Monday, 22 August 2016

Finding Purpose In The Storm

Why Are All of These Terrible Things Happening? Am I being punished? Will this ever end? 

Many people ask themselves these questions many times, especially during the most turbulent times of their lives when things just don’t make sense, especially when things appear to be growing worse, and when God feels distant and seems silent. As a small child I remember my mother rising early and ending the day with the Lord on her heart. Jesus Christ was her mentor, her example, her friend, her companion no matter what she faced. The anointing was evident in her face, her countenance, her tenacity to continue, and the time she took each night to teach me about the Lord through Bible readings, songs, and games we played. This was the first time I learned that no matter what we have to face in life or how egregious the circumstance, God still sits on the throne and has a wonderful plan for all of the struggle. 

When the storms Increase in Velocity so does God’s Mercy. 

There are times in our lives when we are doing all the right things, when we’re trusting and believing that the same God who brought us through hard times in the past, will deliver us as quickly as He did before, or in the same manner. We cry, we wait, we pray, and we trust, but still there seems to be no relief, no answer. As the storms increase in strength and seem to never end, we begin to wonder if we are being punished, targeted, or forsaken, and many of us begin to doubt the true existence of God because we fail to fully understand beyond the five senses why a loving God would allow seemingly unbearable pain. It is hard to conceptualize how God could suddenly turn His back and walk away during the darkest moments of our lives leaving us to fend for ourselves in very painful moments. We may feel abandoned, but we are not alone in our sufferings, the Lord Jesus felt this exact way before His crucifixion. He felt separated from God like we often do when we feel pressured or uncertain. He felt anxious and forsaken after having an oneness with God, but continued to be obedient in spite of how he felt. “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46) 

If we rely on our feelings we will often be misled, because feelings change for a variety of reasons and therefore have nothing to do with obedience. Jesus went to the cross anyway. Furthermore, God doesn't always promise us that things will turn out the way we planned, expected, and anticipated, but He did promise that no matter what we have to face He will always be there with us, even when we don’t feel His presence. He knows every situation, sees every teardrop that falls from your eye, and He has a resolution and a plan to bring you out, in His time. God is the solution to every problem, and has a time limit to every trial. 

Trials and tribulation arrive to strengthen, test, and teach, and the only choices we have through the inferno process, are to either become bitter or better. 

The purpose of trials as painful as they are force us to higher ground, otherwise we would remain stuck in the valley and never reach the mountain top which is God’s intended destiny for us. Sometimes God will allow pressure to force us out of our comfort zone, and we must be willing to stand a little discomfort in order to receive what He has in store for us. Storms in the form of adversity, persecution, job loss, a nasty divorce, bereavement, a wayward child, a broken relationship, a sick loved one, and persecution in any form, is the stretching process we must endure in order to move into God’s intended destiny for our lives. Like a skilled artist, God creates a masterpiece. He never makes mistakes, nor does He crumble His work and toss it into the trash. God continues to build on what He started until it is just right, because only He can see the finished product. Therefore, storms are designed to bring us into a new dimension and transition us to another spiritual level. You may be saying, “Well, I just can’t take another thing right now.” God is saying, yes you can. You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. God knows when and how to stop the pressing block before it fully crushes you. If you feel crushed right now, just know that it is God’s way of squeezing you hard enough to reveal your true character, the real person you are on the inside and what you need to work on. It doesn't always mean that you are being punished or chastised, but there is a great lesson to be learned in every trial. Storms cause us to reflect on any sin that may be present in our lives, any bad attitudes we have, or any grudges we continue to harbor. Storms do not dim the way, but produce light in the path of darkness, and there is a light at the end of every tunnel, and it’s not always a train. You can and will survive your storm. 

God’s Mercy is Renewed Every Morning 

As I rise in the morning hours drinking my morning coffee with God, and before I begin my day, I ask for a heaping portion of the renewed mercy He has stored for me this day. God is merciful and full of grace especially during the times we need it the most. He promised to never leave nor forsake us. He promised that no weapon formed against you will prosper, and if God said it then He meant it! Nothing that you are facing at the present moment is a surprise to the almighty that is in control of ALL things, and He has a perfect outcome for you if you remain steadfast and continue to persevere through the torrential storms. Many of us give up and throw in the towel when we fail to see things changing, but God is always up to something and always working every situation out on your behalf. “God’s thoughts for you are thoughts of peace and not evil.” Jeremiah 29:11. Intensity of pain means you’re getting closer to your breakthrough. For example: Right before a baby is born, the mother’s pain is greatly increased, and the physician doesn’t tell her to stop or give up, but coaches her to push harder until the baby is born. Whatever God is trying to birth through you, will bring you great joy if you keep pushing through it. Now, is not the time to stop, you’ve come too far in your journey to throw in the towel. 

