How Much Time Do You Think You Have Left?

Posted on Updated on

As of today, I have lived  approximately 23,101,457 minutes, 385,024 hours, 527 months, 2,291 weeks, and 16,042 days, but when I began to evaluate how I manage my time, I realized that I really haven’t been living.

How much time do you think you have left?

The days of our lives are seventy years, and if by reason of strength, they are eighty years (Psalm 90:10, NKJV).

You have determined the length of my days, and my life is nothing compared to You. Even the longest life is only a breath (Psalm 39:5, VOICE).

We have been given 24 hours, 1,440 minutes and 86, 400 seconds in a day.

Take a moment and answer these questions:

How many hours do you sleep in a day?

How many hours do you work a day?

How many hours do you talk on the phone a day?

How many hours you do spend on social media a day?

How many hours do you watch television a day?

How many hours do you spend doing nothing (idle)?

Examine the last ten years of your life.  Maybe you could have had two college degrees by now.  Maybe you could have been a homeowner by now.  Maybe you could have written a book by now.  If you had put aside $100 every pay period for the last ten years (if you’re paid biweekly), you would have saved $26,000 by now.

You can’t get those years back.  They are gone, but can you see the value of time? Do you remember those times you were awaken out of your sleep?  You could have read, worked on something God told you to do or prayed, but instead you rolled over to go back to sleep.  Look at how much time you gave to people that you knew wasn’t even worth your time.  Look at how long you were angry with someone.  Think about all the times you said you were bored.

Have you ever noticed that the words we use to describe how we use our time are the same words we use to describe how we use money?  We talk about spending time, losing time, wasting time, etc.  Paul even tells us to buy back time.  Redeeming the time, because the days are evil  (Ephesians 5:16)When people invest their money, they invest in hopes of receiving a return or gaining a profit.  They also expect the return to be greater than the investment.  We are to invest our time for the Lord and invest in others the same way we invest our money.

I will never be able to stand before the Lord and tell Him that He never gave me time or a chance.  Time and chance happens to them ALL (Ecclesiastes 9:11). Didn’t God give Jezebel space to repent (Revelation 2:21)?  When Hezekiah was sick unto death, didn’t God send Isaiah to tell him what he should do.  Set your house in order, for you shall die and not live  (Isaiah 38:1).  The moment Hezekiah repented (Isaiah 38:2), God told Isaiah to tell him that He heard him, He saw his tears and He added 15 years to his life.  AND I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria and I will defend this city  (Isaiah 38: 6).  For some of us, the answer to our problem is just one word – repentance.  All it takes is turning from what we were doing to what God wants us to do.  Redeem the time.

Do not spend whatever time you have left on this earth angry, sad or feeling sorry for yourself.  Make the best use of your time. Making the very most of your time on earth, recognizing and taking advantage of each opportunity and using it with wisdom and diligence, because the days are filled with evil  (Ephesians 5:16, AMP).

For what is your life? It is even vapour that appear for a little time, and then vanish away  (James 4:14).

For all flesh is as grass…the grass withers  (1 Peter 1:24).

You don’t have as much time as you think you do.  I’m sure the five foolish virgins who spent their time sleeping rather than preparing for the bridegroom thought they had plenty of time until his arrival (Matthew 25:1-13).  Or what about the lord who put his servant in charge of everything (Luke 12:35-40)?  He gave him a job.  He gave him purpose.  To every thing there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heaven  (Ecclesiastes 3:1).  He gave him time and chance. He gave him something to do for HIS servants – not for himself – until he returned.

God doesn’t want us to stand idle in these last days (Matthew 20:6). Below are just a few things we ought to do until the return of Christ.

Grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18).

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven (Matthew 5:16).

Walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise (Ephesians 5:15).

Love one another, as I have loved you (John 15:12).

Speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).

You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that you should go and bring forth fruit (John 15:16).

As believers, we have plenty of work to do.  The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few  (Matthew 9:37).  Not only has God given us work to do, but He has given us enough time to do it.  We don’t have time to waste.  Time is precious and fleeting.  I pray that we all become good stewards of the time God has given us.  May we use every moment and opportunity to do what we were placed on this earth to do – before it’s too late.

Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered— how fleeting my life is (Psalm 39:4, NLT).

 

Advertisements

God Will Not Disappoint You

Posted on

disappointed: sad or discouraged because someone or something failed to fulfill one’s hopes or expectations

Have you ever thought you were getting a job or a promotion only to find out that you didn’t get it?

Have you ever met someone who you thought was ‘the one’ only to find out that he/she wasn’t?

