God is listening to you

Every day I am amazed at how good a listener the Lord is. When you think about it, He quietly listens and doesn’t interrupt us when we talk to Him. Thoughts, emotions and feelings try to interrupt us when we talk to Him or try to interfere when He talks to us. The Lord is patient and He listens. He is always around and He knows what you are going to say before you say it and yet He still listens. If you are questioning if God heard you, go back to when you got saved. You were desperate and you were headed toward eternal perdition before that but the Lord heard the cry of your soul. Whether you are aware of it or not He heard you and responded. He made salvation happen for you. As a whole, God hears the cry of humanity and He sent His Son to save us all. He listens. He acts and He is faithful. God heard the prayer you said last night. God heard the cry of your soul before you even uttered it. God heard the prayers you will say years from now. Is He silent? He is not silent. He has answered you many different ways already and one of His ways is through His Word. If you think God is silent, open His Word and prick up your ears. It took me a while to understand that but once I did, I knew I was heard and my perspective was changed.

 

I spent countless hours praying and feeling like no one was listening. I thought I had to feel a certain way and then I would know that God heard me. Then I found out that God is not in feelings and emotions but faith is key. Just believing that God exists involves faith. It might be a mustard seed of faith but it is enough. That same seed I had was needed for my interaction with God. I had to water it with the Word of God. The more time I read the Word, the more I became aware of God’s love and of His presence. One thing that struck me was what God’s love meant for all of us. When you love someone, you take care of them and you listen to them. A lot of couples say that the number one problem in their relationship is lack of communication. They feel like they are not heard by their partner or they can’t express themselves to their partner. We are in the most amazing relationship. We are in a relationship with God and because He loves us so much, He does listen to us all the time. Today I want to encourage you to thank the Lord for listening to you. When you pray, thank Him. Do it every day. Tell Him how grateful you are that He always listens to you and that He heard you a long time ago.

 

God is listening all the time. He can listen and hear everyone. He is not too busy paying attention to someone you think is more important to Him. You matter to Him just like anyone else. He is no respecter of people. His ears are all yours. He sees your heart and He sees your pain and your struggles along with your joy and your victories. He sees it all and He hears it all. You are precious to Him. He won’t interrupt you until He needs to speak to you. He won’t brutally interrupt you. He is a gentleman. When I pray I often get “interrupted” by the Lord. It all flows in one direction. His interruption makes sense and it happens at the right time. I get quiet. I am tuned in and I know to just listen. It has taken me time to get there but like I said it all goes in the same direction. My prayer and my words go to the Lord and He listens to them and takes them to the next place. He puts them in a place where He answers my call. The Holy Spirit orchestrates the whole process. It is breathtaking! God is listening to you, friend. Trust that He heard you and spend time in His Word. You will find answers and messages that fit your situation and that show you that He is listening. You don’t have to be a pastor or a prophet to be heard by God. Just be you and express yourself. He will hear you quietest whispers and your loudest outbursts. God is listening to you. Thank Him that He is attentive and He loves hearing your voice!

Suggested reading: Jeremiah 29:12-13;1 Peter 3:12; 1 John 5:14

Put on the Word of God every day

Yesterday morning when I was praying I saw myself putting on Jesus. I was putting on a robe that was Jesus. I didn’t see His face or anything but I just knew it was Jesus. I was getting dressed and my outfit was a robe of Jesus. What was also very interesting is that I was standing there and someone was dressing me up. I saw pages of the Bible dressing me up. I was standing there smiling and the Word of God was doing all the work. It was one of those powerful visions that warms your heart and that gives a boost to your faith. I continued to pray and I heard “If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” The Holy Spirit has a beautiful way of reminding us of what the Bible says. He is also the best at giving us the messages we need to hear. There is power in the Word and when we stay in the Word and the Word is what we put on every day, we can walk in faith, in love and in confidence that the Lord is faithful and true. 

 

God makes everything so much better when we remain in Him. Putting on Jesus implies dying to self and letting Him be in charge. It means not putting on anything else but Him. Not accepting anything else but Him. It’s letting the Word of God cover us and comfort us. It’s giving the Word priority and trusting that it is supreme in our lives. When you put on an outfit, you usually put on something you like and something that fits you. When the Word of God is your spiritual outfit, you like to wear it because you enjoy it and it fits you. The Word can fit anyone. You are no exception, friend. God is for everyone. Jesus died for everyone. Today I want to encourage you to make the Word of God your daily outfit. Put on Jesus and let go of the outfits the world wants you to wear. Let the Bible dress you up with love, peace, patience, joy, self-control, meekness, long-suffering, hope, dedication, perseverance and other good fruit. When Jesus is all you wear, you don’t need to put on anything else!

