faithful

Your Hand Is God’s Hand

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There was something that needed to be repaired in my home so I went to the person who I knew could help me. I didn’t ask this person to repair what was broken nor did I ask for money to get the repairs fixed. I just needed him to contact someone to fix the problem for me or he could have given me the name and number and I would have made the call myself.

I don’t know if the individual wasn’t feeling well or maybe going through a rough time or just didn’t feel like being bothered, but he didn’t help me. At first, I was very disappointed, but then I stopped focusing on the hurt and I began to examine myself.

Was there someone around me hurting or frustrated or feeling hopeless – waiting for me to help them, but hadn’t received my help because I too busy feeling sorry for myself or because I didn’t feel like being bothered today?

And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none (Ezekiel 22:30).

There were plenty of men in the land, but no one made himself available. God wasn’t looking for men. He was only looking for a man and yet He couldn’t find one. And because He couldn’t find one, many were destroyed in the land.

I don’t want that to be said about me – that God looked for me, but He couldn’t find me. I don’t want Him calling out to me like He did to Adam in the garden asking, Where are you?

So, I am asking God to show me one person every day that I can help – and I pray that I’ll make myself available and be faithful, committed and obedient when He shows me.

Withhold not good from them to who it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do it (Proverbs 3:27, KJV).

Never walk away from someone who deserves your help; your hand is God’s hand for that person (Proverbs 3:27, MSG).

Pray Without Ceasing

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I don’t know if my sister is still doing it or not, but for awhile she was buying a lot of hair products for hair growth. And I mean a lot. One day I was asking her about one of the products she had on her dresser.

I don’t know if it works or not. I didn’t use it long enough. I started and then I stopped.

Does that sound familiar?

When something doesn’t happen as quickly as we would like it to, this is what some of us do. We get weary, we stop believing and we stop doing the things that we started doing.

The reason why some of us haven’t seen results or haven’t seen certain things come to pass is because we got distracted along the way. We started making daily confessions and then we stopped. We stopped fasting. We stopped doing what God told us to do. Some of us decided to set up a time to pray every day, but then something else became more important and it took the place of our prayer time.

When Peter was in prison, the church prayed for him and they prayed without ceasing. They didn’t stop praying just because nothing had happened yet. They prayed until their answer knocked on the door.

The angel told Daniel, You words were heard and I have come for your words. If the church had stopped praying, the angels would have stopped working.

Peter needed a miracle. He was in a situation that he couldn’t get himself out of. He was bound with two chains between two soldiers and there were guards at the prison door. Now, Peter wasn’t worried about his situation. He was sleeping. He was resting, but because the church remained faithful, consistent and persistent, an angel appeared to Peter in prison. It was the angel who took the chains off his hands. It was the angel who led him out of a door that he wasn’t supposed to go through.

I’m not saying that the church never grew weary, but in spite of what it looked like or how they felt, they kept praying. Without ceasing means they never stopped. Our problem is we just don’t give God time to work. If nothing happens when we think it should happen, then we assume that God doesn’t love us or that He has forgotten about us or that He changed His mind about what He said.

Let’s become the church we read about in the book of Acts. These people probably needed a miracle in their own lives, but they kept Peter’s name before the Lord. I know God doesn’t sleep or slumber, but they gave Him no rest until Peter was released from prison.

They were like the widow who went to the judge daily until he gave her what she asked for. They were like the person who went to a friend’s house at midnight to ask for bread, but the friend told him that the door was shut, he was in bed and he wasn’t getting out of bed. But because of their friendship (John 15:15) and because he refused to return home without getting what he asked for, the man got out of bed and gave his friend what he needed.

There are some things that we need to stop doing, but praying isn’t one of them.

Pray without ceasing.

 

[Scripture references: Acts 12:1-16; Luke 18:1-8; Luke 11:5-13]

God Doesn’t Want You to Miss a Thing

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One day, the angel appeared to Manoah’s wife. Before he announced what God was going to do for her, he told her about herself. You are barren (Judges 13:3). God wanted her to know that He knew her condition and that He had forgotten about her. The scriptures doesn’t mention whether it was her desire to have children or if she and her husband had prayed for a child. All I know is that God saw a need. He (Samson) shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines (vs 5).

