God Listens!

When I pray, how do I really know that God is listening? Quiet as it’s kept, a lot of people secretly ask themselves this question.

Prayer is best simply defined as having a conversation and when we converse with God it should be like conversing with one of our best friends. The only difference in conversations is that God doesn’t typically respond audibly nor immediately. However, you can rest assured that when you speak, He hears you and He will always answer you.

I John 5:14-15 reminds all believer of this truth, “ And we are confident that He hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. And since we know He hears us when we make our requests, we also know that He will give us what we ask for.”

In the above passages of text John relates the idea of confidence in prayer to our salvation in Christ. In other words, if we know that we are saved, sealed and delivered, than we should equally possess the same conviction that when we communicate to God, He hears every spoken and/or unspoken prayer.

Once we get comfortable with the idea that God hears our prayers the next conflict arises when we don’t get what we prayed for. Too often believers skip right over the suffix of v13. John says, if we ask according to His will not our will! A common—but only partly correct—idea about prayer is that its purpose is to get things from God and to change His mind regarding the course of events.

Oh but on the contrary, prayer is not just about getting what you ask for, but about living in peace even when you don’t get what we want. Prayer removes anxiety and restores understanding in both heart and mind. Philippians 4:6-7 confirms, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Jesus said in Matthew 6:8: “Therefore do not be like [the hypocrites]. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.” This verse leads into the model prayer, indicating that we should not pray with the idea that we are bringing something new to God. It also introduces the thought that the purpose of prayer is not to overcome God’s reluctance to answer and give but rather to lay hold of His willingness to help us toward His perspective, the fulfillment of His purpose, and into His Kingdom. The overall emphasis in our requests, then, must be inclined toward His purpose and will.

I’ll close with this reminder: God sees, God knows, God cares, and if you have time to pray (according to His will), God takes time to listen!

#BeStrong

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RESTORED❗️

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the verb “restore” as to bring back to or put back something to a former or original state.

Gratefully, our nation and the world around us is embarking on a new season and new journey of restoration. When people and systems are broken to a point beyond repair than the only thing left to do is to restore both the people and systems back to their point of origin, prior to crash or malfunction.

Granted, I’m not an IT expert by no stretch of the virtual imagination, but I do know that when I am experiencing software glitches or a crash, I can always restore any device back to a previous safe point or back-up safe point without damaging the system’s integrity.

I get it, restoring a life is much more arduous and complicated. However, when all else seems contradicted, the promise of restoration is a continually reminder throughout Biblical history. Starting from Genesis to Revelation, the Bible is filled with rich images of healing and restoration. The theme of restoration provides a foundation for correctly understanding sin and suffering, God’s plan for His creation, and His unstoppable quest to save His people and restore them to His imagine. In Jeremiah 30:17, the prophet said, “God will restore you to health and heal your wounds.”

PRAISE BREAK Hallelujah Almighty God in Christ Jesus, because You know that 2020 has inflicted some scars and wounds on your people and our systems that only You and Your church can heal!!

Why do you think the enemy is fighting tooth and nail to dismantle the creditability of God’s church? The enemy knows that God has always used the church to restore people and reform systems. Bear in mind, I am not referring to brick and mortar buildings. However, I am referring to community aka God’s people!

In short, we’ve talk about restoring scars and wounds, but let not forget about lost years. Time is fleeting and the truth of the matter is we can’t restore time!

Yet God promises the impossible: “I will restore the years that the locust has eaten” (Joel 2:25).

Therefore, our Biblical concept of restoration is all inclusive of scars, wounds and time. The Bible properly places lifestyle change into it’s proper context—a bigger picture than just preventing disease, feeling and looking better, or living longer. It also provides access to a God who heals and saves; who is bigger than time and the health issues faced today; who creates new health amid suffering; who is working nonstop to completely restore His people in every dimension of life so that they can spend eternity with Him.

