Work Your Faith

November 4, 2013

One of my favorite traits about God is his faithfulness. Once he has spoken a word ,it goes forth and never comes back void. Isaiah 55:11 says “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” The same sun that rises and sets each morning is the same one since “Let There Be Light” and the same one that set when Christ hung on the cross to die for our sins. Even those who don’t believe in God know that the sun will rise each and every morning without fail. Quite frankly there is nothing that anyone can do about the rising and setting of the sun and it is something that we never have to stress or worry about not happening. It is beyond our control but it is in The Lord’s hands. God is faithful.

Sometimes God will speak a word to you and give you confirmation of that which he has spoken. However, if he has spoken a word that inspires your faith in believing something that has not yet come into fruition, hold on to his promises. It can be difficult when people around you haven’t gotten the confirmation of God’s word and don’t believe for you. It can be discouraging when you are trying to be obedient to the word God has spoken into your life, yet people question your certainty. This is common, it happened to Noah when he was building the arc, but he was obedient and it saved his life when the earth was flooded for 40 days. God is faithful and has a perfect reputation that he refuses to let falter. God cannot lie and his promises stand no matter what.

Numbers 23:19 says “God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?”. Taking a leap of faith requires for us to listen to God and it requires us to stand upon his promises. It is only when we act upon our faith based on the word that God has spoken into our lives that he will reveal his perfect will. As if slowly unfolds we must be constantly aligning ourselves in his perfect will. God is our creator, our provider, our solid rock, the lover of our souls, our gentle redeemer, our refuge, our strength, our friend and so much more. He is more than we could ever describe, as a matter of fact he says “I am that I am”.

Having faith is purely about believing what we can’t see. If you have to see it first then it isn’t faith. That is why God’s word says faith comes by hearing. Romans 10:17 says “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

Exercise your faith by praying for God’s perfect will to be done in your life. Submit to the perfect will he has especially for you and your life’s purpose, and trust that he will withhold from you no good thing. Psalms 84:11 says “For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.” iHope that the dream that he has deposited in your heart is one that you will continue to have faith in. Work your faith.

Chasing Purpose

July 29, 2013

In all that you do you should constantly be living a life with a hopeful vision that is derived from the desires of your heart and aligned with God’s will. As you shape your vision you should always be chasing after purpose. If what you are pursuing does not have serve a purpose for your life then you should stop and seek God’s will on what he wants you to do. Your purpose will always be tied to God showing his glory. Through His glory, people will be able to see the example of how God can work in our lives and it will be a strong testament that people will use to come to the Lord. Your purpose, which is derived from the Lord will also renew strengthen your faith. 

What is the vision you have for your life? A vision should be aspirational and positive. It should be heartfelt and should align with God’s perfect will for your life, because his perfect will always comes into completion.

When you describe the vision for your life it should be plain and clear. Are all of your decisions in alignment with your vision? What is God’s vision for you life? Are they the same? “To humans belong the plans of the heart,but from the Lord comes the proper answer of the tongue.” -Proverbs 16:1

God certainly has a plan for hope in our lives: 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. Is the vision for your life sad and dismal? How could it be when God’s plan is to prosper you and give you hope?

When establishing your vision be sure to commit it to God. “Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” -Proverbs 16:3.

Exhortation is a spiritual gift and God has given me the ability to edify encourage and uplift others. Rom. 12:8: – “To come along side of someone with words of encouragement, comfort, consolation, and counsel to help them be all God wants them to be” The Greek Word: paraklesis means calling to one’s side. Everyone needs encouragement, some of us need it moreso than others.

What do you do when you need to be uplifted in a time of doubt, fatigue, fear, shame, depression, hopelessness, uncertainty, desperation, anguish, timidity…or any other feeling you may feel that requires encouragement, yet there is nobody around to help you get through your darkest hour? You may not even be at the lowest point in life, you may need a simple word of encouragement to keep you going through a time that may not even be so tough.

What do we do when nobody is around to encourage us? What is the source that we can derive hope from that will sustain us and encourage us in times of need? 

