Hope in Jesus

I talk about hope a lot because God is a God of hope. I didn’t know that when the God I was familiar with was a God of religion and restrictions. I was always under the impression that hope was limited to a few privileged believers in God. Isn’t that sad? Some of the doctrines I subscribed to were very dismissive and void of hope. They focused on being pious and on getting rewards from God based on what I did right. Every time I made a mistake, I felt guilty and unworthy. There was no real hope for redemption or for salvation to tell you the truth. I completely misunderstood what God was all about and I had no hope. I didn’t believe that things could get better in my life. I did my best to please God but hope was never something I experienced. This all changed once I got in touch with the real God.

I got in touch with God by entering into His gates through Jesus. Jesus became my doorway to God, my doorway to Heaven and my doorway to the truth. One of the first things that stood out about Jesus was how much hope He gave me. The more I got to know Him, the more I was filled with hope. First, there was hope for salvation. I became aware of His salvation and of His role in the whole process. He had died on the cross for my sins and I could receive salvation through Him. He was the guardian of all good things and hope was part of them. When you encounter Jesus, you can’t help but become hopeful. Life takes on a new meaning. You are in the presence of hope and it changes your perspective and your outlook on life.

If you are looking for hope today, remember that it is still alive and well and you can always find hope in Jesus. Don’t look at your hopeless circumstances. Change your focus and look at Jesus. Spend time reading about Him and talking to Him. He will give you hope. You will discover that He is the hope of the world and that with Him everything is possible. With Him, life is not a series of failures and defeats. With Him, life is a series of challenges that get resolved and defeats that get defeated. Yes, Jesus will defeat your defeats. Isn’t that amazing? He will turn your worst situations into blessings and rivers of hope will flow through your life.

There is nothing that the Lord can’t change and nothing He can’t fix. When you have Jesus, you have the best chance to make it. He is a situation changer. He is a hope giver and His hope is never in vain. He doesn’t fake His hope and His promises. He keeps His promises and one of them is to give you hope to get through anything in life. You have the Savior of the world in you and with you and hope is never going to leave you. You might lose sight of it. You might forget about it. You might not believe in it but it doesn’t mean that hope is not there. It is always there and it always fulfills its purpose. Hope’s purpose is to confirm God’s goodness and it is a great witness to His faithfulness.

When you hope in Jesus, you hope in love, life-changing power and endless possibilities. You never know what God can do in your life when you have His hope in you. He can stretch possibilities and multiply blessings. He can reverse the course of your life and put you on a path where peace and joy will be strewn all over the place. God’s path for your life is paved with hope. Every step of the way you should believe there is hope. Every step of the way you should keep in mind that things are not the way they look but they are the way the Lord says they are. Faith will help you walk through the worst valleys and climb the highest mountains. The King of hope will carry you through everything and you will be able to overcome the most difficult circumstances.

Jesus is the hope you need today and you will never be disappointed when you fix your eyes on Him and you refuse to succumb to the world’s problems. Problems will never go away but neither will Jesus and if you have Jesus, you have all you need. If you have Jesus, you have all you need. Keep your hopes up. Keep your hopes in Jesus. Keep walking and trusting and you will never go astray. Hope is a blessing that will always walk by your side. Stay strong. Stay encouraged and stay hopeful. May God bless you and protect you and remember that He will always love you!
Suggested reading: Psalm 16:9; Jeremiah 17:7; Romans 5:5

God’s light

When I got eye surgery, my life completely changed. I went from having to wear contacts or glasses all the time to be being able to see all the time without any assistance. It was like night and day. I never thought that I could ever see that clearly without glasses. It was as if I had stepped into a new dimension. Everything looked so real and so true. It is hard to explain but what I can say is that it was one of the best moments of my life in terms of transformation. However, the best moment of my life, hands down, was when I got saved. It was a similar experience but on a much higher level. I went from being spiritually blind to being able to see the light. I had lived in darkness for a while. I had had glimpses of hope and glimpses of who the Lord was all about but those glimpses didn’t compare to the real thing. They were nice previews that gave me a reason to pursue Jesus. Those insights into who the Lord was were like contacts and lenses that allowed me to see the truth for a short time. When I got saved, the light became permanent and I was able to see what I had been missing my whole life. The light of the Lord is such a powerful tool in our lives and we should never underestimate it. We should cherish God’s light and His truth and keep walking in it with our spiritual eyes wide open.