Do you feel like you always get excited about something only to be disappointed – again?

God told Moses what to say to the Israelites, but he was afraid that they would not believe him.  They will say, The Lord has not appeared to you  (Exodus 4:1).  But Moses obeyed.  He returned to Egypt like God told him to.  Israel accepts Moses as their leader and he was okay with that.  Pharaoh rejects him and he was okay with that, too.  Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go  (Exodus 5:2).

But after Pharaoh told Moses no, he told the taskmasters and their officers to no longer supply Israel with straw to make bricks.  Not only did Israel have to find their own straw, but they still had to make the same number of bricks and they were beaten (Exodus 5:16).

Now Israel rejects Moses. They didn’t want to have anything to do with him anymore.  May the Lord look upon you and judge you. For you have caused us to be hated by Pharaoh and his servants. You have put a sword in their hand to kill us  (Exodus 5:21, NLV).

This was not okay.  It wasn’t supposed to happen like this.  He did exactly what God told him to do and now they were angry with him. Moses went back to God.  Not only did he tell God about how the people were being treated after his meeting with Pharaoh, but he also told God that He didn’t do what He said he was going to do.  For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done evil to this people and You have not delivered your people at all  (Exodus 5:23).  Moses was disappointed and he felt like God had lied to him.

Jacob also experienced disappointment.  His uncle, Laban, had two daughters named Leah and Rachel.  When I was younger, I was told that Leah was the ugly one and Rachel was the beautiful one, but that’s not what the scriptures tell us.  In fact, the scriptures only speak of one part of Leah’s body that was flawed or less beautiful than the other parts.

Leah’s eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful in form and appearance (Genesis 29:17, AMP).

There was no sparkle in Leah’s eyes, but Rachel had a beautiful figure and a lovely face (NLT).

There was no brightness to Leah’s eyes, but Rachel had a beautiful shape and was lovely to look at (VOICE).

Jacob loved Rachel (Genesis 29:18).  He loved her so much that he served her father for seven years just so that he may have her as his wife, but on the day of the wedding feast, Laban gave Jacob his eldest daughter, Leah, and not Rachel.  Jacob didn’t know this until the following morning.  Can you imagine how he felt?  He asked specifically for Rachel, but instead he was given Leah.

What is this you have done to me? Was it not for Rachel that I served you? Why then have you deceived me?  (Genesis 29:25).

Now, Jacob was tricked by his uncle and I know that some of you think that Jacob deserved it because he deceived his own father.  Despite everything he did, God loved Jacob (Malachi 1:2, Romans 9:13) and He loves you and me, too.

I know Jacob didn’t want Leah and he was disappointed that she was now his wife.  Maybe he did feel like he deserved what happened to him because of what he did to his father and brother, but what we fail to realize is our mistakes and our plans don’t change God’s plan.  Your mess-ups can’t mess up God’s plan.  I know Rachel looked better.  It appeared that she had everything that he wanted, but what he wanted was barren, empty and unable to produce children (initially).  It wasn’t what was on the outside of Rachel, but what was on the inside of Leah that God needed.

This was God’s plan: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life  (John 3:16).  And guess whose lineage Jesus was born through?  It wasn’t through Rachel.  Abraham begot Isaac, and Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brethren (Matthew 1:2).  Judah was Leah’s mother.

For some people, it feels like you’re always getting disappointed, but your disappointment didn’t come from God.  It came from the people and things you placed your hope in. Despite what Laban did, Jacob kept serving because he knew what he could have and he wanted Rachel that much.  And Jacob served seven years for Rachel  (Genesis 29:20). Do you know what God has promised? Do you want what God has promised?  If Jacob can serve someone who lied to him, we can continue to serve Someone who cannot lie.

God did exactly what He told Moses he was going to do to Pharaoh, BUT Moses had to continue to do the things that God told him to do.  Don’t stop doing what God told you to do.  Put your hope and trust in what God said.  We don’t always understand HIS plan, but He knows what He is doing.  So, before you go to God complaining about what He didn’t do, what is it that you haven’t done yet?

Maybe you prefer ‘Rachel’ (not necessarily a person, but a thing or a situation), but God gave you ‘Leah’ because Leah will put your faith to work.  Maybe you’ve been comfortable for too long and God gave you Leah to push you out of your comfort zone.  It is out of Leah that the promise will come.  God will give you favor because of Leah.  And one day, you will realize that if it wasn’t for Leah, you wouldn’t have prayed as much as you did.  If it wasn’t for Leah, you would have still been serving yourself rather than serving others.  Rachel would have only drawn you away from God, but Leah brought you closer to God.