 

It does look funny when you see yourself putting on the robe of the Word of God. I saw writings and I saw peace and love in both sleeves. I can’t explain it but it was so real. I love how the Holy Spirit speaks and I love that He always directs us toward Jesus. He said that if we keep the words of the Lord in us, we can ask anything and it will happen. Keeping His words is also staying in line with His words. It’s being in tune with His truth. Now, we need to know the Word in order to be able to let it remain in us. I try to study the Word daily. I know how important it is. Not spending any time in the Word of God is like opening ourselves to wrong doctrines. We won’t have the ability to judge what is from God and what is not. If you are supposed to read a book for school and you don’t read it, you will guess the content based on the title and based on what you have heard about it. 

 

God doesn’t want us to go by hearsay but by what He says. You might be thinking that you don’t have time for the Word. I suggest making time and rearranging your priorities because the Word of God is life. You can’t do life without the Word. You can’t have a successful life without the Word. You might be chasing millions and making a fortune on Wall Street but without God’s wisdom your riches have no substance. God is His Word. The more you know His Word, the more you know Him. Don’t fool yourself and think you can know God without opening His Word. The God you will end up getting familiar with will be anything but Jesus.

 

What happens exactly when you put on Jesus or you put on His Word? Your prayers are answered because they are in agreement with the Lord and they are said in faith. Faith comes from hearing and hearing from the Word of God. When His Word remains in you, you are bound to be living in faith. Daily Bible reading, meditating and praying will guarantee growth of your faith. The other beautiful thing about letting God’s Word remain in us is that it makes us disciples of the Lord. It makes us fervent and dedicated disciples. Jesus said that all of this is to His Father’s glory. Embrace the Word of God and let it become a part of you, the biggest part of you and you will be doing it all to God’s glory. It is when we let the Word sink in and come out of us at all times that we are showing ourselves to be disciples of the Lord.

 

 When the enemy attacks our minds and the Word of God is our natural reply against the attack, we are filled with the power of God. His Word is power. It is a power that bears much fruit as well. When the Lord is in you, you will produce great fruit and you will see that the fruit of the Spirit is growing in you. Putting on the Word of God is also dressing up with love. Love is the best garment we can put on. Put on Jesus and the enemy will flee. Put on Jesus and you will walk in love. Put on Jesus and you will be rooted in the truth. Put on the Word of God every day and you will be dressed for success!

Suggested reading : Psalm 37:4; John 15:7-8; Galatians 5:16

Don’t get discouraged

Yesterday I talked about doubt, fear and worry. Three major negative agents the enemy uses against us. Discouragement is another big one. It paralyzes us and it keeps us from moving forward. The enemy hates it when we take steps in the right direction and when we keep going instead of losing hope so he throws fiery darts that will destabilize us. He comes from an angle that he knows is going to hurt us or that is going to make us fall into despair. Despair, that place where we see no way out and where we think that our bad situation will never get better. It’s a trap. It’s a ditch. It’s an ambush on our way to victory. It appears to be bigger than God and that is the problem. It’s an illusion that quickly becomes a reality if we let it fester in our minds. Discouragement takes away the courage and the boldness to be all that the Lord plans for us to be. It cuts off peace and it removes joy in no time. It doesn’t just knock on our door. It barges in and it puts its feet on our coffee table and grabs the remote. Then we play movies in our minds that are very demoralizing and depressing. Discouragement should be dealt with and banned. Today I want to encourage you to take courage back and put discouragement back in its place. God has given you the tools you need to weed out the roots of discouragement in your life.

 

Since the enemy gives discouragement, we can expect encouragement from the Lord because they are opposites. Anything that lifts up your spirit or that boosts your moral is an encouragement from the Lord. The Word of God is the Word of all encouragement. When you are constantly encouraged, it’s harder for you to get discouraged. Spending time in God’s Word is a powerful way to face discouragement. What you get in the Word is a wall of protection that stands higher than the fences of discouragement. You have to build that wall day after day, brick by brick. Those bricks will allow you to withstand the attacks of discouragement. The Word of God is full of God. God is His Word. When you study it and you make it become a part of you, you have a part of God in you. His power and His presence stay in you as you work on building that wall of protection. Discouragement will feel threatened by the encouragement in you. The enemy will get disgusted by the Lord in you. Let the Word of God grow in your spirit. Let the Spirit of God take over your spirit. Let the joy of the Lord be your strength. Let the peace of the Lord surpass all understanding. Discouragement will have no peace when your peace is rooted in the Lord. Discouragement won’t be able to tamper with your joy when your joy is found in the Lord. With the encouragement from the Lord comes a power that is stronger than any discouragement that comes your way as long as you keep up with the encouragement and you always let it sink in and take shape in your heart. Let your heart be a wall of encouragement. Let it be the shield that protects you from the arrows sent by the enemy.

