Don’t Add Another Year in the Wilderness

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God told me not to do it, but instead of obeying the Spirit of God, I obeyed my flesh and did what I wanted to do. God could have changed His mind and tell me that I didn’t deserve what He wanted to give me, but He didn’t. His only words to me were ‘Not now’.

Not now is better than never.

All I could do was admit I was wrong, confess my sin, and repent. There was no excuse. I had been forewarned. Yes, the devil beat me over the head many times about it and it took me awhile to forgive myself, but the good news is even after I failed the test, God gave me grace to take the test again. That was six years ago and I made up in my mind that I didn’t want to add another six years in the wilderness.

It’s not that God doesn’t want to give us the things we are praying for, but He wants to be able to trust us with those things. Have you ever asked God for something and He said, ‘You’re not ready?’ It hurt when God told me that, but what would have hurt more is if He didn’t tell me and instead gave me something that I wasn’t ready for. God is not going to give you something that pulls you away from Him, but rather push you closer to Him.

It is possible for a thing to be good, but not good for you.

I know the wilderness is described as a dry place, but when you obey God, you can eat and drink there.  You can enjoy where you are to where you are going. Just as we are given a set time to go to the next grade or graduate from school, God has given us a set time in the wilderness.  It is not supposed to be your permanent condition. In fact, it is not a bad place, but the reason why we don’t like the wilderness is because it is uncomfortable and it is not familiar. This place reveals the areas where we do not trust God. This place shows us that we don’t know God like we think we do. Sometimes it feels like you’re going to die, but God didn’t bring you to the wilderness to die. He brought you here to kill those things that easily beset you and keep you from becoming what God called you to be. The wilderness is designed to train, teach and prepare you for where God is taking you.

Don’t focus on how long you’ve been in the wilderness, but focus on what the Spirit of God is teaching you in the wilderness. Don’t be discouraged for the wilderness is not your permanent residence. It is only temporary. You are only passing through. This wilderness experience is helping you to get to where God called you, but the longer you resist what God is doing, the longer you will remain there.

Obey God.

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It’s Not Always What It Looks Like

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When there is no storm, all houses look the same, but when a storm comes, you see how different they really are.

In Matthew 7:24-27, Jesus tells the parable of two builders.

Notice that the storm didn’t come while the builders were building. God had allowed them enough time to build it right.  Too many times as Christians, we are concerned about how we look outwardly rather than how we look inwardly. We are more concerned about gifts rather than character, but it’s not your gift that needs to be built. It’s your character that needs building.

Just as Noah was given instructions on how to build the ark and Moses was given instructions on how to build the tabernacle, I’m sure these two builders were given instructions on how to build their houses. The instruction comes from God’s mouth to your ears, but eventually it must reach your hands. We have a responsibility to do something with the word that God gave us. That was the downfall of the foolish builder. He heard the same word that the wise builder heard, but he didn’t do what the Word said. Neither builder knew that a storm was coming, but not knowing when a storm is coming is not an excuse not to prepare for one.

Everyone was able to see the clean windows, the green grass, and the beautiful flowers, but the important part of the house was hidden – the foundation. Jesus tells us that the foundation for every believer is ‘My words’ (vs 24) and these words should be hidden in our hearts.  

What God requires of us takes time. You can’t rush this process. It takes time to build and it takes time to grow and mature in the word.

So don’t compare your life to others and get discouraged by how things look right now. What you are doing for God is not a waste of time for in a little while, what you have been doing and/or saying in secret will be revealed in public. 

Stop Going Around the Same Circle

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If you don’t believe the words God gave you, you won’t obey Him and if you don’t obey Him, it’s because you don’t trust Him.

Have you ever examined your life and noticed a pattern? You hear the voice of God yet you don’t see the manifestation of what He said because of the poor choices you make. For example, God promises you a promotion or a raise on your job, but one day you get angry with your supervisor and prematurely quit your job or God promises you a spouse, but you allow your flesh to pick your mate and now you are in a relationship that you are trying to get out of because you refused to wait on God.

Some of us look like the man in the picture above. You have been going around the same circle for years.

You feel like you’re always messing up and that you will never receive what God has said, but I have some good news for you. The Lord shared with me the other night that He doesn’t speak careless words. Have you ever said something that you wish you could take back after you said it? Well, not God. He gave careful thought to every plan, purpose and promise. Despite our foolish ways and disobedience, His promises are still ‘Yes and Amen’. The devil wants you to feel condemned about the mistakes you made and he will even try to convince you that God is tired of you and your mess-ups, but that’s far from the truth.

God has not changed His mind concerning you. In fact, He does not repent the day He made you a promise, but it’s your disobedience and unbelief that is prolonging the process, which leads to the promise. Yes, God loves you and He doesn’t want you to miss Him or the things He has promised, but there is still something YOU must do. If you want change, you have to make some necessary changes in your life.

Elijah had a need and God wanted to supply His need so He gave Elijah instructions to hide himself by the brook Cherith. It was there that God commanded the ravens to feed him. Elijah’s provision wasn’t where he was. It was where God told him to go, but Elijah had to move.

The reason why you haven’t seen the provision of God yet is because you refuse to go ‘there’ (disobedience). Hearing the word of God is not enough. You must do the word. Another reason why you haven’t seen the provision of God is because of unbelief. What you don’t see has been preventing you from seeing what God said. You will miss God every time you try to figure it out and not walk it out. I understand that you don’t see how God is going to do what He said and it seems impossible, but if you don’t obey God, you will always be ‘here’.

This year, do what God tells you to do. It’s time to stop going around the same circle…God wants to show you a better view.