God is not keeping any good thing from you.  I know not receiving the thing you were hoping for made you feel like a failure.  I know it hurts. I know it made you cry, but what you thought was a disappointment was really a blessing.  No one likes the feeling of rejection.  No one likes to be told no, but the promises of God are still yes and Amen.

Believe that God is good, believe that His plan is good, believe that He only gives good things, and this time you will not be disappointed.

Those who hope in ME will not be disappointed  (Isaiah 49:23, NIV).

Humble Yourself

Posted on

humble: to surrender, to subdue by self-denial, to depend on God

Naaman was described in the bible as a man who was great, honorable and mighty, but he had a problem.  He was a leper (2 Kings 5:1).  We are not told how long he was in this condition.  The bible doesn’t mention that he was trying to seek help from anyone or anything, but I’m sure like some of us, he was probably trying to figure out what to do or how to fix his problem.   I can only imagine his relief once his wife told him that her mistress knew a prophet that could heal him of his leprosy.

I know leprosy was addressed as an incurable disease, but there was a woman in the book of Numbers who was healed of leprosy.  She wasn’t born with it.  She became leprous after she spoke against her brother and God’s servant, Moses.  When Moses interceded on her behalf, God healed her.  I don’t know if Naaman had ever heard of Miriam, but he had faith to believe that he would be healed.  Had he not believed, he would have never left Syria.

But when he arrived to Elisha’s house, the prophet didn’t come outside. He sent his messenger instead to give Naaman simple instructions.  Maybe because of his position, he was used to being treated a certain way, but he didn’t get the special treatment he was expecting.  Not only was he told what to do, but he was told what will be done for him ‘if’ he obeyed.  And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you, and you shall be clean”  (2 Kings 5:10).

Naaman just didn’t have a problem with the message, but he had a problem with the messenger.  This was a servant, not a prophet, telling him what to do.  Instead of doing what he was told, he was offended and angry. But Naaman became furious, and went away and said, “Indeed, I thought, ‘He will surely come out to me, and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place, and heal the leprosy’  (2 Kings 5:11).

Just like Naaman, we have it all planned out and we think we know how God is going to do it, but God doesn’t think the way we think (Isaiah 55:8). Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? May I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage  (2 Kings 5:12).  Naaman thought his way was better.

Does it seem like you’re always struggling (a long effort to deal with something that is difficult or that causes problems)?  I’m not saying that we will never go through anything, but we have told people in the church, The struggle is over, but we didn’t tell them the struggle won’t be over until they do what God told them to do.

It’s so easy to blame the devil, people or God for what we’re going through, but it’s not them.  It’s you.  You are struggling because of you.  You are struggling because of the choices YOU made or refuse to make.  Your current condition isn’t incurable (not able to be changed or corrected).  Some of you have said, But I tried.  Yes, you did try – your way, but did you try it God’s way?

Naaman had good servants.  They held him accountable for his behavior.  And his servants came near and spoke to him, and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do something great, would you not have done it?”  (2 Kings 5:13). What they were really saying was, If you were told to do something that you wanted to do, you would have done it.  You see, when Naaman left for Israel, he took ten talents of silver, six thousand pieces of gold and ten new outfits.  He didn’t have a problem giving his money, but that’s not what was asked of him.

Sometimes, God will ask you to give the very thing that you’re holding onto or is holding you back – that is keeping you from receiving what you’re asking or praying for.  Remember the rich young ruler who asked Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life?  Although he had money and possessions, he knew there was something missing.  He wasn’t whole.  When Jesus mentioned the commandments, he was so proud of himself because he wasn’t doing any of those things (committing adultery, killing, stealing, lying or disrespecting his parents).  He liked what Jesus was saying at first, but then Jesus said something that he didn’t like.  Sell all that you have, distribute them to the poor, and follow Me  (Luke 18:22).  The ruler walked away sad because he was very rich.  He wanted what he was asking for, but he wanted it on his own terms.

Although Naaman didn’t want to do it, when he got tired of being in the condition he was in, he humbled himself and obeyed.  One of the reasons why people aren’t ‘healed’ in certain areas of their lives is because of pride.  Pride is when you think your way is better than God’s way.  It is when you think you are always right.  Sometimes you will have to apologize even when you didn’t do anything wrong.  Pride will tell you not to apologize until they apologize first.  Pride will never admit it is wrong.  Unfortunately, some great relationships have been destroyed because we were more concerned about being right rather than living right.

