What’s next? (what to do when faith is weak)

I still don’t have electricity. I was sitting at a coffee shop yesterday using their wifi and charging my computer and phone when I heard someone ask “What’s next?” The person was referring to all the tragedies that have happened this year. He shook his head and said it was one thing after another. We were hit pretty hard. Many of us have no power and no running water and it could take up to 10 days for everything to be restored. What the man said made me think that I knew what was coming next. What’s next is that God is going to do something that will make us forget the past suffering. Hard to believe when we are in the middle of it but I believe with all my heart that God will save the day. Something good is coming. God doesn’t let us down. This is when our faith has to be strong and we can grow even more. Can you believe that great things are coming despite your current circumstances? Are you able to see through the eyes of faith that there is nothing to worry about? If you can’t, I want to share a few verses and ideas that can help you get to the point where you see that what’s coming next is good. Storms and thunders will come but God has a plan to bring relief and to restore the power you have lost. He is the God of restoration. Power is coming back in Jesus’ name!

 

I have found verses that have given me a boost through the years. One of them is “If we are faithless, He remains faithful—for He cannot disown himself.” This verse, 2 Timothy 2:13, is a verse that can be applied to all of us. We have all had moments when we are faithless, moments when our faith is weak and we want to quit. Have you ever wanted to quit God? I know I have but I don’t go there anymore. I have had seasons when nothing seemed to go right and I just wanted to throw in the towel because I couldn’t do this anymore. I felt like faith was not for me. Faith was broken. I kept pushing the button and nothing worked. I kept flipping the switch and no light came on. I kept hoping for better days and bad days continued. Faith was never meant to be easy but it is attainable and accessible. Faith perseveres and it keeps on hanging on to God. It expects the best even when the present is horrible. It knows that what’s next is good. Faith talks about the good things that are to come when no one can see them and when no one can imagine they can take place. Faith has this invisible world that exists and that is real to faith. We are often blind to the world that faith sees but it doesn’t mean that that world is non-existent. When our faith is weak, God is still faithful. Think of a time when you were not strong in your belief and God came to the rescue. It might happen again. Just because we are not staying in faith doesn’t indicate that God is not faithful and that He is not keeping His promises. If your faith is weak today, tell the Lord that your lack of trust doesn’t negate His ability to bless you. Repeat that many times. It will help you re-develop the confidence that God can do all things and that He can bless you and set you free from your current problems. God can’t go back on His word and say that He won’t help you after all. He can’t take His promises back and He can’t escape what He said He would do. He can’t run away from Himself. He said “Come to Me you who are weary and I will give you rest.” When faith is weak, turn to God. You don’t need much faith. Just turn to Him and let Him show how faithful He still is.

 

What’s next now that you have gone through one of the worst years of your life you might be wondering. There are always new chapters in our lives, new seasons. Some bad ones can last for a long time. It seems that the good ones are short-lived but the truth of the Lord is that He can juxtapose His good season over the bad season we go through. The bad season tries to make us believe that nothing good can happen again. The bad season aims at depleting our faith. A bad season is a good reason to stay in faith. It is a reason to stand our ground like Job and keep honoring God. You can easily slip into the “what’s coming next is bad” mode. It is a mode that only sees the worst. I understand that mode but I also understand that there is a mode that makes you hope for good things. They will come. Eventually they will. The bad season is a wall that needs to be pushed. Push it with your praise. Push it with your prayers. Remember you have muscles of faith that need to be exercised. This implies that you have the foundation. Your muscles might be big but it doesn’t take much for them to lift the weights of life. Why? Because the Holy Spirit is spotting you. He is your backup. He is your power backup. You are not doing this life alone. God knows what’s next. Let Him dictate the next chapter. Let Him provide the breakthrough. What’s next is good. Believe it. It will happen. Stay strong. Hang in here and stay encouraged. The Lord won’t leave you!

