Thursday, November 30, 2017

November 30 Thought for the day...getting rid of the slime

When hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, I headed there, and we established teams to help rebuild. All in all, we rebuilt 55 homes and 3 churches. The storm was severe enough but the slime that was left all over everything, a mix of waste material, garbage, silt, and dead fish, smelled to the heavens and ruined what the storm itself had not. This can happen in our lives after an emotional storm as well. The Holy Spirit warns us about it in Hebrews

"looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled" Hebrews 12:15

I shared part of this verse several months ago. I need us to look at this verse deeper to see what happens if we allow hurts to survive in our hearts. There are two things I absolutely hate in the church (in general not our church specifically) people allowing offenses to live in their hearts and entitlement mentality where people believe they are owed something by God or the church. I see the latter in our part of the country a lot. The former can happen when either we are corrected and refuse the correction or being that all of us are human (even me by the way), and we say or do something, not intending to be offensive, but it comes across that way! The challenge for us as maturing believers is taking our offenses to the cross rather than allowing them to live in us. I hate them because they are sent by the enemy to stop our growth and limit our destiny.

When the phrase "cause trouble" is used it means, to harass, trouble, annoy. It is referencing something that is always eating at you, on your mind. It is the picture of a person, because of an offense, is stuck in the mire of woundedness and offense and cannot grow, receive healing or move past it because the choose to relive it day after day. It just entrenches them deeper and deeper into their own wound, insulating and isolating them the Holy Spirit's influence in their life. This happens because they grieve the Holy Spirit because of unforgiveness. Hurts will happen but Jesus went to the cross for all of them and to hang onto them violates the cross.

The word "defiled" means to spot or stain. The Holy Spirit is reminding us that is we do not allow the Lord to heal through our forgiveness then the very raw emotion related to the offense will eventually bubble out of our mouths onto others, in effect "sliming" them with our bitterness. "Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks" Matthew 12:34. 

Here is what happens, someone feels an offense from church leadership, their boss, or extended family member. It overflows, and they begin grumbling in a way that their children hear their bitterness. While the children have had no reason to become bitter, they are "slimed" by the parents, and soon they too are bitter toward their church, their parents boss, or the extended family member. This effectively not only destroys the original person but their children as well. Ruining the relationship with the persons involved but worse their relationship with the Lord as they are choosing to grieve the Holy Spirit.

We can all find ourselves offended, and we can all offend people. As Christ-followers we are to be beyond allowing offenses and certainly should be beyond purposely offending others. Paul's focus teaches us an important lesson regarding things like this he said: "I die daily." Daily he was taking everything to the cross, leaving it all there. God's mercies are new every day for those who walk in mercy, His joy, peace, and love are there for those choose to walk in it.

Ask the Lord if you are allowing bitterness in your life. If so, ask Him to walk you through forgiveness, mercy, and love so you can walk in freedom. You may have bitterness from yesterday or from 40 years ago. Either way, it is grieving the Holy Spirit and limiting your destiny. Choose freedom today! No slime!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

November 29 Thought for the day...what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger

Thank you, everyone, for the birthday wishes. I am truly grateful and birthday yet

My brother often uses the phrase I placed in the headline of this post. He has gone through much in his life, and I believe it is what has kept him going. I, on the other hand, am not quite as sarcastic. However, what is interesting is Paul basically says this to Timothy.

"....exercise yourself toward godliness." 1 Timothy 4:7

Timothy was facing all kinds of hardship. I have mentioned this in previous posts. Paul uses a word here that was only used to describe professional athletes. These athletes were quite literally always in a life or death match. Their training consisted of training in the unbearable heat. Most of their competition took place in the heat of summer so all year they would train in the harshest of heat. They would place themselves in the most difficult of hardships knowing that this hardship would enable them to overcome whatever may come their way in the competition. They would even ask trainers and other athletes to viciously beat them while they were training so in case they were wounded during the battle, they would know how to keep fighting to win.

Theses athletes lives depended upon the harshness of their training. They welcomed hardship knowing that whatever did not kill them only made them stronger. They were preparing in every way mentally they would strip away every fear, wrong attitude, thoughts of failure, and even their clothing so to give no advantage to their enemy to grab something mentally or physically to use against them.

