jesus. The enemy had been playing games with my life but surrendering to the Lord renamed the game by giving it a heavenly twist. Jesus was the twist I needed. He rewrote the script when I gave up the pen and let Him take control of my story. Friend, it is all about Jesus. It’s never been about us. Actually Jesus makes it about us when we make it all about Him but He is the center. He is the reason why. He is the answer. He is the Messiah. He is the message. He is the gospel. He is the good news. He is everything. Make it all about Him and you will never go wrong!

Suggested reading: Matthew 6:33; Matthew 10:38-39; Colossians 3:17

Let God put out your fires

Some situations in our lives can feel like real fires. Everything is burning. Our minds are burning with anxiety and fear. Our hearts are burning with pain and our souls feel like they are burning in hell. Problems pile up and before we know it we have a bonfire of trials and suffering. When you feel the burn, it’s hard to find relief and to find the hose that is going to put out the fire. God can put out any fire. He is the fire that dominates all fires. Like an ardent bush He is burning with power and with love. His fire is the most powerful fire that exists and it can’t be put out by any schemes of the enemy. When your life is on fire, let the Holy Spirit control the negative fires and make you burn with faith and hope. There is a flame that will always remain. The flame of the Spirit of God will never be extinguished. It will always be more fervent than the fires of the enemy. You see, God showed up as fire in the Old Testament and in the New Testament. He was a positive fire. The enemy wants us to hate fires now by giving us tough situations that leave us scorched and burned. We get used to being burned and to being hurt and that is not the way it should be. Fires will happen but we shouldn’t let them consume us and destroy us. Today I am inviting you to call upon the Lord and ask Him to put out the fires in your life. Ask Him to step in and intervene. Give Him the fires. Let Him dominate them and control them. The enemy might have some nasty matches but the Lord has fire extinguishers that will paralyze the enemy’s tactics. Don’t be afraid of the fires of life. The Lord will allow you to walk through them and you won’t be burned. Peace is on the way. Relief is on the way. The fire extinguisher is on the way. The Lord has a burning desire to help you and no fires in the world will stop Him when you choose to walk by faith and not by sight.

 

When I walk my dog in the morning, I walk by a fire station. I admire all the volunteers from the fire department  that work so hard to help the community and to keep us safe. They are not afraid of fires and they go head on into dangerous situations knowing that they will be able to neutralize the fire and deal with those fiery conditions. From what I see they are confident that they can tackle most fires because of their training and the equipment they use. God has all the training that is needed to deal with fires. He wrote the book. He wrote the manual. He designed the training.  No one knows what to do better than He does. His methods for putting out fires never fails. So what are we waiting for? Let’s call on the One who can make the fires stop. I get into situations where the fire is so strong that I can’t even hear myself think. I am so engrossed in the intensity of the fire and I lose my focus. A fiery condition makes us stumble and fall. We land in a hot mess and we can’t get out of it. Those intense fires can be financial holes that the fires of life have made in our lives. A sickness can be a fire. A strong sense of hopelessness can be a fire. The feeling of constantly walking in a desert can be a fire. A dry season can be a fire. No matter what fires we are facing, the Lord can intervene and refresh the situation. The Lord is the best fireman around. He walks right through the fire and He is not intimidated by the flames. The flames are actually scared of Him and they get out of the way. I am starting to be more aware of the presence of the Lord when I go through a fire. He is not leaving my side and He gives me confidence. I can’t put out the fire but God can.

 

Next time you find yourself in a fire, remember that God is walking before you in the fire and He is making a way for you. He can part the seas and He can part the fires as well. You are not going to get burned as long as you are holding His hand. The glory of God looks like a consuming fire. It is a fire that consumes the fires that are meant to hurt you. The enemy has no chance of winning against the glory of God. Keep that in mind. The fire you are going through right now will be destroyed by the fire of the Lord and you will come out of the ashes beautiful and new. The opposition has sent this fire to burn you and ruin you but the Lord will turn it to your advantage and it will help you grow and make progress on the course of your faith. Don’t let the fire bring you down. Bring the fire down with the hose of the Word of God. The Word of God will shower your fires with peace and freedom. You are not bound to stay in a fiery place. God is going to put out all the fires in your life. Ask Him. Pray to Him. Trust Him. The fires are about to go. You will come out untouched. Stay encouraged! God is in control!

Suggested reading: Jeremiah 23:29; Luke 3:16; Hebrews 12:29

Scare your fears away

Fear is a tool the enemy uses against everyone because he knows it’s the opposite of faith. He tries his best to keep people from believing and from living a life free of fear. Someone who believes in God and who has no fear is a problem to the enemy. Someone who applies the Bible to his or her life and who has love that excludes all fear is a danger to the enemy. Perfect love doesn’t know fear. We Christians can attain a level of love that is void of all fear. We have so many fears that it is a real process to get rid of them. Only the Lord can remove fear and leave a clean slate of love in its place. When you get impacted by God’s love, fear is dissipated. It can’t stay where God abounds. It can’t stay where God’s love reigns. It can’t stand the goodness of God. It can’t stand the Word of God. There are ways we can conquer fear and God can assist us. God can scare your fears away when you put your life in His hands in faith. You can speak against the fears in your life and scare them away. Speak up against fear and worry by speaking the Word of God.

 

The Lord tells us not to fear hundreds of times in His Word because He knows that He can stop fear in our lives. He knows that when we take His Word and shove it against the fears in our lives, the fears have to fade away. He tells us to be relentless and to persevere in all we do. In order for us to win the battle against fear we have to persevere and keep pushing against it. Like I said, love is the power that neutralizes fear. It has to be part of the equation if we want to solve this problem. We can declare that we are loved by the creator of the universe and therefore we don’t have to be afraid. God our Rock and our Refuge cares about us. He will never leave us nor forsake us. Let’s not be discouraged because His hope is always there. His love and protection will shield us through any storms of life. When we declare the truth of the Word of God against fear, we wage a war that we can’t lose. Fears try to separate us from God but nothing can prevent the Lord from loving us. We can put pressure on our fears by exalting God’s love for us. Fear hates love. The more love-conscious we are, the less power will fear have on our lives.

 

We are the redeemed of the Lord and we belong to Him. Do you ever think about that? Do you ever remind yourself that you belong to Jesus? The Lord has called you by His name. You are part of His family. Fear will attempt to break that family bond by overwhelming you with negativity. Fear brings other negative agents with it and it is a disastrous domino effect before you know it. Fear punches you in the head and in your heart. It gives you butterflies that wouldn’t be pretty to look at if you could see them. I picture dark and morbid butterflies when I think of what stress causes. Those butterflies are not entitled to be part of your life and you can rebuke them. You can rebuke fear and scare it away so that it hates being around you. The enemy will always come back and try to destroy you but once you have established a rhetoric that discriminates fear, you are good to go. The goal is to constantly put fear down and slam it with hope and with the power of the Word of God. Give it a chance. Scare your fears with God’s love. Fear doesn’t want to hear that with God nothing is impossible so tell your fears about your invincible God. Lift Him up above the fears. Refuse the fears. When they come with their scary agenda, show them what God has to say about them. He says they died on the cross. Remind them of their death and let your faith rise up. Scare your fears away in Jesus’ name!

Suggested reading: Psalm 18:2; Isaiah 43:1; 1 John 4:18