truth

Just Believe

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Some of us have believed a lie for so long that we find it hard to believe the truth.

Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, Don’t be afraid. Just believe (Mark 5:36, NIV).

Overhearing but ignoring what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, Do not be seized with alarm and struck with fear. Only keep believing (AMPC).

Jesus overheard what they were talking about and said to the leader, Don’t listen to them. Just trust me (MSG). 

 

Too Valuable To Lose

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I decided to go on a three-day fast a few weeks ago. I was hurting and crying. Depression was trying to creep in. I didn’t want to get out of bed and my attitude at work was horrible.

Nothing I tried helped and no one could help me, but I was reminded of what Jesus told his disciples. This kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.  I was desperate and willing to do whatever it took to get what I needed. That meant no food. No television. No social media. It was a fight, but I was tired of hearing my flesh, my wants and my desires and I wanted to hear God.

I usually pray throughout the day – standing, sitting down, lying down, walking, but this day I was lying prostrate on the floor, on my face, crying out to God, asking Him to help me. I didn’t pretend like everything was alright. I didn’t tell him what I normally tell my family and coworkers.

I’m good.

I’m fine.

I’m okay.

No, I got honest with God. I know He knows and sees everything, but I told him anyway. Then, I told him what I wanted Him to do for me and that I was giving him three days to do it. I know. That’s pretty bold, but that’s how God wants us to come before Him. Besides, a lot can happen in three days. Jesus is a great example of that.

Each day, God gave me scriptures to read. Here I was crying because I felt rejected, but God began to show me in the scriptures how I rejected Him. You see, any time you reject the truth, you reject Him . When I realized what I had done to Him, all I could do was cry, repent and ask for His forgiveness. 

By the third day, the Lord said, I have done what you asked.

The following morning, the Lord said, Whatever you fight to get, you will have to fight to keep. God did what I asked. It was His job to give it, but it was my job to keep it.

This reminds me of the parable of the lost coin. That woman became so desperate to find her coin that she lit a candle and swept the whole house. 

Sometimes we lose things because we don’t understand the value of what we have. Because she was diligently seeking it, she found it and when she found the coin, she acknowledged what she did. She didn’t blame anyone for this. I found the piece that I lost.

What that woman did was what I had to do to get back what I lost. I lost my joy because 1) I couldn’t see my value and 2) I couldn’t see the value in the words that God gave me. I stopped believing what He said and I didn’t trust Him like I should. I was acting like Esau – like I was going to die if God didn’t give me what I wanted now. But I forgot that God hated Esau (flesh).

Today, I’m so grateful for what God has done, but I’m asking the Holy Spirit to help me not to take what God did for me lightly or for granted – that I keep, protect and guard what He has given me because what He has given me is too valuable to lose.

If Jesus won’t lose all that the Father has given Him, then I shall not lose all that He’s given me.

 

[Scripture references: Matthew 17:21; Luke 15:8-10; Romans 9:13; John 6:39]

Living Single

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I remember one time the Lord told me that an individual wasn’t my husband and I thought, God, come on. We have so much in common. We both love the Lord. We love studying and teaching the word of God. We even talk for hours – about You. This has to be my husband.

But God was right. As nice and wonderful as that man was, he wasn’t my husband.

Another time, God told me that an individual was using me. I thought, No way. Not this person. He hates liars and cheaters. He would never do that to me.

But God was right again. The individual later admitted that he really didn’t want me. He was just using me.

When you read about Eve in the book of Genesis, God gave both her and Adam knowledge and truth. He also warned them. He told them what not to do as well as why they shouldn’t do it.

The reason why God spoke to them first was because he knew that another voice (contrary to His voice) was coming. I know that the bible only records one conversation between the serpent and Eve, but I’m a woman and I know women. Women love to talk. For Eve to trust the serpent, it had to have taken more than just one conversation. (I’m just saying). The serpent was subtle so he knew he had to gain her trust. Building trust takes time, but he waited patiently. He didn’t know her desires (Genesis 3:6), but he talked to the woman until it was revealed and then he tempted her with what she desired.

The enemy has heard some of our conversations and he knows that you desire to be married. He knows that you’re tired of struggling. He knows that you’re tired of living paycheck to paycheck. So, he offers you what sounds like God, but isn’t God. He offers you ‘get-quick rich’ schemes. He offers you things that are pleasant to the eyes, but not to your soul.

Lack of knowledge was not Eve’s problem. Her problem was she didn’t believe what God said. She didn’t believe the truth. She really thought she was getting something better than what God had already given her and Adam. (Before God placed Adam and Eve in the garden, he prepared the garden for them).