Their training would have brought them to near physical, mental and emotional perfection to win. Paul uses this word with Timothy reminding him not to expect it to get easier but rather than fearing the difficulties, embrace them knowing the Lord will use them for his good and make him stronger, ready for bigger more important battles. Making t possible for him to win every time.
The Paul says "godliness," this is Paul stressing a "radical, fanatical, devotion." The Holy Spirit is stressing through Paul that mediocre efforts reap mediocre results, but radical efforts reap radical results! Putting your whole heart, mind, soul, and strength into something will gain us the freedom, joy, peace, harvest and so much more we desire.

Allow the Lord to help you look at the hardship in your life differently. If you are growing in Christ, then you are already overcoming hardship. It will not get easier, but you will gain strength, influence more people, win every battle, and bring freedom to yourself and others. The athlete that performed well most often would win his freedom and the freedom for his family. Freedom from slavery, taxes, discrimination, and so much more. God wants you free, but he also wants everyone you know to come to freedom. Your training, battles, and overcoming win impact many more people than you know. Train hard and win! Freedom is coming.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

November 28 Thought for the day....knowing you are loved

It is my birthday today, and with that, I want to give YOU a gift! As I have traveled around the world, over 100 nations so far, I have found the most significant roadblock to a powerful, fruitful relationship with the Lord is not demons or governments but an understanding of the love of God. Today I want to give you a gift of knowledge, what I have come to understand about the love of God!

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8: 38, 39

I know you have read this hundreds of times, but stay with me. I hope over the next few moments to strengthen your understanding of the way God loves you. Paul begins saying he was "persuaded" which means he has been coaxed, convinced, had his opinion radically changed, and will never allow his mind or heart to think any other way! This is how profound his understanding has become. Paul was a Pharisee among Pharisees, intelligent, strong in the scripture and theology but coming into relationship with Christ gave him the most potent revelation, God's great love for him.

"Neither death nor life," The Holy Spirit wants us to understand that while in death we may be separated from our loved ones as believers we will never be separated from Him. The word can also be translated even if we find ourselves in mortal danger His love is with us. He also wants to help us understand that no matter how down life may bring us, no matter what circumstances you may face, even if of your own doing, God is still with you, loves you and will never abandon you.

"Angels, nor principalities, nor powers." Angels and principalities are powerful spiritual forces. The both have an authority and are powerful beings that deliver messages from their perspective Kingdoms to sway mankind. Yet, even in all of their power, they do not have the ability, not authority to stand between us and the love of God. The devil seems to have great marketing in the church, people falsely believe he has certain powers and authority that he does not. The love of God is powerful much more powerful than any angelic or demonic force. Powers refers to government authority, man's authority. The Holy Spirit is reminding us that no spiritual force nor fleshly authority has the power to stop God's love for us or limit it in any way!

"Nor things present nor things to come." Paul is stressing that whatever your present situation may be nor what you fear may come to pass you can not and will not be separated from God's love. Think about it, the enemy strikes us with guilt, shame, feelings of inadequacy, fear and worry about our future. It is all in God's hands as our lives are in His hands. None of it can separate us from Him!

To ensure us that there is absolutely nothing that can separate us from His love. The Holy Spirit reminds us through Paul "nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing." God is the only "non-created" person or thing, everything else has been created. Nothing, absolutely nothing can separate us from the Lord. No matter to what depths or heights you may go, God is there!

I know God loving us enough to send His Son should be good enough for us to understand His great love but there are times that we need to be reminded of the depths of His love for us. Today, I hope this does it for you!

Monday, November 27, 2017

November 27 Thought for the day...dying makes you very powerful!

Life can become so daily! You do something day in and day out and if you are not careful your work or quality of task begins to slip. The sad part about that is often we don't notice ourselves that the quality has begun to slip. I believe the Holy Spirit challenges us through Paul's letter to the Romans that would not happen.

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. Romans 12:1

When Joseph and Mary came to the temple to present Jesus there, the same Greek word is used that is translated here as "give." The word means to present, to place at one's disposal, to surrender, to offer as a sacrifice to God. When Jesus was presented at the temple, He was given over to the Father as a gift back to God. In return they expected the Lord to provide, protect, and oversee his life. Paul uses this same word challenging us to present ourselves to the Lord surrendering ourselves to His provision, protection, and oversight.

He is not simply requesting that Christians do this he is constantly, continually urging us to do this until the victory is won. That is the meaning behind the word he uses for "plead." It is a military term used by generals when they were exhorting the troops to fight until there is a complete victory.