The Word of God is a lamp into our feet. His Word is the lamp that can guide us into all things. We can never stay in the dark when we follow the lamp of the Lord. We should actually spend a lot of time in His Word so we can be enlightened and filled with wisdom. The amount of darkness that is in the world is huge and we need to work against so many principalities and powers. The power to counteract those evil forces is only found in the Lord and His Word gives us instructions on how to stay in His light and how to avoid the traps of darkness. When I read the Word of God, it is like a light is turned on and I can see into some of the mysteries of God. This happens when I read and study the Word prayerfully. When I get in sync with the Spirit of God, His Word comes alive and I dive into the wonderful world of our Savior. I love spending time in the Word especially when the world is so chaotic. I find peace and I find joy when I am in the Word. I strongly encourage you to make it a habit to turn on the light of the Lord and to stay under the rays of His great love. His light will refresh you and invigorate you. It will open your eyes and it will close the doors to the darkness that tries to mislead you. God’s light is the truth that you need to be set free so embrace His light, embrace His Word.

When someone turns on a light, darkness scatters. Some people would say that darkness disappears and I love that idea as well. God, the light, can make your darkness disappear when you turn on His light. Your enemies, your fears and your doubts will scatter when you turn on the light of the Lord. How do you turn it on? Like I mentioned earlier, the Word of God is the light you need and being familiar with it is crucial. Making sure that the Word of God has an important part in your life is extremely helpful. Jesus brings light and He is the light so daily communion with Him also allows you to turn on the light that will always set you free. Jesus will not only give you insights into who He is and how He made you but He will teach you how to live a fulfilling life in Him. He is the light that keeps on giving more light so don’t expect Him to ever be extinguished in your life. He is always on. You might have to adjust how you connect with Him but He is always on and always ready to shine in your life. He is like that permanent contact lens that enables you to see clearly at all times. Jesus will help you deal with all forms of spiritual blindness so stick to Him and stay close to Him. He is the best light you will ever find. May God bless you and protect you and remember that He will always love you!
Suggested reading:Psalm 119:105; Proverbs 6:23; 2 Peter 1:19

Using God’s supplies every day

Many students are getting ready to go back to school next month. With everything that is going on, school is going to look very different this year where I live. One thing that will remain the same is that kids will need to get some supplies for school. Some will get new backpacks and new sets of pens and pencils. Their packback is like a tool kit that helps them access their education better. They will have books or computers they will rely on that will go into their backpack. I love the idea of a tool kit, a kit that allows us to accomplish what we have to do on any given day. I myself carry a backpack with a few “tools” for the day. I have a physical backpack and I also have my spiritual backpack. The weekend is a great time for me to fill my spiritual backpack because I have more time than I do on weekdays. However, I also get ready for the next day by setting time apart to refill my spiritual backpack every day. As a matter of fact I get ready the day before and the morning of every single day. Do you have a spiritual backpack? What do you put in it? 

 

The most precious thing I carry in my spiritual backpack is a cross. This cross is more than a symbol. It is a daily reminder that I should carry my cross and that the Lord died on the cross for me. Without the cross of Calvary I wouldn’t be here today. If l lose sight of the Lord’s sacrifice and of my salvation, I can easily get carried away and run away from my faith and from what makes me who I am. I am who I am today because of my relationship with the Lord. He keeps me centered and balanced because I keep Him at the center of my life. The spiritual cross I carry every day is the reason I believe. It is the reason I don’t forget that love died for me and rose again. I am spiritually alive and well thanks to the cross. The cross makes up the bulk of my backpack. I carry it everywhere I go. I carry Jesus everywhere I go. Today I want to encourage you to prepare your backpack every day. Fill it up with all the tools the Lord has made available to you.

 

The Word of God is also one of the most important tools I carry in my spiritual backpack. Where would I be without the Word? Where would we be? The Word of God is more than a manual for living. It is the breath of God. It is God. It is a love letter from the Lord. I find everything I need in the Word of God. Because of my connection with the Holy Spirit, I get almost daily messages regarding passages I should study and they turn out to be what I need at the moment. Sometimes I take notes and save the passage for later. It all makes sense at some point. The Holy Spirit guides us in all things and He will enumerate what we should have in our backpack. I suggest working on developing a relationship with Him so that you know what to do and what tools you will need for the day. 