To conceive a child seemed impossible. Manoah and his wife had tried for years, but what had been impossible with man was about to become possible with God. He was going to make it happen. There was a problem and God was going to create the solution for that problem.

The angel gave Samson’s mother two promises. First, he promised her that she would conceive. Then, he promised her that she would bear a son. Not everyone that becomes pregnant gives birth, but she was going to do both.

There is a need and the people in your home, on your job and in your community need someone who will pray on their behalf. They need someone who will choose to live holy. And God needs someone who will be consistent, faithful and who will do what He tells them to do.

The angel told Manoah’s wife what not to touch, eat or drink because of what she was carrying inside of her. I don’t think we carefully consider what we are carrying inside of us (the Spirit of God, the word of God, etc). If we did, we would make better choices.

But for the next nine months, she gave up some things. She put away some things. She stopped doing certain things so that the needs of the people would be met. You see, God wasn’t just giving her a son, but He was giving a deliverer to a people that He loved and called His Son (Exodus 4:22).

My prayer for every person who is reading this is that you will not MIS-carry, be MIS-led or MISS what God has for you or what He wants to do through you for His people.

Give Honor

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You can’t talk about the relationship between Ruth and Naomi without talking about honor. To honor someone is to grant a person a position of respect and authority and to value someone highly.

I believe one of the reasons why some of us haven’t seen God do what He promised is because we refuse to honor and respect the people who He has placed in our lives to guide us, to train us and to help us. Seven months ago, God toId me something regarding my pastors that I will never forget: They are not perfect, but they can help get you to where you need to be.

When Ruth honored Naomi, she honored God. We sometimes don’t see it this way, but when Naomi gave Ruth instructions, it was God giving Ruth instructions. It’s interesting how some of us go to church Sunday after Sunday and yet still struggle to believe what the man or woman of God said, but Ruth believed what Naomi said. The moment she obeyed, God blessed her.

You will only obey what you honor.

One of the reasons why we are so quick to leave a thing or a person is because we were never really committed to begin with. When things got tough, Ruth stuck it out with Naomi. Where you go, I go. Your people will be my people, and your God my God (Ruth 1:14, 16). She had the option to leave, but she chose to stay. When we get our feelings hurt, when someone offends us or when things aren’t going the way we planned, some of us leave (Orpah).  We leave the church. We leave good friendships.  We walk away from the very thing that God is trying to give to us.

We don’t know all the details, but Ruth went through some things. She lost a husband. She faced a famine. She had to go out and work – something she didn’t have to do prior to her husband’s death. But despite the difficulties she faced, she remained faithful.

Naomi and Ruth were two different women from different backgrounds. They had different beliefs. They didn’t serve the same God. One was much older than the other, but despite the differences, Ruth took very good care of who God had placed in her life. And Naomi wasn’t even her biological mother. She was her mother-in-law, but because Ruth took care of Naomi, God had to take care of her.

Ruth’s life would have never become as great as it did had she not honored who God had placed in her life. And I’m not just talking about the fact that she got another husband or a child out of this situation, but look at how God used Ruth to get Jesus here to us. And Boaz begat Obed of Ruth…and Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born, who is called Christ (Matthew 1:5, 16).

Let us learn to honor others. You don’t know what it is that God is trying to birth out of you. God knows what you need (as well as the generation after you) and He knows how to get it to you, but sometimes it will come through people that you didn’t expect it to come through or through people who don’t always say what you want to hear.

But before you get upset or offended, remember it is God’s message. They are just the messenger.

Give respect to those you should respect and honor those you should honor (Romans 13:7, CEB).

Pass the Test

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test: to examine or evaluate; to check the reliability of someone; to reveal the strength or quality of something in secret before they are used in public

Before you could be promoted to the next grade in school, you had to pass the tests. If you failed the tests, then you had to either repeat the grade or repeat a class.

I thought that once I finished school that my ‘testing days’ were over, but that is far from the truth.

When Potiphar’s wife tried to sleep with Joseph, he passed the test, but he was wrongly accused of rape and sent to prison. That was another test.

