You will get up again

You might be down. You might be hurt. You might be discouraged but know that you will get up again. The Lord is lifting you up and pulling you up. You are not going to be down forever. This difficult and bitter season is temporary. A sweet and peaceful season is coming up. God is preparing it for you and in the meantime He is holding you and helping you get through what you are facing now. Your eyes of hope might be closed now but in your heart you know that with the Lord hope is never gone. It could be dormant in your mind but it is present and it is going to get you up again. I want you to think about what Jesus did. When He died on that cross He did the most powerful thing ever. He was laid down to rest and He was lying down until He came back to life. His position in the tomb was catalytic and it represented all the people who would ever find themselves down and out. Jesus rose again. He stood up. He walked out of that tomb and you will walk out of your predicament and walk away from the pain.

When things are tough, it’s easy to think that God has left us. He has not left you. He has not abandoned you. Tough times happen to all of us. We are not immune to them but God gives us injections of hope. Injections of peace and injections of joy in the middle of our terrible seasons. That is what He does and that is what He is going to do for you. You are about to receive the vaccine of all vaccines. Joy, peace and hope are going to run through your veins. They are going to alter your spiritual and emotional DNA and give you a boost. As you are lying there in pain and agony, stretch out your hand and grab the Lord’s hand. Embrace His restorative plan for you. He has a plan to bless you and to prosper you and He is going to turn things around. The suffering is not going to last. His plan is going to take effect and you will see the benefits of every step He has laid out for you. God is good all the time and He loves you all the time. He is going to do something that will demonstrate His love for you. Hang in there. He is not done with you!

God is an expert at restoring lives. He came back from the dead. That is quite an accomplishment. He can repair what we think is gone for good or what we think is broken. Your heart is going to be fixed and He is going to fill it with His loving presence. I have fallen many times. There were times when I didn’t feel like getting up again because I didn’t think I could. There were times when I tried to get up again but I needed an extra push. I grabbed the Lord’s hand. I did it by turning to Him and praying. I presented myself broken and defeated and He painted a picture of hope and wholeness that warmed my heart. The Lord is extremely good at encouraging us when we trust Him. He is so generous with His love and with His help. He pulled me back up and He gave me the strength to keep walking and to keep fighting the good fight of faith. You and I are constantly in a battle. The battle of faith we are in can be tough but remember the Lord has won all battles. You won’t stay down, friend. The Lord won this battle as well. You are going to get up and walk again. Stay encouraged. Stay in the Word. Stay with the Lord. May God bless you and protect you and remember that He will always love you!

Suggested reading: Exodus 15:2; Psalm 9:9-10; John 14:27

The joy of the Lord is very powerful

When I was introduced to the joy of the Lord, I had to pause and wonder if what I was experiencing was real. It was like being in a dream but I was living that dream and everything about it was better than life but it was part of my life. I can’t explain it well. All I can say is that it is out of this world and it is typical of Jesus. He is a joyful Lord. He is so happy and so full of joy all the time. I used to see Him as a stern and somber God. I was extremely mistaken. He is the king of light and He is a true Sunshine. His presence brings warmth and love and the joy that stems from them is incredible. When Jesus steps into the room, everything falls into place and joy radiates. I was in a dark room for a long time but when He stepped inside my sad space, everything changed and His joy touched my heart. I wasn’t used to it. I had seen it in other people’s lives at church and it made me feel uncomfortable. What was up with those happy people? Why were they so smiley and so friendly? Once I got the joy bug, I became one of them and it was very natural. The Lord’s nature was gently pushed into me and it became part of my spiritual system. My spiritual DNA was rerouted and it pointed towards a new and better direction. When the joy of the Lord comes upon you, you can’t help but think of Jesus. You know it is coming from Him and you just want to lift Him up. His joy is so intense and powerful that you want to share it and to go around and distribute it.