Here where it gets interesting. The term "living sacrifice" is in opposition to a dead sacrifice (duh)! A dead sacrifice can only be offered up once, a living sacrifice can be offered over and over again. You might be saying, "when I came to Christ, I gave my life over to Him!" While that is true, we are in a battle with our flesh, daily. It wants what it wants. Until the day we are totally dead in Christ, we must daily offer ourselves up to Christ as a living sacrifice. We must be willing as Paul mentions, to "die daily!" If this were completed at salvation, Paul would have never urged the church in Rome to do this regularly and constantly. We don't realize how much further we have to go or how far we have fallen away if we don't daily check our flesh against His Spirit. It is easy to sneak up on us!

I have mentioned at other times, my concern for the Body of Christ is not so much with the devil because any Christian who is generally sold out to Christ will allow Christ to overcome the enemy in their lives every time. However, free will makes the flesh a very powerful adversary. Paul writes that we will find ourselves acceptable to God for his power, anointing, purpose, destiny, and use as we learn to offer ourselves up to Him on a daily basis.

You can have the power daily to be a radical, sold out, child of the King if you will but choose daily to offer yourself to Him. Watch Him provide, protect, guide, and oversee every aspect of your life. Let's change the world together. Try it for a month and see if everything changes in your life.

Simply pray..."Father, I give all that I am over to you...shape me, change me, empower me, fulfill your destiny through me today. Help me to get out of the way and allow you to be God!"

Watch and see what He will do in you and through you!

Friday, November 24, 2017

November 24 Thought for the day....excellent opportunities

There are so many things the Lord wants to accomplish through you. There are lives He wants to touch. There are whole cities, states and nations He wants to pour out His Spirit upon. The door is open He is simply waiting for you!

For a great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries. 1 Corinthians 16:9

Paul was writing this letter from the city of Ephesus. Ephesus was a pagan, idol worshiping, and a promiscuous city that hated Christianity. However, finally, there was a breakthrough. The spiritual wall had crumbled, and the church was growing and impacting the community.

When Paul is writing that a great and effective door opened to me, the word translated "to me" means he was given a unique and personal opportunity. Paul had cried out for the city, and God heard that cry! What are you crying out for? What is your hearts cry? God hears it, believe me, and He will answer. His heartbeat is for everyone to know who He is!

Paul's use of the word "great" implies a massive and unique opportunity for Paul. We are given this example and Paul's life to see that we too can have this happen for us. If you stay focused and true to the Lord call on your life, He will provide amazing opportunities for you too! God will not leave a door in front of you, but He will open it and keep it open for you as you trust Him.

However, Paul gives a warning, there are many adversaries. Paul is referring to those people who became jealous of his ministry and wanted to destroy it. He is also referring to those who saw his ministry and became envious and wanted to try to steal it. Both of these were inside the church. He was referring to those in the world that rejected it and wanted to see Paul imprisoned or killed.

It is not unusual for adversity to come against you when you choose to follow the Lord to such an extent that you are taking the enemies territory. You should expect resistance. It can catch you off guard if it comes from friends or others that were once close to you. However, like Paul, never allow it stop you, discourage you, frustrate you in any way. God opened a door so walk right through. He will bless, encourage, and give you more ground, just keep your eyes on Him and trust Him!

I want to encourage all of the blog and facebook post readers that God has opened a great door for us at the Christian Center. He is pouring out His Spirit in a very gentle and powerful way. If you have the opportunity, come check us out. We are near the intersection of Routes 51 and 70 in Rostraver Township, PA 15012

Thursday, November 23, 2017

November 23 Thought for the with people especially jerks:)

Have you ever said, "God if you could just remove this person from my life, life would be so much better!" Or something like that? I wrote a sermon once called, "Don't let the jerks get the best of you!" We will always have difficult people in our lives until we go home to be with Jesus. If you didn't read yesterday's post, this one might not make sense to you. If people are driving you crazy, you are in good company with Paul!

Concerning this thing, I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:8,9

Our church slogan is, "The perfect church for imperfect people." We mean that and as a church, we embrace everyone, and we desire that each and every day we all grow to become more like Jesus. Along the way, we may struggle with contentious, even mean and disingenuous people some will become more like Jesus and others more like the other guy and eventually walk away. We have no way of knowing who will follow which path so we must pour love into everyone.

Paul pleaded with God to deliver him from all the people causing him great hardship and heartache (the thorn in his flesh), but God would not do it. God is full of hope and love, and He will allow difficult people in our lives in the hope that they will choose Jesus, because of our faith and witness. Another thought is if God removes all the difficult people in your life would there be any left? Remember God sent His Son to the cross for everyone and He desires for none to perish. God will not leave you helpless.