While in prison, he noticed two men who were sad. He was tested with their dreams. He interpreted their dreams although his own dreams hadn’t come to pass. That was a test.

Then, the butler promised Joseph that once he was released, he would mention him to Pharaoh, but he forgot about him. That was another test.

Finally, Joseph was tested with Pharaoh’s dreams. Pharaoh had called for all the magicians and wise men of Egypt, but none of them could interpret his dreams. But when Joseph spoke, he knew there was something different about him. Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom is the Spirit of God?

Pharaoh then made him a ruler over Egypt.

And Pharaoh took the ring that was on his finger and placed it on Joseph’s finger.

And Joseph was arrayed with fine clothes.

And a gold chain was placed around his neck.

And he was given a chariot.

And he was given a new name.

And he was given a wife.

But before Joseph could receive all these things, he had to first pass the test.

God has promised many of us promotion and we want to be promoted just like Joseph. We want to be elevated. We want what is next. We want what God has promised us. We want what God has shown us through dreams and visions.

Has God forgotten you like the butler who had forgotten Joseph? No. So, why the delay? Why hasn’t it happened yet? Maybe it hasn’t happened yet because you keep repeating the same tests.

The test doesn’t come to tempt you, but it comes to prove you. You must be proven faithful and trustworthy. Before God can trust you with your own, He tests you to see if He can trust you with what belongs to someone else. I’m not suggesting that Joseph would have never gotten married, but had he touched another man’s wife, he would have further delayed getting his own wife.

A lot of times we think the reason why we haven’t received certain things is because God is punishing us for the things we have done in the past, but God loves you. He is not punishing you. He is only testing you. Do you really love Him? Will you obey Him? When God tested the children of Israel in the wilderness, He did it to reveal what was in their hearts. He did it to see whether they would obey Him or not.

You are asking for a lot from God, but God is requiring a lot from you. Can you imagine what it would have been like if God had given all those things to Joseph at the age of 17? I’m not focusing on his age, but I’m focusing on the fact that he had lot to learn. In order for him to be able to fit those clothes or that ring or that position, he had to grow into it.

He had to learn how to be humble, to be compassionate, to be faithful, to forgive and to become a person God could trust. I believe one of the reasons Joseph was able to forgive his brothers was because he knew what it was like to be forgiven. I know he did nothing wrong, but any time you are released from prison, you are forgiven, pardoned and given another chance. And now he could give to others what had been given to him.

Whether you’re still in school or not, there will always be a test. My prayer is that we stop repeating the same tests and instead learn from them.

I don’t care about the tests you have failed in the past. Just know that you will pass this test and the next test to come. Whoever has dug a pit for you, will fall in it. You will not fall with those who fall. You will grow in wisdom and in strength and when they see you, they will see the Father.

Get Rid of It

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I’ll admit it. I like nice things so if someone wants to buy me something nice, I’ll take it.

Well…

The Lord wanted me to get rid of it – not because of what it was, but because of who it came from. I’ll give you a good example of what I mean. If a married man buys a single woman a gift without his wife having knowledge of it, that’s wrong and God is not pleased. In fact, God doesn’t have brides. He has one bride – the church and he’s faithful and true to His bride.

I’m not saying that the Lord doesn’t use people to bless us, but He doesn’t hide or lie about what He does. His blessing makes one rich and there is no sorrow added to it. When the enemy gives you something, sorrow comes with it. Maybe not immediately, but it will come. Also, what he gives comes with strings attached. All these things I will give you IF you will fall down and worship me (Matthew 4:9). There is something he expects in return and the thing he wants is more valuable than things. It is so valuable that it could not be purchased with money, but only with Jesus’ blood. And that’s you and your soul.

I wasn’t battling with obeying God. My mind was made up. As soon as I got home, those gifts were leaving my house, but then I realized I didn’t have the money to buy it myself.

Then the Lord said, I can afford you.

I laughed so hard and I felt so silly.

Of course, He can afford me. He made me and He is able take care of me.

So, yeah. I got rid of the gifts and I’m happy – because I obeyed God.

Be Faithful

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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)