How did the joy of the Lord first come into my life? It happened when I was in college praying in my bedroom. I was praising the Lord and I felt overwhelmed by peace and then joy came. It was very powerful. I smiled and laughed for no reason.  I remember not thinking of my problems in that moment the way I used to. Nothing seemed impossible. Everything was just good and excellent. That joy was boiling in my spirit and making me feel amazing. It was on the inside and I felt it on the outside. It seemed that I was being touched by God and just a simple touch produced a lifetime supply of His wonderful joy. Prayer and praise time was by far the best time of the day and it was my refuge. I started the day with the joy of the Lord and it helped me get through the day. I ended the day with His joy and it allowed me to cleanse myself from all the negativity that had tried to get into my mind and my spirit during the day. Where the Lord is, there is joy. I want to encourage you to tap into the joy of the Lord. The joy of the world is temporary but the joy of the Lord is eternal. It doesn’t mean that you are going to be floating on cloud 9 all the time. It means that when you need it and sometimes when you don’t expect it, His joy is going to save the day and brighten your life in ways you never thought possible.

I had known happiness even though it wasn’t a permanent resident at my house. I knew what it felt like and how good it was. Encountering the Lord and His joy was way better than happiness. His joy is based on Him. It has nothing to do with our circumstances or with some good news we receive. It is from Him. It is Him. Jesus is the joy the world needs. Jesus is the joy that can be your strength if you let it be part of your life. You need to get into His joy circle and spend time in there. Then you will experience joy on a regular basis. Joy will not be a visitor in transit but it will be an inhabitant of your life. I still pray and praise the Lord daily. It has become a powerful habit that yields powerful results. I wish I could pray and praise all day but I can’t. What I can do is insert prayer and praise into my day and joy shows up. When the joy of the Lord gets ahold of you, faith reaches new levels. His joy is like a mountain whose top you can’t see and you just rejoice over the fact that it seems endless and it is abundant. God’s joy can erupt like a volcano and burn the misery and the fears that are in the dark valleys. His joy can come into your darkest moments and give you the strength and the ability to make it with flying colors. The joy of the Lord is very powerful and it is available to you today. Praise the Lord. Get into joy mode. It doesn’t matter how you feel. Take a few steps towards joy and the Holy Spirit will do the rest. The joy of the Lord is your strength and it is invincible. Stay in the Lord and you will be joyful!

Suggested reading: Psalm 47:1; Nehemiah 8:10; 1 Peter 1:8-9

How great is God’s love for you!

As I am getting closer to God, there is something that is becoming more and more obvious. I am discovering that God loves us unconditionally and in a very powerful way. I can’t gauge His love for us based on my human experience with love. His love is a giant compared to human love. His love is bigger and deeper than the oceans on this planet. We can’t measure His love and we can’t fully comprehend it but we get many glimpses of it and get comfort from those glimpses. I want to get as close to God as possible and in order to do that, I need to embrace His love for humanity and let it settle in my heart. I used to have so many walls around my heart that prevented me from approaching God and from accepting His love. Those walls were not meant to protect my heart but they were meant to keep me captive and to separate me from the love of God. However, there is nothing that can separate us from God’s love. He will always find a way to tear down the walls of the enemy and to touch our hearts. We have a role to play in that process. We need to open our hearts. The walls can come down but if we guard ourselves and we don’t allow ourselves to be loved, we will not know true love. Sometimes we feel unworthy. Sometimes we just don’t know and understand what being loved feels like and looks like. We have an idea of it portrayed in the media but that is not God’s love. We have the love from our family. It can be extremely strong but it’s not God’s love. There are many cases where there is no love at all and that makes it even harder to welcome God’s love. Today I want to invite you to open yourself even more to God’s love. Know that He adores you and you mean a lot to Him. He wants you to take His hand and let Him show you how much He cares for you.

How deep is God’s love for you? No one can answer that question except for God Himself. He tells us in His Word that He sent His Son for us. His Son died so we could live and live more abundantly. He did what it took to demonstrate the most powerful love in the universe. Your life now, your Christian life now, exists thanks to Jesus. It exists thanks to the Love that wouldn’t let go and that went all the way so there could be a way for you and me to conquer death. The Love that died for us did the impossible. It came back to life and it has never stopped living since. God’s love for you is alive, friend. It is alive and well and it will never leave you nor forsake you. It is an ardent love that can do all things. God’s love is the most powerful force in the universe and it is directed to you. You are the recipient of this amazing love so it is time you acted like the loved one that you are. Don’t let people ruin the love of God for you. Don’t let them describe it the wrong way. It is not human. It is not limited and it is not selective. God chose you and me. God loves you and me. God loves everyone. No exception. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. It is a lie. We also need to remember that you and I are not loved more because we are Christians. God loves people from all religions, all ethnicities, all backgrounds, all walks of life. Every single person you will ever meet is loved by God. There is nothing superior about us just because we believe in Christ. God is no respecter of people and His love is always the same. This also means that there is nothing you and I can do that will ever make God love us less. It doesn’t give us a license to sin but it explains why God will always forgive us. The enemy will whisper to our ears that our sins are keeping us away from God and that we don’t deserve His love.

