DON’T GET DISTRAC(K)TED…

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2 Corinthians 6:12
“You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted by your own affections.”

Children can have very short attention spans. You can tell a child what to do, and if you leave the room and come back, you can find them doing something totally different. Why? Because they are easily DISTRACTED. God’s adult children can be the same way…What has God told us to do?

Matthew 28:19 “Go ye therefore and make disciples of all nations…”

Matthew 9:38, “Pray to the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into his harvest”

John 15:16 “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide…”
God has called us to make disciples. God has given each of us a purpose according to our abilities (parable of the talents Matthew 25:14-30). Unfortunately, sometimes we get DISTRACTED.

Scriptures make it very clear God has given us the responsibility to build the Kingdom by making disciples and bearing good fruit. He has given us gifts and talents to do so, and has established families and the church to give us fellowship, strength and support to do so. So, why aren’t we more effective? Because we get easily DISTRACTED. We sometimes allow ourselves and the enemy to DISTRACT us from what God called us to do. Sometimes we’re DISTRACTED by the very gifts he gave us for His purpose.

DISTRACTED by what the Parable of the sower calls ‘the cares of this world and deceitfulness of riches…

DISTRACTED by the pleasures of the flesh and the pursuit of these pleasures…

We can’t build the Kingdom of God when we’re DISTRACTED and busy…

fighting for our families, fighting for our churches, caught up in church culture, using the best of our strength and abilities trying to achieve wealth, putting all of our effort into our career, using our anointing with selfish motives, struggling with lust, adultery, fornication, greed, strife, arguments, divisions, narcissism, laziness, foolishness, apathy, racism, politics, anger, malice, jealousy, depression, boredom…the list goes on and on. All of these things just keep us busy, keep us chasing wind (Ecclesiastes 1:14, 2:11). Sometimes we even get too DISTRACTED to study God’s word…we claim we don’t have time, but the fact that you’re reading this post  right now proves that’s not true. I think you get the point.

God wants us to enjoy our lives. Every moment isn’t about Kingdom work, but everything we do, even in our leisure should be from a Kingdom mindset, because we are to acknowledge God in all our ways (Proverbs 3:6), and ministry moments arise when you least expect it.

Make the most of every moment (Ephesians 5:16), don’t get DISTRACTED to the point we are almost useless to God….take a few moments and think of the subtle ways you’ve been or are DISTRACTED. Just as the apostle Paul told the 2 Corinthians in Chapter 6:12, “you are restricting yourselves by your own affections”, he went on to tell them how to get rid of these ‘restrictions’…don’t be unequally yoked with unbelievers (1 Corinthians 6:14…cleanse ourselves of all filthiness of flesh and spirit and perfect holiness( 1 Corinthians 7:1).

Let’s commit together to renewed FOCUS and just as Jesus said about Mary, find the “good part” that will not be taken away from us.
Luke 10:38-42
38 Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’[k] feet and heard His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” 41 And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. 42 But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.


BE BLESSTIFIED!

 

PEACEMAKERS AIN’T PUNKS (YES, I SAID AIN’T)

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In today’s American culture it seems people value so-called ‘strong words’ and confrontation rather than the controlled strength of meekness and making peace.

Do you know someone who has a passion for peace? Is it you?

Some people have an innate passion for conflict resolution. They are the uncelebrated heroes that hold, relationships, families, teams, organizations, causes, churches, and nations together. People celebrate soldiers…but not peacemakers. Jesus came to earth looking for a fight with the enemy….He came to establish peace between God and man.

1 Timothy 2:5 (ESV)
 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man[a] Christ Jesus,

Ephesians 2:14 (ESV)
For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility

Colossians 1:20 (ESV)
and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

This peace didn’t come easily. Peace is overtaken in chaos…

Mark 4:39 (ESV)
And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.

Jesus commanded that “Peace Be Still!” in the midst of a storm. That’s God’s perfect example of what takes place in the spiritual realm when a peacemaker goes into action. Everyone knows one of the best ways to get hurt is to attempt to break up a fight. In fact, most people advise that one doesn’t get involved.

When I was growing up in rural West Tennessee, we had a phrase we would say to prove we weren’t afraid…I AIN’T NO PUNK! The incorrect grammar was intentional for affect. “AREN’T PUNKS,” just didn’t seem as convincing to us.

Real peacemakers ain’t punks!

Real peacemakers ain’t afraid of fights…

Some real peacemakers look for fights.