 

Every time you get discouraged, your faith takes a beating but it is never the end. God will have the final say. Don’t let the opposition shame you and make you think that you are a failure because you got discouraged. It happens to all of us. Discouragement can be a very lonely place but even when you are walking in the valley of the shadow of despair and discouragement, the Lord is with you. Turn to Him. Give your back to discouragement and face the Lord. Seek His face. Ask for help. He is your refuge and He will give you what you need. The Holy Spirit will always encourage you and motivate you. He will comfort you and counsel you. He is an expert at giving us the courage we need. When I get discouraged, after I settle down, I pray and spend time in communion with the Lord. It is amazing how the Holy Spirit comes in and makes things right. He helps me get rid of the guilt. He points me toward Jesus and all negativity falls apart. When we focus on Jesus, joy comes back and peace invades the atmosphere. If you are getting discouraged today, get back on the train and keep riding with the Lord. Things are going to get better. God is not done with you yet. There are many blessings coming. God will fill you with joy and with peace again and you will overflow with hope. Hope has not given up on you yet. It is alive and it will appear before you know it. Don’t give up on hope. Don’t get discouraged. The Lord is with you and He will make things right. Hold on to Him. He has everything you need!

Suggested reading: John 10:10; Romans 15:13; 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

The power of living in Christ

I have thought about definitions of Christianity and what it means to be a Christian. To me” Christ” in the word Christian is the biggest part. The “-ian” part of the word reminds me of a nationality like Belgian, Hungarian or Ghanaian. A person who is Belgian is from Belgium or is affiliated with the country. By the same token, a Christian is a person who lives in Christ. Christ is his or her country, residence, main affiliation and place of belonging. I wrote about the message of love yesterday and being a Christian is definitely being a carrier of that message. I often wonder about how much of Christ I am sharing with people. How much pride do I have in the One I belong to? Am I wearing the flag of His love? Am I being a good ambassador for Him? Being a Christian has had so many definitions and variations and I know it confuses believers and non-believers. How do you define your Christianity?  I can’t picture life outside of Christ now but at the same time I realize that I step out of my residence too often. “I am human after all” has become an excuse I am not satisfied with anymore. My goal is to be the ambassador of the message of hope that the Lord wants me to be. I can’t craft my Christian identity based on what the world expects or what the world says. I have removed myself from the world’s interpretations of Christianity and I am on a quest to know Christ more for myself and to share Him with anyone I get in contact with. I am proud to be a Christian and I am humbled to even call Jesus my Savior. I am so not worthy and yet He died for me. I want to encourage you to define Christ in you and to shed His light around you. Some people will want to give their lives to Christ because of who they see in you. You never know who’s watching and you never know who is listening.

 

Christ in you, the hope of glory. With Christ in us we always have hope. Hope for the better. Hope for the light to shine. Hope to make it. Hope to have a better life. Hope to grow. Hope to love more. Hope to know more. Hope to rejoice more. Hope to live more. Christ is alive and well and He scared death out of us with His resurrection. I let Him scare away every dead cell, every dead thought, every day action that linger in me. He is the life that impacts my life. Spending time with Him is like getting a surge of hope and energy. He revives us. He encourages us. He motivates us. He activates peace, joy and love in us. As Christians, we have His life inside of us. I think we tend to forget that and we get carried away by a morbid life that is void of life. We live our lives as if we were still in the grave. We don’t celebrate. We don’t get excited. We don’t pray enough. We don’t connect with God enough. We just float on the river of a dead world that longs to know the resurrected life in Christ. Christ in me, the hope of glory. I have hope that I can see His glory. That hope gets me through the day. When His glory hits me, my spirit is lifted up and darkness fades away.  There is a permanent light in the Lord. A light that we are meant to distribute to the world one word of love at a time, one act of kindness at a time, one touch from Jesus at a time.

