Month: March 2017

Be Not Ashamed

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ashamed: feeling of fear or shame which prevents a person from doing a thing

When God made Adam and Eve, they were not ashamed (Genesis 2:25).  They were told not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but the serpent deceived Eve.   Despite what God said, Eve ate of the tree and then she gave some to her husband and he ate it.  They disobeyed God based upon what it looked like.  It looked good and it looked like nothing would happen if they ate it.  And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was pleasant to the eyes… (Genesis 3:6).  They sinned and sin led to shame and fear.   And he (Adam) said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself  (Genesis 3:10).  When someone walks in shame, this is how the enemy makes them feel:

I don’t deserve anything good because I did something bad.

I’m always messing up.

I wish I could move far away.

I was so stupid.

I’ll just keep to myself. 

The bad thing is that we not only back away from people, but we back away from God.  Where are you  (Genesis 3:9)?

God created Adam and Eve to rule over everything He had given them.  When you read about them or anyone else in the bible who ran or hid (for example, Elijah and Moses), these were powerful men of God.  The reason why the enemy comes after powerful men and women of God is because he is afraid of them.  He knows you are a threat. He is afraid that the anointing on your life will destroy the yokes he placed upon people.  He is afraid that you will free many from their bondage.  He is afraid that you will tear down the walls that He built.  He also knows that if he can get you to walk in shame (or guilt or condemnation), you won’t walk in power.  To defeat the enemy, you can’t walk in shame or fear, but you must walk in the spirit of power, love and a sound mind.

You don’t think the woman at the well was ashamed?  This woman already had five husbands and now she was on the sixth husband.  I can only imagine how much she was talked about.   She probably got involved with the same type of men – the ones who belittled her and used her.   I know she felt stupid at times.  I know she was tired of the cycle.  I know she was tired of being disappointed and lied to.  But one day, she met Jesus at the well.  He didn’t humiliate her or embarrass her.  He didn’t condemn her.  He talked to her in a way that no other man had before.   He told her all the things she ever did.  The scriptures tell us that she left her waterpot, but I don’t think that’s the only thing she left.  I believe she left that sixth husband.  I believe she left shame.  She started smiling again.  In the Old Testament, you read of women going to the well together, but this woman went alone.  After her meeting with Jesus, she didn’t isolate herself anymore.  The devil wanted to silence her, but she was talking again.  She testified of Jesus and what He did in her life and many believed and received Him because of her testimony.

She probably thought God couldn’t use her because of her past.  There is nothing so dirty in your past that the blood of Jesus cannot cleanse.  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness  (1 John 1:9).   There is NOW no condemnation (guilty of wrong) for those who are in Christ Jesus.  Jesus rejected the shame (Hebrews 12:2) and we should reject it, too.   Let Him make you free.  God is not ashamed of you. You don’t have to cover yourselves with fig leaves.  Let His love cover all your sins.  Let Him make you whole.

May God give you double for your shame and may you never be put to shame again.

Become Someone God Can Trust

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When someone has bad credit, it’s not the end of the world for them.  They can learn how to build their credit.  Paying off credit card debt and paying bills on time are just some of the ways you can build your credit as it shows others that you are responsible and that you can be trusted with more (a home, a car or more credit).  There are classes and seminars on how to build your credit, but how do you build trust?  How do you regain it after you have lost it?

To answer those questions, I’m going to use the parable of the unjust servant in Luke 16.  Jesus told his disciples about a rich man who had a steward.  I don’t know how well he knew him or if he knew him at all, but the rich man trusted him to manage what belonged to him.   The first verse tells us that the steward wasted the rich man’s goods.  I’m not sure if he was stealing money or making foolish decisions with what he was given, but what we do know is that he was dishonest.

Jesus never said how long the steward had been doing this, but I’m sure he did it multiple times thinking he would never get caught.  The rich man had no idea that he was being taken advantage of.  In fact, someone else brought it to his attention.  When he learned of what was going on, he called his steward and told him what he heard.  He didn’t want to just take someone else’s word so he told his steward to give him an account or a report of what he was doing with what he had been given, but in the meantime, he could not be his manager because he could no longer be trusted.

This man allowed a good opportunity to pass or to be lost.  The scriptures never stated that the steward admitted to the accusation, but apparently he knew what he was doing was wrong because he wasted no time trying to make things right.  He started thinking about his future.  What was he going to do next? I cannot dig and I am ashamed to beg  (verse 3).  I think he probably could have digged for a living, but he just didn’t want to.  He probably looked at digging as a menial job.  It was beneath him.  He was too smart for that.  He had managerial and accounting skills, but to dig ditches seemed more like a demotion than a promotion.  And he was too proud to become a beggar, but he knew he had to do something – and fast.

Since it seemed like he was about to be fired, there was a possibility that he was also going to be homeless so he came up with a plan to befriend his lord’s debtors.  A man that has friends must show himself friendly (Proverbs 18:24).  The steward called everyone who owed his lord and made a deal with them.  He basically cut their bills in half.  I can only imagine how grateful they were to this man.  They didn’t have to pay all the money owed. The steward knew that if he needed a place to stay that someone would remember what he did for them and open their home to him.  Smart, huh?

When he reported to his lord what he did, the rich man commended him – not for being unjust, but for being wise (vs 8).  We don’t know if the rich man fired him or allowed him to continue to manage his goods, but this parable teaches the just how we ought to be regarding our relationship with God and with people.

Take responsibility for what YOU did.  So, you messed up?  Don’t be angry at others or blame THEM for something YOU did.   Like David, acknowledge what you did (Psalm 51:3).  Confess your faults one to another and pray one for another, that you may be healed  (James 5:16)Apply this scripture to your life so that you may be healed – emotionally (heart), spiritually (soul) and physically (body).