Followers of Jesus of Christ, at the end of the day God’s orchestrated restoration will always bring immeasurable victory!! The Lord has promised to restore your wasted years. He will renew your 2021 and He will fill the remaining days in 2020 with limitless blessings. Submit your will to His. Ask Him to fulfill His complete purpose for you and trust Him to do it.

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When The Enemy Knocks….

In Matthew 4:1-11 we find that Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. He fasted for forty days and forty nights and afterwards was hungry. The enemy approached and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become loaves of bread. He said in reply, “It is written: One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.” Then the enemy took him to the holy city and made him stand on the parapet of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written: He will command his angels concerning you and with their hands they will support you lest you dash your foot against a stone.” Jesus answered him, “Again it is written, you shall not put the Lord, your God to the test.” Then the enemy took him up to a very high mountain and he showed him all the kingdoms of the world in their magnificence and he said to him, “All these I shall give to you if you will prostrate yourself and worship me.” At this, Jesus said to him, “Get away Satan! It is written: The Lord, your God, shall you worship and him alone shall you serve.” Then the enemy left him, and behold angels came and ministered to him.

Did you catch that? The enemy came knocking when Jesus was at his weakest. Yes, Jesus is 100% God, but He was also 100% man. However, Jesus unlike us didn’t succumb to the enemy’s tricks, schemes and foolery! Jesus did what we should do, turned it over to God.

Looking back in the OT, do you remember when the Moabites, Ammonites, and some of the Meunites declared war on Jehoshaphat? What did Jehoshaphat do? He prayed and turned it over to God and God showed up, but before He took care of business His spirit came upon Jahaziel and the Lord spoke through him and said in 2 Chronicles 20:15, “Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.” I don’t know if you read the entire story, but in verses 23-24 we find: “The armies of Moab and Ammon turned against their allies from Mount Seir and killed every one of them. After they had destroyed the army of Seir, they began attacking each other. So when the army of Judah arrived at the lookout point in the wilderness, all they saw were dead bodies lying on the ground as far as they could see. Not a single one of the enemy had escaped.”

Now, back before all this cool video door bell technology was introduce and way before door bell charms started being installed on homes people had physically knock or use a door knocker to access your home. With that said, the enemy tricks, schemes and foolery are no different today then they were back in the desert. Therefore, when the enemy knocks at your door say, “Jesus, it’s for you.”

If you alone are fighting the battle against the enemy I leave you with a few self-evaluation questions to ponder:

Do you know Jesus well enough to ask Him to answer your front door? When life and the devil deal you a bad hand, can you get the Lord to sit at the table and play it for you? Is your relationship to the Almighty current enough, casual enough, familiar and habitual enough to take His presence in your life for granted? In times of great anxiety, do you need to whisper to God to take over or are you screaming at the top of your lungs hoping He’ll hear your plight?

Remember, the battle is not yours, it’s the Lord’s!

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A Million Plus 1

I have given God a million ‘plus one’ reasons not to love me and not one of them has ever changed His mind. As I journey through my Christian walk, I am learning that there is nothing I could ever do to make God love me any more or any less.

Fact is, nothing will ever separate us from God’s love for us! In light of this discovery, Paul substantiates and qualifies this irrevocable claim in Romans 8:38-39: “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Here’s the skinny, God’s grace is big enough to forgive all of our past, present, and future sins.

Perhaps, this message is reaching a skeptic and you may be wandering why and how can God love people like that? In order to answer that question in it’s full light, we have to travel back to the beginning of creation.

Through the fall, all mankind was polluted with sin and became evil. We were altogether not loveable. Yet God’s heart was full of love for us, not contempt. He would not leave us in our fallen state, separated from Him for all eternity. Because He loved us, He did something. God gave His own Son, Jesus Christ, to be our substitute on the cross for our redemption. Christ died there to remove the obstacle of sin between God and us. God in His love did this for us.

To really understand the depths of this love, we should ask, “What kind of people did God do this for?”

Ephesians 2:1-3 gives us a full description of what we were before we were saved: “And you, though dead in your offenses and sins, in which you once walked according to the age of this world, according to the ruler of the authority of the air, of the spirit which is now operating in the sons of disobedience; among whom we also all conducted ourselves once in the lusts of our flesh, doing the desires of the flesh and of the thoughts, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.”