The Answer is in You!

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Joseph had a problem.

He was falsely accused of rape and sent to prison. There were no witnesses and it was his word against Potiphar’s wife’s word. Not only did Joseph have a problem, but he was surrounded by men in prison who also had problems. It didn’t look like anyone could help him get out of his situation.

One day, Joseph noticed the sad countenances of two men. The answer presented itself to the problem. The men didn’t know what was hidden in Joseph and Joseph didn’t know what was hidden in the butler, but they were about to help one another. If Joseph had focused only on himself and his problems, he would have never seen their faces.

To these men, Joseph probably didn’t look like he could help them, but don’t make the mistake of overlooking people because of what they look like. You will never know what’s in a package if you never open it.

The baker and butler told him their problem. They had a dream and were unable to interpret it, but Joseph knew the meaning of the dream. After the dreams came to pass, the butler was released and went back to work. Joseph told him not to forget about him once he was released, but the butler did. Two years passed and Joseph was still in prison, but one day Pharaoh had a dream. He called for all the magicians and wise men, but none of them could interpret his dream. Although the butler forgot about Joseph, he could never forget what Joseph did for him. He told Pharaoh about the man he met in prison who interpreted his dream. Pharaoh then sent for him.

Joseph didn’t know how to get out of his situation, but the moment he solved their problems, he no longer had a problem. The moment he met their needs, his need was met.

You have what someone needs and someone has what you need, but the secret in getting is giving.

You are God’s gift and inside of you is the answer to someone’s problem. Take what God has given you and give it to someone else and when you give, it will be given to you good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over. 

Go!

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Temple taxes were due and according to Mark 6:8, the disciples were commanded not to take money in their purses on their journey so Peter didn’t have money, but Jesus knew where the money was. First, Jesus told Peter to ‘go’ to the sea. To get what you need, you have to know where to go. Next, Jesus told him to cast a hook. Now Peter knew how to fish. He was a professional fisherman, but Jesus taught him how to catch fish a different way. Nets were always mentioned in the bible when fishing. In fact, that’s what Peter left when he followed Jesus, but to get something he never had, he had to do something he never did. If Peter had used a net, he would have caught a lot of fish, which means he would have had to try and figure out which fish had money in its mouth and God doesn’t want His children to be confused or uncertain about anything. Just like God commanded the ravens to feed Elijah, He commanded the fish to swallow a coin and to go to the place where Peter would be fishing. When Peter opened the fish’s mouth, he only got what he needed for that day. This is proof that God will give you your daily bread. The last thing Jesus told Peter was to take and give. He didn’t tell him to take and spend or take and squander. God provides seed for sowing, not for eating (2 Cor 9:10). God gave His first and only Son (Seed) and in return He received many sons. When we give our first, we will get a return also. It won’t always be in the form of money. It may be a family member receiving healing, protection of your children or a loved one receiving salvation, but there will be a return.

Notice that Jesus didn’t pay the tax for Peter. Neither did the money fall from the sky. Peter had to do something and then God provided what He needed. Peter used his gift (fishing) and his gift made room.

God doesn’t want you worrying about how your bills are going to get paid. Seek God because HE knows where the money is. There are hidden riches in secret places (Isaiah 45:3).

Every miracle comes with instructions, but you must follow the instructions in order to receive the miracle. Like Peter, you will find money, but you must follow the first command and ‘go’.

You’re Just in the Middle

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When we receive a word from the Lord, we receive it with joy, but we forget that tribulation and persecution will come because of the word. It’s easy to get excited in the beginning and excited about the end of a thing, but what are you doing in the middle?

 Jesus gave the disciples instructions to go into the ship and go to the other side. The disciples obeyed and everything was going well until the ship was in the midst (middle) of the sea. No one knew that when the word came, the wind would come also. What happened to the disciples is what happens to every believer in Christ. When God is for you, everything that is against you getting to the other side will come, but God always sends His word first to prepare us for the wind that is coming.

 The disciples were toiling and rowing and Jesus saw them struggling. All they were doing was what Jesus told them to do yet they felt like they were getting nowhere. The Helper came to them walking on the sea, but they were so distracted by the wind that they didn’t even recognize the Word. When the disciples willingly received the Word, the ship immediately was at land (John 6:21).  

 The quicker you accept, receive and do the word God gave you, the quicker you will make it to the other side.

 Jesus gave Peter one word – ‘Come’. The moment Peter stopped doing what the Word told him to do, he sank. The Word was before him, but all Peter could see and hear was the wind. God wants you to believe the Word, not the wind. When you stop acting on the word, it is because you stopped believing the word. Don’t walk by what you see and be careful what you listen to. Attend only to your Father’s words.

 You are not alone on this journey because the word of God is in you. Don’t give up because it seems hard and don’t focus on how long you have been on the ship. The race is not given to the swift so learn to endure and be fully persuaded that you will get there.

 You are so close. Don’t stop rowing now. You are just in the middle.

Reference scriptures: Matthew 14:22-33; Mark 6:45-51; John 6:16-21

Don’t Settle At the Gate

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In 2 Kings 7:3, there were four leprous men at the entrance of the gate. The scriptures didn’t state how long they settled at the gate. What I do know is that these men could have entered the gate at any time. There was no one there to stop them. A famine was in the land and they had two choices: die in their condition OR go through the gate and ‘possibly’ die. The only thing that was holding them back was fear, but once they decided to do something they had never done before, they realized that things were better on the other side. 

I do believe in the power of prayer, but some of our situations don’t need prayer – it needs a decision. Today, make up your mind about what it is that you want and MOVE! You will never know what your life could be like if you settle at the gate.