Suggested reading: Psalm 30:5; 2 Timothy 2:13; 2 Corinthians 12:9

 

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

When the world says “No”, God says “Yes”

I have found out through the years that when the world says “No”, the Lord says “Yes.” I have been in many situations where things seemed bad and the world was telling me that they will never get better or it would take a miracle for things to change. I have had many rejections from the world. I have seen many closed doors. Some doors looked like they were open from a distance but they were shut in my face when I got closer to them. I have been told that I was a dreamer whose dreams were too far-fetched. I have experienced anxiety that wouldn’t settle for a while. However, I have also been told that nothing was impossible with God. That is what the Lord says. He says that He can do all things and the No of the world becomes a Yes with Him. For every rejection there has been acceptance from the Lord. He has taken me under His wing when I couldn’t fly and when my hope couldn’t take off. He says “Yes” with a smile when the world says “No” with a frown. Jesus came to save the world and to make the impossible possible. He put an end to death and He rose from the dead Himself as the Savior who can rise above anything and everything. Death couldn’t keep Him in the grave. Failure was not part of His vocabulary. It looked like everything was over when He hung on the cross but it was just the beginning. It was the beginning of “Yes, you can have life through Him” and “Yes, you are going to make it.” God says, “Yes, child I can do it. Yes, child you are going to have a breakthrough. Yes, child your time is coming. Yes, child My timing is always perfect.” Today I want to remind you that the Lord is saying Yes. He is saying “Yes, I can help you. Yes, I can heal you. Yes, I can bless you and Yes I am always with you.”

 

Collect all the No’s you have been given by life. Put them together in a prayer and offer them to the Lord. Cast your burdens on Him. Give Him all the rejections and all the closed doors. Don’t accept them. Don’t take No for an answer when the Lord says “Yes, I am the answer.” Keep on walking. Don’t let the rejections stall you. Don’t let the failures paralyze you. God has what you need and His Yes is more powerful than all the No’s of the world combined. His Yes can raise you from the dead situation you have been facing. Remember that nothing is impossible to the Lord. The lies of the enemy have been tormenting you for too long. This is not the end. Let God have the final say. He is almighty, loving and good all the time. Your current circumstances don’t dictate who God is. Speak up and express your faith over your circumstances. Show your situation that God is reigning over your life and you will get out of this mess thanks to Him. Let your words reflect the Yes from the Lord and weaken the No in your life. Don’t let the No take control of your mind and make you think that there is no way out. Jesus is the way out and He is taking you out of your trouble. Praise Him!!!

 

Closed doors can be very discouraging. Rejection letters from life can be disheartening. God has a welcome letter for you, friend. He has doors that are part of a new construction that is meant just for you. Those doors will not only be open for you but they will let you inside a house whose structure is solid and permanent. They will reinforce God’s love and demonstrate that nothing is impossible with Him. Something is going to happen that will make you forget all the pain and all the rejection. That first door God opens for you is going to seem unreal but it is all part of God’s reality. Stay in faith. Stay with hope. The No of the world is not stronger than the Yes from Heaven that has been with you the whole time. Tune in to the Yes and embrace it. Tell the Lord you trust and believe Him. Thank Him for His Yes. Praise Him for the Yes and stay in peace. You have nothing to worry about and nothing to fear when you say Yes to God’s Yes. Do something today that underlines God’s Yes in your life. Share the message of His Yes with someone. Find a creative way to illustrate His Yes in your life. I like to come up with songs for Jesus. Sing, dance, celebrate Jesus because He is saying Yes. Put the No’s behind. Be prepared for the No’s to come and be ready to reject them with your faith. When the world says “No”, God has a Yes for you. Glory to God!!!

Suggested reading: Genesis 18:14; Luke 1:37; Hebrews 6:18

A boost for the week

Many of us need a boost at the start of a new week. I get my boosts from the Holy Spirit. I don’t have to say a special prayer. My prayers are like a thread that keeps on going and what I have to do is read the thread and get the words that the Lord wants me to hear and use to get me through the day or through tough situations. The thread has words for every day and it has whispers from the Holy Spirit, verses from the Word of God and songs from my heart to the Lord’s. What would I do without the Holy Spirit? Where would I be? I remember where I used to be and I wouldn’t want to go back for anything in the world. I know where I am headed and I have put the belt of patience around my spiritual waist so I can get there step by step because after all the Lord is directing my steps. He has control of it all. The boost from the Holy Spirit today is about the start of a new day. Today is not like yesterday and it is just in the shadow of what tomorrow is going to be like. On this new day, at the start of this new week, the Lord is whispering hope and giving encouragement to whoever is willing to listen. He has the week planned out and His plan doesn’t look like what the worries and fears are designing in our minds. The bumps on the road this week might slow us down but after the problems show up like mountains, remember that you will come down from that bump and the Lord will keep on driving with you. He will drive you to a better tomorrow. Don’t worry about today and don’t fear tomorrow. Know that the Lord is with you every single day and He is going to make all things new.