It starts with keeping our cups full. Our cups are a symbolic mental image we can use to parallel our souls to. Our cup represents our souls which God pours his love and hope into endlessly until it pours over. The key to encouraging ourselves and others is to always be full of hope so that we can draw from it when we need to the most. Here are some scriptures where we be reminded of the Hope that awaits us:

1 Corinthians 2:9 – Eyes have not seen, ears have not heard nor has it entered into the heart of man what God has prepared for those who love him.

Jeremiah 29:11 - For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Psalms 86:4 – Bring joy to your servant, Lord, for I put my trust in you.

Hebrews 11:1 – Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Romans 5:4-5 –  And patience produces character, and character produces hope. 5 And this hope will never disappoint us, because God has poured out his love to fill our hearts. He gave us his love through the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to us.

We have to be able to speak faith, hope and love into our own lives and draw from the strength of the Lord to in order be strong. Nehemiah 8:10 says “Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” 

We have to learn to be our cheerleaders, not our own worst critics. We have to encourage ourselves and allow the Lord to fill us with hope. Seek hope in the word of God and through prayer he will overflow your life with hope. Others will be able to draw from this hope as it spills over from your life and the evidence of God’s presence overflowing. John 15:7 says 7If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” Let there be evidence of hope in your life.

Most people can describe themselves pretty accurately. But lots of individuals have a very skewed perception of themselves. Romans 12: 3 says: “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.”  Some people thing to highly of themselves and some people underestimate or diminish their unique and precious qualities because they can’t see their own worth.  Self aggrandizement is very prideful dishonest and off-putting, and I’m sure we have all encountered people who give themselves more points than they deserve. It is very unhealthy to have a distorted self image. In order to really have a healthy self image we must be honest with ourselves. Sometimes its easier to get a real perspective on who we are by asking the people who know us well to describe us in their own words…

Exercise: Ask people who know you how they perceive you.

Lifetime. Life. Time.

April 4, 2013

Life is made up of time. . . think of the word “lifetime”. We spend our day watching the clock to ensure that we are where we should be when we should be there. We calculate how much time it will take to perform tasks, travel from point A to point b, get ready for the day, prepare a meal….we are conscious of time in all that we do and often it seems as though we never have enough of it.

With the time that we do have we must be very aware of what we are doing with it and why. If we waste our time, we are wasting our lives. God, however, is timeless. He is eternal and he created time. With the time that we have we must use it to draw closer to God and seek his purpose for our lives. If we are able to live out our purpose in this life time that is the best use of our time. Part of our purpose is to have a relationship with the Lord. The quality of our relationship with God largely dictates the relationships that we have with other people. We must question ourselves: “What is my relationship like with God?” “What is my relationship like with the people in my life?”.

If you are not fulfilling your purpose there is a guarantee that you are wasting your time. Live your life in a manner that honors time, honors God and honors your family and friends. Use your time wisely.

The caviat to time is patience. We must learn patience, if we don’t we will often be frustrated and agitated. We will not be able to endure life’s lessons and draw from  the wisdom that is inherit in those lessons. One of the best revelations God has given me is that patience is time well spent. . .

Exercise: We are taught to tithe 10 percent of our money, but how about we do what with our time as well?

The fervent prayers of the righteous availeth much. (James 5:16)  But what do we do when we are being faithful to God and praying fervently and hear no response from him. What do we do when our prayers seemingly don’t get answered?

God has not forgotten about you. When you hope and pray for him to answer your prayers and you get a “No” when you need a “Yes”, or a situation get’s worse before it gets better-that doesn’t mean God is left you, has stopped caring, or got to busy blessing everyone else that he can’t meet your needs right now.

Sometimes as we are praying, God is working, and his timeline for our blessing isn’t always the same as ours. He may be preparing us for his blessing before we get it, so that we will be able to glorify him with the blessing instead of glorify ourselves. Sometimes as we are praying, he is waiting to see how patient and obedient we will be as we wait on him. Will you wait on the Lord, or will you create a quick fix to your problem according to your own knowledge and strength? Abraham and Sara did it. Sara had been trying to get pregnant for many many years. She was an elderly woman and figured her time had passed so she allowed her husband to impregnate their servant…that got messy…..But then shortly after the Lord blessed Sara with a child, even in her old age because he is faithful on his promise, even though his timeline was different.