 

The Holy Spirit has a beautiful way of letting us know what is going on when we tune in and we are receptive to His leading. He is like the parent that watches you prepare your backpack and that gives you gentle reminders and instructions. You can either pay attention or you can ignore Him. The goal is to be sensitive to Him and not let the distractions of the world crowd our minds to the point where we can’t hear the voice of the Spirit. I love how He either talks to us with His sweet inner voice or He uses other means to talk to us. He leaves sticky notes around the house with directions. His sticky notes can even be through people in our lives. Look out for the Lord’s sticky notes that will give you an idea of what to put in your backpack.

 

When we prepare ourselves for what’s to come, we are not being pessimistic. We are being led. God wants us to be ready for what’s to come knowing that we can be well-equipped to handle anything. My spiritual backpack is not put together in preparation for the worst case scenario. It is meant to help me face anything that will come my way; good times and bad times. That said, I can’t forget all the supplies the Lord gives me to celebrate the good times and to celebrate Him above it all. I have my praise and worship packed. My gratitude is in the front pocket of my backpack and my adoration is also located in one of the pockets. Those supplies are used all the time. It doesn’t matter what life tries to teach me, I have the supplies that are necessary to keep me in the right mindset. 

 

When the lessons get tough, I have my praise and my worship out on my desk and I focus on them. When life is easy, my praise and worship are still right there with me. I don’t trade them for tools that promote whining and complaining. At least I try not to. I am working on adding some tools to my backpack. Faith is another tool that is permanent. Without it my backpack has a hole in it and all the good things of the Lord end up leaking. I put in prayer every day and it keeps me aware of the goodness of God. I pray that you have the best backpack ever. May God bless your tool kit and may you use it every day!

Suggested reading: Proverbs 24:27; Ephesians 6:10-18; 1 Peter 3:15

God gives the victory

When I pray, I often hear the words “triumph” and “victory” but they are in the context of the cross. The Holy Spirit likes to emphasize what the victory on the cross means. I believe it is a very important message because that victory is still relevant today and I need to completely comprehend that. I used to think that I was triumphant and I produced the victory and that’s what mattered but the victory belongs to the Lord. Jesus did the work through the cross. I am not the one who won over death. I am not the victor here. He is and He makes that victory available to us. We can’t lose sight of what He did and we ought to give Him all the praise and glory for that. I misunderstood a lot of the messages preached about victory. My interpretation of the messages built up my ego. It’s not about me. It’s about Jesus. It’s always about Jesus. We take a big risk when we put more emphasis on the victory than on who won the victory. If we glorify the victory, we can easily attach it to us more than to the Lord. God gives us the victory but He owned it first and the creator of it is much more significant than the creation. Jesus is more paramount than the victory. If you are in Chris,t you do have the victory. You have victory over the world. You overcome the world because He overcame the world. Today I want to underline that our victory is in the Lord and He should get all the credit for what He did. The victory is already here. Our faith gives us access to it.

 

Understanding that the Lord’s victory over death is still relevant today is very good for our faith. Faith comes from what we hear and what we hear comes from the Word of God. The Word of God clearly states that Jesus won over death. He won over 2000 years ago but what He did back then is still present today. Our faith needs to get ahold of that truth and grow in it. Basing our faith on the truth that Jesus conquered death is a strong foundation. Why? Because death is the termination of life and Jesus terminated what stops us from having life. It is a lot simpler than it sounds. Death silences life and all that is in it. Jesus came to give life a voice. He came to be the spokesperson for Heaven. He was the voice that echoed Heaven and that made sure that life was spoken for. Death was conquered. What seemed to be impossible took place. Who would have imagined that death could be stopped when it was known for stopping everything? No one imagined that our biggest enemy could be taken down but that is what Jesus did when He died and rose from the dead. That victory will always be true and it will live on forever. Jesus has the victory and He is giving it to you today. Now, think of all the negative agents that come with death. Think of all the negative events that fall under the umbrella of death. All the bad circumstances and all the tough situations you will ever encounter are in the death category because they bring death to joy, peace, love and faith. Jesus conquered them all. Those difficult circumstances were not too hard for the Lord. He destroyed them. Embrace that truth. Have faith in Jesus “the death destroyer” and receive His victory by faith.