Friend, you deserve God’s love all the time. There are no special times when it is more acceptable for God to love you. His love for you has no conditions and no clauses. There is no fine print that says that His love is not guaranteed. It is always present and it is always vibrant. Rejoice in the Lord because you are loved. If you can’t find a reason to thank the Lord, thank Him for loving you. Thank Him for being with you all the time and for what He did for you on the cross. Celebrate Jesus. Celebrate the Love that will never let you down. Sing of His great love. Laugh and be merry because you are loved. Get filled with the joy that comes from His love. Next time you are facing difficulties, take some time and rejoice over the love of God. Take some time and shake off the pain and the misery by focusing on the Love that can’t die. How big is God’s love for you? You might never find out but know that it will always be bigger than the biggest love you can imagine. Nothing can separate you from God’s love. Nothing! Stay encouraged and enjoy the love that is coming to you from the One who died for you!

Suggested reading: John 10:28-30; Romans 5:8; Romans 8:38-39

God has felt your pain

Yesterday I had one of those sinus headaches that makes you want to stay home and do nothing. After running some errands in the morning, I decided to rest and do whatever it took to feel better. It was kind of a dreary and gloomy day. I fixed myself a small lunch and as I was sitting in my kitchen, a ray of sunshine came through the window and brought a smile on my face. I saw it as a smile and a wink from the Lord who was telling me that everything was fine. Sometimes you need the reminder that there is hope beyond the clouds and that your present-day suffering can’t be compared to the joy that is coming. The headache was trying to get the best of me but I refused to let it steal my joy. I got into praise mode. I stood in my living room with my hands to Heaven thanking the Lord. I thanked Him that He had a way out of this pain. I thanked Him that despite the headache I could still praise Him. Then I was taken to this beautiful path strewn with encouraging and uplifting messages. The main message was about Jesus’ suffering. When He was on the cross, He suffered more pain than anyone has ever experienced. Being nailed to a cross must be excruciating and horrible but His pain was even more than that. He felt the pain of the world. He felt the suffering, the hurt, the despair, death and destruction. He went through the worst pain that the whole world combined could go through. He felt it all. He saw it all. He suffered it all. My headache was felt on that cross. My most debilitating trials were on that cross. My worst days and my biggest nightmares were on that cross. My failures, my sins, my shortcomings were all gathered at that cross and He carried them all for me.

Today I want to remind you that Jesus died for you on the cross and whatever you are going through now is no surprise to Him. He knows exactly what you are experiencing and what it all feels like. You might be in a place of tremendous pain but Jesus was there before you. He saw you on that cross. He saw your tears, He saw the hurt and He heard your cry. He didn’t turn a deaf ear to your pain. He didn’t ignore your tears. He didn’t reject the taste of your fears. He took everything upon Himself so that you would be set free. If your mind is telling you that there is no end to your ordeal, don’t believe it. It ended on the cross and you will get through this. Jesus knows how to bring you back to life so to speak. That stone that was put in front of His tomb could not stop Him from raising from the dead. You might have a huge stone keeping you inside a grave of hopelessness but Jesus was in that grave before and He removed that stone. Your stone is not stronger than your Savior. Watch Him remove it and put it aside. Watch Him open the door to miracles. Watch Him heal the pain and soothe the bruises. Life might have bruised your soul and your spirit but Jesus has the remedy to life’s biggest challenges. His love that took Him to the cross is going to take you to a place where there is no pain and no affliction.