Building will take work and time.  Sometimes an apology is not enough.  The foundation is very important so you want to build on what will stand and what will last.  Trust must be built on truth, not lies – so be honest.  The servant immediately started working.  I don’t know how many hours or weeks or months it took, but he didn’t stop until he collected from every debtor (probably in hopes that his lord would change his mind).  Now, there is a possibility that the individual(s) involved may not forgive you or give you another chance, but no matter what happens, make up in your mind that you are going to do to others what you would have them to do to you (Matthew 7:12).  And don’t worry about what others are doing to you.  You are only accountable for what you do with what God has given you.

Do what you do for the Lord rather than for men.   Sometimes we do the right thing for people, but with wrong motives and sometimes we do the right thing only when we know someone is watching us, but do it even when no one is watching.  Show that you can be trusted at all times – no matter who is watching.  People don’t see everything we do, but the eyes of the Lord is everywhere. Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him? says the Lord  (Jeremiah 23:24).

Respect what others have.  It is not yours.  What the steward took or wasted belonged to someone else.  It was not his and he was not entitled to do whatever he wanted to do with it.  Let’s examine how you are in the workplace.  Do you take personal items from work?  If so and your manager doesn’t know about it, you’re a thief.  You are getting paid to work, but are you spending more time on social media or on your phone or taking breaks?  Would you hire you?  Would you give yourself a promotion?  And if you have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own?  (vs 12).

Love in deed and in truth.  If you are really sorry, don’t just say it.  Show it.  I know none of us are perfect, but please stop using that as an excuse not to change or to do whatever you want to do.  I pray that we all get to the place where we truly love God again because when we love Him, we will obey Him.  And this is love, that we walk after his commandments  (2 John 6, KJV).

Judas didn’t betray Jesus by himself.  He made a covenant with some of the chief priests and captains, but we hear more about Judas than the others.  That’s because Judas knew better.  He walked with Jesus.  They didn’t.  He betrayed Jesus for selfish reasons, but when he realized what he did, he probably thought, What have I done?  Judas tried to make things right.  He tried to return the thirty pieces of silver.  I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood  (Matthew 27:4).  The same people that he sinned with no longer wanted anything to do with him.  They got what they wanted and they had no more use or need for Judas.

Judas saw Jesus forgive others yet he didn’t believe he would be forgiven so he hung himself.  Some of us are the same way.  We think that what we’ve done is unforgivable.  Some of us still walk in condemnation and shame over things that we did, but God is not disappointed in you and He is not ashamed of you.  He still loves you.  People may never forget what you did, but God remembers it no more.  Take the truth, which is the word of God, and build your trust in what HE said about you and not what people said about you.  Trust God to turn things around.  Trust God to make everything beautiful in His time.  Trust that all things will work together for good.  God didn’t hurt you nor did He fail you.  The only reason why some of us have trust issues is because we trusted the wrong people.

Sometimes when people get mad, they give what is called the silent treatment, but God isn’t like that.  Think about all the things you and I have done to God or to His people, yet He still speaks to us.  If God is dealing with you and He is sending people to encourage you, it’s because He loves you and He wants to do what He promised. He wants to prove Himself to you.  Maybe certain people will never trust you again – maybe they will never speak to you again, but if you ask God to forgive you, He will forgive you.  Let what happened draw you closer to God, not further away and let it teach you how to value the things and people God has gave you.

Become someone who God can trust.

Let Where You Are Prepare You for Where You’re Going

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The word of the Lord tried him  (Psalm 105:19).

Joseph went through some ups and down.  One moment he was reporting to his dad about what his brothers were doing.  The next moment he was thrown in a pit and sold into slavery.  One moment he was serving an officer of Pharaoh.  The next moment he was accused of trying to assault the officer’s wife and sent to prison, yet he ministered and served even while in prison.  Why do you look so sad today?  (Genesis 40:7).   He helped someone else with their dream even though his dream hadn’t come to pass yet.

The word, promotion, means to move forward or to advance.  We use that word in school when someone goes to the next grade or level.  When we use that same word in the workplace, we think it means having a title and getting more money, but when God talks about promotion, it is about developing growth and character.  Promotion is not just about getting.  It is about giving – to God and to others.

Joseph learned how to submit to others, to forgive, to let go of pride, and how to love.  He wasn’t just going through. He was growing through and at the right time God promoted him.  Pharaoh set him over his house, his people and over all the land of Egypt.  Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God so that HE many exalt you in due time  (1 Peter 5:6).

Some years ago, the Lord told me that a promotion was coming (at another job), but I didn’t receive what God promised because of fear, laziness and I had the wrong attitude.  I wanted everything to come easy.  I didn’t want to go through anything.  I didn’t want to endure anything and eventually I gave up.  I walked off that job – the same job where God said He was going to promote me.  I didn’t give the word a chance.

God still sits as a refiner and purifier of silver (Malachi 3:3).  Fire is applied during the refining process because it causes what is hidden to be revealed and rise to the surface.  The Lord sees the heart  (1 Samuel 16:7).  God doesn’t use fire to destroy us.  He uses it to change us.  Like silver, you and I are valuable and precious to God, but He wants to remove the dross (impurities) from the silver so that we will be ready for HIS use (Proverbs 25:4).

Some of you may not have a job, but God has given all of us responsibilities, gifts and talents.  Promotion will come, but to be used the way God wants to use you, let Him separate the dross from the silver so that others can see HIM in the silver.

Don’t run from it.  Don’t complain about it.  Don’t give up on it. Let where you are prepare you for where you are going.