Jesus confronted and was confronted by His family (John 7:5), the establishment/religious leaders (Matthew 25), his hometown (Mark 6:4), the government (John 19:11) and Satan himself (Matthew 4:1-11) to establish peace between God and us. Clearly, Jesus was (is) no PUNK.

Jesus left His peace, and His power for us…

John 14:27 (ESV)
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

And, Jesus promised a special blessing for peacemakers.

Matthew 5:9 (ESV)

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

There’s a special anointing on those who are able to help others find common ground and resolve conflict. Those who can keep a cool head in the midst of chaos, conflict and crisis, and can maintain they’re composure when the parties who are fighting both, or all, turn on the peacemaker. But, did you catch that? If they ALL turn on the peacemaker…then he or she has gotten them to AGREE on something.

If you have a passion for peace, embrace it. If you’re the moral compass be strong. And, if that’s not you, be sensitive to those who are. They are the unsung heroes that God uses to command, Peace be still! Pray for them. Encourage them. And remember…they ain’t punks!

Remember…

MEEKNESS ISN’T WEAKNESS…

BE BLESSTIFIED!

THE PURPOSE OF OFFENSE(S)

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Matthew 18:7
7 Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!
Jesus warned in Matthew 18:7 that offenses are a part of this life. People will offend one another…sometimes intentionally…sometimes unintentionally. 
In the context of the bible context, the definition of OFFENSE according to Strong’s Concordance is the Greek word SKANDALON: a stick for bait, a snare, a trap, a stumbling block. Strong goes on to say that figuratively the word means putting a negative cause-and-effect relationship into motion.
Merriam-Webster defines offense as:

  1. 1 a obsolete :  an act of stumbling b archaic :  a cause or occasion of sin : 
    stumbling block
  2. 2 :  something that outrages the moral or physical senses
  3. 3 a :  the act of attacking :  assault b :  the means or method of attacking or of attempting to score c :  the offensive team or members of a team playing offensive positions d :  scoring ability
  4. 4 a :  the act of displeasing or affronting b :  the state of being insulted or morally outraged <takes offense at the slightest criticism>
  5. 5 a :  a breach of a moral or social code :  sin, misdeed b :  an infraction of law; especiallymisdemeanor

Whether intentional or unintentional, offenses do just as the definitions describe, they are a snare, a trap and stumbling block to a person’s progress – an attack.  In sports, war or any competition, in context of the biblical and contemporary definition, I define OFFENSE as…AN AGGRESSIVE ATTACK IN PURSUIT OF A GOAL.

OFFENSES are the devil’s offense. He uses them to make you stumble, distracted, weaker, off-course and provoke you to respond negatively with your emotions.
We must be careful even when we have a right to be offended. Even when someone intentionally tries to offend you…even when you have a right to be upset, you must be careful that it doesn’t make you lose focus. Offenses are either make you retaliate (defense) or quit. They either make you give up or seek revenge, both of which God has commanded that we don’t do.

We are not to give up (2 Chronicles 15:7, Isaiah 41:10, Galatians 6:9, Joshua 1:9).

We are not to seek revenge (Romans 12:19, 1 Peter 3:9, 1 Thessalonians 5:15, 2 Thessalonians 1:8, 2 Corinthians 13:11).

Offenses all too often provoke a negative emotional response: anger, rage, sadness, stress, jealousy, envy, confusion, disgust  discouragement, shame, fear, discontent etc…etc…etc…

These negative emotions usually lead to negative moods, attitudes and behavior.

So, even when they offend or insult your integrity, family, friends, intentions, faith, religion, accomplishments, education, team, profession, heritage, neighborhood, history, background, church, beliefs, leaders….whatever. Stop and think of the many various ways you’ve been offended throughout your life. How did you react?

Think of how, even political campaigns, which should display integrity result to offending….sometimes the OFFENSE is to OFFEND.

Think of how in sports it’s common to TRASH talk….the OFFENSE is to OFFEND.

Think of how many times coaches insult or degrade athletes in an effort to get them to do better…the OFFENSE is to OFFEND.

Think of how many times law enforcement officers resort to ‘getting on their level’ in language and behavior to get through…the OFFENSE is to OFFEND.

Think of how Satan comes to STEAL, KILL and DESTROY (John 10:10) . How he goes around as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8)…his OFFENSE is to OFFEND.

Even Jesus offended the Pharisees by His sharp rebukes (Matthew 15:12, Matthew 23). Jesus’ intent however was Holy. The Pharisees were offended because their hearts were dark and Jesus’ light offended them. Jesus was offending the devil.  We must be careful when we find ourselves offended at the truth…offended at light. When the right thing offends us, that should lead to repentance (2 Corinthians 7:8-12).