God has felt your pain. No matter what it looks like and feels like, He has dealt with it for you. Give it to Him. Tell Him that you can’t make it without Him. Put that pain back on the cross. Let Him handle it for you. He will come to the rescue and He will dissolve the problems that have been haunting you. Jesus is pain-free today and He can make your pain go away. Focus on Him. Don’t dwell on the pain. As I was praising Him yesterday, I made it a point to lift Him up above what I was feeling. It led to a praise session that left me in awe of His majesty and His love for me. The headache faded away but the memory of Him on the cross stayed with me. I will keep that reminder and revive it every day. The Lord deserves our utmost gratitude and adoration. The humble King came down to our level and lived our worst moments so that we would be saved from them if we believe in Him. Keep believing that your suffering won’t last. Keep putting it in God’s hands and keep thanking Him for taking care of the pain. God has felt your pain and He is trading it for His peace and His joy. This won’t last forever. Relief is on the way. Stay encouraged!

Suggested reading:  Romans 8:18; 2 Corinthians 4:17-18; 1 Peter 1:5-7

Trust the mover of mountains

I have a few friends who have been going through hard times. They have been walking through some deep valleys and facing some major mountains. It feels like every time they are able to climb the mountains, something pushes them back down into the valley. I know how it feels. I am not immune to the valleys and to the mountains. I used to believe that as a Christian I wasn’t supposed to go through hard times and if they happened it was because I had done something wrong. I do not adhere to the gospel of “life is a bed of roses with no problems at all.” I know that that kind of thinking is harmful and it is not biblical. There will be valleys and there will be mountains. Acknowledging that is not a sign of defeat or pessimism. It is being biblically realistic and it should be attached to the truth that despite the valleys and the mountains we can have peace and we will overcome them in the name of Jesus. Jesus can move any mountains. The process can take place when our faith in Him remains strong during those tough times. The Lord is the ultimate mover of mountains. Develop your faith in His ability to move the mountains. Know that your faith can kick start the process and hold on to faith. Stay strong and stay confident. The Lord is not going to let you down and He won’t abandon you. He is about to move your mountains. Rejoice. Keep calm. Don’t be intimidated by the depth of the valleys and the height of the mountains.

Whether you find yourself in deep trouble at the bottom of the valley or you find yourself at the top of a mountain of problems, remember that nothing can separate you from the love of the Lord. He is with you at the bottom and at the top. The top of the mountain can be a location of victory or it can be a place of despair because you have so many tribulations that you can’t get off the mountain. God is not afraid of your mountains. He created the Heavens and the earth. He can deal with your mountains of misery. Like I mentioned earlier, it is a process and we have a role to play. Our faith gets the mountain to move. Our faith in the Lord executes the moving of the mountains. Faith expresses itself through actions and through words. That is very important. We can’t talk about defeat and failure when facing mountains and expect God to act in our favor. We can’t act like it is the end of the world and expect God to fix our world. We can’t make lists of all our problems and keep them in plain view and expect God to give us His recommendations and His lists of solutions. We can’t ignore the issues but magnifying them nullifies our faith. Magnifying the negative diminishes the positive and robs us of hope and faith. Talk to your mountains. Don’t talk about your mountains.

Talk to your mountains about the mover of mountains. Brag on Jesus and His majesty. Magnify Him. Make Him appear to be bigger than the mountains in your mind. That is what He is. He is a giant. A giant of love, mercy and grace and nothing can stand in His way. Focus on that. Nothing, no mountains and no valleys can stop the Lord from entering your situation and changing things for the best. Your faith will help you. Help your faith grow by speaking God’s truth over your situation. Say it out loud when you can. Confront the mountains out loud in the name of Jesus. Tell them how small they are compared to your God. Tell them how powerless they are compared to the Lord. Thank the Lord for moving your mountains. Thank Him in advance and rejoice. Have a mountain moving celebration by exalting Jesus. The enemy will do what he can to make you believe that your mountains will never move. It is a lie. Jesus, the mover of mountains will remove the obstacles, the trials and tribulations and you will walk out free. Stand your ground in Him. Things are going to get better. The mountains are temporary. Great things are coming your way. God will make a way. Stay encouraged!

Suggested reading: Isaiah 40:4; Matthew 17:20; Mark 11:23-24

Hope in the Lord

Nothing is more upsetting to the enemy than seeing believers maintaining their hope in the Lord. The devil wants to destroy hope and put us all in a ditch of despair far from the Lord, far from hope and far from love. He doesn’t care about believers who are not connected to God. Those are no threat to him but those who hold on fast and who won’t give up are a menace in his eyes. I am not advocating doing all we can to aggravate the enemy. I am more in favor of focusing on the Lord, on His message of hope and on getting to know Him more and more.