I think back to some things that God told me to do, but I didn’t do them.  The instructions weren’t hard or impossible.  They were so simple, but I didn’t do it because I didn’t want to.  I thought there was another way or a better way.  There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death  (Proverbs 14:12)

Paul was a Pharisee and he thought the things he were doing were right.  He persecuted and jailed anyone who preached or followed the teachings of Jesus Christ.  But one day as he was traveling to Damascus to put followers of Christ in jail, a light from heaven shined around him and he heard a voice.  It was Jesus.  Saul, why do you persecute Me? (Acts 9:4).  Jesus told Saul that in trying to hurt Him, he was hurting himself.  Instead of Saul continuing to do what he thought was right, he humbled himself and asked, Lord, what will you have me to do?  (Acts 9:6).

This is what God wants us to ask Him.  Maybe we haven’t asked this question because we’re afraid of what His answer will be.  He doesn’t want us to trust in ourselves, but to trust in Him and do what He wants us to do.  Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not unto your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths  (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Health wasn’t restored to Naaman after dipping in the water the first, third or fifth time.  To see results, he had to obey God fully, not partially.  The good news is that Naaman just didn’t receive his healing, but he also learned who God is.  Now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel  (2 Kings 5:15).

We are so close to the very thing God has promised us, but pride and disobedience will keep us from receiving what was promised.  Remember, God fights against those who are proud, but he helps those who are humble (James 4:6).

Humble yourself.

 

Be Faithful

Posted on

faithful: trustworthy, reliable, consistent, not changing in behavior or attitude, believing

Joseph’s brothers hated him so much that they considered killing him.  What profit is it if we slay our brother and conceal his blood?  (Genesis 37:26).  They decided instead to sell him to the Ishmeelites and the Ishmeelites then sold him to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh.

Despite what happened to Joseph, he served well in Potiphar’s house.  Potiphar saw that the Lord was with him and he later made Joseph overseer of his house.  Things were going well until Potiphar’s wife accused him of attempted rape.  Potiphar then put Joseph in prison.

While in prison, the keeper of the prison placed all the prisoners under Joseph’s supervision.  When Pharaoh threw his butler and baker in prison, the captain of the guard assigned them to Joseph and he served  them also (Genesis 40:4).  One morning, Joseph noticed that the butler and baker were sad (Genesis 40:6).  They both had a dream, but they didn’t understand it.  Joseph didn’t withhold his gift.  He interpreted their dreams.  The baker was going to be hung on a tree, but the butler would be restored to his position in three days.  Joseph told the butler that once his dream came to pass, not to forget about him.

But remember me when it is well with you, and please show kindness to me; make mention of me to Pharaoh, and get me out of this house. For indeed I was stolen away from the land of the Hebrews; and also I have done nothing here that they should put me into the dungeon  (Genesis 40:14-15).  But the butler forgot about him (Genesis 40:23).

Even though Joseph was ready for that season of his life to be over, it wasn’t time yet.  He had to stay in prison just a little while longer. He had to be patient and patience isn’t always about waiting.  Patience is more about what you are doing while you are waiting.  Some of us are just like Joseph.  We wish God would hurry up.  We think we are ready to receive what God has promised, but God is watching your faithfulness.  God is watching what you do with the little.  Maybe the reason why you’re still where you are now  is because you aren’t ready for what’s next.

Things didn’t always go the way Joseph liked, but he remained faithful in every  season – in his father’s house, in the pit, in Potiphar’s house, and in jail.  Joseph had every reason to be angry, bitter and disappointed, but his attitude remained the same.  What Joseph went through should have hardened his heart, but he wasn’t like Naomi.  He didn’t allow circumstances and hard times to change him or his name.  He didn’t allow what was sweet to turn bitter.  He didn’t send anyone away or isolate himself from others. He worked – consistently – as unto the Lord, not unto man.  He kept giving.  He kept sowing seed, not knowing which seed was going to produce.

And one day, the gift that he gave sometime ago opened doors and brought him before a great man.  He was then made ruler over Pharaoh’s house, his substance and all the land of Egypt.  He would also discipline Pharaoh’s princes if needed and teach the elders wisdom (Psalm 105:22).

Everything he went through brought him to this season.  During the waiting period, Joseph proved to be reliable and trustworthy.  He served when it was comfortable (home).  He served when it was uncomfortable (jail).  Before he became ruler over others, he learned how to submit to those who had rule over him.

Beautiful story, right?  But the story doesn’t end there.  Remember, his dream hadn’t come to pass yet (Genesis 37:6-10). 