Eve did something that a lot of singles desiring to be married do. She trusted the serpent, but she never tested him (1 John 4:1). God doesn’t want any of us to be deceived like Eve. He doesn’t want us to settle just because we’re feeling lonely. And he doesn’t want us to rush into anything just because you’re tired of waiting or because you think that you are running out of time.

God always warns us first because he sees the destruction that lies ahead. Heed the warning. Heed the signs. When you refuse to stop at the stop sign, your failure to obey the sign not only affects you, but it can bring hurt and harm to others.

I didn’t mean for this to be a topic about relationships, but maybe someone needed to read this. Maybe I’m writing this because someone (or myself) had to be reminded of how precious and great you are – with or without a husband or wife.

There are some people who have been called to singleness, but if God has promised you a husband, may that man love you as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it (Ephesians 5:25). And if God has promised you a wife, may she do you good, and not harm, all the days of her life (Proverbs 31:12).

But while you’re single, LIVE. Enjoy being single. Don’t despise it. Don’t complain about it. Learn to be content in the state or status you are in. You don’t have the responsibilities a wife or husband has (yet) so use every opportunity you have to care for the things of the Lord and to please HIM.

Be encouraged.

Standing

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I’ve had the same dream.

Twice.

I’m in danger, I’m scared, and I’m running from two men.

I’m not sure if they were after me or after what’s inside of me.

Either way, they both have value.

I had the same dream again last night (for the third time), but this time was different.

This time, one of the men got distracted and laid his gun down on the table.

When I picked up the gun, there were no bullets inside.

What I saw looked like darts. Suction darts that children play with.

I couldn’t believe that all this time I was running from something that only appeared to be real.

These men couldn’t touch me, they couldn’t harm me, but they wanted me to believe that they could.

All they could do was use scare tactics.

But once the lie was exposed and the truth was revealed, I realized I had nothing to be afraid of.

At the end of the dream, I no longer saw myself running.

But I saw myself standing.

And then I woke up.

Be Real

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real: genuine, true, not pretending

And they that passed by reviled (taunted) him, wagging their heads and saying, You that destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself. If you be the Son of God, come down from the cross.

Likewise also the chief priests mocking him with the scribes and elders said, He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God. Let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God (Matthew 27:39-43).

Do you know what they were really saying to Jesus?

You’re not real. You are not who you say you are.

But that’s not true.

When Jesus told them that he came to save that which was lost, he did what he came to do (Matthew 18:10). Had he saved himself, you and I would have never been saved.

Jesus taught them about love and forgiveness. 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). But he just didn’t teach with words. He also taught by example. During his crucifixion, they spat on him, hit him in the head with a reed and slapped him with the palms of their hands, but even while he was on the cross, he displayed love and forgiveness. Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do (Matthew 26:67, Matthew 27:30-31, Luke 23:34).

He is not a fake, a hypocrite or a liar. He is the Truth (John 14:6). He isn’t like the scribes and Pharisees who said things, but didn’t do them (Matthew 23:3). Whatever Jesus told others to do, He did also. Whatever he preached, he practiced.

The world is tired of false prophets/teachers, counterfeits and fakes. They desire real and they are waiting on the ‘real’ you (and me). Jesus knew who He was/is. I am the Son of God. He knew why he was sent and he finished the work that his Father gave him to do.

May we desire to be real.

May we also discover who we are in Christ and not only do the works he did, but greater.

 

Do Not Be Silent

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The apostles prayed for boldness (Acts 4:29-30), but the Lord didn’t give them boldness just to speak His word boldly, but to live His word boldly.  Prior to this prayer, Jesus’ disciples scattered after he was arrested.  And they all forsook Him and fled  (Mark 14:50).  Peter denied ever knowing Jesus – three times (Matthew 26; Mark 14; Luke 22; John 18).

Some believers call it persecution when someone talks about them or doesn’t like them, but there were men of God that were threatened, tortured, stoned, sawn in half, beaten and imprisoned because they did miracles in the name of Jesus and taught in His name.  Let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this name  (Acts 4:17).  Despite the warnings and threats, the apostles kept speaking of what they had seen and heard (Acts 4:20).  And even after being beaten or sent to prison, they would rejoice and continue to preach the Lord Jesus Christ.

…and when they had called the apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.   And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.  And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ (Acts 5:40-42).

The enemy wants us to be afraid because when a person walks in fear, it’s hard for them to walk in power, love and a sound mind – and it is these three things that defeat him (2 Timothy 1:7).  Fear has torment with worry, troubles and cares.  Fear will even cause you to become silent.

