It is always important to be focused when you’re behind the wheel, but I try to be even more focused when driving to a place that I’ve never been before. I don’t even like to answer my cell phone while I’m driving because the only voice I want to hear is, ‘In one mile, turn left’ or ‘You have reached your destination’.
Because I don’t know where I’m going, I have to trust the voice of a woman on my phone – who I don’t know and have never met – to take me to a place that I’ve never been before. To reach my destination, I must pay close attention to her instructions and follow them.
It’s the same way with God. We have never been where God is wanting to take us, but we have to trust that He knows the way. In fact, He is the Way. All we have to do is obey His instructions.
When Jesus asked the impotent man if he wanted to be whole, he was really asking the man to make a decision. The man told Jesus that he had no one to put him in the pool when the water was troubled, but then he makes a surprising statement. But while I am coming, another steps down before me (John 5:7).
Wait a minute.
His problem wasn’t that he couldn’t move. His problem was he kept stopping. His problem was he kept getting distracted. Have you ever noticed that the moment something new is about to happen in your life, the old comes? Old things. Things that God delivered you from. Old boyfriends or girlfriends. Old ways.
Old things are nothing but distractions. Distractions come to confuse you, to take you in many directions (except for the right direction) and to keep you from possessing the thing that God has said He has given you. This man was at the right place. He was near the pool. He was so close, but he was more focused on the people than the pool.
The old wants to keep you from entering into the new. It is waiting and seeking for an opportunity to enter back into your life, but this time you will be wise and not foolish. You will no longer be taken advantage of by the enemy. Though you may stumble, you will not fall. You will please the Lord.
The enemy only brings old things. He may use a different person this time, but it’s still the same old thing. Just remember…you are new.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new (2 Corinthians 5:17, KJV).
Therefore if any man be in Christ, let him be a new creature. Old things are passed away: behold, all things are become new (GNV).
Whoever is a believer in Christ is a new creation. The old way of living has disappeared. A new way of living has come into existence (GW).
On this past Monday, the Lord shared with me what it really means to serve at my church. Serving is more than just teaching Sunday school or singing on the praise team. Sometimes serving is sweeping the church, vacuuming the carpet, picking the trash off the floor, just to name a few.
I work with some pretty cool people on my job, but there is one young lady who started recently that is teaching me a lot about attitude and character. First of all, she was hired for one position, but right now the company needs her to work in the area that is needed the most. What I love about her is that no one has to tell her what she needs to do and she does what is asked of her. She doesn’t complain, she is very helpful and always cheerful.
One day, a patient told her that one of the public restrooms needed to be cleaned. She never turned around and said, I’m not doing it. Who wants to do it? She immediately found gloves and cleaned the mess. Yes, the new girl!
Now, I’ve been there for almost four years and if it was me, my attitude would have been, They don’t pay me enough to clean no restroom. That is not in my job description.
But that’s the wrong attitude. You see, I want God to trust me with doing the ‘big’ things, but He is not going to give me the ‘big’ things until I faithfully do the ‘little’ things. Maybe your attitude was like mine. You don’t think you should do certain things. You think you’re better than that. That’s not your job. That’s someone else’s job. But the truth is – we’re not better than anyone else. If I clean at home (without pay), then what was the problem?
To serve means to obey. It also means to be of use – not when you feel like being used, but when you are needed. Sometimes you will have to go out of your way. Sometimes it will be inconvenient for you, but convenient for others. We don’t see it this way, but when you serve, you become the answer to a problem. Isn’t that what we want to be? An answer and not the problem. People have enough of their own problems. They are looking for an answer.
One of the things managers and pastors love is when they don’t have to always tell you to do something. They like it when you don’t wait for someone else to do it, but you see what needs to be done and you do it.
Even though the Lord was dealing with me about serving at my church, we should also serve well at home, on our jobs or wherever God sends us. Our attitude should be that we are doing it for the Lord, not for people (Colossians 3:23). Serve Him with gladness. Become a cheerful giver (and not just with your money). Don’t offer Him sacrifices that are blind, sick, or broken (Malachi 1:8; Leviticus 22:22), but give Him what You want Him to give you. Give Him your best!