A famine came and it was all over the face of the earth.  This is why Joseph was sent (Psalm 105:17).  All countries had to go to Egypt to buy corn.  Jacob sent his sons (Joseph’s brothers) to buy corn because of the famine.  When his brothers came before him, they bowed before him.  Joseph remembered the dreams which he dreamed of them  (Genesis 42:9).

When Joseph’s brothers saw him, they didn’t even recognize him (Genesis 42:8).  I don’t believe it was because his looks changed.  I think it was because he changed.  Joseph had a lot of growing up to do (and so do I).  I can only imagine how Joseph felt walking around with a coat that no one else had, but he was stripped of pride and anything that shouldn’t have been in his heart or mind.  God wants to transform us in such a way that people can no longer see us, but they see Him.  Pharaoh didn’t even serve Joseph’s God, but he recognized Him.  Do you remember when Pharaoh needed someone to interpret his dreams?  He called his magicians and wise men, but they couldn’t help him.  He saw the distinction between them and Joseph.  Can we find anyone like this, a man who has God’s spirit in him?  (Genesis 41:38).

We think that the dream is beautiful, but there is beauty in what God is doing in us right now.  When God completed His work, Joseph wasn’t full of pride, hate, anger or bitterness.  In fact, when his brothers gave him money for corn, not only did he return it, but he gave them more than what they had.  When Joseph’s brothers threw him in an empty pit, they sat down and ate a meal.  Joseph didn’t even have water in the pit, but he didn’t treat them the way they treated him. He opened his home to them.  He gave them water to drink.  He gave them bread to eat.  He washed their feet.  He even fed their donkeys.

And he did all of this without an apology.  It’s easy to help someone who has helped you, but can you help someone who has hurt you?  Joseph couldn’t do it on his own, but he trusted God to do it through him.  I’m amazed at Joseph’s forgiveness towards his brothers, but I’m even more amazed at his faithfulness towards God.

You may be on a job that you don’t like, but be faithful.  If God gave you a spouse, be faithful.  Maybe God told you that he was going to send help to the ministry, but it seems like more people are leaving than coming.  Be faithful.

When I was younger, I sang on the youth choir every third Sunday.  On the days I sang, I attended church twice – 7:00 and 11:00 a.m.  I remember one morning after church, the late Reverend Johnson shook my hand and called me ‘faithful’.  I didn’t understand it at the time, but the reason why he said this was because it didn’t matter who sang or who didn’t sing.  I showed up.  He knew that most young people like to stay in bed late on Sunday mornings, but I got up early even when I didn’t feel like it.

In the last ten years, I’ve quit things when it didn’t seem like it was working or it didn’t seem like it would get better or it just didn’t feel good.  I just didn’t give it time and you must give things time to grow, but I wanted God to do it now.  I realize now that I was only thinking about myself.  I wasn’t thinking about my family or the people that would need what I have.  I knew what I wanted, but I never thought about what God wanted.

Many are called, but few are chosen  (Matthew 22:14).  You are the Joseph of your family.  You were chosen.  Let God discipline, chastise and correct you now in private before He reveals you in public.  Let Him change you.  Let Him make you.  Let Him do to you what the potter does to the clay.

I’ve been called faithful before and I want to be called faithful again.

Well done, good and faithful servant! (Matthew 25:21, 23)

 

Possess Your Souls

Posted on Updated on

possess: to win; to own; to contend; not giving way to adverse circumstances

More and more people are choosing to live a healthier lifestyle.  They are going to the gym every day.  They are drinking more water.  Some have even decided to become vegans.  I, on the other hand, am like Paul, who believed every creature of God is good and is to be received with thanksgiving (1 Timothy 3-4).  While I’m so glad that we’ve decided to take better care of our bodies, I can’t help but wonder what it would be like if we cared for our souls the way we care for our bodies?

For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul  (Matthew 16:26)?

There are some things that are hard to get back.  We see this when Esau sells his birthright to his brother.  We also see this in the parable of the lost coin (Luke 15:8-10).  This wasn’t her only coin.  She had nine other coins, but it wasn’t until she lost one that she understood the value of what she had.  She knew something was missing in her life and she wanted it back.

I’m not sure how this woman lost her coin, but what I do know is that this woman lit a candle, swept the house and searched diligently through the dust and dirt until she found it.  To find it, she had to separate herself.  No distractions.  In fact, her friends and neighbors aren’t mentioned until after  she found the coin.

There are some people and situations that you will have to walk away from.  And no, that’s not being mean.  That’s being wise.  It means you are learning to guard your heart with all diligence.  It means that you now understand how precious you are and you are pulling away from anything or anyone that will pull you back into what God pulled you out of.

