Archive | Uncategorized RSS feed for this section

Consider The Source

26 Mar

As you move full speed ahead into blessings, be careful to consider the source of every “blessing” . Keep in mind that Satan offers gifts that appear as blessings, but with a hidden price.

Image result for free picture of a gift box

Perfect example, after Jesus was baptized, He was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting 40 days and nights, Jesus was hungry. Satan urged Jesus to turn stones into bread. (Math. 4:1-11)

There’s nothing wrong with eating after a fast. It’s the “how”, in the invitation. Satan urged Jesus to use His power to make bread. Being full of The Holy Spirit, Jesus refused to provide food for Himself using Satan’s suggested method, considering the source and the timing to be evil. Be sure your blessings are derived God’s way, in His timing, not through manipulation, bribery, or deceitfulness.

Satan offered Jesus power and glory, if only Jesus would worship Him. For us, power and glory is equivalent to the world’s definition of “success”. But what is success, except the fulfillment of God’s will in your life? Besides this, Jesus knew that power and glory already belonged to Him. Success belongs to you, as follow Jesus’ will for your life, acknowledging Him in all your ways.

Man in Blue Suit

Lastly, Satan advised Jesus to cast Himself down from a peak, allowing angels to catch Him. For us this could mean engaging in risky behaviors, expecting God to rescue us because we are His. It could be as simple as speeding through red lights, confident that we won’t have an accident.

Perhaps you’re considering purchasing a home with costs above your income, assuming that God will help you pay the mortgage. Or maybe, quitting your job and starting your own business before saving enough to keep you going. It could even mean engaging in a risky relationship counting on God to help you change the person, when the truth is, we can’t change anyone.

Consider the source of your “blessings”. Like Jesus, know the word of God so that you’re prepared to discern between blessings from God, and lusts derived from the flesh. God wants to bless you. Satan wants to trap you. Consider the source!

Image result for images james 1:16-17
Advertisements

Are you Paying Close Attention?

1 Feb

During my college days, one of my professors excitedly said “pay close attention” whenever we discussed a topic we were sure to find again on an exam. The professor wanted everyone to excel in his class. He took such joy in making sure we were actually present, not just physically, but mentally during class.

Our Heavenly Father, God, is even more excited when we “pay close attention” to His word.  And yes, God still speaks.

He speaks in countless ways. Sometimes it’s through the Holy Spirit deep within us. Other times it may be a faint whisper. He speaks through His word, through dreams, visions, as well as through people.

Unfortunately, we are sooo busy these days until we’ve frequently missed messages at times when we should have “payed close attention”.

Like the professor, Our Father desires that we pass every exam, or trial so to speak. However, if we aren’t making time to read, to pray, and to listen carefully we are missing out on being filled with God’s will and His strength that will enable us to pass the tests that life brings.

You may be wondering how you can be sure that our Father is attempting to get a specific message across to you. God confirms His messages. If you hear a message repeated, no matter how simple, more than likely, this message is designed uniquely to encourage and strengthen you.

Related image

For example, a family member shared an awesome testimony stating that we need to remember how God worked things together for us in the past, and know that He will work out our current circumstance too. Later that day, I read similar words in a devotional. I realized that God was speaking and wanted me to “pay close attention”!

What message has our Father attempted to get across to you? No matter what you’re facing today, “pay close attention” knowing that the Lord will bring you through stronger, moving you from faith to faith (Ro. 1:17), and glory to glory (II Co. 3:18) as you “pay close attention” to the messages He’s sending specifically to encourage and strengthen you, enabling you to pass the tests of life.

My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body.
Proverbs 4:20-22

The Power of Your Song

30 Oct
I’ve come to realize the days I don’t feel like singing are the days I need to sing most.
sad
Before knowing Jesus, I “sang the songs that made the whole world sing” with Barry Manilow. Maybe you’ve never heard of him. But surely you’ve heard of another of my old favorites, Stevie Wonder and “I’ll Be Loving You Always”.
Now, I awake hearing songs in my soul such as Hawk Nelson’s  “Live Like You’re Loved” and Hillsong’s “So Will I”.
Jesus changed my song, just as He changed my life. He surrounds me with songs of deliverance. (Psalm 32:7). His songs confirm that all is well, even when my natural eyes only see the opposite.(ll Corinthians 5:7)
There’s a Bible story that clearly demonstrates the power of deliverance through songs along with prayers. The disciples were beaten and thrown into jail after delivering a young lady from a spirit of divination. They began to praise God through prayers and songs. Consequently there was an earthquake that shook the place, opening all of the jails doors and loosening every chain. Everyone was set free! (Acts 16:26)
Many of us are not inclined to pray and sing when we feel as though we’re beaten by our circumstances. If we could only get our eyes off our situations and focus on the Lord, hope would rise. Worshiping the Lord, especially when we don’t feel like it can produce power that delivers us and those around us from a victim mentality into victory.
Be intentional about your song in good times, for those songs can be used in trying times to deliver you from depression and oppression into spiritual victory. You may even set someone else free.
So what are you singing today? Are you singing at all?  It’s not too late for change.  Sing a song unto Him who is our Song and gain strength, delivering you into a place of miracles. (Isaiah 12:2, Psalm 118:14, Exodus 15:2 Psalm 28:7)
“He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; Many will see and fear And will trust in the LORD.” (‭‭Psalm‬ ‭40:3‬ ‭NASB‬‬)

Miracle On 34th Street

1 Feb

 
Yes, I know that Christmas has passed. But you’ve seen it haven’t you? It’s a classic movie called “Miracle on 34th Street”. Of course it has a happy ending as a gentleman who works in Macy’s with the name Kris Kringle proves to be none other than Santa. 