 

If you were to sit face to face with Jesus today and talk to Him about your problems, He would tell you that He conquered them and He would not want you to worry. You might ask Him why you are still going through a tough time. He would tell you that those things are bound to happen but be of good cheer because He has conquered the world. The victory bought on the cross belongs to you. Fix your eyes on Jesus. Listen to His words of encouragement. His words have not changed. He is still talking about victory, triumph, freedom and peace. Don’t get discouraged. The victory will come. It will happen. Stay encouraged. Remember that it is all coming from the Lord. You don’t have to win that victory. You have to win the fight of faith and keep believing. Jesus won’t let you down. He will give you the victory. It’s on its way. Continue to praise the Lord. Look at your problems in the eyes and tell them that the Lord overcame them and it’s only a question of time until you see the victory. Celebrate today the One who gives you the victory. He cannot be defeated!

Suggested reading: Deuteronomy 20:4; Ephesians 6:10; 1 John 5:4

Gratitude toward God

One of my former students has been in touch with me on a regular basis. He is full of positive energy and learned the power of gratitude at a young age. He is aware that most of his peers take things for granted and he is doing his best to show the silver lining in clusters of clouds and teach people that there is so much to be grateful for. He inspires me and he pushes me to be the best encourager I can be. Understanding the power of gratitude in the Christian context is understanding that Jesus is the One who does everything good and we should thank Him for His goodness that is greater than the world’s bitterness. Jesus takes the sourness of the world and turns it into a dish of delicate and delicious fruit. There is a table He lays before us and with the power of gratitude we have access to everything that is on that amazing table. If we whine and complain, we turn down the beautiful spread the Lord has prepared for us . I want to feast at the table of the Lord and remain seated there as long as I can. Gratitude is the ticket that gets me through the door and that affords me a seat at that table. Gratitude combined with faith makes the table accessible. I don’t want to live my life eating sour grapes. I want the succulent fruit of the Spirit to be in the basket I carry around. It’s one thing to have the fruit and it’s another thing to have it and be grateful for it. Today I want to encourage you to turn up the volume of your gratitude and silence the whining and the complaining. There is always one thing in your life that you can be thankful for. If you have running water, a family, friends, transportation, a pulse, a smile, ideas, hope, and a mind that thinks and reflects, you can be grateful. Gratitude goes for small things and great things. Experience transformation in your life when gratitude toward the Lord is a lifestyle.

 

The question is, what are you grateful for today? Are you grateful for material things? For spiritual abilities and blessings? For family and friends? These are all great reasons to be thankful but the One Person we should be thankful for every day is Jesus. Just because He is Jesus. Isn’t He the most wonderful Person you have ever met? Have you met Him? You have. He is around you and with you. Look at your life. Look at what He has done. Look at what He can do. Look at how good He is. No one has had as much impact on my life as Jesus has and I am so grateful for Him. He is the One Person that has changed me so much. He has made my life so much better. I am nothing, absolutely nothing without Him. When I think of that I have many reasons to be thankful. It’s not about possessions. It’s not about goods. It’s all about Jesus. Being grateful for Jesus is being grateful for Love, for the Word of God, for resurrection, for salvation, for freedom and for a new life. Gratitude toward God the creator should precede gratitude toward the creation.

 

David the psalmist and king knew how to show gratitude toward God. He did it through music and songs and through a lifestyle that spoke highly of who God is. Gratitude works hand in hand with honor and respect and if we are going to show gratitude toward the Lord we can’t forget to honor Him and to show Him respect. It’s time we put Jesus on a pedestal and removed all the idols in our lives that are getting first place in our hearts. Gratitude and honor are what makes us get closer to our perfect Savior. God’s love and goodness endure forever. That alone is a reason to be thankful. His love won’t stop when you mess up. His goodness won’t vanish once you have gone down the wrong path. They are here to stay and they will never go away. We honor the Lord by continuing to live our lives in Him. Let’s show gratitude by showing respect for the Lord and imitating Him, turning to Him, acknowledging Him in all we do, seeking His face and putting Him before our needs. Devote yourself to the Lord and gratitude is one way you can get there. Gratitude toward God is a great way to live!

Suggested reading: Psalm 118:1; Colossians 2:6-7; Hebrews 12:28-29

What is the recurring theme of your life?