All the negative things that the enemy does should not be what we spend our time focusing on. Bad things do take place and we can’t ignore them but we should be solution-oriented and not problem-oriented. We should be God-minded and not negativity-minded. We should be driven by hope and not stalled by fear. Hope in the Lord is a powerful tool to have. It influences our mindset and it strengthens our hearts. Today I want to encourage you to hang on to hope in Jesus. As this new week starts, make Jesus your hope. He will help you throughout the week. He will bless you and He will show you that with hope in Him you can do anything!

Can you imagine living a life where hope in Jesus is your anchor and nothing can bring you down? It is a life that belongs to you. The Lord gave you hope. It is in your heart. It might be buried right now but you can unearth it and you can use it every day. Hope in the Lord is like a super power that God made available to us. I say super power because it is out of this world. It is not like human hope that hinges on circumstances. It is grounded in Jesus who transcends all circumstances. No matter how horrible things get, hope in Jesus doesn’t get discouraged. It sees possibilities where the world sees eternal problems. It sees a way out where the world sees no exit signs. It sees victory where the world sees defeat. Hope in Jesus can change your thinking and it can change your circumstances.

Hope in Jesus is the fuse that ignites faith. When you have hope, faith takes over. Continued hope is necessary. When you have hope in Jesus, you can be hit by doubt and fear but you won’t go down. You won’t submit to the evil requests of discouragement and you won’t be defeated. Hope in Jesus is more powerful than any fiery darts of the enemy. You see, hope in Jesus is centered on the One who died on the cross and came back to life. It is hope in the power of resurrection. That power is invincible. It can’t be stopped and it can’t be conquered. Keep your hope in Jesus strong and you will keep your hope in life and miracles strong!

This week, control your thoughts by reminding yourself that Jesus is the hope of the world and that He is the hope that is going to make things right in your life. If something bad happens, let your first words be words of hope. Encourage yourself by talking about the hope who can do all things. Encourage yourself by declaring that there is always hope no matter what. Hope in Jesus will never die. Hope in Jesus is always worth it and it is always a strong force that brings change and miracles. Your faith in Jesus will always heal your situations. Your faith in Jesus will always activate the hand of the Lord. Keep your hopes up! Focus on Jesus all week. Hope changes everything, even the most desperate situations. Stay encouraged!

Suggested reading: 1 Thessalonians 1:3; Ephesians 1:18;  1 Peter 1:13

God can change your world

I was at a store the other day and they were playing a very depressing song. The singer was saying “Nothing’s gonna change my world” in a very defeated and sad tone. The whole song was a downer. There was no glimmer of hope. You could actually feel sadness in the atmosphere. I don’t know if many people felt it but I am pretty sensitive to that kind of thing. It seems that morose and sad stories and songs are commonplace  in our world. Not just this year because of the pandemic but it has been a trend for a while. We sometimes love those sad songs and we attach our lives to them and think that the songs are the perfect mirror for our lives. We can see ourselves in the lyrics and we identilfy with the pain that is being described. How sad it is to hear someone who says that nothing can change his or her life and that there is no hope for them ever! I feel for those people because I used to be one of them. I spent years believing that nothing could change my life and that it would be a series of sad songs that no one wanted to hear because they were too disheartening. 

It was bad for a while but then came Jesus. Then came a new song. Then came hope. Then God came to my rescue. Then came the biggest change of my life. Then my world was changed for the better. Friend, God can change your world and make it a much better place to live. God can rewrite the lyrics to the songs of your life, refresh your tune and give you a chorus that echoes His joy. God will take your world, flatten it up and create a world that is round and beautiful. He will take you around that globe of bliss, mercy, grace and hope over and over again. You might be walking on dry land now and your world might be all deserted and barren but the rain is coming. Oh yes the rain of the Holy Spirit is going to come down on your world and new colors, new beginnings, new breakthroughs are going to grow in the new fertile land of the Lord. God can change your world so powerfully that you will not recognize any of it. You will walk around amazed at this new region where milk and honey abound. You have seen nothing yet. God is going to make a change that will make you praise Him even more. Don’t despise where you are now. Rejoice and stay in faith as you wait for this new world to emerge. It’s in God’s plan. A new world is about to break loose into your life.