It might seem at times that life would be so much easier if it weren't for the people. However, it is for blessing people (which ultimately blesses God) that we are here. God knows our struggles, so His "grace is sufficient for you." Sufficient means to give protection, power, means, more than enough and it is continual!

He also promises the "strength" needed. The word "strength" means dynamic power, ability to make any needed change. You may at times feel you can't handle this person, but God is saying I'll give you the ability and the power to more than deal with them but to keep you walking with your head held high.

This dynamic power is made perfect (matured) through our "weakness." The word choice Paul uses has to do with emotional stresses, unsettled emotions and does not have anything to do with a physical malady at all. It could be frustration, anger, fear, anxiety or any other gambit of emotions. God knows we feel insufficient to deal with difficult people if we choose to trust Him, He will supply all the strength we need to overcome in every situation.

Living with some people can be a challenge. It generally is not God's will to remove them from you but to give you all that you need so they might be changed and that you might be changed as well. Our loving heavenly Father desires for us to become more like Jesus, to engage people the way He did and to always reflect the Father's heart toward everyone. He desires every person to live a life that fulfills them and that they spend eternity with Him. He will allow people to be "jerks" in your life so you will grow and they will come to know His love, through you!

Be thankful today for God's strength and all the ways he blesses you. He is more than sufficient for you!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

November 22 Thought for the you have a thorn?

Many theories on what Paul's thorn in the flesh might have been. I'd like to show you what I believe based on the Bible, it may have been and why you might have one too. If so, what do you do about it? For some, reading this, you may be saying, "What is he talking about, a thorn in the flesh?" (a bit of theology today)

And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. 2 Corinthians 12:7

Paul had spent deep times with the Lord, even had gone to heaven, in this process he had been given a great abundance of things from the Lord. "Abundance" meaning a great amount and a great depth of meaning and insight into the things of God.

He had been given so much so that he felt he had been "exalted above measure." This phrase means he had been greatly promoted, given a high level of prestige, honored beyond measure. Paul was given the privilege of seeing, grasping, and understanding deep into the heart of God. We have been given the privilege of understanding these things too as we read his letters. Paul's letters and his life adventures that we read about in Acts, reveal to us all the depth that was given to him.

The word translated "thorn" here means the type of spike used to put a decapitated head on. The messenger of Satan wanted Paul's head on a spike. Paul was sharing the powerful insight into the heart of God that had been revealed to him. Please notice the thorn was sent by Satan, not God. There is no evidence anywhere in the Word, and it would be against God's nature for Him to reveal something and then want to suppress it at the same time. Messenger commonly refers to a spiritual being like an angel or in this case demonic force.

Paul stated this messenger was sent to "buffet" him. This means to continually be pounded on with fists. I shared with you many of the things Paul went through, beatings, imprisonment, stoning, being whipped as well as betrayal, and persecutions of other kinds.

The enemy was upset that Paul was given insight into the Lord that would set more and more people free from his grasp. So he sent those from outside the church who would persecute him, and he stirred up the flesh of people inside the church that would fail him and stand against him. This constant buffeting has more validity in scripture to defining Paul's "thorn in the flesh"than there is evidence that he had some kind of physical or other spiritual maladies. Paul prayed for this harassment to end, but God's word to him was "my grace is sufficient for you!" Paul kept going, and because of that, we have the insight and depth of the Father's heart that was revealed to him, through both his words and actions in the New Testament.

Think about it. Do you have a thorn in the flesh? If you are growing in God, becoming daily who the Lord has called you to be, others flesh and the enemy will stand against you. Don't become complacent, fearful, or overwhelmed! God has called you! He has given you a unique purpose. He has revealed to you truth, that you can share with others, in a particular way. Don't give in to the messengers of Satan, don't get frustrated, angry, or fearful. "My grace is sufficient for you, and My power is perfected in weakness" 2 Corinthians 12:9 Keep changing the world, allow nothing to stop you. Paul didn't!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

November 21 Thought for the day...blessings

As we think about what we are thankful for in this season, I want to encourage you. We can all have times where we feel overwhelmed, there is too much going on, or the task or day ahead of me is simply too much. The good news is, there is always encouragement and blessings in God's Word.