God never said that perceived weapons of mass destruction would not be formed; He said they would not prosper. 

The enemy is never going away, so it is a waste of time stressing over every negative thing that comes our way. Satan will do anything and everything to distract you from God's purpose and plan. His goal is to stress you the point where you have no strength to even utter a simple prayer. Don't waste time fighting people or thinking about things you have no control over. Whatever it takes, your biggest fight is in keeping your mind on God at all times, and not trying to put out the little fires the enemy starts. Let the captain handle it all. God is the greatest fire fighter and while you continue to trust Him, He will fight on your behalf. Furthermore, for the sake of Christ, we will have trials and tribulations and we will encounter and suffer many afflictions. However, this period may be a testing time and only temporary, a time when you really need to dig your heels in prayer, fasting, thanksgiving, and praise. God wants to talk to you. He wants your attention. He is using the floods you are presently facing to move you to higher ground. How else could He get our attention? It is hard to hear that gentle sweet voice of God when your mind is cluttered with problems. Whatever you focus on will become bigger and more powerful. Make sense? 

Then why so much pain? Haven't I been through enough? 

The real questions are....Is God setting me up for something beyond my wildest dreams? Is He orchestrating His mighty plan and using my suffering for my good and His glory? Could it be that the most painful and difficult afflictions be a sign that the enemy, that negative intelligence, is scheming to stop the promise through the process by wearing us down and sucking out our energy? Be aware that persecution, afflictions, disappointments, heartache, and set-backs are designed to strengthen and bless you in more ways than you could ever imagine. While trials never feel good, they all work together for your good. Stay the course and never give up. Victory is near to those who continue to trust in God's wisdom even when it seems like nothing is changing. God is always at work. Keep praying, keep believing, keep praising Him, and keep trusting. 

I want you to visualize the firm hand of Jesus gripping tightly to your right hand and walking right beside you through the fire whenever fear rears its ugly head. Picture the Heavenly Father sweeping you off of your feet and carrying you, whenever you lack energy to carry on. 

Be blessed and keep living with your purpose in mind.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Too Blessed To Be Stressed

How many of us, if we are honest, live stressed-out and anxious/worried about tomorrow? If you answered yes to that question, you are not alone. When we live our lives projecting tomorrow’s outcomes we forfeit the grace God supplies to us daily, not in lump sums. How many of us try and store God’s grace for us? We believe with enough planning and control we can predict outcomes as well as secure our future. But we could not be more wrong. How many of us have tried to get a close handle on our lives by predicting the outcomes of our lives. We try and analyze and figure-out every possible outcome and situation until we become exhausted and frustrated. Life happens and we cannot live on tomorrow’s provisions for today.

Living in the past or projecting the future will cause stress, anxiety, worry, fear, fatigue and possible illness. Some of us try and live in the past because we have not “settled” our past or properly let-go and healed our hurts as well as past failures. Some of us try and figure out future outcomes because we live in fear and at the root of that fear is a lack of trust in God. We might say we trust God but deep down where no one else can see, we felt we have been let down by God, forgotten by Him, or discouraged in the waiting process. So we take matters into our own hands because we feel God has not come through for us. We don’t want to admit this because we might look bad or maybe others may not think we are really Christians, or for that matter even love God. I will be the first to say that I love God, the Father, His Son and the Holy Spirit and I am a born-again believer but I have struggled in this area of control and trust. At times the control and trust waxes and wanes but underneath it all, I have struggled to make sense of some very difficult matters in my life. I hope I am not alone in this. I have prayed for certain things, people, and desires for years and sometimes they have become worse, and other times it is a slow trickle to the desired outcome I want, and then there are those prayers and cries that seem to go unnoticed. I said seemed to go unnoticed, because do our prayers really go unnoticed or is it not the time or maybe something that would not be in our best interest? I have so many questions, I am sure like you that I don’t know the answers to. Such as the inability to have children, desiring to be married, sickness of a child/family member, health issues, or even the pain a parent feels for their prodigal child. I have felt many of these personally and I can say for me that is why I developed a need to be in control, secure my future, and to analyze my life because nothing seemed to be in control, so I took control. I projected my future because I lived in fear. Fear of the unknown, fear things will not get better, fear that it will always be this way. Fear causes you to think and behave irrationally. Life seemed uncertain and unpredictable to me so I had to take over and mange my life.