We have a new life in Christ and every day is a new opportunity for fresh blessings from the Lord. He is not slow to keep His promises and you will see in time how He is changing the world around you. It all starts on the inside. God is going to change you from the inside out and He is going to put new perspectives, new ideas, new visions and new hope in you. As you study His Word and you let Him take you on a spiritual journey by yielding to His character, change will take place. Your life is headed to a brand new environment and you will get there as you work on renewing your mind with the help of God’s Word and the help of His Spirit. There is so much that can happen inside of us when we connect with God. When we are plugged in and we take the time to get to know Him, we are transformed on the inside. God is so good and so kind that spending time with Him results in receiving goodness and kindness that we can distribute to the world in return. 

Imagine seeing the world the way the Lord does. I don’t think we can completely share the Lord’s mind but we can get chunks of His thinking and adopt them. We can have His mind to some extent and let it guide the way we approach life and the way we enjoy life. That is one of my goals in life. Sharing as much of the Lord’s mind as I can. I don’t want to see the world through the eyes of the world. I want Jesus’ eyesight. I want to wear the goggles of His love and give the world a chance by seeing it through the eyes of God’s love. I want God’s Word to be my manual for life.  I have seen the impact of God’s Word on my life. I strongly recommend studying it, meditating on it and embracing it. It will change your world. It will change you first.

If your world is in bad shape today, don’t worry. God can change it and He can make you forget the misery you were living in before. God almighty can shake things up and He can displace the hurt, remove the pain, destroy the hate, eliminate the debts and take away the stress you have called home for so long. Give Jesus free access to every region of your world. Let Him roam around and take care of every corner of every street. Surrender. Give in. Let Him be God of every part of your life today. Don’t be afraid to let Him get into the valleys. Give Him the mountains. Turn over any dry lands to Him. Pray for change. It will come. God will hear you. God will bless you. God will change you and He will change your world. Stick with Him. He is not done with you yet!

Suggested reading: Mark 16:15; Romans 12:2;  2 Peter 3:9

Following God or following men?

I have thought many times about how amazing it must be to be sharing the Lord’s mind all the time. Imagine thinking like God and acting like God would act all the time. What would that be like? I think that we too often try to share the mind of other people instead of pursuing God’s mind. We try to be more like certain preachers or Christian celebrities when Jesus is truly the star. We say to ourselves, “If only I could be more like so and so and have his/her faith I would have it made.” We strive to use imperfect people as models and when they fall, we get confused or we criticize them. To err is human like they say and Jesus is the best model. We have some tremendous role models in the Church. There is no doubt about it but they can’t be the mold. They can’t be what we aspire to be like. This could be why there is so much strife in the Church and the world looks at us like we have lost our minds from time to time. We model ourselves after doctrines and ideologies and by extension after feelings and emotions. We all come with a set of emotions that override our beliefs and our faith. I have been encouraged to follow Jesus and to put Him on the pedestal He deserves. This means that I have to unlearn some of the things I was taught if they contradict the Word. I don’t want to complicate the Word. I don’t want to politicize it. I want to just be in it and apply it. The enemy will try to keep us from applying the Word of God. He would rather we applied the word of man than the Word of God. Let’s be doers of the Word and followers of Jesus. Let’s be students of the Word and students of Jesus. Let’s be Holy Spirit-minded and not world-minded. Jesus is love and that is untainted love. He did not say “Love some of your neighbors as yourself.” He was talking about all neighbors. Being a strong doer of the Word is being a strong believer in God’s love and walking in His love. It’s the necessary step to following God.

