Don’t Settle

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The children of Reuben and Gad had a lot of cattle.  God promised them a land flowing with milk and honey, but they saw the land of Jazer and Gilead and thought it would be a great place for their cattle.  They thought it would be better.  They went to Moses, the priest and the princes of the congregation about their plan (not God’s plan).  May we settle here instead of crossing the Jordan into the promised land?  (Numbers 32:5, VOICE).  Moses couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Shall your brothers go to war and shall you sit here? (vs 6).

In Numbers 20, Moses was told he wouldn’t enter the promised land.  The Lord spake to Moses and Aaron, Because you didn’t believe me, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, you shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them  (vs 12).  Here we have Moses, who wanted to enter in, but couldn’t while the Reubenites and Gadites had the opportunity to enter in, but chose not to.  Moses couldn’t believe that they came this far only to settle here  when God wanted to give them there.  He was also concerned that it would discourage the others from going across to the land that the Lord had given them.  Eventually, half of the tribe of Manasseh decided not to cross over either. Our decisions do affect other people. 

Moses told the Reubenites and Gadites that they were just like their ancestors (Numbers 32:8).   When Moses sent their ancestors to survey the land, they went as far as the valley of Eschol, took one look at the land and quit.  They discouraged the others who wanted to go by telling them how strong and tall the people were that inhabited the land and that they wouldn’t be able to go up against them.  God was so angry with them that He made them (with the exception of Caleb and Joshua) wander in the wilderness for 40 years until that generation (20 years old and older) died out.

The Reubenites and Gadites vowed to help the others fight and to cross over, but their minds were made up.  They were content.  They didn’t want to go any further.  Now that may have been fine for them, but that’s not okay for us.  Don’t settle.  Don’t accept something or someone just because you don’t see what God said yet.

God has better for you. 

God has already given what He promised, but you must want it. You must go and possess it.  Wishing and hoping is not enough.  Going to church and hearing the word is not enough.  You must do what the word says.  Some of us are trying to find different ways to enter into the promise, but there is only one way – obedience.  This is how Caleb and Joshua entered in.  They followed God completely (vs 11).  And lazy people don’t inherit the promise.  You can’t be like the five foolish virgins who expect other people to have oil for them – and for you.  Get your own oil!  Do what you are supposed to do.  Use what God gave you.

In Mark 6:45, Jesus revealed to the disciples their destination, but He never told them what would happen during the journey.  And straightway he constrained his disciples to get into the ship and to go to the other side to Bethsaida  (vs 22).  On the way there – in the middle, the wind was blowing against them and their ship was tossing because of the strong waves.  Jesus saw them struggling, trying to row the boat.  Even though the journey was hard, they never stopped rowing.  They did what Jesus told them to do.  They kept moving toward the other side.  They kept resisting the wind and the waves.  They made it to the other side (with Jesus in the ship with them) and so will you. The enemy wants you to get discouraged in the middle.  He wants you to give up and settle where you are.  If you are going to become settled in anything, become settled in the word.  Come in agreement with God and accept what He said as true.  Don’t sit here  when God has promised you there.  God wants to give you more than what you can see.

But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him (1 Corinthians 2:9).

Please understand that this isn’t just about receiving ‘material things’ on the other side.  This is about discovering who we are in Christ (here) and doing what we were anointed to do (there).  The enemy wants us to remain in the middle, straddling the fence (lukewarm), halt between two opinions.  He doesn’t want us to grow spiritually.  He wants us to just go to church and have a ‘good time’.  He wants us to be hearers only – always learning and getting new information and revelation, but never understanding the truth (2 Timothy 3:7).

Let’s look at this another way.  When the disciples entered the ship with Jesus, a severe storm came (Matthew 8:23).  The ship was covered with waves.  Jesus was sleeping while the disciples were panicking.  When they woke Him up, He asked, Why are you fearful, you of little faith  (vs 26)?  Jesus rebuked the winds and the sea and they got to the other side.  On the other side, they met two men possessed with devils living among tombs (vs 28).  Now do you see why the enemy fights you so hard?  The reason why he doesn’t want you to cross over to the other side is because he doesn’t want you to heal those he oppressed.