We can not bless ourselves better than God can. When God does not immediately respond in the way we expect him to, it can mean he is orchestrating a series of events and allowing for things to happen that will work in our favor in a way that we could have never done on our own! God out thinks us, and out blesses us. He knows all, hears all, and sees all. When we fully submit to his will and his way of doing things, we fully submit to some powerful blessings.

God can always see the big picture, even when we are discouraged, doubtful, exhausted and most importantly short sighted. When we have prayed to a point where we have run out of words, God even hears our groanings. Romans 8:26 says “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” The holy spirit will intercede, step in and pray for you!

Be strong in your faith. God is powerful and he has not forgotten about you! I encourage you to pray and ask God to reveal his will to you on a daily basis, so that when you pray for your wants and needs, His will and your will are the same…and His will always prevails. When you are walking in God’s will and living and praying and believing in his will, you can declare the promises of God, through your faith they WILL happen because God is faithful about making good on all of his promises.

Romans 4:16-17 says “Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.”c He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.” By speaking things as though they are, you are not merely “putting it in the universe”. By aligning your will with his, and declaring your faith out loud you are merely confirming God’s promises for your life and he will honor them, because he hasn’t forgotten about you.

Victim vs. Victor

October 25, 2012

Victim – what are the synonyms that you associate with someone who is a victim?

-sad

-violated

-isolated

-misunderstood

-mistreated

-hurt

-abused

Victor – what the synonyms that you associate with someone who is a winner and is victorious?

-supreme

-champion

-unstoppable

-the best

-elated

Which one are you? It all starts in the mind. . .YOUR mind.

“…As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” -taken from the scripture Proverbs 23:7

I recently had a revelation that is probably the final step in forgiving anyone who has ever wronged me, who I just couldn’t fully forgive and let go of 100%….

“Regardless of what your intentions were with me when you did what you did, I am right where God wants me to be, and I’m ok with that.”

The bigger picture that we have to zoom out and see when someone wrongs us is that, everything happens for a reason. Sometimes we do not know what that reason is and sometimes God reveals it to us afterwards and allows us to see things more clearly in hindsight. Regardless of anything it is important to truly stay focused on our individual purposes at all times. In doing so, it may help eliminate opportunities for the enemy to distract us with the wrong things or people that may cause us to stray from our calling in life or our purpose in that particular season in life…Instead of planning revenge on someone who we feel we need to teach a lesson to, or dedicating time to manipulating situations to get an outcome that would presumably work in our favor, we need to remember that Romans 12:19 says, “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.” Also Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Stay focused on the things of God and his specific plans for your life. Listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit and obey. Be keenly aware of the subtle and overt things, people situations etc., that cause you to shift focus. As you are doing your part, be encouraged in knowing that God is always doing His part and has you right where He wants you. . . everything will fall into place. “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” -Matthew 6:33

God is very big on small details. Think of our human bodies, being made up of microscopic cells that form organs, which form systems that we rely on to survive and function. We don’t really think about kind of stuff very much until we actually get sick though.  Sometimes we need a wake up call so that God can get our attention and focus off of “bigger distractions” just to remind us of his glory, even on a very small and intricately detailed scale.

There are so many things to be thankful for, big and small, and though we all could use a few huge miracles in our life, the fact of the matter is that our lives are miracles. Taking the time to reflect on what God has done in our lives down to the small details is something we should take time to do and maybe from there we will be blessed with a much needed breakthrough or revelation from God. God is always paying attention to us and has  very specific words of confirmation, hope, direction, and healing and so much more….designed uniquely for each of his children.

One of the most profound bible stories is of the woman who touched the hem of Jesus’s garment. In a large crowd of people all trying to get to Jesus, a woman who was in need of healing from a blood condition she endured for 12 years and had exhausted all her medical options, only to find that her condition had grown worse.  Even still, she had faith enough to know that if she just touched Jesus’s clothes she would be healed. Mark 5:30 says, “At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”Jesus’s garment. His disciples were perplexed to see that even in the midst of a crowd of people, Jesus had been sensitive and keenly aware that someone with faith had touched him to be healed. Mark 5:31 says, “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?'” Jesus look around to see who had touched him and the woman revealed herself with fear and trembling, and he said to her ” “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

The little things count. The truth is, we don’t even have to put on a grandiose or overt production to get God’s power to come upon us. I thank God for paying attention to the small details.