In such a pitiful and desperate state, we deserved nothing but judgment. But thankfully Ephesians 2:4-6 continues with more confirmation of God’s unstoppable love for His people: “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in offenses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) and raised us up together with Him and seated us together with Him in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus.”

God’s love worked out such a rich salvation in Christ for us who had fallen so low, even raising us dead ones together with Christ.

How great is God’s love?

Great enough that when you fall, He’ll lift you up, when you fail, He’ll forgive you, when you’re weak, His strong, when you’re lost, His the way, when you’re afraid, His your courage, when you stumble, He’ll stand you up, when you’re hunger, He’ll feed you, when you face trials, He’s stands with you, when you face persecution, He’ll shield you, and when you feel lonely, He’ll throw His arms around you! And the list goes on…..

Like I said, “I have given God a million ‘plus one’ reasons not to love me and not one of them has ever changed His mind.”

#ThankYouJesus

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Veteran’s Day Prayer 2020

Father God, You know every veteran by name. You know their deeds, their hard work, and their perseverance. You know their needs, both material and spiritual. Please draw each one closer to You and grant them all the peace that passes understanding (Philippians 4:7), let the peace of Christ to rule in their hearts (Colossians 3:15), and ‘joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand’ forevermore (Psalm 16:11).”

In addition to Your limitless joy, comfort and peace, reward each of them a hundredfold for their sacrifice and service. Bless them far beyond all their expectations and human comprehension. Reward them richly for all they have selflessly given.

Father God, to those who need healing remind that You know how deep a warrior’s wounds go. You know the loss that many of our veterans experience in body, mind and soul. You know the memories that haunt them and the scars that many of them continue to carry still today. Therefore we ask that You bring healing to those veterans who are still hurting physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally, financially, and socially.

Father God, for those veterans who continue to struggle with civilian reintegration remind that You know they can sometimes feel isolated and alone even in the midst of their friends and families because there are few around who fully understand their personal experience. So I ask You to place in their path those who do understand (or strive to), that they may feel less alone. Remind them often that while their fellow human beings may never fully comprehend, You see, You know, You care, and You can identify with them in everything they go through.

Almighty God, as we move from prayer to praise on this Armistice Day in 2020, let no veteran feel forgotten or neglected. Let every man and woman, young or old, feel the deep and enduring gratitude of our nation. O’God, Thank You for blessing each our veterans for their selfless service in the continual struggle to preserve our freedoms, our safety, and our country’s heritage. Thank You for hearing this petition and then moving to action to fill every veteran with all the fullness of God, through the resurrection power of Jesus Christ, our Lord, Amen and Amen!!

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What Are You Pursuing?!

The enemy and the world says, ‘chase money, and success at any cost,’ but the Bible says otherwise.

1 Timothy 6:9–11 says, “Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, endurance, and gentleness.”

I get it, money is a prerequisite to living and without it life would be extremely difficult. However, my point today is that money should not be the center of your life. When you chase after Jesus, the right doors will always open. However, chasing money will lead down a winding road.

To my seasoned saints, do you remember the song, For the Love of Money, by the O’Jays? It talks about people doing all sorts of things for the mighty dollar. Changing genres, Curtis James Jackson III (aka) 50 Cent debut album, Get Rich or Die Tryin’ smashed the billboards and according to RIAA as of 2020 this album is certified 9x Platinum. With that said, you can’t convince me that money chasing isn’t a problem in all economic and social classes.

It’s truly unfortunate to see people spend their entire life chasing after money and fame. People literally clutch at these straws, thinking they are their only means of support, as if by having them they could keep on living, could exempt themselves from death. But only when they are close to dying do they realize how distant these things are from them, how weak they are in the face of death, how easily they shatter, how lonely and helpless they are, with nowhere to turn. They realize that life cannot be bought with money or fame, that no matter how wealthy a person is, no matter how lofty his or her position is, all people are equally poor and inconsequential in the face of death. They realize that money cannot buy life, that fame cannot erase death, that neither money nor fame can lengthen a person’s life by a single hour, a single minute, or a single second.