Let us not be like the tribes that only thought about what they wanted for themselves.  God doesn’t just want us to go to the other side, but He wants us to help someone else get to the other side, too.

I pray that we all cross over and enter into what God has promised.

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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Sometimes you think you’re okay in certain areas until those areas are tested.  I recently experienced an incident on my job with another co-worker and I’ll just say it wasn’t good.

First of all, I didn’t use the ‘think before you speak’ method.  I spoke out of anger.  The day following the incident, I told myself (before walking into the building) that I was going to be ‘adult’ about it.  That meant no silent treatment, no attitude and I was going to work like nothing had happened the day before.  Why?  Because the eyes of Lord are everywhere.  He was watching me and He could see what others couldn’t see – my heart.  When my co-worker spoke to me, I responded, but inwardly I was saying, Don’t look at me and don’t talk to me.  Sound like a grown-up, right?

The next day (or maybe it was two days later), I was better.  I smiled.  I said ‘thank you’.  I listened and responded (in a nice manner).  I was disappointed by what happened, but I wasn’t angry anymore.  I was no longer expecting an apology and I made up in my mind that I was going to make the best out of a bad situation.

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you  (Matthew 5:44).  I’ve heard that scripture before, but what I heard and what I knew was about to be tested.

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

I thought I was doing pretty good.  I forgave her.  I spoke to her (when she spoke to me of course).  And now I was praying for her.  I was kind of proud of myself.  I felt like I grew a few inches taller – and then I was told to check on her.  Come on, Jesus.  Really?   I didn’t want to check on her, but God reminded me of two things: 1) He gave me grace, and 2) He didn’t give it to me because I deserved it.  He gave it to me because I needed it – and she needed it, too.   

I didn’t do it immediately, but when I finally texted her, she was happy to hear from me.  At the end of the conversation, she told me twice that she loved me.  It’s so easy to say those three words when everything is going well, but can you show it when everything is not going well?

Well, since I wasn’t ready to say it, I wanted to at least be able to show it.  I didn’t want to bring up the past and I didn’t want to treat her the way she treated me.  Do not repay evil for evil or insult for insult  (1 Peter 3:9).  That’s what ministry is all about.  Ministry is not preaching behind the pulpit and it doesn’t just occur in the church.  Ministry is every place the soles of your feet tread upon – your home, your job, the grocery store, etc.

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.

Don’t Go Back

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Exodus 2:23 tells us that the cry of the Israelites went up before the Lord due to their bondage.  They were tired of what they were going through.  They were tired of the abuse, the beatings, the burdens, and unfair treatment.  God heard and He answered their cry.  The Egyptians whom you have seen today, you shall see them again no more forever  (Exodus 14:13).

One moment, they were praising God for rescuing them (Exodus 15:1), but later they complained and wanted to go back to the very thing that made them cry.  How could this be?  According to Exodus 12:41, it had been 430 years of slavery.  They had lived this way for a long time and they were set in their ways.  Things weren’t that good, but it was the only life they had known.  It was familiar.

They brought up the past a lot.  They talked about what they missed in Egypt – the fish, cucumbers, lemons, leeks, onions and garlic.  I believe they wanted what God promised, but I don’t think they liked the way He was taking them to get to the promise.  They also weren’t patient, but it is only through patience and faith that one inherits the promise (Hebrews 6:12).  One example of this was when Moses took too long on the mount.  What did they do?  They went right back to their old ways and asked Aaron to make them gods.  If they served the Egyptians, it is possible that they also served their gods.