 

I love reading about how God is in control in the Bible. It is a powerful truth. I studied it and meditated on it because I was going through a time when everything was out of control. I tried to control some difficult situations and it backfired on me. The Lord tells us not to fear because we are His. That is something! You and I belong to Him. He is in charge of us and He will take care of us. He is in the details of every day of our lives and when we have faith in His ability to be in control of our lives, we don’t have to worry about anything. This week God is still going to be in control. He is still going to call you His and He is still going to show you how much He loves you. He will deliver you from all fears. He will make all things right by being your advocate and your protector. Life can be so unfair but the Lord is there to reverse the injustice and to back you up in the court of life’s trials. I learned at a young age that not everyone is going to treat you fairly and life is part of that cluster of bullies that try to make things difficult for you. However, the Lord has an army of angels ready to go to war for us in the heavenlies and He has a protective hand that is always there to cover us and bless us. Receive the blessings of the Lord this week. Open your mind to His kindness and let your heart be impressed with His unfailing love. This new week is going to be full of His love. It’s going to be overflowing. Expect it. Embrace it. Enjoy it!

 

The Holy Spirit encourages us to hang on to God and to be completely Jesus-centered. This means that we rely on Him as our Savior and we imitate Him. One of the biggest encouragements from the Lord this week is to pray for the world. “Pray for others” is what He is saying at the start of this week. There is so much negativity going on and chaos is on the corner of every street waiting to grab passers-by by the neck and squeezing their heads until confusion is a permanent fixture in their minds. Adding prayers for others to my week is a great boost because it allows me to get closer to God. It gives me a purpose that is in line with His Word and it makes my heart jump. A boost from the Lord brings hope and not only hope for ourselves but hope for others. To make this week complete, give the hope that people are waiting for. Hand out Jesus to people in your life. Give a blessing to the hurting ones. Give a smile to the sad ones. Give a hug to the desperate ones. Give a piece of God’s love to the ones no one loves. Give a word of encouragement to the ones who have no more courage. Let the Lord use you to boost someone’s morale and He will give you the most satisfying boost for this week. Hang on to the Lord all week. This week is going to be phenomenal!

Suggested reading: Psalm 34:4; Psalm 94:19; Romans 8:28

How to achieve spiritual growth

Through the years I have realized that there is always more with God. I am not just talking about getting more blessings. I am referring to learning more about God and expanding our spiritual sphere with Jesus in the middle. There is an expansion process that should be taking place. We should be enlarging our spiritual knowledge and understanding of the Lord. That expansion is a great way of approaching life with God. It is a life where there is abundance of growth and abundance of goodness and love. Growing in the knowledge of the Lord should be growing in love. Getting to know God is more than an intellectual exercise. It is a workout of the heart. As we get to know more of God, our hearts are trained to love more. God is love and as we develop spiritually our love should grow as well. We tend to remain in our comfort zone in the Lord and it is fine to spend some time there but after a while we need to come out of the comfort zone. We need to challenge our spiritual sphere and give God a bigger part of our lives. Our love should be enlarged. Our testimony should be bigger. The fruit of the Spirit should ripen in our lives. Our relationship with the Lord should grow. Our spiritual sphere can get to a larger size that encompasses more of God and less of us. Today I want to encourage you to expand your spiritual sphere and come out of your comfort zone. Challenge your heart. Defy your mind. Build up your spirit!

 

If I find myself in the same place I was a month ago spiritually, I know I have some work to do. The work is not necessarily hard but it requires commitment and dedication. I don’t work alone. I work with the Spirit of God. He has to be part of my spiritual sphere otherwise I am wasting spiritual space by trying to achieve something that my spirit alone can’t handle. Communion with the Spirit of Jesus is where I find the power to grow and the power to change. It is impossible to be in touch with the Spirit of God and not be altered in some way. When we spend time in the Word and we pray and celebrate Jesus, we manifest the Spirit of God in us and change always comes. Now, the Spirit takes us from glory to glory. We all go at our own pace and if we are in sync with the Lord, we get into a rhythm that agrees with His plan for our lives. God is never too fast and never too slow. He knows what’s best for us and He brings us along a great journey where growth is bound to happen. God gives more and we should be expecting more. Expecting more of Jesus in our lives. Expecting to become more like Jesus and having a bigger love for people and for God is the evidence that we are expanding our spiritual sphere. We can challenge ourselves to get more spiritual growth every day. Our spiritual sphere is like a bucket where drops of love and faith are added as we go until there is an overflow of the Lord and the bucket becomes a blessing to people around us.