I was raised a certain way and there were areas of my life where I needed to be disciplined, but I wasn’t disciplined. I’m not blaming the people who helped raised me, but for most of my life I’ve been like the ones who stood idle, waiting for someone to ‘hire’ them (Matthew 20:6-7). I didn’t look for something to do (Ecclesiastes 9:10). I waited for someone to tell me what to do.
But even though I’ve been that way for a long time, you know what?
I can change.
plan: a decision to do something; to devise a way to overcome difficulties; a step-by-step method
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end (Jeremiah 29:11, KJV).
He doesn’t think about you the way you think about yourself nor does He regret the decision He made concerning you.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV).
When God devised a plan, He included you in it. He didn’t leave you out of His plan.
And, what is His plan?
His plan is to save you.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).
For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4).
His plan is to deliver you.
Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father (Galatians 1:3-4).
His plan is to heal you.
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:5).
His plan is to fill you with His Spirit.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled (Matthew 5:6).
Be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18)
His plan is to use you to bring others to Him.
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16).
Your adversary is always trying to put what’s behind you, in front of you. He wants you to focus on the past, but God doesn’t care about your past. He cares about your future.
There is so much that God wants to do through you, but there is so much He wants to do in you – first.
Don’t worry about your plans (that didn’t work out), for His plan is better.
His plan is not to harm you, but His plan is to bless you.
Follow His plan.
Trust the plan.
You don’t miss your water till the well runs dry.
My grandmother used to say that all the time. That was her way of telling me that I won’t really appreciate what I have until it’s gone or until I lose it.
Have you ever abused or misused something? Have you ever lost anything and you wanted God to give you another chance?
Maybe you messed up a good friendship. Or you cheated on a good man/woman. Or you left a good job. Or you squandered money. Or you lost a business. Because of your ways and your disobedience, you missed out on some great opportunities.
But the good news is that if you confess your sins, God is faithful and just to forgive your sins and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
A man who refuses to admit his mistakes can never be successful, but if he confesses and forsakes them, he gets another chance (Proverbs 28:13, TLB).
For weeks now, I’ve been asking God to trust me again in certain areas.
But I’m not asking Him to give it to the person that I was when I lost what He gave me – selfish, unfaithful, immature and disobedient. No. I’m asking him to give it to the person who is filled with the Spirit of God in wisdom, understanding and knowledge – who will not do her own will, but the will of her Father.
There was a man who was given a great responsibility to help rear and train up God’s only Son and our Savior, Jesus.
His name was Joseph. He is described as a just man (Matthew 1:19). He was engaged and he respected his fiancée. He made the choice to wait until his wedding day, but while they were engaged, he found out that his soon-to-be wife was pregnant – with Someone else’s child. I’m sure he was hurt and disappointed by the news, but he didn’t embarrass or humiliate Mary. He didn’t publicly disgrace her. I believe he was afraid what other people would say or think of him (as they weren’t married yet), but he was also concerned about Mary – how she felt and how she would be treated.
Joseph had planned on calling off the engagement quietly, but God had a plan, too. Joseph was about to walk away from favor and from his ‘good thing’. He was about to give up before he received his deliverance, but before he could do anything, God sent an angel to Joseph. Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:20).
Joseph obeyed the angel. He didn’t push Mary away. He protected her. He endured the difficult times (with her). He didn’t leave her when she needed him. He didn’t allow her to have this baby alone in a stable. Not only did they go through some things while Mary was pregnant, but they also had to go through some things after Jesus was born. God gave Joseph and Mary what He promised, but it was a fight to keep, guard and protect the promise. Joseph couldn’t be lazy. He couldn’t procrastinate. He couldn’t do what God told him to do when he wanted to do it. He had to pick up his family and flee to Egypt during the night – when it was inconvenient, when others were sleeping – because Herod wanted to kill the One who would give life to many. When God told him to move, he moved (Matthew 2:13, 19).