Family and friends, the enemy wants us to chase money because he knows that whatever we chase becomes our god. In Matthew 6 we find Jesus teaching his disciples on this very same subject matter. He said in v24, “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.” Then he brings it home in v33, “Seek [chase]the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”

I know I am preaching to the choir for most of you who live by the Dave Ramsey’s proven plan for financial success, but please make note that most if not all of his financial strategies are built on proven biblical money principles.

Fact is, God’s word shows us a clear way to practice. If we wanted to shun the enemy’s and the world’s wicked temptations and say farewell to our old life of exchanging life for money, then we must let go of wrong life pursuits and no longer live by the enemy’s and world’s fallacies, but instead conduct ourselves as God’s people and walk the onward path in light and in sync of God’s words!

In all honesty, I can truly say, ‘I’ve been there and through my own personal experiences, I saw that my previous outlook on life, which was that I considered money to be life, was actually the enemy and the world toying with me!! It was a chain the enemy and the world had put on me, a nothingness that was gone in the twinkling of an eye. In the time I have left to me, I thought, I can no longer allow myself to fall into the enemy’s and the world’s cunning schemes. I am made by God and I should seek to worship God and obey God and live under God’s sovereignty and guidance. Only that is a life with a genuine future and true value.

Most people will say pursue purpose, but how can one pursue purpose if they don’t first pursue the One that authored it!

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It’s Not Too Late For God To Use You!

If you don’t remember anything from this devotional message please commit these words to memory right now: With God by your side, it’s never too late!

Just before the Pharisees began scheming and plotting to kill Jesus there is a symbolic nugget found in John 11:1-44.

In these passages of text we find a story about Jesus, Lazarus, and his two sisters; Mary and Martha. In Luke 10:40-42 we also learn these are the same two sisters Jesus visited for lunch where Martha chose to be the frantic busybody and Mary chose to anoint the Lord with oil and wiped his feet with her hair.

Well, one day their brother Lazarus became gravely ill and so his sisters sent word to Jesus to come heal him. The message indeed reached Jesus, but the Bible says “When they told Jesus that Lazarus was sick, He did not budge, he did not go anywhere. He stayed right there 2 extra days preaching and teaching about the goodness of God. In the meantime, Lazarus died.

On the third day Jesus said “Let’s go into Judea. I got to go and get Lazarus because he is asleep. “The disciples thought that Lazarus was taking a nap, but Jesus had to make it plain. Lazarus is dead. I got to go and wake him up out of his sleep.”

When Jesus finally arrived at Bethany Lazarus had been wrapped up like a mummy and placed in his tomb for 4 days. Shortly thereafter, when Mary sees Jesus she fell to his feet weeping and said, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.” You know, Jesus never responded to Mary’s statement, but it appeared he was irritated because of their lack of faith. Some translations say after Jesus saw Mary and the others weeping, he was deeply moved and others translations say his anger welled up within him and he was deeply troubled.

At that moment in time everyone thought it was too late for their beloved brother and friend except Jesus. When Jesus arrived to the place where they laid Lazarus to rest, the Bible says in John 11:35, “Jesus wept.” He cried not only because his friend had died but also because there stood in front of him some of the very same people who witnessed or heard of the miracles he performed that made a blind man see, that raised Jarius’ daughter from the dead, that healed a man’s withered hand, that open deaf ears, and caused the lame to walk.

After Jesus prayed in John 11:42, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus come forth!”

I can see with my spiritual mind. Some of the people standing there in that moment most likely said we know he can raise the dead after a couple of hours, but Lazarus been dead for 4 days.

I know this devotional is a little long but somebody needs to know that it’s never too late for God!

When Lazarus came forth the Bible says he came dressed in his grave clothes, wrapped up from the crown of his head to the sole of his feet.