Just as Jesus said, offenses are sure to come. Don’t let them make you trip, fall, stumble, throw you off course, make you lose focus or quit. Don’t let them provoke you to a negative response or bad moods, attitudes and behavior.

Let us make sure that we are not maliciously offending others…

And, if we do offend, let us make sure we’re not doing so maliciously

BE BLESSTIFIED!!!

Jesus offended the Pharisees.
The fault comes where it comes from in the heart

KINGDOM CANDIDATE…

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Philippians 3:14

If you were running for office in God’s Kingdom could you get enough votes to win?

Would you vote for yourself?

Would you have the love and passion for the Kingdom to do what’s best for the Kingdom first?

Would you have a platform? (Vision)

Would you have the experience? (Testimony)

Would you have the character? (Integrity)

What could derail your campaign? (Past)

News Flash!
You’ve already been elected by God…

2 Peter 1:10-11
Therefore brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fail..
11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord answered Savior Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:20
You’re an appointed Ambassador for Christ
2 Corinthians 5:20
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

People are watching your campaign…

1 Peter 2:12
Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

God is depending on you to run a good campaign; you were born to run and born to win.

BE BLESSTIFIED!

YOUR FEAR VS YOUR FUTURE

Sometimes we can be more afraid of the challenges and responsibilities of success than the disappointments or shame of failure.

I’ve had a fear of flying. I used to fly as a child regularly, but not in my adult life. I told everyone that flying made me feel sick, but the fact was that I was afraid. I was more afraid of what might happen. That fear kept me from destinations and opportunities that were just a flight away.

When I think of the disciples in the boat, it reminds me of being nervous on a plane. There were no planes in biblical days, but the potentials for fear were the same. The boat represents opportunities on the other side, but in that day someone could have been afraid to sail because the threat of sinking. That fear then could be equal to the threat of a plane crashing today.

There are many opportunities that can be accessed much more efficiently by flying, but fear can keep one from those opportunities. FEAR FIGHTS YOUR FAITH, and your faith is the key to your future. What are your fears keeping you from?

Fear of new relationships?

Fear of being alone?

Fear of embarrassment?

Fear of going back to school?

Fear of relocating?

Fear of your past being exposed?

Fear of the unknown?

FEAR OF FAILURE?

FEAR OF SUCCESS!

Think about how your fears have limited your life…

2 Timothy 1:7 (ESV)

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

Fear is a sure sign of lack of faith. I’m not speaking of a healthy respect that we are commanded to have for God, or respect of genuine threats to our safety. I’m speaking of timidity, and anxiety that results from lack of faith that God can provide for, protect and guide us when we are stepping out on faith in wisdom to fulfill His purpose. The enemy wants to intimidate you to the point of fear because he knows it fights your faith. The enemy knows the potential on your life. The enemy knows what God has placed inside of you. He wants your fear to prevent you from stepping out on faith to fulfill your purpose. Think about it. God promised that all things will work for YOUR good when you are called according to HIS purpose. Arm yourself with the word of God first thing every morning ((Ephesians 6:16) FUEL YOUR FAITH, SO YOU CAN QUENCH THE FIERY DARTS OF THE devil. So, when FEAR FIGHTS YOUR FAITH…YOUR FAITH WILL WIN.

Don’t let your fears keep your from the blessings, opportunities and destiny that awaits you at your destination.

BE BLESSTIFIED!

WATCH OUT FOR ‘NICE’ PEOPLE…

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Galatians 5:22-23  (NKJV)

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, KINDNESS, goodness, faithfulness, 23 [a]gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

One of my favorite groups is The O’Jays! Their smooth soulful music is definitely a part of the soundtrack of my life. Their 1972 single, “Back Stabbers” written by Leon Huff, Gene McFadden and John Whitehead, (I was only 3-years old when it was released) is one of my all time favorites and just as most of their other songs – the lyrics are very profound…

“(They smile in your face) All the time they want to take your place (Back Stabbers)”


There’s a reason that KINDNESS (from Greek word Crestotes in Galatians 5:22) is a Fruit of the Spirit and not NICENESS.


According to Strong’s Concordance KINDNESS denotes ones disposition and doesn’t necessarily refer to acts of goodness. Strong’s Concordance goes on to say KINDNESS refers to meeting real needs. Being KIND is acting for the good of people no matter what they do, how they treat you or how they react. KINDNESS is uprightness and goodness in action. It’s goodness provoked by the spirit of God. KINDNESS is acting for the welfare of those who challenge your love and stretch your patience.