 

Every time I read the Gospel describing Jesus talking to the crowds, I have a vivid picture of what that was like. A few of my friends do as well. Jesus preaching and reassuring people is a beautiful picture. What must have stood out a lot is His love and sometimes I fail to see it. His love is permanent and I think that because of the way some people have portrayed the Lord, I have not been able to see the whole picture. The picture is in a frame made of God’s love. Everything the Lord says and does is based in love. Love is the essence of the Word of God. His Word is a love letter to all of us and Jesus is the main theme. He gives meaning to the Word. He is the Word. Love is the Word. To think that the Word was and is still used to justify men’s agenda is sad. Slavery and discrimination have found ground in the Word because of man’s manipulation of the Word. This gives God two faces; the face of love and the face of evil. God doesn’t have a personality disorder. He is love at all times. The creator of love doesn’t adhere to the evil thinking of the enemy. I have friends who think God is cruel and He is heartless. They also think He is a materialistic God who loves money and who promotes certain people and lets other people fend for themselves. That is not the God I know. The God I know is a one-on-one God who loves being in a relationship with me. I owe Him everything and He is good all around. There is no shadow of malice or cruelty in Him. He doesn’t know how it is to be mean to people. What He knows is how to set people free.

 

The Jesus I cherish is a God of freedom, a deliverer and a lover of all people. When someone preaches about God and also talks about keeping away from people who are different from us, I stay away from that type of preaching. I don’t see any form of discrimination in the mind of God. I don’t know His whole mind. I have a limited snapshot of what is inside His mind but I know there is no room for hate. I feel bad when I see that people get the wrong idea about God especially when they get that idea from us, His body. I want to focus on the head of the Body Of Christ more. We are all needed in His body but we can’t lose sight of the head. We can’t function without the head and His head is filled with love, compassion, peace, acceptance, joy and faith. Next time you want to share God’s mind, let His love come through. Be a representative of His love.  Challenge your thinking. Ask yourself if it is following God or following men. Prioritize God’s Word. It will influence your thinking in a powerful way. Make it a point to stick to the Word of God and to test the spirits so you know you are following God and not men. Follow God and you will be all about love. Follow God and you will be a person of peace, acceptance, joy, peace, faith and love!

 

Suggested reading:  Romans 12:2; 1 Corinthians 2:16; Philippians 2:5

Invite God every day

As believers we have the Spirit of God in us. However, He can be dormant. If we live our lives as if God were not there, He won’t show up. If we spend our days digging into the world and letting the world have our entire attention, the Spirit will be dormant. Ignoring God daily is like putting a mussel on Him. We all have spiritual ears and we can all decide how we are going to use those ears. If we are more engaged with the world than we are engaged with the Lord, our ears will hear the world clearly and we will be deaf to God’s voice. The Spirit of God is a gentleman and He won’t budge in unless we invite Him in. We have the power to invite God in every day. I talk about prayer all the time because prayer is vital to the Christian life. I once asked a friend from Church how often he prayed. I wasn’t trying to judge him or criticize him. I was honestly interested in what he had to say because I had no idea. He said he prayed most days. He said people thought he was overdoing it because he prayed regularly. Jesus prayed all the time. We are encouraged to pray without ceasing. Praying once a week at church is like inviting God into our lives once a week. If you invite someone once a week, how well will you know that person? God should not be an occasional guest. I love saying that He is the guest who becomes the host. I don’t want to invite God just when I have time or when I remember that He is around. I want Him to be completely at home in my heart. I don’t want Him to share His dwelling place with squatters. We allow too many squatters into our lives. They get so comfortable that we can’t kick them out and we get used to them. Today I want to encourage you to invite God in all the time. Give Him first place. Let Him be the host. Let Him be your best friend. Don’t cause His Spirit to be dormant because you don’t invite Him enough.


There are a few events during the year when God is invited in.
Christmas and Easter are the main two events. People love talking about the resurrection during Easter time but the rest of the year, death is what dominates their spiritual lives. I have been there. I have allowed myself to be a fervent Christian on a given time when the Lord wanted me to acknowledge Him all the time. I was fervent on occasions but most of the time I was a lukewarm Christian who was on fire only during special events. Being an “event Christian” is better than nothing some will say but I think it can be detrimental because it’s limiting God in space and time. Allocating God specific space and time is seeing Him as Someone who is not big enough to occupy all our time. God is not a “touch and go” God. He is not on and off. He shouldn’t be switched on when we need Him and turned off when we are all set. We are never all set. We need Him every day, all the time. Prayer is for all the time and for every day. This pandemic is making us rethink how frequently we should be inviting God in. The more we invite Him in, the stronger we are when something bad takes place. Jesus is alive every day not just on that one Sunday! Resurrection Sunday was the start and His resurrection is still relevant today.