Although the bible doesn’t tell us all that Joseph went through, I know it wasn’t easy. In fact, I’m sure he cried or wanted to cry sometimes, but he held on because he believed what God said. He believed that Jesus was born to save all men.
He cared for his wife, but he also cared for Jesus. Do you remember when Joseph and his family went to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover? Jesus was twelve years old at the time. When they left the celebration, they didn’t realize that Jesus wasn’t with them. They turned back around to Jerusalem and after three days, they found him in a temple, hearing and asking the doctors questions. When they couldn’t find Jesus, this not only affected Mary, but it affected Joseph, too. His mother said to him, Son, why have you done this to us. Your father and I have sought you sorrowing (Luke 2:48). If Joseph could care for a child who was not his biological son, surely God can send a man to a single mother who will care for her children like they are his own.
God gives some the gift of a husband or wife, and others he gives the gift of being able to stay happily unmarried (1 Corinthians 7:7, TLB).
According to the above scripture, to be married is a gift, but to be ‘happily unmarried’ is also a gift. If God gives you a husband or a wife, He doesn’t want you to treat this gift as we would a toy or a new car. After a certain number of years, some of us want something new or something better, but God doesn’t want us to treat people the way we treat things. He wants us to value what He gives us because what He gives us doesn’t lose value.
This makes me think about the prodigal son. His older brother said he was living with prostitutes (Luke 15:30). When the prodigal son returned home, he told his father he wasn’t worthy to be called his son (Luke 15:19), but what he didn’t realize was the moment he humbled himself and repented to his father for what he had done, everything was restored back to him. And guess what? He was still his father’s son. His father hadn’t changed his mind about him. The reason why the prodigal son was doing the things he did with his body was because he didn’t understand his value, but the good news is he never lost his value. And he didn’t lose his position either (Luke 15:22). He just left it.
He that is unmarried cares for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord (1 Corinthians 7:32).
The above scripture tells us what we should be doing while we’re single. Are we faithful to God in this area of our lives? What are we doing with this gift (of being unmarried)? Or maybe we don’t see it as a gift. Are we happily unmarried or are we only happy when we have someone?
Joseph was a good man, a good husband and a good father. He was the type of man that most women would desire to marry. To those ladies who God has promised a husband, there is a ‘Joseph’ for you, but why would God give us (I’m including myself) a ‘Joseph’ if we’re not willing to become a ‘Mary’? Have you ever thought that what you’re expecting from your future husband is what God expects from us, His bride? It was just as important for Mary to be obedient as it was for Joseph to be obedient. Ladies, there is nothing wrong with having standards, but it’s not right to desire for a man to be to you what you fail to be or become for God.
Mary didn’t allow herself to be used by different men, but she offered her body to be used by God. She may have not understood everything Gabriel told her and we know she was afraid (Luke 1:30), but she obeyed. She didn’t resist God. She didn’t fight God. She submitted to Him. Be it unto me according to your word (Luke 1:38). For some of us, that’s been the problem. We’ve been saying yes to what we should be saying no to, and saying no to what we should be saying yes to.
I’m not ashamed to tell you that I’ve gotten involved in relationships that I should have never been in, but so have some of you. I also know that just like the prodigal son’s brother, the enemy will condemn us, remind us of all the things we’ve done wrong and try to make us feel not worthy to be married or remarried again, but God is not looking at what you did then. He is looking at what you’re doing now.
Well, how much longer do I have to wait? I’m not getting any younger. Maybe you’re not waiting on your husband. Maybe your husband is waiting on you. James 5:7 speaks of the farmer who is patient. The reason why he is patient is because he believes that what he’s waiting for is ‘precious’.
Just in case you’ve forgotten, I just want to remind someone today that no matter what you’ve done in the past and no matter how many men have touched you,
You are still precious.
You haven’t lost your value.
And you are worth waiting for.
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.
[Scripture references: Matthew 9:18-26; Mark 5:21-43; Luke 8:41-56]
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.