A theme is the subject of a talk, a piece of writing or a person’s thoughts. What is the recurring theme of your life? What is the topic or the subject that keeps coming back in your life? Can you decide what the theme of your life is? I believe it is a question of perspective and we can choose what the recurring theme of our lives is going to be. Some themes seem to be imposed on our lives. Some themes can be highlighted more than others. We can side with one theme and recognize it as the recurring theme. Are we choosing the Lord’s theme for our lives to be recurring or are we siding with the terrible theme the enemy keeps bringing up? We can say “Bad things always happen to me” or “The Lord always blesses me.” I choose to highlight the recurring theme of the Lord in my life. Looking back, I can see how blessed I have been despite all the hardships and the heartaches. The losses and the failures could be a recurring theme that I adhere to but I am not a defeatist. In Jesus’ name I am now allowing myself to see the cup as more than half full. My cup overflows. It’s been overflowing and that is the theme that is repeating itself in my life. I have made up my mind and I am determined to underline God’s amazing theme in my life. When life gives me reasons to doubt or to give up, I take the marker of faith and I boldly highlight the theme of blessing and overflow in my life. Today I want to encourage you to go with God’s recurring theme in your life. Identify it. Embrace it and keep highlighting it. God’s recurring theme for you will become the most popular topic in your thoughts when you keep holding on to it.

 

A person’s thoughts are a bundle of positive, neutral and negative thoughts. The neutral and “idle” thoughts easily slip into the negative thought category. Thoughts have many sources and some come about because of what happens to us. When bad things happen, we can focus on them so much that they appear to be what our lives are made of. Friend, your life will always have its share of challenges but the Lord Himself challenged your trials on the cross and gave you a way out of every single bad occurrence in your life. It’s up to you and me to tune out the negative, refocus and declare the goodness of God in our lives. His goodness is more present than we realize. It is in the background, the foreground and it should get into the playground of our minds. God’s goodness is a topic that our hearts long to sing and celebrate but our heads tend to emphasize the bad things more. Jesus came to give us life and to give it to us more abundantly. What a beautiful theme! That abundant life is not going away. Once we have accepted Jesus as our Savior, that life is ours forever. God’s salvation is not temporary. It is not optional in the life of the believers. It is what makes our lives. God’s goodness is recurring. God’s kindness is recurring. God’s love is a never ending cycle. God’s protection is recurring. God’s promises are recurring. The Lord is faithful and just and He will bless us over and over again. Let’s get rid of the “bad life” mentality and let’s see how  the “God life” is our reality.

 

I am not advocating ignoring all the difficulties and the problems you might be encountering. I am not in favor of being blind to the suffering. I am here to promote good over evil. God over the enemy. Positivity over negativity. Blessings over curses. The evil in this world is undeniable. However, God’s goodness can’t be put under a rock and left there until we decide that it’s time for good things to happen again. God’s time is all the time. God is present all the time. God is good all the time. He has a specific timing for some events in our lives but that doesn’t mean He stops being good in between the breakthroughs and the blessings. I declare myself blessed every morning and I expect my day to demonstrate the blessings and to show me the goodness of God. To get there I need my faith to be what I use to react to life. I call things into life as if they were. My faith gives a voice to the blessings that belong in my life. My faith is a spokesperson for God’s goodness in my life. My faith sings the recurring theme of God’s overflowing blessings in my life. My faith is getting blinder and blinder by the day as I get bolder and bolder every day. I love God’s theme for my life and I repeat it out loud, in my heart and in my mind. If the blessings don’t show up, I show them off. I boast in the Lord’s goodness. There is always something to be grateful for and to recognize as a blessing from the Lord. Your recurring theme is a blessed theme. Let that be the topic of your life!

Suggested reading: Psalm 67:7; Numbers 6:24-25; James 1:17

 

 

God will make a way

God will make a way where there is no way. Let that sink in. Remember that truth every day. There is nothing the Lord can’t do. There is nothing too big for Him. He opens doors that didn’t exist. He paves the way for amazing blessings. He parts the sea and makes you walk on dry land. You might be drowning in debt. You might be down at the bottom of the ocean of fear and worry but you are about to walk on dry land again. You called the Lord your Savior for help and He is going to make a way. Let Him take the lead in how He is going to do it all. All you have to do is pray and stay the course. This sea of misery is going to end. God won’t let you down. It is you and your Lord and this dynamic duo always wins. God has the victory and He is getting you into victory mode as you keep trusting Him. He is going to make a way. Don’t lose hope. He has all it takes to remove the hurdles and to reveal that dry land you have been waiting for. 

 

God will make a way. You are going to walk again on this great path He has set before you. There might have been delays but delays don’t change God’s plan. His plan remains intact. There is going to be a way for you to get out of your current mess. Look up at the Lord and look down on your problems. They won’t get the best of you. God has what’s best for you and it is coming your way. His Spirit is the buoy you should hold on to. You are going to stay afloat with His help and you are going to make it to shore. Even if you are in the middle of an ocean now, be assured that dry land is going to be there soon. You don’t have to be near the shore to experience God’s blessings. He can bring the shores to you by parting the sea right when you are going through a series of trials. Today I want to encourage you to trust that God is going to make a way and you are going to walk on dry land again. God has not forgotten about you but He will make you forget what you have been going through.