1 Corinthians 13:4  (NKJV)

Love suffers long and is KIND; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not [a]puffed up;

Acts of KINDNESS may not always feel good or be timely, but they are always best for the individual or group’s overall well being…thus goes the old saying, “God may not come when you want Him, but He’s always right on time!”

The enemy can use NICENESS as a tool to deceive and mask true motives and intentions. People can be nice to get in position to stab you in the back


“What they do? BACK STABBERS!” 


Have YOU ever been nice to someone just to get what you wanted out of them? 

We must always examine our motives to make sure we’re being KIND and NICE…and always watch out when people SMILE IN YOUR FACE.

BE BLESSTIFIED!

THE BLESSING IN YOUR DARK PAST…

20160922_140012Galatians 1:23

23 They only were hearing it said, “He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” 24 And they glorified God because of me.

Saul/Paul was well-known for persecuting the church.He was well-known and ruthless at it. He was there when they killed the Stephen and gave his full approval (Acts 8:1). Those who were in the church at the time feared him Acts, (9:26) however, among the Jews he was respected, prosperous, and successful…

Galatians 13-14

13 For you have heard of my former conduct in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it. 14 And I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries in my own nation, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers.

…until his encounter with Jesus on his way to Damascus to further persecute the church (Acts 9)

Jesus changed his heart and his mission. God gave Him the gospel…A man who killed Christians! God gave him a special mission only he could accomplish. His name was changed from Saul to Paul and his passion against the church was redirected. There were people who NEEDED to see HIM work for Christ, needed to hear it from him. Not Peter James or John, but Paul. Be sensitive to where and who God sends you. There are people strategically placed in your path who need to hear YOU speak for Christ…see YOU work for Christ and share His love. Not me…Not your Pastor…Not Bishop TD Jakes, but YOU. They knew who you were. They knew how you were. They know what you used to do. They heard how you were. Even if they don’t know you, they may be able to connect with you because of your past…That’s ministry!

So, no matter how DARK your past, God can use it for His glory if you let Him

Galatians 1:15-17

15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, 16 to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood, 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went to Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.

There’s someone who needs to see the change that God made in your life, and your love and passion for Him, and just as they did Paul, they will glorify God in you (Galatians 1:24).

BE BLESSTIFIED!

OCCUPATION VS PURPOSE

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DON’T BE LIKE JONAH!

Jonah 1:1-3

The Lord spoke his word to Jonah son of Amittai: “Get up, go to the great city of Nineveh, and preach against it, because I see the evil things they do.” But Jonah got up to run away from the Lord by going to Tarshish.

Some jobs are also ministries…teaching, medicine, even law enforcement. Some jobs, in order to do them effectively you must have passion and a heart for people. You’re using your God-given abilities to earn your living. But, most jobs are occupations. They are what we do to sustain our lives, but they can change.

My job is my occupation, but my FAMILY  and my MINISTRIES are my PURPOSE.

Occupations can change, but your PURPOSE is the reason you’re still here. You choose your job…but God chooses your PURPOSE, so work it relentlessly.

The apostles had occupations. They were fishermen(Matthew 4:18-22), tent makers (Acts 18:1-4) and even tax collector (Matthew 9:9-13), but we didn’t get the Gospel because of their occupations. It was because of their purpose.

REMEMBER, Jesus had an occupation. He was a carpenter…WE DIDN’T GET SAVED BECAUSE JESUS WAS A CARPENTER! 

Jonah ran from his purpose and found himself in the belly on a great fish (Jonah 1:17) to get him on task. The men on the ship on which Johah boarded to flee even asked him, “What is your occupation?” (Johah 1:8). Don’t get so occupied with your occupation, that you neglect your purpose. 

Relentlessly pursue your purpose and be ALL God created you to be.

BE BLESSTIFIED!

SPIRITUAL FOOD POISONING

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It’s happened to most of us. You suddenly feel your muscles ache, fever, stomach ache and nausea…you have FOOD POISONING. Something you ate, something that was supposed to nourish you made you sick. Something that was supposed to give you strength made you weak, something that was supposed to help your body…hurt it.

Sometimes something can look delicious, smell delicious and taste delicious and still be deadly. Salmonella, Botulism, Listeria are just a few are bacteria that make good food toxic. They infect what’s good….You have fever, stomach pain, nausea and diarrhea because your body is trying to get rid of it. Your muscles ache making you weak and unfit for work.