 

My spiritual comfort zone was the place where I wasn’t pushed around too much. A place where I didn’t have to have too much faith and where it was pretty much status quo. Not too much happened and I didn’t have to take any spiritual risks such as having peace that surpasses all understanding or patience that was out of this world. I didn’t go out of my way to apply the Bible to my life. I was content with the Sunday service and prayers here and there. I was spiritually passive and that worked out for me. I was lukewarm is what I was. My spiritual sphere was small and I discovered it was expandable if I got to know the Lord better and if I made Him my priority. It became clear that my spiritual growth was going to depend on my proximity to God. By proximity I mean time spent in the Word, in prayer and in worship. Those three areas add layers to our spiritual sphere. God can make our spiritual lives vibrant places where beautiful things happen in the name of Jesus. The key is to surrender our spiritual sphere to the Lord. We ought to give up some of the worldly attractions that take away from the Lord. When we fill our spiritual sphere with world entertainment, we end up having holes in the area where there should be plugs put in by the Lord. The plug of hope, the plug of strength, the plug of joy and other plugs that God puts in place so that we are whole and we are filled with His Spirit. Spiritual growth comes from surrender and from obedience. There is always more with God. Aspire to grow in the Lord and to know His love better. The more you know, the more you will love!

Suggested reading: Jeremiah 9:23-24; John 17:3; Philippians 3:10

Respond to life with love

I can see how hardships can make people bitter toward life and toward other people. A tough life usually hardens the heart. I admire those who despite trials and suffering can still love and be kind to anyone. Keeping a good and positive attitude toward life is commendable. I have met people in the church who are great role models of love. They love others all the time. They probably have “off days” but I have never seen them on those more negative days. Then there are people who don’t believe in God but whose love is massive. They love unconditionally and they can teach anyone that love is the best way to live. Their love is exemplary and they fight for love. I thank the Lord for love and I am so grateful for the hearts of those who always stand for love no matter what is going on in their lives. As followers of Christ, we have the fruit of the Spirit in our lives and love is the first fruit. At least love should be the first fruit but oftentimes it is not. Faith, peace and joy are regarded as crucial fruit and love comes after. However, without love the rest of the fruit doesn’t make sense. It is like having fruit that has no seed in it, not core, no substance and no taste. It is like an empty vessel whose exterior looks solid but it is missing the most important content. God is love and He desires for us to have love more than anything else. We pursue treasures and wealth of the earth when God wants us to pursue love first. We pray for financial blessings and worldly success because after all we live in this world, but the Lord tells us to seek love and to walk in love. Seek first the kingdom of God means seek love. Seek God and God is love. If only our most repeated prayers were about having more love, we would see a change in this world. We would see an army of soldiers  whose love is the most powerful weapon they own and whose mission is to eradicate hate and division. Division is what the enemy wants. He wants us to be separated from God and separated from other people because the first commandment is to love God and love others like ourselves. The enemy also works hard at making us not love ourselves. He knows that low-self esteem leads to disliking others and it is a hurdle on the track of walking in love. Today I want to encourage you to seek love first. I want to encourage you to make love your goal in life and to focus on the King of love so you can see His kingdom manifested here on earth.