 

God will make a way. It’s not for you and me to figure out how it is going to happen. It’s our duty to believe that it will happen. We need to take the pressure off of our minds and give them some rest. When things are not going well, our minds go into overwork mode and the overthinking that takes place is nothing but an endless cycle of confusion and chaos. God wants our minds to be clear so we can see Him better. We should get rid of the fog of worry that keeps our minds in a place where God can barely be found.  He is in the fog. He is right there behind the clouds. His silver lining is present. Let’s give Him praise and let’s be thankful. We will see the sun again and our eyes will be open to the possibilities and to the miracles that He has in His hand. In His hand is the trajectory that will get you to your next breakthrough. In His hand is the answer that you need and the Lord holds you in the palm of His hand so your answer is near you. God’s way out of your dilemma is always right next to you because the Lord is with you. Don’t look for a way out where there are no exit signs. The world will give you ways with stairways that will take you down to the basement of disaster. Your way out is in the Lord. Knock on His door. He will open many doors and give you what you need.

 

God will make a way. The waymaker has ways that are beyond what we can understand. He can do the impossible and to Him none of your problems is too difficult. He never runs out of ideas. As a matter of fact, He knew how He would make a way for you way before you were born. Don’t get discouraged today if all you see on the horizon are trials and difficulties. God is beyond the horizon and His light is the sunshine that will pierce all the clouds of sadness that are sitting above you. You are going to find a great way out of this because the waymaker is on your side. The way the Lord is going to make will get you to your destination without you having to do anything other than trust Him. Honor Him and thank Him for making a way. Use the name of Jesus every day. His name will make a way and it will get you through the toughest times. When you walk down the valley of death, Jesus’ name will bring you back to life. His name will lead the way and it will protect you all the time. God will make a way for you. I declare it and I believe it and I know that nothing you are experiencing now is too difficult for God. There is a way and God is taking you there. Stay encouraged!

Suggested reading: Isaiah 41:10; Isaiah 43:19; Romans 8:31

Thank God for patience

I appear to be a pretty patient person and I am for the most part but there are times when patience is a fruit that is not part of my fruit basket. Times when I keep looking at the clock for my next life event to happen. I wait and wait but I don’t wait patiently. My focus is too much on the waiting and I don’t enjoy myself. All I have to say is thank God for patience. When I get impatient, I turn things over to God. I need His patience. I need the fruit of the Spirit in my life. All of it. Not just faith, love, peace and joy. The fruit has a patience component that is crucial. I have dismissed it too many times but now I am making sure that I am watering the whole fruit and patience is part of that amazing package. Patience coming from God is supernatural and it surpasses all understanding just like His peace. It is when we plug into the Holy Spirit that we get access to this beautiful patience. The Holy Spirit dwells in us but if we ignore Him, He is dormant for lack of a better word. He is a gift from Jesus that we should unwrap and embrace. Have you ever received a gift, loved it and then let it sit on a shelf? That is what happens with the Holy Spirit at times. We love Him. We are grateful for Him but then we put Him on a shelf and go about our business without considering Him. In other instances we enjoy the Holy Spirit but we don’t get to know Him. We love the gift but we never read the manual so we don’t understand how to interact with the gift and what to do with it.

 

The Holy Spirit is a comforter, a counselor, a coach, a Jesus promoter and a fruit producer among other wonderful things. Today I am focusing on the fruit of the Spirit and I want to talk specifically about patience. God is a patient God. Imagine if He weren’t patient with us. We would never be changed. We would never be blessed. We would never be loved. Sin would separate us from the Lord forever but God sent His Son for us. He was patient enough to let the process happen for humanity even though people were and are rejecting Him. God was patient with Saul and then Paul was born. God is patient with every single of one of us. Someone could live his or her life in rebellion against the Lord and be saved five minutes before they die. God will wait a lifetime. God is in no rush. He doesn’t lose His temper and He doesn’t get out of control. My prayer is that we adopt His patience and we keep it in the middle of our hearts so it guides what we do, it influences how we deal with people and it gives spiritual fuel to our faith. Patience is needed when it comes to faith. Faith waits patiently.