The same is true with the WORD OF GOD.

THE WORD IS MEANT TO NOURISH YOU…

1 Peter 2:2 (ESV)

Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation—

THE WORD IS MEANT TO GIVE YOU STRENGTH AND INCREASE YOUR FAITH…

Romans 10:17 (ESV)

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

THE WORD IS MEANT TO BUILD YOUR SPIRITUAL HOUSE AND THE BODY OF CHRIST

 Ephesians 4:11-12

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,

But, sometimes the Body of Christ can get SPIRITUAL FOOD POISONING…

 1 Timothy 4:1

Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons,

Demons are like spiritual bacteria that want to infect you and the Body of Christ. Their goal is to deceive and pervert the teaching and preaching of God’s word. They influence the ‘message’ to come from flesh instead of spirit. They want to infect the word so that it’s carnal instead of spiritual…and it can be very subtle:

 

For example, many people have learned to give selfishly. They have been taught ONLY to give so they can receive a blessing. Not, out of love…Not, out of obedience…Not, out of concern for others…but so they can be blessed. Give so you can get! Yes, God is willing to pour out blessings that we don’t have room to receive, but if that’s the only reason we give, that reducing giving to a ‘blessing bill”.

 

Be careful when the word of God is cloaked in carnality, sometimes it’s unintentional – but most of the time it isn’t. Watch out when the message contains…

 

Too much prosperity

 

Too much condemnation

 

Too little bible

 

Too much personal opinion

 

Too much tradition of man

 

Lies

 

Hypocrisy

 

Selfishness

 

Racial Pride

 

Idolatry

 

Blasphemy (Some preachers actually want you to worship them, or yourselves)

 

Or, when it elicits emotions from flesh…for example, if it makes excuse for or justifies sin or causes you to take pride in the way you used to be. I have heard preachers say, “I haven’t been saved all my life” in an arrogant way that eludes to the fact that they can revert back to their old behavior, or in other words, ‘let the old become new again’

 

2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

 

We have to read and study God’s word for ourselves and pray for discernment, so we can intelligently and responsibly listen to the word of God. Just like food poisoning, it can be disguised in eloquent words, charisma, elaborate presentation, engaging personality etc. It can sound good, look good and make you feel good, but it’s got to be in line with the bible and not twisted to fit a human agenda.

 

Spiritual food poisoning makes the Christian and Body of Christ weak, ineffective, unproductive and unfit for Kingdom work. It makes the Body of Christ sick. It actually does more harm than good…and it takes place in church.

 

The old adage that you are what you eat is true. It doesn’t just apply to allowing worldly influences to enter your spirit…but just as the bible says that the devil disguises himself as an angle of light…

 

2 Corinthians 11:14 (ESV)

And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

 

The enemy doesn’t mind you going to church or hearing the word, as long as he can come along and twist it….infect it and poison your spiritual food.

 

BE BLESSTIFIED!

WHY PRAYER HAS NEVER BEEN TAKEN OUT OF SCHOOLS…

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PROVERBS 22:6

I often hear people lament that one of the reasons our public school systems have declined and are declining is because we have allowed prayer to be taken out of schools. I humbly submit to you today…

IF YOU’RE PRAYING AT HOME, PRAYER IS STILL IN SCHOOLS…

IF YOU PRAY OVER AND FOR YOUR CHILDREN, PRAYER IS STILL IN SCHOOLS…

IF YOU’VE TAUGHT YOUR CHILDREN TO PRAY, PRAYER IS STILL IN SCHOOLS…

I wonder how many of the people who complain about prayer being taken out of schools actually teach their children to pray, pray with their children or have family prayer at home.

God gave parents the responsibility to instill the appreciation for prayer in their children,  promote a culture of prayer in the home, and let them know they can talk to God anywhere.

Deuteronomy 6:7 (ESV)

You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

Proverbs 22:6 (ESV)

Train up a child in the way he should go;
    even when he is old he will not depart from it.

 

We must teach our children that God isn’t limited to where you pray! The church prayed for Peter in Acts 12 and God released him.