 

The unrest in this country and in cities across the globe is devastating. It looks like we are heading toward a war. A political and religious war. Injustice and discrimination have taken a toll on people and violence is rampant. People’s hearts have been violated and anger is growing all over the place. Love has taken a backseat and people’s number one agenda items are anything but love. I am not taking sides and I don’t want to make this political but what I know is that the Lord calls us to walk in love and to react to life with love. There is a need to start anything we do with love and this implies nurturing love and making it our priority. We might have to rewrite the order of our spiritual harvest. If we are collecting the fruit of peace and the fruit of joy but we are neglecting the fruit of love, it’s time we start looking for the bigger fruit. The Spirit of God put love in our hearts. His love needs to be activated and for some of us this requires work. Disliking others is very easy and simple but it doesn’t have to be our default setting. As a matter of fact, we ought to reset our hearts and let God invade the space in our spirits. If love is not what we allow to grow in our hearts guess what’s going to take its place. Love just like faith needs to be exercised. It should be seen as a muscle and it should be developed over time. We can always love more just like we could always have more faith. If love is more important than faith, and it is, love is a bigger seed. Faith and love work together. Let’s take our mustard seed of faith and the seed of love and give the Spirit of God a chance to grow a tree of love in us. That fruit of love can grow and grow and reach great proportions. It is that tree of love that can uproot negativity and hate.

 

We can choose how we react to life and reacting with love is key. It is reacting to life the way Jesus does. He is love 24/7 and He knows nothing but love. His love is unconditional and it can conquer anything. His love can go into the valleys of hate and leave the land filled with peace and hope. His love is the best response to the worst expressions of hate. Today we ought to walk in love even more because hatred has gained momentum and it is moving across the world at a fast pace. Let’s stop hate in its tracks and put our foot down by showing love. Let’s refuse to succumb to discrimination, hate and segregation. Let’s replace the jars of hate with vessels of love. Let’s be fruitful and give love from the heart as the Holy Spirit directs us. Let’s fall in love with love again and give it our best shot. Let’s make love contagious again. Let’s make love the language that people long to learn again. Let’s love for no reason. Let’s love with no motives other than to love others like Jesus said we should. Let’s resist the temptation to get angry and mad. Let’s give in to God. Let’s give life the God response and not the hate response. You and I can make an impact and we can make love famous (again). My prayer is that we reach the hearts of those who have gone cold and that we can warm them up with showers of love. Let’s treat life with love and we will create a chain reaction where people will pass love around and squash hatred. Let’s walk in love!

Suggested reading: 1 Corinthians 16:14; 1 John 4:8; 1 Peter 4:8

Hold on to the Chain-breaker

When I was getting ready to pray the other day, the Lord kept whispering to heart telling me about the chains that people face. He said that He was the Chain breaker and that we ought to see Him as the One who can break every chain. It reminded me of Paul and Silas when they were in jail. I can picture shackles on their ankles. I can see the chains that kept them there. How did they react to their situation? The chains were there but they had joy in their hearts. The chains didn’t sadden them. They ignored their physical chains. They spent their time praising the Lord and praying despite the chains. Why? They had other chains that made them captives of the Lord. They were close to the Lord. Their hearts had chains around them that made them prisoners of the Gospel of Jesus. Those were the best kind of chains that you can wish for. They are chains of freedom. Chains that hold you in a good place. You might be facing some harmful chains right now. The enemy probably has you bound and captive to habits, addictions or to problems. Problems can be chains that weigh us down. Those chains can appear to be unbreakable. The chains of debts can seem to be permanent. The chains of sorrow can be overwhelming. The chains of fear can be too much. The chains of loss can be devastating. Today I am here to tell you that the Lord can break any chain. There is no chain too hard for Him. He can bring you deliverance today. He can set you free from what is weighing you down and from what is devastating you. 

 

A chain is a series of metal links that fasten or secure objects. The chains the enemy uses are physical, emotional and spiritual links that keep people fastened to negative circumstances. They keep people from moving in certain areas of their lives. The enemy is there to destroy, kill and steal so these chains allow him to destroy progress, kill hope and steal areas of our lives. He takes from people and leaves them no hope of recovery. His chains are meant to hurt and to paralyze. They stop us from advancing and from walking on our path. The enemy tries to erase the path before us and he meddles with God’s promises. One of the biggest chains he puts in people’s lives is the chain of doubt and worry. He is an expert at keeping people fastened to worry and doubt. Those two evil feelings blind us and delete faith. They kill joy and they destroy the foundation of our faith. However, God can break any chains. He is not intimidated by how long someone has been bound by evil chains or by the size of the chains. There is nothing in your life that Jesus can’t fix. There is no mountain too high that the Lord can’t overcome. Your chains might be looking more like a pile of suffering and trials but that pile was taken care of on the cross. Tell that mountain of chains to move. Speak to it and condemn it in the name of Jesus. It will have to go. It can’t resist the name above all names when that name is spoken in faith.