I am writing to Timothy, my true son in the faith. May God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord give you grace, mercy, and peace. 1 Timothy 1:2

Every letter of Paul he begins with "grace and mercy," do you know why? Paul was an apostle to the Gentiles. The standard Gentile greeting, kind of like our "How are you?" Was simply saying the word "grace." The word translated grace here carries with it the idea of favor. So when Paul is greeting us through his letters, he is not only blessing us with a divine grace, but we are also people who have been blessed with divine favor. Favor is every kind of blessing, peace, joy, rest and a whole host of other things that make our lives rich. We are still blessed with this grace today as we read and study God's word.

Then Paul proclaims peace. The common greeting even in the Middle East today is peace. It is not just generic peace he is proclaiming to us but the peace that God can give to calm any storm or situation in our lives. He is proclaiming a powerful pronouncement over our lives that we need to accept and apply in the daily grind of life.

In the books of first and second Timothy and Titus Paul adds the word "mercy" to the greeting. This is especially important for our topic today. These three books were written as personal books in times of challenge for the two men, Timothy and Titus. If you are going through something difficult today you need to hear this, but then again if not today it may be tomorrow or next week but we all have times of struggle. In the first book, Timothy was overwhelmed by the task of pastoring the largest church in the world at the time. In the second book, persecution had begun some had been killed, some abandoned the faith and even the trusted leadership he had raised up, had abandoned him because of the testing of their faith. Titus was left to finish a job Paul had started. Crete was famous for people who were liars, cheats, and scoundrels. Titus was working diligently to establish Christian leadership among this mindset.

The task for both men was overwhelming, so Paul pronounces "mercy." This is a special outpouring of God's kindness and help. It is the supply from heaven of all that is needed to get them through the difficult time. For us, it is important to remember that God always provides blessings for every trial and difficulty. Whatever you are going through today, you are not alone. Rest on his mercy today. Just like Timothy and Titus, God has a call and plan for your life, and you will face impossible challenges to fulfill that call. He expects you to rely on his mercy, that kindness, and help that will give you all you need to successfully fulfill your call!

Monday, November 20, 2017

November 20 Thought for the thanks for partnership

I appreciate being appreciated, many hear me, read these posts, see the work in families and the community and recognize all that goes into it and appreciate it. I am grateful for that, but everyone who prays and gives for this ministry is a partner in the world-changing work that is being done...the Holy Spirit says so, through Paul...

Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, 5 for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now. Philippians 1:4,5

Every day hope is being given, families are restored, throughout the year many have come to Christ, filled with the Holy Spirit, healed, delivered. The great and the small are all being challenged and impacted for the kingdom. Because you read this post and pray for the on-going ministry and because many of you give, what happens through the church or through me personally, you are my partner just like Paul was talking about the Philippian church.

The Philippian church was a struggling church, financially but spiritually they fought off every adversary to stay true to the Gospel. When Paul says here that he "prays" for the church at Philippi the tense there means it is a continuing action, he quite literally prays for them always.

Paul making "requests" means that he was continually, without ceasing, standing in the gap for their physical, spiritual and overall well-being! He recognized all they were doing and their hearts for Paul and his work. He recognized their value in not just their personal ministries but their recognition of the ministry he was doing.

Why did he pray so much for them? They were his partners in the ministry. The Gospel was being preached through Paul's ministry because of their prayers and giving. The way he could best say, "thanks," was to not only literally to say the words but to stand in the gap for each of them, believing for their needs to be met.

I am saying, "thank you" to you today. Your prayers for me give me the strength to continue on in the ministry. Those of you that give through our church are valuable and absolutely necessary to keep the Gospel going, the lives changed, the hope given. Each week thousands view our Friday night service, every day over 1000 people from around the world read this post (mainly through the blog). Your prayers and financial gifts advance the Kingdom. Every life changed is part of your ministry as well.

"The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work" 1 Corinthians 3:8 I have the privilege of doing the planting your participation in this ministry waters, and I expect an abundance of blessing for you because of your hard work. Together we have partnered to change the world...thank you for your faithfulness! By the way, I am praying for you daily and continually!

Friday, November 17, 2017

November 17 Thought for the day....hate and love confrontation

No one likes confrontation. As a Pastor, I have to almost be a pro at it because every day I have to confront someone about their sin. I don't like having to do it, and the results are not always pleasant (people rarely think they are wrong even if the Bible says they are). However, confrontation done correctly is an extremely loving thing to do.

If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, Luke 17:3 (Jesus' words)

If someone sins against us many times, it will sit and eat at us until we deal with it. We can sit and stew on it for hours, days, weeks, and even years. Why waste that time when Jesus plainly tells us what to do. The word translated "sins" here means to cross the line, violate a rule, cause a grievance. If someone has done this, we aren't to stew over it where nothing gets accomplished except our living and pain and the relationship falling apart we are to "rebuke" them!