Acts 12:5-17 (NKJV)

Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant[a] prayer was offered to God for him by the church. And when Herod was about to bring him out, that night Peter was sleeping, bound with two chains between two soldiers; and the guards before the door were keeping the prison. Now behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in the prison; and he struck Peter on the side and raised him up, saying, “Arise quickly!” And his chains fell off his hands. Then the angel said to him, “Gird yourself and tie on your sandals”; and so he did. And he said to him, “Put on your garment and follow me.” So he went out and followed him, and did not know that what was done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. 10 When they were past the first and the second guard posts, they came to the iron gate that leads to the city, which opened to them of its own accord; and they went out and went down one street, and immediately the angel departed from him. 11 And when Peter had come to himself, he said, “Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent His angel, and has delivered me from the hand of Herod and fromall the expectation of the Jewish people.” 12 So, when he had considered this, he came to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose surname was Mark, where many were gathered together praying. 13 And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a girl named Rhoda came to answer. 14 When she recognized Peter’s voice, because of her gladness she did not open the gate, but ran in and announced that Peter stood before the gate. 15 But they said to her, “You are beside yourself!” Yet she kept insisting that it was so. So they said, “It is his angel.” 16 Now Peter continued knocking; and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished. 17 But motioning to them with his hand to keep silent, he declared to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, “Go, tell these things to James and to the brethren.” And he departed and went to another place.

 The church didn’t have to GO to the prison to pray for Peter. God is omnipresent, everywhere at the same time.

When you pray WITH your child and FOR your child, God is with him, her or them IN the school. Consider this…if you allow prayer in schools, you have to allow ALL prayer. What if your child’s teacher isn’t Christian, and your child is subjected to the prayers of another religion?

Dear friends, don’t just pray individually, but I encourage you to make sure you’re having family prayer at home.

Spouses begin your day together on prayer.

Pray as a family.

Continue to pray for schools in your churches.

Pray for schools even if you don’t have children in school because good schools affect all of us. There is much power in praying TOGETHER…

Matthew 18:19-20)

19 “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”

MOST IMPORTANTLY…if your children know how to PRAY FOR THEMSELVES AT SCHOOL…prayer is still and will always be in schools.

BE BLESSTIFIED!

ONLY GOOD NEWS?

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On Sunday, January 3, 2016, Pastor W. Michael Martin of Oak Spring Church in Arlington TN, stood boldly but lovingly before the congregation for which God holds him responsible and declared, “This year will be a year of challenges…” I remember getting a chill when that prophetic warning was declared. He didn’t promise…”This is your season!” “This is the year God is going to make it happen for you!” He declared challenges for our local body of Christ. That prophetic warning has proven to be true…

Deuteronomy 18:22 (NKJV)

22 when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.

Watch out and beware of preachers and prophets who ONLY deliver good news! Who ONLY promise ‘breakthrough’! Who ONLY decree ‘overflow! Who ALWAYS promises this is ‘your season’. Every January, many preachers ALWAYS promise, “This is your year!”. If you look on some preacher’s social pages, websites and blogs, they state, “EVERYONE who reads this is about to receive ______________!” “God is about to turn your situation around!” They claim to be prophets but ONLY deliver good news and promises.

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How dare you call yourself a prophet of God and deny the people of God the BLESSING of a prophetic warning! When you read your bible, you will find that most of the prophets in the bible were delivering BAD NEWS, PROPHETIC WARNING and REBUKE. From Ezekiel to Isaiah in the Old Testament, to John the Baptist and the Apostle John in the New Testament….biblical prophets didn’t always promise a ‘check in the mail’. They warned the people of God to change their ways, of coming judgment, calamity, wrath, persecution and trials. These warnings didn’t always make them popular with those who heard.

No one enjoys hearing the TORNADO WARNING, HURRICANE WARNING, THUNDERSTORM WARNING, FLOOD WARNING, STORM SIREN…but isn’t a blessing to be warned ahead of time and given an opportunity to prepare?

Yes, God delivers good news. That’s the definition of ‘The Gospel’, it’s the GOOD NEWS of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Yes, God encourages and blesses His people.

Yes, God promises blessings and joy for His people.

But, He also reminds us:

Psalm 34:19 (NKJV)

19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
But the Lord delivers him out of them all.

Philippians 1:29  (NKJV)

29 For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,

John 16:33 (NKJV)

33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will[a] have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

It would not be fair for God to send a storm our way, and not warn us first. Be very careful of ministers, preachers and prophets who NEVER give God’s warnings. Be very careful of those who don’t mind allowing you to fall into a pit. Be very careful of those who don’t mind allowing you to be comfortable in your sin.

Quite frankly, those who ONLY give good news…Who degree a miracle in every prophecy are lying to you and on God.

It takes great courage to tell people what they don’t want to hear. Watch out for those who wish to entice you with smooth talking (Romans 16:18), and respect those who own their responsibility to tell us the truth.