God wants to do a new thing, but some of us won’t give God a chance.  As soon as it feels like nothing is happening or will ever happen, we consider going back to old things – old relationships, old conversations, old habits.  We’d rather walk by what we see or feel than walk by faith.  Some of us haven’t received the things God promised because we don’t want to let go of our old ways.   Jesus warned against putting new wine in old wineskins because the old wineskin is not in the best condition to receive something new or something good.  It is not fit for its use or purpose. You see, new wine forces the wineskin to expand, but if the old wineskin can only stretch to a certain point because of its poor condition, then it will be ruined and lose whatever it is given.   But unlike old wineskins, we can stretch, grow and change – IF we want to.

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new (2 Corinthians 5:17).

If you’re single and desire to be married one day, sometimes it will feel like you will never meet him or her.  The devil will try to make you feel like there’s nothing better than what you used to have.  For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness  (Exodus 14:12).  But the devil lied again.  It wasn’t really that good.  The temptation to settle or to go back to a relationship or something from your past (that wasn’t good) will come and although the wait seems long, I will tell you what God told the Israelites:

You must not go back that way ever again  (Deuteronomy 17:16).

When a person considers going back, it’s because he doesn’t believe that there’s something better ahead.  Unfortunately, some people have returned to old things not knowing that ‘one more time’ could be their ‘last time’.  The very thing that God delivered you from is looking for an opportunity to come back in your life, but this time it won’t return alone.  It will bring seven other spirits and you will be in worse shape than before.  The King James Version describes it as the ‘last’ state (Matthew 12:45).

You will be left behind if you keep thinking about what you left behind.  Let it go and let go of the way YOU do things.  Your way isn’t always the right way and sometimes it is our ways that get in the way.  Your ways are not My ways  (Isaiah 55:8).

New wineskins don’t resist new wine.  It allows the new wine to change its form.  It works with it.  It expands with it.  When Jesus told Simon and Andrew to follow Him and he will make them to become fishers of men (Mark 1:17), He never told them what to leave.  They just knew that what they had was no longer needed – not for where Jesus was taking them. And straightway they left their nets, and followed him  (Mark 1:18).

Unless you’re going back to apologize or to give thanks, don’t go back.  What God has is better than what you once had.

 

Let It Be

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Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her (Luke 1:38, NJKV).

God sent an angel to Mary.  Gabriel told her she was going to become a mother.  You shall conceive in your womb  (vs 31).  He also told her what she would carry and who He would become.  He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Highest  (vs 32).

All of this sounded good, but Mary had one question.  How can this be?  (vs 34).  How was she going to have a baby?  She was a virgin and she wasn’t married yet.  The angel explained to her who would do the work – the Holy Ghost (vs 35).  It wouldn’t be by her power or by Joseph’s might.  It would be by HIS Spirit.

The angel knew that what he told Mary sounded impossible so to build her faith, he told her about her cousin (vs 36).  Elizabeth was barren and too old to be a mother. No one ever thought she would have a child, but in three months she was going to have a son.

The impossible is possible – with God.

The angel said what God told him to say.  Now, Mary had to make a decision.  According to Luke 1:38, she decided to serve the Lord.  I am the servant of the Lord.  Mary had no idea what she was about to go through.  She didn’t know that she would have to leave her home, leave their families and flee to Egypt during the night to protect her son.  Even though Simeon prophesied that she would suffer as though she had been stabbed with a sword, she didn’t know that meant watching her son being mocked, beaten, spat on and crucified.  My point is this: Even though she didn’t have all of the details, she surrendered.  She trusted God.  She wanted what God wanted and she was willing to do whatever He commanded.  Her response to God was, Use meDo what You want, not what I want.

Maybe God has told you what you are going to do for Him and who you are going to become and just like Mary, you either looked at your past or your present condition, and wondered how.  How is this going to happen?  I don’t have a college degree.  I don’t have a spouse.  I don’t have that much money in the bank.  I don’t know anyone who could help me. I don’t speak very well in front of people.

But I will tell you what Gabriel told Mary.  The Lord is with you  (vs 28).  You don’t have to be afraid.  You were chosen for this.  What you are carrying and will bring forth is great.  What you must go through is going to save and deliver many.