One of the tricks of the enemy is to get you to join yourself to the wrong people while separating you from the right people.  Sometimes our relationships look like the picture below.

The ox knows how to plow and the donkey knows how to plow, but it’s just not wise for them to plow together.  It would be better for the ox to plow with an animal that has its nature or character.  It should be joined with an animal that would work with it and not against it.  I know we didn’t choose the families we were born into, but we can choose our friends.  Choose people who will help you, not hold you back.

Another way the enemy tries to get to your soul is through sexual immorality.  There is no need to boast about what foods you don’t put in your body if you commit sins that affect both your body and soul.  We’ve heard it and we have read it, but I don’t think we really understand that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit – that He is in us to help us.  He helps us to win and to overcome temptations.

King Lemuel begins Proverbs 31 by sharing with us the words of his mother.  I believe the best advice his mother gave him is found in Proverbs 31:3 – Give not your strength to women  (Proverbs 31:3).  Throughout the book of Proverbs, we read about the strange woman (2:16), the evil woman (6:24), the whorish woman (6:26), the foolish woman (9:13) and the adulterous woman (30:20).  His mother wanted him to join himself to a wise woman who builds her house (which includes him), not a woman who is known to tear apart her house or break up other people’s houses.

Have you ever watched the movie, Fireproof? Do you remember the salt and pepper demonstration? Michael glued two salt and pepper shakers together to show Caleb what happens when two souls become one.  At the end of the demonstration, Caleb started to pull the two shakers apart, but he was warned not to because he would either break one of them or even worse – the both of them.

The reason why satan tries to break up marriages or tempt people to lay with someone who is not their wife or husband (fornication as well adultery) is to destroy souls.  He wants to ruin you emotionally and spiritually.  He wants you to feel so used and damaged that you think it is impossible for God to ever use you.  He wants to put an end to what God wants to do before it is even started.

Some of you are carrying unforgiveness, hurt, shame, fear, bitterness and anger because of who you joined yourselves to. They all weren’t bad people, but they were the wrong  people simply because they weren’t right  for you.  But these things that you are carrying contaminate your souls. They wear you down and make you sick in your body.  They hinder your prayers and they keep you from moving forward.

But most of all, these things weaken your faith in God.  It will cause you to back away rather than to draw near to God. The enemy recognizes the power of one (unity).  He knows the power of love and he doesn’t want you to love like you used to.  He knows the power of your prayers (John 14:13-14).  And he knows what your faith can do – overcome him! For whatsoever is born of God overcomes the world: and this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith  (1 John 5:4).

In Luke 21, Jesus warned the disciples of the signs that will precede his return. The first thing he mentioned was deception (vs 8).  Many shall come in my name, saying, I am the Christ…but don’t follow them.  The purpose of deception is to get you to exchange what is of value for something of little or no value.  (Esau exchanged his birthright for one morsel of meat; Hebrews 12:6). After he lists all the events that will take place, he says, In your patience possess your souls  (vs 19).

The soul consists of the mind, will and emotions.  The enemy attacks your soul because that is the area where you think, feel emotions and make decisions.  When a person is deceived, he is made to believe something that is not  true.  He is misled by a false appearance.  Deception has caused many ‘believers’ to leave the very place where God sent them or planted them to grow.  It has even caused them to leave families (spouses and children) for what they thought was better.

Your soul is precious and valuable.  You are precious and valuable to God.  Don’t exchange what you have for something that you don’t need.  It is important that you take good care of your body, but also guard your soul.  Choose your thoughts and be careful with your words.  Don’t be impatient like Esau who acted like he would have fainted had he not eaten right away.  Wait on God.  And don’t be deceived like Eve.  One of the reasons why she ate of the tree was because it was pleasant to the eyes (Genesis 3:6).  Let us make sure that whatever we do is pleasing to God, and not just to our eyes.

Possess your souls.

 

Rest, but Don’t Quit

Posted on

walk: the way you conduct yourself; to live in obedience; to move; to go through

Throughout his ministry, Jesus walked a lot.  There was this one time that he needed to travel through Samaria.  When he arrived to Sychar, a city of Samaria, he was tired (John 4:4).  What I love about this passage of scripture is that when Jesus got tired, he didn’t quit.  He didn’t give up.  He stopped and rested.

Jesus, therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well  (John 4:6, KJV).

So Jesus, tired as He was from His journey, sat down [to rest] by the well  (John 4:6, AMPC).

As believing Christians, we walk a lot too.  Well, we are supposed to.

Let us walk honestly  (Romans 13:13).