Ezekiel 33:1-9 (NKJV)

Again the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, speak to the children of your people, and say to them: ‘When I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from their territory and make him their watchman, 3 when he sees the sword coming upon the land, if he blows the trumpet and warns the people, 4 then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, if the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be on his own head. 5 He heard the sound of the trumpet, but did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But he who takes warning will save his life. 6 But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.’

7 “So you, son of man: I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me. 8 When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you shall surely die!’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. 9 Nevertheless if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul.

BE BLESSTIFIED!

GUIDANCE FROM BEYOND THE SKY…

Back in the day, people used to get directions or purchase a road atlas or map, but now most people use GPS technology. They either have it in their car or on their phone. As you know GPS technology works off of the many satellites in space. All you do is put in your destination, and it GUIDES YOUR PATH TURN BY TURN until you, hopefully safely reach your destination. 

You can call it GUIDANCE FROM BEYOND THE SKY. 

The only problem is that sometimes you can LOSE your signal, and if you don’t have a map, atlas or WRITTEN directions, you can FIND yourself LOST. 

Or, sometimes the GPS can take you on on route in which you did’t want to go.

 I think by now you get the HOLY ANALOGY I’m making here. Some people trust their GPS more than they trust GOD. Our Heavenly Father is our GUIDANCE FROM BEYOND THE SKY! Our Father in heaven has promised to be a “Light unto our feet and a lamp unto our path”(Psalm 119:105). And better yet, He has promised that He will never leave us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6, Hebrews 13:5), so we will never LOSE GOD’S SIGNAL unless WE disconnect from Him. 

God has given us His Holy Spirit as the SIGNAL to guide us, and His written instructions (His word) as our MAP and ATLAS to confirm the signal…

This is a good place for a Hallelujah and to praise God for His divine guidance and wisdom.

 It’s okay to use technology, but we must make sure we don’t put more faith in our GPS than we do our GOD! Don’t lose your signal!

BE BLESSTIFIED!

BRINGING UP THE PAST (IN LOVE

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SOMETIMES WE HAVE TO REWIND

Many times after we have hurt someone, and they have ‘forgiven’ us, it angers us and hurts us when they bring it back up. We quickly remind them that ‘you are supposed to forgive and forget’. We remind them of Isaiah 43:25, “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” This is true, but must be understood in proper context. God forgives us and doesn’t hold our sins against us WHEN WE REPENT. But, what is repentance? Repentance is godly sorrow over what we’ve done (2 Corinthians 7:10). Repentance is a change of heart, and doing our best to never do that again. Repentance is making every effort to not put ourselves in the path of temptation for those sins. Repentance is an all out, sincere effort to turn around. But, Israel sometimes continued to rebel against God. Israel sometimes continued in the same sins…that’s not repentance. Israel sometimes put themselves in the path of temptation making it easier to fall.

You will notice that when Israel returned to their previous sins, that God STERNLY AND LOVINGLY BROUGHT UP THE PAST.

God was always first hurt, and then angry when Israel backslid. It’s not that they surprised Him. He already knew what they would do, when He forgave and restored them. How many times have you forgiven someone, but you fully suspected they weren’t yet strong enough to resist going back or hurting you the same way. When they did it again, you thought to yourself, “I knew it”, and it made your flesh even more angry because you expected it. You expected it because you could see them slipping back into old habits. When ISRAEL slipped back, GOD BROUGHT UP THE PAST, HE CALLED THEM OUT, HE REMINDED THEM in a stern and loving manner. In your free time read these scriptures, and these are not the only ones, where God BROUGHT UP THE PAST. I suggest you read the entire chapters for context…

·       Judges 2:1-4

·       Judges 6:7-10

·       Judges 10:10-15

·       1 Samuel 10:17-19

·       Ezekiel 16

·       Ezekiel 20

·       Psalm 81

Following God’s example, when someone repeatedly hurts you with the same sin expecting you to ‘get over it’, expecting you to not allow it to bother you, expecting not to have to have anything to say…remember that, in love, God called out ISRAEL when they fell back into rebellion against Him. He reminded them of everything that He had done for them. How He delivered them from the hand of the Egyptians, gave them a land inhabited by others, made their enemies subject to them. He reminded them of all He had done for them and pointed out what they did.

When someone blatantly hurts you, just like God, you have a right to remind them of your love for them, and bring up the past responsibly….in the spirit of love, STILL WILLING TO FORGIVE. This works both ways. You are willing to forgive no matter how many times they do it (Matthew 18:21,22), as Jesus commanded. And if they care about you, reminding them pricks their hearts, hopefully leading them to repent and have a sincere desire to not do it again. God said if we delight in Him He will give us the desires of our hearts (Psalm 37:4). If it’s our desire to not do these hurtful things again…then we won’t. It works both ways towards forgiveness and repentance.