One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: ‘Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent’ (Acts 18:9, NIV).

John the Baptist preached repentance.  Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand  (Matthew 3:2).  And he didn’t care who you were, where you came from or what your title or position was.  John the Baptist approached a king (Herod) and told him that what he was doing was wrong.  It is not lawful (right) for you to have your brother’s wife  (Mark 6:18; Leviticus 20:21).  Although Herod and his wife wanted to kill John, he didn’t because he respected the anointing on his life so he placed him in prison instead.

And when he would have put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet (Matthew 14:5).

Herodias had a grudge against John and wanted to kill him, but she could not because Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he continually kept him safe. When he heard John [speak], he was very perplexed, but he enjoyed listening to him (Mark 6:19-20, AMP).

This wasn’t a situation where the surviving brother married his brother’s childless widow so that they may have a child to carry the deceased brother’s name (Deuteronomy 25:5).  Herodias was not a widow and she had a daughter.  This relationship started out as an adulterous affair.

John had provoked Herod by naming his relationship with Herodias “adultery” (Matthew 14:4, MSG).

John denounced Herod’s marriage to her as adulterous (VOICE).

John the Baptist had now become an enemy to Herodias because he preached the truth to her.  He preached something she didn’t want to hear.  His message was a call to repent or change, but she didn’t want to change.   Maybe John wasn’t telling them to divorce, but to repent for what they had done and to go back to the people they hurt and apologize.

God wasn’t condemning them.  He wasn’t trying to humiliate or embarrass them, but people who get easily offended don’t really understand how much God loves them.  God didn’t have to send a prophet to Herod and Herodias, but because He is longsuffering and doesn’t want any of us to perish, but instead come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9), he sent John.

Herodias knew her husband wasn’t going to kill John so she waited for an opportunity to kill him.  And when a convenient day was come  (Mark 6:21).  That day was Herod’s birthday.  He invited very high officials to help him celebrate.  During the celebration, Herodias’ daughter danced for him.  Maybe you never thought about this, but what kind of dance did she perform that “pleased” her uncle/daddy (and all those men in attendance?  And out of excitement and a good feeling, he promised to give her whatever she asked.

After he made this promise to his niece/daughter, she went to her mom to ask what she should she ask for.  And she said, The head of John the Baptist  (Mark 6:23).  Herodias was led by the spirit of Jezebel.  And unfortunately, she was leading, teaching and training her daughter to live and behave just like her.  According to Revelation 2:20, Jezebel seduces God’s servants to commit fornication.  (Her job is to bring down those whom God has exalted and to defile that which is holy and without blemish, leaving them with a spot or wrinkle).

This is the spirit that told Herodias that it was alright to be with her brother-in-law.  This is the same spirit that ‘used’ Herodias’ daughter to dance before those men and to kill a prophet.  The enemy (in Herodias) knew he couldn’t touch John the Baptist, but all he needed was a body, a willing vessel – someone ignorant and easily deceived – to carry out his plan.

The enemy wasn’t just after John the Baptist because he was a messenger or a prophet, but he wanted to silence him because he was ‘the voice’.  He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord  (John 1:23).

This is what God has called us to be – the voice!  And He doesn’t want us to be afraid of their faces (Jeremiah 1:8).  I know sometimes we don’t speak up because we don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings or we don’t want anyone to be mad with us, but what we don’t understand is that sometimes our silence is mistaken as agreement.  When you refuse to speak against it, they will think that you must be for  it.  ‘Speaking the truth in love’ doesn’t mean that the truth won’t hurt your feelings or that a person is supposed to speak to you in a sweet, soft voice, but it does mean that someone loves you enough to tell you the truth.

Let me be clear because I don’t want anyone to misinterpret or misunderstand what I’m saying. This blog isn’t about being bold enough to tell people about themselves. This is about taking a bold stand for righteousness. This is about being holy because God is holy.

I remember one day making a comment at work (that wasn’t nice) and the coworker who heard it, laughed, but then she said, ‘I wasn’t expecting that to come out of your mouth’. You talk about conviction.  I had to repent.  We may not quote scriptures or carry a bible around at work, but people are watching me and they are watching you, too.  They know there is something different about you.  They are watching how you live and if Jesus could see the faith of the men who brought the paralytic to Him through the roof of a house, then people can see our faith.  They may make fun of you or distance themselves from you because of what and Who you believe, but don’t take it personal.  They are not distancing themselves from you, but they are distancing themselves from the Light.  For every wrongdoer hates the Light, and does not come to the Light [but shrinks from it] for fear that his [sinful, worthless] activities will be exposed and condemned  (John 3:20).