The real question is will you be like Lazarus when Jesus call you? Will you come forward? Well, for me it doesn’t matter if I am sea bound, I will come forward, it doesn’t matter if I am in a firey furnace, I will come forward.

So when Lazarus got to the mouth of the grave, they said “How do we know if that is him. Jesus said “Loose him and let him go.”

Beloved, God wants the church to know we don’t have to be bound to our past because its’ not too late. We don’t have to be chained to our present because it’s not too late.

Still not convinced?

Let me call on some friends of mines that will tell you that it is not too late. Come here Adam tell them how you were deceived by the devil and it was to destroy the rest of your seed for eteninty, but Jesus stepped in. Please stand up Abraham and Sarah and testify that the promise manifested in the twilight of your years. Moses thought it was over and done with until a burning bush awakened his spirit! Come here Meshach, Shedrack and Abednego. You were all down in a firey furnace that the king requested it to be 7 times hotter. But Jesus stepped in because its not too late. Now come here sweet baby Jesus. Before Jesus was hanging between yonder and yonder, up and down, then and there. He said that Sunday morning would change the entire course a d destiny of the world!

It doesn’t matter your age, profession, ethnicity, gender, finances, your strengths or weaknesses, the moment you think it’s too late, God whispers, “I still have a plan!”

I encourage you to let go of your timeline, self-imposed deadlines and submit to God’s will. Hold nothing back.  He will prepare and restore you. He’ll heal you and give you exactly what you need. God’s plan for your life may not look the way you dreamed, but don’t let that discourage you. God has the power to exceed your dreams. What we can imagine is limited, but what God can accomplish is not. God will redeem time, opportunities, and dreams.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,  to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. – Ephesians 3:20-21

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Yes, Lord!

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Speak Life!

Proverbs 18:21 gives us a sharp reminder that, “The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.” In context this passage of text is referring to gossiping, but it also implicates the negative thoughts and words we choose to tell ourselves. Yehuda Berg once said, “Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively using words of despair. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble.”

It’s acutely obvious that when communicating with others we should choose to speak with mindfulness, in a way to solidify peace and compassion in our characters. However, that’s not the main point of my encouragement today.

Oftentimes, it’s not so much the words we convey about or to other people, rather it’s the words we speak to ourselves-over our own lives. For example, “I am not good enough”, I am not worth it”, “‘I can’t do it”, It’s too late for me”, I am too old”, “My life sucks”, and so on…

No cap, the struggle against negative thinking is real. However, the apostle Paul encourages believers what to think about: things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8). Outside of defining what thoughts should fill our minds, this text implicitly teaches that we can control what we think about. When a negative thought comes, the thinker who has the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16) has the ability to push it out of the mind and replace it with godly thoughts, but developing this mindset takes practice and persistence.

The reality for most of us is that as long as we live in a fearful, wicked and stressful world negative thoughts will come, but we mustn’t forget that we posses the power to use self-reflective words to speak life, vitality, and inspiration over every negative and self-condemning thought.

In the spirit of transparency and honesty, I was formerly my own worst critic. In comparing my life to other people’s lives, I use to speak those same words I mentioned above into my very own life. God taught me that comparison always leads to a false sense of reality. Author and Speaker Joyce Meyers said, “God will help you be all you can be, but He will never help you be someone else.”

My brothers and sisters, self-value is a far more useful construction than self-esteem. Therefore, don’t undervalue the value God has placed on you and don’t compare your value with someone else’s value. We each have value and abilities far beyond what we’ll ever credit ourselves with. Never believe the lie that you have nothing to offer. Your worth is invaluable and your potential is limitless because our God is limitless, and we are created in His image. Embrace who God made you to be and use the special blend of gifts and talents that He has entrusted to you.

If you only knew how powerful your words are, you would most likely never speak a negative word to yourself more less to someone else!

After you take a good look at the enclosed picture, I challenge you to add a positive word in the jar or comment section that starts with the first letter of your first name!

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By The Blood!

PaidInFull

Hallelujah

ThankYouJesus

TGBTG

BeStrong

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