Read the scriptures I’ve listed above. Study this topic. See how God sounds like a hurt lover when His people chose evil over Him (Judges 2:2). Notice how He sternly, but lovingly reminds them His love, their sin and their promises. Then look at how He is willing to forgive again, and how they are led to repent. BRINGING UP THE PAST IN LOVE….it all works for both parties involved.

So, if you find yourself to hurt someone in the same way you did before, and they forgave you, have enough humility and respect to allow them to remind you of their love and your promise. And, if someone blatantly hurts you again after you’ve forgiven them, ONLY BRING IT BACK UP IN THE SPIRIT OF LOVE, fully ready to forgive again…and again…and again.

I would love to know your thoughts on this.

BE BLESSTIFIED!!!

PLEASE, HOLD THIS HAND IN PRAYER…

wp-1473970629125.jpgThis hand belongs go Gino. He sleeps under a tree outside the office in which I work. I, and other co-workers help him from time-to-time. We help him with some of his needs, and give him fellowship. He has never asked or begged for anything. Gino matters to God, so he should matter to us. He should matter to you. God told us, should matter to you. God told us in Mark 14:7, “For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have me.” When we encounter those who need our help, God expects us to share His love. In fact, they are giving us an opportunity to be obedient and show His power in their lives. Sometimes they just want to be acknowledged as a person. I have talked to Gino, and he told me his story. Life happened and he is homeless. I feel comfortable helping him. But, even for those who have squandered opportunities, don’t be so arrogant to think that this could NEVER be you…or us.

I’m asking you to hold Gino’s hand in prayer. Pray that God continue to fill Him with His Holy Spirit, and continue to keep his faith and hope strong. Pray that God protects him, sustains his life and give him the ability to provide for his own needs. Pray that God performs a miracle in his life, and that his testimony is an inspiration to others. And, thank God for the abundance of life that you enjoy.

This is not a selfish attempt to get a response on social media. Gino is a believer in Jesus Christ and I want to help show him God’s power…to confirm His faith.

I’m asking you to call out Gino’s name when you pray…To respond to this post by typing his name if you choose, and to share it to solicit other prayers. I didn’t show his face on purpose. God knows what He looks like. God loves Him, now please help me show Him how much. I will show him the response.

Please…pray for Gino!

BE BLESSTIFIED!

 

 

 

GOD’S CREDIT REPAIR

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One of the most frustrating things for some people is trying to repair bad credit. Good credit gives you access to a world of material things and services. Good credit makes navigating the material world much easier, but on the flip side, bad credit makes the material world more difficult, more expensive and in some ways…impossible. Bad credit closes some doors. Buying homes, cars and other things can be a fun experience with many choices when one has good credit, but bad credit makes it a stressful, limited, and dreaded experience for many. Even if one changes their behavior, it can take years to establish good credit after it’s been bad, with bad items still coming up on your credit report years after…AREN’T YOU GLAD GOD ISN’T LIKE THE CREDIT BUREAUS?

From the earliest days of God’s interaction with His people, not only can GOOD CREDIT be instant, but easy, and best of all, it’s not based on your past behavior.

Abraham believed God and it was CREDITED to him as righteousness (Genesis 15:6, Romans 4:22).

When we confess with our mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in our heart that God raised Him from the dead, then we shall be saved (Romans 10:9).

Once we accept Christ, the old things are passed away and all things become new ( 2 Corinthians 5:17).

God promises that when we repent, He will be merciful to the righteous, and He will remember their sins and lawless deeds no more (Hebrews 8:12).

I could go on and on with scriptures to support that with God, you can have EXCELLENT CREDIT instantly, in spite of your prior foolish behavior, mistakes or misfortune. Isn’t that GREAT NEWS?! When Christ died on the cross, he made salvation available to everyone!

So, even if you have bad credit in the material world. Even if you are constantly being told DENIED in the material world. Even though you may not be able to purchase a home in the material world. When you accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and repent of your sins as you walk through life…when it’s time to move into your heavenly home that Jesus has already prepared for you (John 14:2,3)… GOD’S CREDIT REPAIR will give you a good report….your spiritual credit score can instantly go from BAD to EXCELLENT…from 300 to 900! When the world says DENIED…God say’s you’re APPROVED!!!!

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BE BLESSTIFIED!!!

 

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