 

It is hard to have faith without patience. Faith like I said, always waits and it is sure of the outcome. Faith allows you to be patient because it lets you know that God is in control and you know without a doubt that there is nothing to worry about. Patience doesn’t look at time as an issue. It sees time as being on our side. Patience savors the minutes that go by. Patience keeps you in the moment. It doesn’t project and it doesn’t live in the future. Patience loves today. Patience loves what the Lord is doing today. It doesn’t count the days and it doesn’t pay attention to all the signs that point in the wrong direction. When we are waiting for something, it’s easy to focus on the details that are imperfect in our lives. It’s easy to make a list of all the negative things that come to pass. Patience puts that list away and it takes out the list of blessings the Lord promises. Patience stays in the positive. It doesn’t associate with negativity at all. Patience says “Things might not look good now but with the Lord everything is going to be fine and I am enjoying my life today.”

 

When you take a bite at the apple of patience, you can’t stop eating it. Patience makes you feel great. It touches your soul and it blesses your spirit. God’s patience is phenomenal because it is stronger than irritation, chaos, anxiety and defiance. With the fruit of the Spirit we don’t defy God. We wait on Him. We love seeking His face. We get blessed internally and it shows on the outside. Patience gives us the strength to wait even when our minds tell us to start moving and to keep going when we shouldn’t. Patience suppresses panic and makes us pause and take a break. It is needed in prayer and meditation. When we pray and meditate on the Word, rushing around will never help us get to where we need to be. Patience is the power behind a good prayer life. It is the power that enables us to receive messages from God. It is the power that helps us love our neighbors. Love is patient. We should also direct God’s patience toward ourselves. Let’s be patient with ourselves. The fruit of the Spirit grows and we need to be patient with our own pace. God has given you and me patience. Let’s thank Him for that and let’s keep on nurturing the good fruit of the Spirit!

Suggested reading: Proverbs 15:18; Galatians 5:22; James 5:8

The beautiful voice of God

What does God sound like? I have never heard His audible voice but I hear Him every day. How? In His Word. I look for places where I can hear Him all the time and His Word is the number one place where I can hear the beautiful voice of God. He speaks through every word, through every scripture. I don’t read His Word as a novel. I read it with intention, with devotion, with an open heart and with the Holy Spirit. I read to hear. I don’t read it to interpret it according to my human experience. I read it so it transforms my human experience. God’s voice declares life. It changes life. God speaks and miracles happen. God speaks and creates. God speaks and love is loud and clear. God speaks and comfort and encouragement are made available. God speaks and the opposition flees. God speaks and fear is silenced. God speaks and joy is manifested. God speaks and trouble “gets into trouble.” God speaks and the sea is parted. God speaks and revelation pierces your soul. God has a voice that can’t be denied. Open the Word of God and read it with a meditative heart and a mind that’s open to hear His heart. God’s gentle voice will speak volumes into your life so you can in turn be the spokesperson for love, faith, hope, redemption, mercy and grace in Jesus’ name.

 

When you study the Scriptures and meditate on them, they stay with you. They pop up throughout the day. They show up when you need them the most. They get into your heart and make themselves comfortable there. Those verses are the voice of God and they get activated in you by the Holy Spirit. He reminds you of the Word and gives you fresh insights and challenging yet encouraging revelation. The key is to spend time in the Word and to prayerfully seek the voice of God. It is ok to ask for revelation and to ask the Lord for an open ear so you can hear Him. I ask Him to open the eyes of my heart. To be able to see His revelation I have to have open ears because I can see what I hear better. I need an audio file along the video files He downloads into my heart. Seeing is hearing. When you tell someone “I hear you” you are saying that you see what they are saying. God has a lot to say and we can see what He is saying when we are willing and open to hearing from the heart. The ears of our heart give us access to some of the most profound secrets in the Word of God.

 

God has a subtle and beautiful voice. His voice echoes His Word and it always comes with love, reassurance, encouragement and life. God’s voice brings life. It never points toward death. It never speaks of failures. It never discourages and it never speaks of defeat. The Lord conquered death and all its negative agents so He will never magnify the negative. If you hear a subtle voice that tells you to give up or that says that things will never get better, know that you are not hearing God. It is amazing to know that we can hear God’s voice. He says in His Word that we can. We are His sheep and His sheep hear His voice which means this is something we should expect as followers of Christ. Today be assured that you can hear God’s voice. Look for it in His Word. He is louder than you think. Open your Bible and expect great things!