Taking life as it comes and living in the present day is a great way to allow your fears to take a backseat. Living in the past will also cause you great stress, so being and living in the day you have is very healing. Why be anxious for the things you truly do not know will or won’t happen, or why live in regret and past failures? This is not easy to do if you have tried to control your life or try and project possible outcomes of your future. This will not be easy, but let’s start with surrendering. Surrendering all forms of control, figuring-out, analyzing, and living in past regrets. This also entails trusting God with your life and the lives of others you love. This step requires faith and letting-go.

If you live one day at a time, God will supply you the grace you need for that day, to handle the problems and situations that happen that day. However, you can’t take today’s grace and store it for tomorrow. God supplies what you need for that day, not on yesterday or tomorrow. Think about how stress-free you will feel when you live in the present.

"Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes."
Matthew 6:34, The Message

Friday, 26 February 2016

Never Let Go

Isaiah 41:10,13 "So don’t be afraid. I am here, with you; don’t be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, help you. I am here with My right hand to make right and to hold you up. After all, it is I, the Eternal One your God, who has hold of your right hand, Who whispers in your ear, “Don’t be afraid. I will help you.”

Some years ago, on a hot summer day in south Florida, a little boy decided to go for a swim in the old swimming hole behind his house. In a hurry to dive into the cool water, he ran out the back door, leaving behind shoes, socks, and shirt as he went. He flew into the water, not realizing that as he swam toward the middle of the lake, an alligator was swimming toward the shore.

His father, working in the yard, saw the two as they got closer and closer together. In utter fear, he ran toward the water, yelling to his son as loudly as he could.

Hearing his voice, the little boy became alarmed and made a U-turn to swim to his father. It was too late. Just as he reached his father, the alligator reached him.

From the dock, the father grabbed his little boy by the arms just as the alligator snatched his legs.

That began an incredible tug-of-war between the two. The alligator was much stronger than the father, but the father was much too passionate to let go. A farmer happened to drive by, heard his screams, raced from his truck, took aim and shot the alligator.

Remarkably, after weeks and weeks in the hospital, the little boy survived. His legs were extremely scarred by the vicious attack of the animal. And, on his arms, were deep scratches where his father's fingernails dug into his flesh in his effort to hang on to the son he loved. The newspaper reporter, who interviewed the boy after the trauma, asked if he would show him his scars. The boy lifted his pant legs. And then, with obvious pride, he said to the reporter,

"But look at my arms. I have great scars on my arms, too. I have them because my Dad wouldn't let go."

You and I can identify with that little boy. We have scars, too.

No, not from an alligator, but the scars of a painful past. Some of those scars are unsightly and have caused us deep regret. But some wounds, my friend, are because God has refused to let you go. In the midst of your struggle, He's been there holding on to you.

The Scripture teaches that God loves you.

You are a child of God.

He wants to protect you and provide for you in every way.

But sometimes we foolishly wade into dangerous situations, not knowing what lies ahead. The swimming hole of life is filled with peril - and we forget that the enemy is waiting to attack.

That's when the tug-of-war begins - and if you have the scars of His love on your arms, be very, very grateful.

He did not and will not ever let you go

Monday, 20 July 2015

Where The Rubber Meets The Road

Matthew 8:1 Large crowds followed Jesus as he came down the mountainside. 2 Suddenly, a man with leprosy approached him and knelt before him. “Lord,” the man said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.”

3 Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared. 4 Then Jesus said to him, “Don’t tell anyone about this. Instead, go to the priest and let him examine you. Take along the offering required in the law of Moses for those who have been healed of leprosy. This will be a public testimony that you have been cleansed.”

5 When Jesus returned to Capernaum, a Roman officer came and pleaded with him, 6 “Lord, my young servant lies in bed, paralyzed and in terrible pain.”

7 Jesus said, “I will come and heal him.”

8 But the officer said, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come into my home. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed. 9 I know this because I am under the authority of my superior officers, and I have authority over my soldiers. I only need to say, ‘Go,’ and they go, or ‘Come,’ and they come. And if I say to my slaves, ‘Do this,’ they do it.”

10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed. Turning to those who were following him, he said, “I tell you the truth, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel! 11 And I tell you this, that many Gentiles will come from all over the world—from east and west—and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the feast in the Kingdom of Heaven. 12 But many Israelites—those for whom the Kingdom was prepared—will be thrown into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

13 Then Jesus said to the Roman officer, “Go back home. Because you believed, it has happened.” And the young servant was healed that same hour.