 

The Holy Spirit lives in us. He inhabits the believers. We can give Him as much space as we want. We can make Him the mayor of our territory or we can make Him an occasional guest. I opt for the mayor option. I want Him to govern my heart and rule over my mind. As a Christian I have all it takes to show God’s love and spread His Word. It truly is up to me to surrender to the Lord or to surrender to the world. There is a nation of ambassadors for Christ. That nation is rising and it is going  to take the world by force, using the power of love. Choose to join that nation. Remember that being a Christian is living in Christ. It’s dying to ourselves and living for Him. When you interact with someone, you can give him or her a touch from Heaven by being a representative of the Lord. You don’t have to perform miracles. You just have to listen, love and learn. Listen to the person, love the person and learn what you can do for the person. The Holy Spirit will guide you and give you what you need to share a piece of Heaven with earth. There is always hope in you because of Christ in you. Hope to revolutionize the world with love. Hope to show Jesus to someone who can’t see past tomorrow. Show the world that there is a future for everyone and Jesus holds their destinies. Keep living in Christ! It will change you and it will change your world!

Suggested reading: Luke 9:23; Colossians 1:27; Galatians 2:20

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

This is how I pray

Once I learned that prayers were more than requests, my prayer life changed completely. I found out that prayer was more like a ceremony. It was more like a ceremony of interaction with God. Interaction and communication are key elements when it comes to prayer. Prayer is a form of communication where both parties are engaged. It shouldn’t be a passive recitation of memorized lines that sound good but that are empty at the same time. When we get into prayer, we engage with God and He actively engages with us. Prayer exalts the Lord and puts Him at the center of our focus. It is an engaged act of adoration and surrender. God comes first when  we pray. Our request and needs come last. Why? If we put Him first everything else will be added into us. When I started to look at prayer from that angle, I started seeing things I had never seen before and I started experiencing a level of God’s impact on my life that I had never had before. Prayer is that time when God imparts His presence and changes us on the inside. Today I want to encourage you to be actively engaged with God when you pray. See prayer as more than words. It is a beautiful love letter from your heart to God’s and from His heart to yours.

 

When I say that prayer is a ceremony I am not saying that it is anything formal. I think that “formal” makes it less intimate and more complicated than it is. Prayer is time set aside to be with the Lord and to magnify Him. It’s a chance to give Him credit and to learn about Him. It’s a two-way street where we can walk to God and He walks down to us. God is the center of prayer so we should expect Him to show up. What if you don’t see Him or feel Him? He doesn’t live in our feelings. He always shows up and we know that through faith. Faith is what fuels our prayers. Faith makes it all happen. The Holy Spirit is also a main player in prayer. He gives us the desire to pray. You might not be aware of it but the Spirit of God leads you to pray. He does it subtly or He can do it in a big way.

 

When you feel an urge to pray, it’s the Holy Spirit knocking at the door of your spirit. You open the door by getting into prayer mode. What happens after that is up to you. You can continue to be led by Him or you can do your own thing. The Bible says that we should open up the gates with praise. Starting prayers with praise is what made my prayers stand out from what they used to be. It is what made me see prayer more as a ceremony or a time of adoration. Jesus should come first in our prayers and He is in our praises so entering prayer with praise is like giving Him the front seat. I spend a good part of my prayer time in praise. I glorify Him. It is a precious time. Joy comes in. Peace shows up. Praise and adoration are fun times! They make prayer time a more personal time with the Lord. I sing songs I know or songs I have made up. What matters is that I start prayer with praise. I go into prayer through the gate of bliss and joy.

 

Gratitude and thanksgiving are a natural segue during my prayer time. I thank the Lord for His kindness and His goodness. I thank Him for the people in my life. I give Him the glory for saving my life. Then I ask Him to guide me and to change me so I can be more like Him. I give Him anything and everything I am holding on that is getting in the way. I ask for forgiveness and I forgive those who have not treated me well. I also pray for them. Then I pray for my family and friends. I keep a log of people’s prayer requests and I thank the Lord for answering those requests. Now, during the whole time after praise and adoration I remain attentive because the Lord often interrupts me and gives me messages. I sit there and listen. It is quite a wonderful daily experience. I love being “interrupted” by the Lord. His voice is what I want to hear.

 

Prayer is such a personal and intimate event with the Lord. I pray that your prayer time is always the best time of the day. I pray that you get to know Jesus more than anyone in the world. I pray that you realize how powerful your relationship can be with the Lord. I pray that He floods your spirit with revelation and your heart with His love. I pray that you pray every day and that every time you get more and more in love with Jesus!

Suggested reading: Jeremiah 29:12; Psalm 102:17; Philippians 4:6