Stop running.  Stop resisting.  Stop fighting God and let it be – according to His word.  Let it happen.  Stop trying to figure it out.  Stop thinking about yourself and think about those who are hurting.  Think about those who are bound.  Think about those who are not saved.  This isn’t about you.  Forget about your plans and find out what His plan is.  Make a decision.

Mary’s mind was made up. 

It didn’t matter that Elizabeth was old or that Mary wasn’t married.  God is able to perform what He promised.  No word from Him will ever fail.  If He said it, then He will do it.  All He needs from you is your obedience.  All He needs is a ‘yes’.  What has been hard for you is not too hard for the Lord.

Maybe you’re thinking about what happened the last time.  Like Simon, you tried and nothing happened.  We have toiled all night and have taken nothing  (Luke 5:5). You were disappointed.  You had enough.  You were even thinking about giving up.

But, try again.  Trust God again.  Nevertheless at your word, I will let down the net  (Luke 5:5).  Sometimes we have this picture of how the ministry, the marriage, the career, or the children should be, but let go of what or how you think it should be. You have to believe that what God wants to give you is better than what you’re holding onto.  Let it go and…

Let it be.

Don’t Quit

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quit: to stop, leave a place or person, let go, to admit defeat

I know the one thing Jesus had against the church of Ephesus was that they left their first love, but He saw their works, their labor and their patience.  He knew that they had not given up.  Despite the long wait, they continued to serve Him.  They were patient.  They kept going.  They kept trying.  They suffered for the sake of His name without quitting.

If you’re going to quit anything, quit giving up. 

I know you are wondering, When is God going to do it?  When will it come to pass?  For some of you, it feels like you’ve been waiting for a long time, but I want to encourage you with these words: The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise (2 Peter 3:9).  You may think that He is late, but everything God does is at the right time.

Some of you reading this want to quit.  You want to quit church.  You want to quit that ministry.  You want to give up on that marriage.  You want to give up on that child. You want to walk off that job.  I know it seems like nothing is happening.  It seems like God isn’t doing anything, but He is always working (John 5:17, NLT).

The reason why some of you can’t quit is because God won’t let you.  Don’t you realize how far you’ve come?  Don’t you realize that God has been with you all the way?  You can try to give up.  You can try to run and hide from what God has called you to do and to be, but just like Peter, people will recognize you because you can’t hide that light under a bushel.  I don’t care how dark it seems in your life.  It is not able to put out the light that is in you.

But a certain maid saw him (Peter) as he sat by the fire and earnestly looked upon him, and said, This man was also with him (Luke 22:56).

And after a little while another saw him and said, You are also of them (Luke 22:58).

And about the space of one hour after another confidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow also was with him: for he is a Galilaean (Luke 22:59).

It wasn’t long ago that I was lying on my bed thinking about all the poor choices I made, the people I hurt, the people that hurt me, the things I’ve lost and the things that were stolen from me.  I was comparing my life to others.  I was giving up.  I was asking God to give up on me.  I began to think that every word I read in the bible and every word spoken to me were lies.  (Some of you know exactly what I’m talking about).  But even though I was ready to let Him go, He wouldn’t let me go.  He wouldn’t leave me alone.

At this point in your life, you couldn’t walk away even if you wanted to because His lovingkindness keeps drawing you back.  Every time you said you weren’t going back to church, you went right back.  You started praying again.  You started believing again.  Just when you thought you couldn’t go any further, God gave you new strength to go on and to press on.  In the last few months, God has proven Himself to me.  I cannot deny Him or His existence.  Even when things weren’t going good in my life, He remained good to me.  He never left me.  He was with me and is still with me.

Listen.  Don’t beat yourself up about the past and don’t feel sorry for yourself.  Think about the steps and strides you have made.  Yes, you have failed some tests, but think about the great testimony that will come out of what you’ve been through.  Think about the people who will be set free and delivered because of your testimony – because you refused to give up.  You may not be what you should be, but you’re not what you used to be either.  You may not be where you want to be, but you will get there –

IF you don’t quit.