14 When Jesus arrived at Peter’s house, Peter’s mother-in-law was sick in bed with a high fever. 15 But when Jesus touched her hand, the fever left her. Then she got up and prepared a meal for him.

It was the start of a new work-week for the disciples. They had spent the previous day listening to Jesus give his Sermon on the Mount. All the powerful teaching they heard would now be put before them in their usual, everyday life. In Matthew 5-7, Jesus gave all the information they needed to know. Now in chapter eight, it was time for the application of what they heard.

In Jesus' day a pious Jew would thank God every day he was not born a leper, a woman, or a Gentile; these are the three people God tells of in chapter eight. What was God revealing through each of these people?

This teaching is different. Usually rabbis cite generations of rabbis before them when making claims about the meaning of Hebrew Scriptures. Jesus honors the law, but He is clear—the law must be read in a new way.

The Leper (v. 2-4)

He came by himself. There was no one with him. There will be times when you will have no one but Christ; just come to Him, He did not wait for an altar call or a certain point of a service. There was no one clapping for him when he went for a miracle, there was no music, He made his own altar time. He worships before any miracle takes place. Our worship is not because of my miracle or for my miracle but because of Who God is.

Of all of the miracles performed by Jesus, few were as spectacular as those where He healed lepers. We don't know why this man came to Jesus in such an advanced state. Surely, he must have thought his leprosy was so terrible that even Jesus could not heal him. He perhaps heard that Jesus told of a God of love, and lived a different lifestyle. Jesus was moved with compassion. "He touched him." Jesus didn't have to touch him. He healed others without a touch. Why did He do it? I believe He did so to show compassion, to affirm and to reassure. It had been so long since this man had known human touch but Jesus sensed that he needed it. He loved someone very different from Him.

Later in Matthew we hear those immortal five words from Jesus as He tells his disciples, "I was hungry, and you fed Me; I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; I was naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me." We, too, must touch the untouchable -- we have been touched, we must touch. Some people need the touch of reassurance while others need the touch of compassion. Still others need the touch of faith and others the touch of Christian witness. Whom do you need to touch?

The Centurion (v. 5-13)

He, a Roman, was probably the worst Gentile in the eyes of the Jews. Making matters worse, he came to pray for one of the most despised people groups–the slaves. Learn to pray for the despised. It is difficult to gossip about, be bitter against, or hate those you pray for regularly. He did not forecast his prayers. He did not tell Jesus what to do but simply told Jesus the problem and let Jesus decide.

esus is being called upon to practice what He has just preached. He is asked for help by the enemy. What He had just said was "Love your enemies." Now He is required to put that into action. And He does. Something remarkable happens here. The faith demonstrated by this normally unacceptable centurion was far greater than that of even the religious elite. Despite the fact that Jesus risked the anger of those who would have disapproved of His aiding the Gentile oppressor, He acts.

The Mother-in-Law (v. 14-15)

Not only did Jesus receive the unacceptable and touch the untouchable but also in the final encounter in this passage we see that Jesus Valued the Unprofitable. The third healing which takes place in this passage is that of Peter's mother-in-law. Quite frankly, this woman was of no practical value to Jesus or, for that matter, to Peter either. She was most likely an illiterate second-class citizen, probably an elderly woman living in the house of her son-in-law. Not only this, but the woman was also a person who could do little for His ministry. She had little wealth or influence, unlike the centurion. This disease carries no drama in the healing like that of the leper. The "fever" which she had may have been a disease that was contagious -- some have suggested typhoid, cholera or malaria. Yet once again He heals. The scripture says He "touched her." An amazing thing happened. The woman was no longer a burden but became a blessing.

No one asked Jesus to heal Peter's mother-in-law. Jesus saw for Himself that she was sick. Many times God moves without me asking because He is sovereign. The part of the body going to be used was touched by Jesus. Jesus touches you not just to be healed but also to be used. We do not just need people going to healing services but people being healed and getting into service for Him.

What question is God asking you? Who is He asking you to touch? Who is He asking you to accept? Who is He asking you to value? Who is He asking you to love?