 

God’s voice is beautiful because it is always filled with love and intense peace. His voice makes the noise of confusion and fear stop. His voice is a force to reckon with. It speaks the truth and it speaks freedom. If you are feeling oppressed or heavy today, look for God’s voice. His voice will soothe your soul and heal your wounds. His voice will be the melody you need to stay in peace and to feel joy again. His voice is indescribable and yet it is tangible because it touches you to the core. His voice is the song that never stops. He sings over you and He rejoices over you. His voice is a river of blessings that drown your misfortune and your misery. Jump into the river with both ears first. Listen to the voice of love, the voice of reason, the voice of liberation. The beautiful voice of the Lord might be muffled by the sounds of the world but if you take the time to dig, you will find the beauty under the ashes and you will be highly blessed. God is always talking so keep listening and become His voice to the world around you!

Suggested reading: John 6:63; John 8:47; John 10:27

Start the day with hope

Do you ever wake up in the morning wondering what the day is going to be like? Your first thoughts are manufactured by anxiety and apprehension and you would rather stay in bed than face the day? The good news is that the Lord will face the day with you. He wants you to replace those heavy morning thoughts with His light words. He wants to take your burden and replace it with His yoke that is never heavy and never stressful. Trade your thoughts for God’s promises. Every time those morning thoughts come, attack them with God’s promises. He promised a new day with new blessings. Talk to the thoughts and tell them what the Lord has to say about them. He calls them lies. He knows they are part of an intimidation plan and He has much better plans for you. He is planning to prosper you and to bless you. He is planning to take care of you and to help you. Your help comes from the Lord every day. You don’t have to deal with a new day with an old way of thinking. Reject the old thinking patterns that scream defeat and fear. God’s way of thinking whispers peace, victory and love. The enemy has shown  how much he hates you. Give the Lord a chance to show you how much He loves you. Let Him be in charge of the day. Give Him control by casting all your cares on Him. Take a stand. Refuse to succumb to worry and fear. God can handle any situation you will ever encounter. God can make things right even when everything seems wrong. The worries on your mind will not change your circumstances for the better. They will only make things worse because what you think about a lot ends up becoming your reality. Let God’s reality come through. Let Him be the One who is guiding you throughout the day. Let Him dictate what your day is going to be like. It’s going to be amazing according to Him.

 

I make it a point to start my day with the Lord before my day starts with the world. I meditate on some scriptures. I meditate on God’s promises. His promises reassure me and they comfort me. I declare what the Lord says about my life. I focus on His love knowing that He won’t let me down. It is crucial that I begin with positivity because negativity doesn’t take a nap during the night and it is right there waiting for me when I wake up. I say, “No, not today. Today is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.” Yes, I tell my body and my mind that I will rejoice. My spirit knows that I can. I just have to convince the rest of me that I will. It does work because I believe in the power of confessing the Word of God. It brings change and it brings results. This is something I do every single day no matter how I feel. It comes with practice and it surely pays off. God is with me every day. He matters more than my problems and more than the world. The world will try to squeeze in complaints and criticism in my mind first thing in the morning and that is when I retaliate with praise. Praise like I have said many times, allows the Lord to come into the scene in a big way. Praise makes me so joyful. It puts a smile on my heart and it appeases my mind. God has a lot of good things in store for the day for you and me and we can access His goodness through our words of faith and through our hope in Him.

 

“Today is going to be amazing”‘ is what I have trained myself to declare in the morning. I love proclaiming how great my Lord is and how amazing He is going to make things today. I know that there will be tribulations but I don’t worry because Jesus conquered them all. When a problem arises, my heart says “Stay strong. Jesus already got this one.” Then the goal is to stick to that truth and to make sure that I don’t fall into the trap of second guessing the Lord. When we doubt, we second guess God. We basically wonder if He is God enough. He is more than enough. He is way stronger and bigger than any trial and tribulation. God remains constant. The world changes but He will never change. Your worst nightmare could not even change Him. Your mind changes Him by twisting His sovereignty every time it inflates your troubles. Friend, God will always make a way. Stay encouraged by His Word. Face the day with His promises. Don’t give up on God when bad things land on your lap. Shake off your lap and let your problems fall off. God will pick them up and destroy them. You have great things to look forward to. Look forward to a day where Jesus is king, your problems have solutions, love reigns, peace surpasses all understanding and joy is in the house! Start your day with hope in Jesus Christ every day!

Suggested reading: Psalm 118:24; Jeremiah 29:11; Romans 15:13