I have learned that I can’t dissociate prayer from praise. They go hand in hand. When I praise the Lord, I get into His presence very quickly. He inhabits the praises of His people. He is right there in the praises. He is in our hearts and our praises get Him going so to speak. Our praises touch His heart and His presence invades the atmosphere. I don’t want to sound like God is a genie and if we rub our belly with praise He will come out. God dwells in the heart of the believer and when we praise Him, we activate our faith to see Him and to acknowledge Him. We can’t praise someone that we don’t believe exists. Praise must come from the heart and it is that kind of praise that invites the Lord in. Praise Him away. Don’t get weary. Praise Him every day. Sing to Him. You don’t have to have the best voice in the world to praise Him. He loves the sound of your voice. Anything from your heart is pleasing to Him. Keep sending invitations to God. He will always show up and He will always spend time with you. My prayer is that we can all invite the Lord in every single day no matter what is going on in our lives. Thank the Lord for He is with you all day. Thank the Lord that you can see His love and goodness every day. He is right there with you!

 

Suggested reading: Psalm 22:3; Romans 8:9; Ephesians 3:17

When you are going through the fire

For many people these days, life feels like it is putting them through the fire. It looks like there are fires all over the world and it is hard to put them out. The daily burn has become many people’s reality. There is the burn caused by disease, fear, loss of relatives and friends, loss of finances, loss of peace and so on. The fires are strong and the heat is nonstop. The other day the Lord reminded me that He was with me through the fires of life. He took me down memory lane and showed me how He had stood by me through different fires. When you believe in God and you trust Him, you will still go through the fire but God is holding you in the palm of His hand as you are walking through the fire. You are not walking alone and you are not dipped in the fire. You are in His hand and you are protected. You might feel the heat and you will inhale the smoke but you will make it through the fire. God is in control and He will put out the fire. What you need to do is trust that He is holding you in His hand even when you feel like you are going to be scorched. No weapon formed against you will prosper. The fire that was formed around you will not prosper. It could burn for a while but God’s hand can withstand the heat and the burn. Stay comforted in His hand. Focus on His hand and not on the fire. Focus on the protection and not the desolation.

When a fire is burning and you have to be in it or walk through it, like firefighters do, it is necessary to wear a protective mask. Firefighter masks cover most of their heads. They allow them to keep their head intact and to see through the smoke. The helmet of salvation is our mask through the fires. It is a protection for the head as well. We need to keep our heads intact when we are going through the fires of life. Why? Because thoughts originate in our heads and if they are not aligning with God’s Word, if they are negative or if they are bringing us down, they will make our walks through the fires very difficult. We are saved and the helmet of salvation is a reminder that God is for us, that Jesus died for us on the cross and that we will make it. Let the helmet show you that there is a way through that smoke. Let it guide you and reveal to you that the fire is not bigger than your God. Let the helmet open your eyes to the power and the truth that are bigger than what’s in front of you. Look at what’s beyond the fire thanks to the helmet of salvation.

 

A fire is a scary sight. It makes you think that you are going to perish. When things are heating up and you can’t pull yourself together, you can easily picture that the fire is going to burn your life. God is a consuming fire as well. The fire in Him is bigger than the fire of the enemy. His flames are higher and his heat is more intense. The fire of the Holy Spirit makes a way through the flames of the enemy. Let God give you the strength to stay strong in the fire of the world as you know that the fire of the Lord is stronger. Be like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego who were thrown into a fiery furnace because they had refused do bow down to the king’s image and they would not adore other gods. To them God was the only God. As your fire is intensifying, pray to have the resilience and the strength of the three boys in the fire. Refuse to bow down to your fire. Don’t exalt it. Don’t magnify it. Put it out by magnifying the Lord. Celebrate Jesus in the fire. Celebrate the fact that you are in the palm of His hand even when there is fire around you. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you stay strong and stay calm.

 

My prayer today is that you find peace during these fiery times. I pray that you can see the Lord even when things are burning up inside and around you. You are still in God’s hand. You are still blessed. You are still protected. Keep your helmet of salvation on. Put on the breastplate of righteousness. Don the gear of victory. It is made of prayer, praise and thanksgiving. You are going to make it through this fire. Stay encouraged!

Suggested reading: Daniel 3; Exodus 24:17; 1 Corinthians 3:13