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Choose Love

“We know that the fields are white and ready for harvest (John 4:35). God is imploring us as laborers to go into the field, but do we have what it takes to go?
The flesh is at war with our spirit, wanting to have its own way. It prefers to take the path of least resistance, which yields the least constructive results. How much easier it is to choose an hour of television than an hour of reading or learning or certainly an hour of prayer! But we reap what we sow, and those who sow to the flesh do not get a good harvest, much less an eternal one (Gal 6:8).
The American Heritage Dictionary defines “diligence” as marked by persevering, painstaking effort. The Latin derivative, diligere, means “to esteem”-a word combination of “to love,” and “to choose.” An interesting view! Are we choosing this kind of “love” for ourselves and for the sake of those around us? Vine's Expository Dictionary of the Bible defines “diligent” as business gains gotten by work, endeavor, pains, earnestness, and zeal. In other words, there is a mindset of determination and completion of hard work that yields the fruit of diligence. Consider scriptural admonitions to develop this character trait:
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Tim 2:15).
The hand of the diligent will rule, but the lazy man will be put to forced labor (Prov 12:24).
The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, but those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty (Prov 21:5).
The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing...(Prov 13:4).
Diligence is man's precious possession (Prov 12:27b).
(Another translation reads, “Substance of a diligent man is precious.” There is tangible substance in diligence!)
The Hebrew word for diligence, charuts, means “sharp, pointed, determined, and earnest.” It has the connotations of incisive; as in having sharp teeth, and determined and hardworking as in digging a trench or mining gold. No passive or unintentional action here!
Think of the fruit of revival we could bear if we apply ourselves to diligence. In light of the proverb just examined, such fruit would include rulership over enemy destruction in people's lives...natural and spiritual wealth, abundance, and wisdom. What worthy gain from applying oneself!
Combine diligence with discipline, and the results are exponential. The American Heritage Dictionary defines “discipline” as: “Training expected to produce a specific character or pattern of behavior, especially training that produces moral or mental improvement; self-control.” Vine's Expository Dictionary declares it “an admonishing or calling to soundness of mind; self-control.”
Quite simply, the choices we make on a daily basis will determine in the long run who we are and who we become in Him. Our choices will even help determine the advantage others have in the same way. Choices toward self-control and determined effort can open up the harvest to those who might never hear or know the Lord, and bring the knowledge and sweet savor of Jesus in such a way that hastens His return. May that be our goal!
“See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Eph 5:15-16).”

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Get Out Of The Way!

We get in God’s way when we refuse to give Him His proper place in our lives.

In any survey concerning spiritual convictions, most North Americans will say that they believe in God, but the quality and integrity of that belief is shown in the degree to which they permit God to exercise His presence in their lives. There are those who call on God quickly when in a crisis situation, but the rest of the time they prefer to run their life their own way. There are those who believe in God for what they can receive from Him. Like the children of Israel, they hold on to God when things are going well, but when their weak faith does not pay off, they shake their fist in God’s face. There are also those superficial Christians who acknowledge God’s everyday attributes; His love, power, and grace, but when they are facing life’s demands they worry and fret.

Now all these have one thing in common. They do not let God have a place or action in their lives. They get in God’s way either by their ego and pride, or whimpering complaints. This all points to a major flaw in the exercise of our religious belief today. God has become something to be possessed and used for personal advantage. In this thinking we fail to see that life consists not in our possessions but in our being possessed. We flaunt our high standard of living and say, “all belongs to us” but we don’t go further and ask the question, “To what do we belong?”

To allow God to have His purpose with us involves openness of mind and heart. This begins when we seriously ask ourselves, “what purpose is my life? To what do I give the highest allegiance of my soul and will?” The Apostle Paul testifies, “I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me”, Galatians 2:20.

Friday, 21 November 2014


Before he was John the Revelator, he was John the Beloved. Before he was caught up into Heaven on the Lord’s Day, he laid his head on the Lord’s breast.

John’s power was a result of the authority he received from the Christ. His revelation was a result of his relationship with the Christ. That authentic revelation was revealed through authentic power.

There is vulnerability in the Church today caused by a lack of authenticity. We have lost the element of surprise – that is, that unique manifestation of power demonstrated by the Christ - as we attempt to establish His Kingdom in the earth. This element of surprise comes from our authenticity; our authenticity comes from knowing our true identity; our true identity comes from truly knowing our Father. In essence, we must truly become Sons of God.

Sadly, there is very little authentic power evident in the Church today. There is more emphasis on the spectacular than the supernatural. There is more concern about how many people are sitting in the seats than there is about setting those same people free from the things that bind them. This is a product of insecure leaders who build churches full of co-dependent people. These co-dependent people, in turn, feed the insecure leaders. And the cycle continues.

In order to find our true identity in the Father, it must first begin with relationship. That relationship will lead to revelation, and the authority you receive and operate in will release power. The supernatural power demonstrated by those with authority will validate the authenticity of who they are and identify them rightly in the earth, as Sons of the Most High God.

The earth is waiting...