 

I am extremely inspired by how Paul and Silas reacted when they were bound by the chains of jail. They didn’t let the chains faze them. They continued to be who they had been. This is key. If you are trying to deal with chains today, remember that the chains don’t change the child of God that you are. The Lord in you is still the same. The Holy Spirit still dwells in you. Don’t let the opposition play with your mind and make you think that you will never be set free or that you don’t have what it takes to see freedom again. Freedom dwells in you. The Chain-breaker is right there with you. Instead of holding on to what is destroying you, hold on to the Chain-breaker. Hold on to Jesus. Fix your eyes on Him and let Him break those chains. Start singing. Praise Him. Make those praises loud and clear. Praise Him with songs and praise Him with your life. Continue to honor Him. Hold on to Him by praying to Him all the time. The chains will fall. Don’t look at them. Look at hope. Look at the promises. The chains will fall in the name of Jesus. When you hold on to the Lord, the chains can’t stay. Jesus breaks all yokes and bondages. Stay encouraged. The Chain-breaker is doing what He knows best when you do what is best. Praising Him, praying and being thankful is always what’s best. See those chains come off in Jesus’ name!

Suggested reading: Galatians 5:1; 1 Peter 5:8; James 4:7

Face the day with love

When I was praying yesterday morning, I received an exceptionally beautiful message. If I let the Holy Spirit take over my prayers, I get to a place where I am still and I just listen. I don’t say a word, I just wait for His Word. It is so important for me not to rush my prayers because I can miss out on hearing from God. Sometimes He speaks as I am speaking. It looks like there is a movie running in the background and I hear it through the words I am saying. It is quite interesting. Yesterday’s message was about love. He said “Face everything with love today. Face the day with love. Let love be your defense mechanism and let love be your reflex today.”  The message was threefold. He said “Approach everything that happens today with love. Show love to everyone today and remember that you are here because of My love so don’t worry about anything today.” I had to stop praying so I could write that message down. We can handle life with anger, with bitterness, with hatred, with fear, with hopelessness, with frustration but the Lord says, “Handle life with love.” I forget the power of love at times and I needed that reminder.

 

Today I want to encourage you to use the threefold message of love. Stay in love, show love and trust in His love. Whatever you do today, do it in the name of love. Approach every task with love. How? Thank God for what you have. Thank God that you get to do things and not that you have to do things. Let love be how you deal with every event of your life. This means that you should strive not to get frustrated and not to get angry about things. Speak love. Speak about what you do with love. Say it to yourself. Be thankful for the virtual meetings you have. Be thankful for the kitchen you get to clean. Be thankful for the time you get to spend indoors. Tell the Lord how much you love your life. That is what it comes down to. You might be saying that you have little to be thankful for. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you what you have that you can’t see. Pray more. Communicate with Him more and your heart will be touched by His love and you will love again. Love the sun. Love the rain. Love the walks. Love the couch. Love the food you have. Love the water you drink. Speak about your life with love. Don’t criticize and don’t complain. Approach today’s events with love. If something bad happens, say “Thank God the Lord is going to fix this. Thank God love is going to mend this.” You are going to see a big change in your life when you approach every moment with love.

 

Showing love to others is a fundamental truth of the Christian life. God has given us love for others. We often need to stir up that love and be open to let it take over. Showing love to others, to God and to ourselves is how we can stay in love in addition to reacting to life with love. It is crucial that we revert to love every time we slip and move away from love. Praying for others is the key to walking in love. It is hard to be mean to someone we are praying for. We should have a prayer list that includes our family and friends and that includes those who wrong us. The more you pray for someone you don’t like, the more love you will develop for him or her. The Holy Spirit will scrape off the dirt on your heart that is keeping you from loving. Show love. Be quick to forgive. Be quick to give. Be quick to pray. Be quick to walk in love. Walk away from gossip, bitterness and resentment. Walk back to the arms of the Lord and learn to love yourself as well. You are dear to the Lord and He does not want you to despise the beautiful person that He created. His love for you is unconditional and it will protect you.