Exercise: Make a list of the small details of your life that you typically take for granted and give thanks to God for them. :)

Excellent in Spirit

September 20, 2012

It is so easy to be excellent in spirit when you are having an AMAZING day and everything is going your way. It is so easy to smile when things are on the up and up. . .Keep that excellent spirit in you no matter what you are going through!

Daniel Chapter 6

1 It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom a hundred and twenty satraps, who should be in all the kingdom; 2 and over these, three presidents of whom Daniel was one to whom these satraps should render account, and that the king should suffer no loss. 3 Now this Daniel surpassed the presidents and the satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to appoint him over the whole realm. 4 Then the presidents and the satraps sought to find a pretext against Daniel with respect to the kingdom; but they could not find any pretext or fault; inasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him. 5 Then said these men, We shall not find any pretext against this Daniel, unless we find it against him touching the law of his God.

6 Then these presidents and satraps came in a body to the king, and said thus unto him: King Darius, live for ever! 7 All the presidents of the kingdom, the prefects, and the satraps, the counsellors, and the governors have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any god or man for thirty days, except of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions. 8 Now, O king, establish the decree, and sign the writing, that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which may not be revoked. 9 Therefore king Darius signed the writing and the decree.

10 And when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and, his windows being open in his upper chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled on his knees three times a day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime. 11 But those men came in a body, and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God. 12 Then they came near, and spoke before the king concerning the king’s decree: Hast thou not signed a decree, that every man that shall ask anything of any god or man within thirty days, except of thee, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions? The king answered and said, The thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which may not be revoked. 13 Then they answered and said before the king, That Daniel, who is of the children of the captivity of Judah, regardeth not thee, O king, nor the decree that thou hast signed, but maketh his petition three times a day.

14 Then the king, when he heard these words, was sore distressed thereby, and set his heart on Daniel to save him; and he laboured till the going down of the sun to deliver him. 15 Then these men came in a body unto the king, and said unto the king, Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians is, That no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed.

16 Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. The king spoke and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will save thee. 17 And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his nobles, that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel. 18 Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting; neither were concubines brought before him; and his sleep fled from him.

19 Then the king arose with the light at break of day, and went in haste unto the den of lions. 20 And when he came near unto the den, he cried with a mournful voice unto Daniel: the king spoke and said unto Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, hath thy God whom thou servest continually been able to save thee from the lions? 21 Then Daniel spoke unto the king, O king, live for ever! 22 My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me; forasmuch as before him innocence was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt. 23 Thereupon was the king exceeding glad, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God. 24 And the king commanded, and they brought those men who had accused Daniel, and cast them into the den of lions, them, their children, and their wives; and the lions had the mastery of them, and broke all their bones in pieces ere they came to the bottom of the den.

25 Then king Darius wrote unto all peoples, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied unto you.

26 I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel; for he is the living God, and steadfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end.

27 He saveth and delivereth, and he worketh signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth: who hath saved Daniel from the power of the lions.

28 And this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.

What really stood out to me about Daniel is that he was excellent in spirit. (The definition of excellence: possessing outstanding quality or superior merit; remarkably good. Extraordinary; superior.) Daniel was blameless and had a clean record. I wish I could say the same for myself…but maybe from here on out I can give the blameless thing a try. He distinguished himself among the administrators with his excellent qualities. This is a pretty big statement. Meritocracy is the best way to stand out, not by being boisterous, pretentious, reckless or arrogant. He was most certainly a rare jewel because “excellent in spirit” is not something that most people can be labeled as, especially in the midst of a fire. He never compromised his relationship with the Lord, even when it could have cost him his life. His faith was so strong and the Lord was undeniably present with Daniel as he spend the night in a den full of peaceful, closed mouth lions. Not only did God reveal his presence, his protectiveness and his power by delivering Daniel from that very precarious set of circumstances, but God also handled the revenge of Daniel’s enemies without Daniel having to retaliate or even put up a fight of his own before or after he entered the lion’s den. After God delivered Daniel, it served as a testimony that led Darius to the God of Daniel. In the end Daniel continued to prosper.

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