I think about the many times I compromised truth just so that people wouldn’t be angry with me or in hopes that they would like me, and you know what?  All those things I did to ‘keep the peace’, gave me no peace.  I’m not telling you that fear will not come, but speak anyway – and not just through word only because sometimes the Word you live speaks better than the Word you speak.

Let your life speak. Do not be silent.

 

[Reference scriptures: Matthew 14:1-12; Mark 6:14-29]

Cold or Hot

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I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were cold or hot.  So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue (vomit) you out of my mouth (Revelation 3:15-16).

Christ describes the condition of the church using three different types of temperatures – cold, hot and lukewarm.  Some people believe that He was either addressing the unsaved and saved or the passive and active.  So, what did Jesus mean by cold, hot and lukewarm?

Eight years ago, I tore the meniscus in my left knee.  It was a small tear, but it caused a lot of pain and swelling.  To treat this, I had to undergo arthroscopic surgery.  To regain function of that knee, I had physical therapy following surgery.  During therapy, I was given two choices of treatment – ice or heat.  Although they don’t feel the same when applied, they are both beneficial.  This reminds me of the importance of all of the gifts in the body of Christ.  The eye is not the hand and the head is not the feet, but they still need each other to function properly (1 Corinthians 12:21).

The ice and heat are both important and they both treat pain, but they don’t treat every pain.  You have to know which one to use for your situation.  For example, you would use ice on a sprain.  If you used heat, it could cause the swelling to increase.  But my point is this: lukewarm was never an option.  Had the therapist given me lukewarm therapy, it would have been useless and ineffective.  It would not have treated my pain.

And this was the condition of the Laodicean church.  They weren’t reaching anyone.  They weren’t making a difference.  They were only concerned with themselves.  You say, ‘I am rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing’ and know not that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked  (Rev 3:17).  It seemed like after God blessed them, they forgot about Him and His people.

But I believe that God is going to allow certain things to happen this year to wake up the church.  It is going to push the church to draw nearer to God, to get in her rightful place and to be about her Father’s business.  It is going to cause those who are lukewarm to make a choice – to be either cold or hot.  When you’re lukewarm, it’s not that you don’t love God, but you don’t love Him with all your heart – yet.  It’s like a woman who accepts a marriage proposal, but never sets a date to become married.

But God needs us to get serious.  Why?  Because God wants His people free and the only thing that can make us free is the truth (John 8:32).

Speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).

Love in truth (1 John 3:18).

Although there are a lot of people who go to church  weekly, not all of them want to be the church.  There will be those that want love, but don’t want truth.  I’ve noticed lately that a lot of people have been apologizing because the truth offended some.   I think some of them apologized out of fear – afraid of rejection, afraid of losing their fans/followers or afraid of losing money.  Paul once asked the Galatian church,  Am I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?  (Galatians 4:16).  Many of Jesus’ disciples (the church) walked with him no more because of the truth.  Does this offend you?   (John 6:61). People complained and people walked away, but Paul and Jesus never apologized for speaking truth.

When Paul was addressing the church’s responsibility toward society, he said, IF it is possible, live peaceably with all men  (Romans 12:18).  Sometimes it will be hard, but that doesn’t mean we behave like the world.  That doesn’t mean we go along to get along.  People are stumbling (tripping while walking; making repeated mistakes) because they cannot see.  Choose to be a light.  It’s not enough just to speak with our words, but we must also speak with our lives. If you want to win them to Christ, it is going to take wisdom from God – so ask for it.

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God that gives to all men liberally and upbraids not, and it shall be given him  (James 1:5).

He that wins souls is wise  (Proverbs 11:30).

You will start to feel uncomfortable with things that you were once comfortable with, but don’t worry.  That’s a good thing.  Maybe you’ve been comfortable for too long.  Maybe this will be the thing that causes you to ‘stir up the gift’ which is in you.  God has a plan and He created you to be a part of His plan.  Yes, fear will come, but know that fear does not come from God (2 Timothy 1:7).  He doesn’t want us to be afraid of man or what they may do.  In God have I put my trust. I will not be afraid what man can do to me  (Psalm 56:11).

God wants to transform us from the Peter that denied Jesus and followed Him from a distance in fear to the Peter that walked in holy boldness – healing the sick, cleansing the lepers, raising the dead and casting out devils.  And be not conformed to this world, but be transformed  (Romans 12:2).  The caterpillar has to go through something before it turns into a butterfly, but after the transformation and growth, that butterfly is able to reach places that a caterpillar cannot.  This is exactly what God desires to do in, for, through and with His people, but you must make up your mind.

Cold or hot.