For we walk by faith  (2 Corinthians 5:7).

Walk in the spirit  (Galatians 5:16).

And walk in love  (Ephesians 5:2).

Walk as children of light  (Ephesians 5:8).

That you might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing  (Colossians 1:10).

And this is love, that we walk after his commandments  (2 John 1:6).

Throughout the bible, we are told how we should walk.  I know we don’t always walk how we were taught to walk.  I know you’ve made a lot of mistakes, but I want to encourage every person who is reading this.

Keep walking!

Do you remember when Paul was in a ship with some other prisoners?  While they were sailing, Paul perceived that they would suffer hurt and much damage (Acts 27:10).  He wasn’t just talking about the ship, but he was talking about their lives being in danger.  But the centurion wouldn’t listen.  He believed the master and owner of the ship more than the words spoken by Paul.

Sometimes we believe the words of people more than the word of God. 

When a violent wind came, they were tossed about on the ship.  To save themselves, they had to throw things off the ship to reduce the weight.  They experienced seasickness, stress and they were without food for a long time.  Have you ever thought back to some decisions you made and said, If I had only listened?  Paul told them that they should have listened to him, but he knew they were already feeling bad so he didn’t make them feel worse.  He didn’t condemn them.  He told them to cheer up.  There will be no loss of life among you, but only loss of the ship  (Acts 27:22, AMP).

Maybe you didn’t listen when God warned you, but don’t dwell over it.  Don’t beat yourself over it.  Cheer up.  The enemy wants you to feel like you’re a failure.  He wants you to think that you can’t do anything right.  You’re always messing up.  You do good for a little while, but then you do something foolish just before the breakthrough or before the promise can be fulfilled in your life.  For some of you, there are people who have blamed you for the choices they  made.  They made you think it was your fault.  They made you feel like you were a bad person.  Yes, you have made some bad choices, but that doesn’t make you a bad person.  Everything wasn’t your fault.

I don’t care what people have said about you.  You won’t miss it this time.  You have been the tail for too long, but things are about to turn around for you.  No, God hasn’t changed His mind about you.  He wants to bless you.  If you will obey His voice and do all that He has commanded you to do, God will make you the head (Deuteronomy 28:1, 13).  You don’t have to force it.  HE will do it.

So don’t look back.  I don’t want you to regret anything.  I don’t want you to worry about it anymore.  I don’t want you to sit too long.  Get up and ‘walk’.  Don’t stop doing what works just because it seems like it’s not working.  I know you wish you could have done some things differently, but guess what?  You still can.  It’s not too late for you.  Every day that God gives you is another chance and another opportunity to do things differently.

I told you earlier that Jesus needed to go through Samaria.  When Jesus sat down to rest, he ministered to a woman who was ‘tired’ too – tired of going from man to man, tired of the hurt, tired of the disappointment – looking, searching and hoping.  Is he the one?  Will this one love me the way I deserve to be loved?  This woman was so busy looking for someone to love her that she never learned to love herself.  But she met Jesus – and he spoke to her like no other man had ever spoken to her before.  What this MAN did for  her made her forget about what all the other men did to  her.

You need  to go through what you’re going through.  It’s going to help somebody.  Someone has lost hope, but you’re about to give someone hope again.  I know you get weary at times along the way. Sometimes you want to give up, but keep walking in what God told you to do.

And when you get tired, rest.

Rest in the promise God made to you.  Become like Paul who believed God and believed that it would be as it was told to him (Acts 27:25).  Be at peace with what God said and as you place your hope in Him, He will renew your strength and you will walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:31).

Rest, but don’t quit.

Believe Again

Posted on

believe: accept something as true; to accept the evidence of; to have confidence in the truth; to be persuaded; to trust; to expect with confidence

Have you ever wondered why certain things hadn’t happened in your life yet?  While I was praying one afternoon, I got my answer.  ‘You stopped believing.  You gave up’. 

It is hard to receive anything from the Lord when you don’t believe.  But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.  For let not that man think that he will receive anything from the Lord  (James 1:6-7).

I didn’t have a problem believing that God heard me when I prayed for others, but I started feeling like God didn’t hear me when I prayed for myself.  That doesn’t make sense, does it?  Aren’t Christians called ‘believers’?  What happened to me along the way?  Was I upset because I asked God for something and He didn’t give it to me?  Did I think God was punishing me for something I did in the past?  Have I been disappointed so many times that I stopped expecting anything good to happen to me?  Or was I just impatient?