 

Being grateful for our lives, loving others, God and ourselves are powerful ways to react with love every day. Remembering that God is love and that His love is what got us here is the third part of the love trio. Since God loves us so much, we don’t have to live in fear. He loves us so He will take care of us. When things go wrong, we ought to take refuge in God’s love. We can tell our circumstances that we are loved by the creator of the universe and therefore we are taken care of. Your thoughts will tell you that things are going to get worse and that you won’t make it. The love of the Lord in your heart will softly say that you are protected, you are loved and God’s favor on you will get you through anything. Let God’s love in your heart be louder than the doubts in your mind. His love was declared on the cross and no powers of the enemy can defeat it. Love oversees your life. The enemy is not. Slap him with God’s love for you and he will run away. Resist him by standing under the protection of God’s love and he will flee. Face the day with love and your day will see the face of love in Jesus’ name!

Suggested reading: 1 Corinthians 13:1-13; James 4:7; 1 Peter 1:22

Put your mind at peace

In my most recent messages I have mentioned the power of our minds and the need to renew our thinking. The mind is like a control tower that deals with thoughts flying in and thoughts taking off all the time. It is a tower that doesn’t always have control of what plane is landing on the runway of our emotions. There are tons of thoughts that land in our heads so fast without permission that we can’t stop them. Our tower is overactive at times and it passively lets anything come in. However, we have the power to take control of the situation. We have the authority to turn some planes away and to prevent some thoughts from landing and staying in our thinking. The Bible calls for the renewing of our minds. It is an ongoing process that requires an active tower in control, a tower that decides and that knows how to say no to thoughts that can be detrimental to the airport of our lives.

 

To renew is to make something new. It is to purge the old and allow new things to be born. When we get saved, our minds are still the same. Our spirits are born again but our minds still wear their old patterns and habits. We get the impression that our thinking is changed because of the hope that is in us. We feel like we have wings and we can take off and go to high altitudes anytime until we get hit by problems and overthinking goes into autopilot. Then we realize that negative thoughts are still there and we can even think that we are not saved. I talk from experience. Today I want to encourage you to put your mind at ease by taking control of your thought tower. I want to remind you that the Holy Spirit and the Word of God can help you manage the air traffic in your head.

 

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” This verse, Romans 12:2 says it all. It encapsulates our daily mental goal. The renewing of the mind should become a habit. It should be as important as praying and praising the Lord every day. If we conform to the world even when our spirits have gone through the born-again process, we are most likely to live lives where our faith is nonexistent and our mind is a nest for negativity. What goes into our minds eventually drops down into our spirits. If our minds are fed the lies of the world, our spirits can’t reach the potential of the new life in Christ.

 

The Bible tells us to guard our hearts, our spirits. A good way to do that is by watching what’s going on in our minds and renewing our thoughts. It’s all about what we let it. What we should let it daily is the Word of God. His Word is the daily bread that goes into our heads, drops into our spirits, and feeds our entire being with truth, love, and life. We need time to be in the Word and to digest its powerful truth. The truth of the Word needs to be bigger than the words of the world in us.

 

There is peace in the Lord. God gives us peace and He is not the author of chaos and confusion. He wants our minds to be at peace all the time. Imagine spending an hour with the Lord face to face. How would you feel after? You would feel light, you would feel burden-free, you would feel at peace. You and I are spending time with the Lord but we don’t always acknowledge it. We put Him on the back burner until we need Him. We can’t run to peace occasionally and expect it to be part of who we are on a daily basis. In the natural, eating a balanced meal only once a week won’t be sustainable and it won’t give us the nutrients we need in the long run. I want my daily interaction with Jesus and I make room for Him.

 

Jesus is the One I talk to first thing in the morning. He influences my thinking by telling me what I should tell myself. A powerful way to put your mind at peace is by talking to yourself and saying what Jesus says about you. There is power in the words of the Lord and His words are meant to edify us and bless us. They are meant to give us peace and to keep us in peace. Give your mind a break every time it goes into overthinking mode. Be actively in control of your tower by rebuking, rejecting, and accepting.