Last month, I happened to actually be on 34th street with a couple of co-workers and went with them to Macy’s. The Christmas window decorations were fascinating. The crowd was captivated by the moving figures, the glamor, and the wonder of it all, and so was I.

However, the memories etched in my mind from that day spark emotions that rain upon holiday cheer. We saw an elderly woman sitting on the sidewalk layered in winter gear. Her tattered cardboard sign said “mother & son homeless.” There was no son in sight. Touched by the scene, we gave her money.

As we walked that short distance of only a few blocks, we saw homeless people here, and another there. It had been a while since I visited the city. I was not prepared. I should have had more dollars ready to distribute. I was not prepared to see people lying on the street on top of flattened cardboard boxes in the winter.  

While waiting for the train to leave the city, a woman neatly dressed, within the fifty to sixties age range said hello and smiled. Her makeup was excessive, almost clownish. “Do you have money or food” she asked through her painted lips. “I’m pregnant”, she said. I gave her the unopened snacks I had taken with me that day. 

I prayed, knowing I had not done enough, nor could I do enough for the people that needed help that day. But what would the world be like if each of us did what we could to help at least one person each day? There would surely be more miracles on 34th Street! The people on 34th street, or maybe even on your street are waiting. 

““Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭25:37-40‬ ‭NKJV‬‬ 

Today!

3 Jan

I live in an area that has alternate side parking. Vehicles are ticketed by the city when parked on the side designated for street cleaning on specific days of the week.

Since I was blessed to travel during this holiday season, alternate side parking was definitely on my mind. The week before I left, I constantly reminded myself that I had to leave the car parked on the Tuesday side of the street in order to avoid getting a parking ticket while I was away.

Ironically, I was so consumed with parking on the correct side of the street before going away, that I forgot to park on the correct side before my vacation started. I received a ticket the day before my vacation began.

Instead of being annoyed with the city, or myself, I grabbed hold of the lesson learned through this experience. Sometimes we can be so consumed with tomorrow until we actually miss the gift of today.

How can we apply this lesson within this New Year? It’s wise to begin by being thankful that God has blessed us and brought us through one year and into another. We do not, and can not give ourselves life, only God can (Genesis 2:7, Acts 17:25). Let’s be thankful for all of our yesterday’s (Psalm 107:1).

Secondly, may we become so conscious of now, of today, this gift of the present, that we thoroughly enjoy every moment of it. Of course we should always plan wisely for the future. But Lord help us not to be soooo consumed with the future, that we relinquish the the benefits the Lord loads us with each day (Psalm 68:19). Those benefits include family, friends, and even the responsibilities of TODAY!
.

Lights On!

25 Dec

Other holidays pale in comparison to the beauty found in the lights so wonderfully displayed as we celebrate Christmas. I have been most fascinated by the countless dazzling lights seen flashing over homes that have no apparent wiring attached.

Upon visiting a friend’s home recently, I finally located the point of origin of these mysterious, intriguing light displays. Planted in the ground was a tiny device spinning and reflecting hundreds of colored lights over the house. I was delighted. I had found the source!

Seasons come and go. But the question is, does your light so shine before people year round that it causes curiosity about your source (Matthew 5:16)?

As children of the Lord, we respond to people and pressure in a manner that compels us to shine. The Bible states, “Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭2:14-15‬ ‭NIV‬‬.

Does your behavior/ light so reflect love (God is Love) that people are curious about your source? If not yesterday is gone, and today is a new day. Become more rooted and grounded in Jesus, (Ephesians 3:17) and you will reflect the light that brings about the question, what’s your source?

“Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; But the LORD will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭60:1-2‬ ‭NKJV‬ http://bible.com/114/isa.60.1-2.nkjv

Missed Oppor-tune-in-ities

16 Dec

It’s so easy to get caught up in our own little world. There are bills to pay, children to care for, work, who’s on Facebook, what’s on Twitter, and a million other activities that that distract us from one super important task. That’s the task of seizing oppor-TUNE-IN-ties to minister to this dying world.

Oh you might say, I m not a minister. While it’s true that the word minister can refer to church clergy. But according to Vocabulary.com, minister also means “to attend to the wants and needs of others”.

Nevertheless, proper titles aren’t necessary when “TUNING-IN” to help someone. Way back in Bible days, a priest (a man of God) saw a wounded man lying on the ground and passed by on the other side. Next, a Levite, another “servant of God” saw the man and passed by on the other side (Luke 10:25-37).

Although these servants of God had the proper titles, they were so focused upon their own agendas that they missed the oppor-TUNE-IN-i-ty to serve God by helping someone else.

Just in case you’re thinking to yourself, I would never do that – STOP. Take an honest moment to examine yourself. You’ll probably find that you have also missed opportunities to serve the Lord as you busily focused upon your own plans. I certainly have.

Perhaps it was the time you rode the elevator with someone who looked as though they were having a terrible day. You wondered why they looked so upset but didn’t bother to ask. Later you discovered that their family had experienced a crisis. Maybe it was the little old lady that you quickly passed as she slowly crossed the street with her overloaded shopping cart. After she fell, you realized that you should have helped her cross. Another missed opportunity.

Or just maybe it was the incident with your child. In anger, you disciplined him/her openly as his/her friends watched instead of using the opportunity to take him aside to teach him/her how to exercise self control. Yes, even disciplining your children can become an oppor-TUNE-In-ty to help your child and simultaneously honor the Lord.

As we TUNE-IN (draw near to) the Lord, may He quicken our spirits, helping us to seize every opportunity that He provides to honor Him by helping others. Help us Lord!

“Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”‭‭Matthew‬ ‭25:37-40‬ ‭KJV‬‬ http://bible.com/1/mat.25.37-40.kjv