Jairus only had one child.  She was 12 years old and she was dying.  He went to Jesus, fell at his feet (worship) and made his prayer request known.  My little daughter lies at the point of death: I pray you, come and lay your hands on her, that she may be healed and she shall live  (Mark 5:23).

Jesus heard him and began walking towards his home.  Jairus believed that Jesus was going to answer his prayer, but then Jairus had to do something that we all don’t like to do.  He had to wait.  As they were walking, a woman, who was diseased with an issue of blood for 12 years, touched the hem of Jesus’ garment (Matthew 9:20).

That’s right.  Jairus had to stand there and watch someone else get what he prayed for.  And according to the scriptures, Jesus doesn’t keep walking after the woman touches him.  He stops and begins talking to this woman.  I can only imagine how Jairus felt.  It is during times like these that we feel God is taking too long and that He has forgotten about us.  You feel like you’re running out of time and you wish Jesus would hurry up.

We are never told that Jairus celebrated this woman’s healing or that he rejoiced with her.  You would have thought that witnessing someone else’s healing would have built his faith, but then he gets some bad news.  There came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house certain which said, Your daughter is dead: why trouble the Master any further?  (Mark 5:35).   He was basically telling Jairus that it was too late and that he ought to give up.  Jesus must have known that he was discouraged because He immediately said to him, Be not afraid. Only believe  (Mark 5:36)Do you know what Jesus was really saying to him?  Despite what has happened, believe Me again.  Trust Me again and I shall do what I said.  And guess what? Jairus did just that.  When Jesus resumed walking to his home, Jairus followed him.

Jairus and this woman were very different.  Jairus asked Jesus to touch his daughter.   The woman, on the other hand, didn’t wait for Jesus to touch her.  She touched him.  She mixed faith with works.  For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole  (Matthew 9:21).  What you tell yourself is important.  If there’s anybody who should have had low self-esteem or felt rejected, it should have been this woman.  She should have been somewhere alone, isolated from everyone, embarrassed about her condition, feeling unloved and unwanted.  It had already been twelve years now and that’s a long time, but she didn’t give up.

It is also very important that you’re careful about what you think on.  Not every thought is from God.  What the woman said to herself started as a thought.  Some of you right now are thinking that you will never get married or have children or be who God has called you to be.  It seems like things are happening for everyone else except you and the moment you get discouraged, you say things like, ‘I guess I’ll be single for the rest of my life’ or ‘Maybe it wasn’t meant for me to have children’ or ‘Nothing will ever change’. I loved the fact that when Jairus got the news his daughter died, Jesus never allowed him to open his mouth and speak against the very thing he was praying and believing.  One of the reasons why the enemy attacks the area of your belief is because he knows that ALL things are possible to him that believes (Mark 9:23) and he doesn’t want you to get everything God has promised you.

Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole  (Luke 8:50).  Jairus only wanted his daughter to be healed from one thing, but Jesus wanted her to be whole (healed in every area of her life).  This is another problem we have.  A lot of times, we become angry or bitter because we didn’t get the one thing we prayed for, but God wants to do exceeding abundantly above that which you are asking.  I’ll give you a good example.  A friend of mine had a sick grandmother.  For months, she prayed for her grandmother to be healed, but her grandmother died shortly thereafter.  The good news is that before she died, she received Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior.  Please understand that there was nothing wrong with my friend praying for her healing, but God wanted to give her grandmother something better.  God didn’t want her healed physically, but sick spiritually.  He didn’t want her grandmother to live apart from Him – not here on earth and not for an eternity.  Although we don’t always understand why certain things happen, we must always remember that His plan for us is good.

Do you remember the father who had a demon-possessed son?  When Jesus told him that all things are possible to him that believe, the father said, Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief  (Mark 9:24).  I love how honest and humble this man was.  This is what he was really saying:  Lord, I believe in this area, but I’m having trouble believing in that area.  Please help me in the areas that I don’t believe.  Help me to trust You.  I want us to be like the men and women described in Hebrews 11:13.  Some of them didn’t receive the things God promised, but they still  believed God.  In fact, they died believing God.

I’ve heard stories of people who went through a painful divorce and swore they would never get married again, but one day they gave love another chance.  They trusted again.  They didn’t allow a bad relationship to keep them from a good relationship.  So, I’m going to give Love another chance.  I’m going to pray the above prayer as many times as needed.  I’m not going to let bad experiences separate me from Christ.  When I first got saved, I was like a little child. Trust wasn’t an issue.  I believed everything God said…and I want that again – for me as well as for you.

Believe again.

 

[Scripture references: Matthew 9:18-26; Mark 5:21-43; Luke 8:41-56]