 

Rebuke the negative thoughts out loud. Tell them they are not from God and you don’t welcome anything that is not from Him. Reject the thoughts that try to diminish your faith. Speak against them and declare that your faith is in the Lord and He can’t fail you. Talk about how much He loves you. Tell your mind that you have nothing to fear and nothing to worry about it. Reject worry and accept faith and love. Welcome positive thoughts. Welcome all the pure and noble thoughts that the Holy Spirit is bringing to your mind. Embrace peace. Embrace the rest you can find in the Lord. Peace should be the head of your tower. Let peace get comfortable in your control tower. Let the Holy Spirit direct you. Put your mind at peace through prayer every day and interact with God’s Word all the time.

Suggested reading: Romans 12:1-2; Philippians 4:8; Ephesians 4:23

 

Some possible obstructions to our prayers

I vacuumed my house the other day. It looked like the vacuum cleaner was working well but then I noticed that some crumbs and some particles were not being picked up. I took the vacuum apart to see what was going on. There was an obstruction somewhere. It took me a while to find it but once I did and I took out what was blocking the way, the vacuum did its job. It made me think of how sometimes in our spiritual lives there is an obstruction. We pray and pray. Our prayers sound fine to us but when we pay close attention, the dust, the problem is not getting picked up. There is an obstruction somewhere that we need to locate. There is something getting in the way of our prayers. There are particles that are left on the floor of our intentions and those particles are leaving our spiritual ground dirty. They need to be dealt with if we want to have a clean floor to lean on and see our prayers answered. Now, I am not saying that this is always the case. Sometimes we don’t see answers to our prayers because it is not God’s timing. Sometimes we pray outside of God’s will. Sometimes the answer is there but it is not obvious to us. When the issue is an obstruction that keeps us from getting a clear path to our answer, there needs to be some time spent scanning our lives to find out what the obstruction is. Holding a grudge, not forgiving someone, jealousy or gossiping are spiritual obstructions that should be brought up to our attention. This is not a popular message but it is an important message. When we are not walking in love in some areas, there is a hurdle in our prayer life. Jesus encouraged us to forgive when we pray. He put unforgiveness right there with prayer. There is a link between the two. Today I am inviting you to find any possible obstruction in your prayer life. I know I must take a deep look in the mirror at times and find the particles that are blemishing my spiritual complexion.

Unforgiveness is one of the main hindrances in our prayer lives. It is the unwillingness or the inability to forgive someone. When you can’t let go of what someone did to you that was wrong, you are making holes in your prayer life. You are allowing negative feelings to pierce your prayer life. You are stepping outside of love in a part of your life and that creates some spiritual disturbance. It creates traffic on the way to some blessings and some answers to your prayers. Again, I am not saying it is always the case. God’s mercy and grace are amazing gifts to us but living in a realm outside of love is living outside of God’s will. Can you think of someone you have not forgiven? If you do, this is what I suggest you do. Ask God to forgive you for not forgiving. Forgive the person. Ask the Spirit of God to help you detach yourself from unforgiveness and pray for the person. Pray that God would bless him or her. Let love be the power that removes the obstruction by praying for the person. Keep at it. Make it a daily prayer. Pray for the person to be blessed. Pray for the person to have a connection with God or to develop a stronger connection with God. Pray for the person to receive peace and joy. Thank God for that person. Forgive, pray, and praise God. That powerful trio will help you release ill feelings, bitterness, and anything else that is negatively impacting your heart.

Jealousy and gossiping are other elements that hinder our prayer lives. Jealousy is wishing we had what someone else has. It is coveting the wrong things. It is also being dissatisfied with what we have. It is basically telling God that what we have is not good enough and we should be given what others have. It is being ungrateful toward God. “God, I don’t like my life. Give me what So and So has” is not a prayer that will be heard. Jealousy is poison. It hurts us more than it hurts the one we are jealous of. It is another way of stepping out of love. Gossiping often comes out of jealousy but it can also pop up on its own. When we talk about people behind their backs, we set ourselves up. We walk on a line that doesn’t lead to love. Our words have power. Gossiping has the power to alienate us from God’s heart. God doesn’t like backbiting and slandering. They are not His language. They are not love-centered. They are obstructions to our prayers. If you know that you have feelings and negative thoughts toward someone, take the high road and take it to God. Be the bigger person and let God of anything that is denting your prayer life. It will change you and it will bless you. Keep praying for others. Put them first when you pray and your prayers will be strong.

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Suggested reading: Mark 11:25; Ephesians 4:29; James 1:26