Rebuke doesn't mean what most people think it means. It means to speak to someone honestly, frankly, and politely as you tell them how you believe they have wronged you. Honesty is critical, it is a key to intimacy in any relationships and is a reflection of our being able to be "one" with each other as Jesus prayed in John 17. It is critical to our impacting the world that we be an honest people.

When confronting follow this plan...

1) Pray - make sure you have indeed been wronged, and it is not the Holy Spirit trying to bring correction in your life. If it is an offense pray the Lord gives you the right attitude to confront. Pray for the person who offended you, they are not your enemy, the enemy is the enemy. The Holy Spirit may give you a strategy to reach out to your brother and sister that will ease the tension.

2) A judgmental attitude does not reflect Christ. - We have all made mistakes and when getting ready to confront remember you have made mistakes too! Please begin with the assumption that the person did not mean to offend you. You don't know the reason the person offended you, and as you move in grace and love, you can be assured that when you need it, you will receive grace and love. Remember you are going to want to keep a relationship with them after you handle the offense.

3) Remember how you felt in the past - when you were told you offended someone, you felt bad, perhaps even sad when you heard you had hurt someone. You want the person who offended you to tell you the truth so coming off strong, self-righteous, or accusatory they will be most likely become offended rather than being won as your brother or sister.

If after reviewing these three steps you still want to confront, when you do forgive. You have been in the presence of the Lord in prayer, His love, joy, and peace have been with you. Your heart should be in the right mode to talk with your brother or sister. You have been forgiven many times by the Lord and others. Remember it is being like Jesus to forgive. Forgive means to release, set free, to liberate completely, to let it go!

Our faith is all about relationship, relationship with God, each other, and the world. The world is looking for examples of Christ-likeness in people who claim to follow him. Working out of offenses in love shows our love of Christ to everyone. I know it is uncomfortable, but the alternative is years of anguish, hurt, and division. Gently confront so you may save your relationships and grow to be who God has called you to be! You can grow to love it if you see how many relationships you save!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

November 16 Thought for the day...put anger to bed

I think we all have done it at one point or another, gotten so angry about something we couldn't sleep. I have done it, it is rare, but someone or something has infuriated me so badly that I lay there tossing and turning at times only getting angrier. Paul has a solution

“Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27 nor give place to the devil. Ephesians 4:26,27

Wrath is a funny word. The Greek meaning is someone who brings anger alongside them and embraces it. In other words, recognizing it for what it is and dealing with the wrath, you embrace it coddle it, nurture it and help it grow. Wrath will then get "under your skin" you will own it then. It will begin to tear at your heart, love, joy, peace and before long you are completely miserable and restless. I have seen people carry wrath for years. They have missed out on many joys, opportunities, blessings, relationships, and the Holy Spirit because of carrying wrath. Some even justified it as part of their Christian right.

Wrath is there because we haven't learned to forgive, intercede, live in grace, speak loving correction or a combination of the four. Being Christ-like requires us to live in forgiveness we can't hold things against people, Christ didn't and neither should we (there is much more to this like not submitting to abuse but still being able to forgive). If someone wounds us, we are to pray for our enemies and those who persecute us. We have been given grace so we ought to extend grace to others. At times we simply need to speak a word or teach correction to someone. Each of this will crush wrath in our lives.

If you have a hard time letting go do one or all of the following:

- Pray
- Talk to your spouse or a close friend you can trust about it
- Talk to a pastor, elder, or another church leader

If you don't the devil knows the "place" to attack. The word devil means one who comes alongside to accuse. He will find the place in your mind where you are the most vulnerable and attack that place with a vengeance. He will find various ways to create offenses, wounds, corrupt thinking, illegitimate thoughts, anything he can do to destroy your walk, testimony, and Christian life. He does an especially good work when you are trying to sleep at night. So put your anger to bed before you go so you can rest.

Your rest is as much a part of your Kingdom work as your work is. We are required by the Lord to rest so don't allow the enemy to rob it from you. Walk in forgiveness, grace, and life don't give the enemy another moment of your rest!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

November 15 Thought for the day....don't think it gets easier

I remember when I opened my own business, people who had never owned a business told me I had it made. They thought how much time I would have because it was my business, I was my own boss. I could choose to work the hours I wanted. I could take days off. I had come into easy street according to some. My business was fantastically successful but because Paige and I were each willing to work 60-70 hours per week taking off only Sunday. When we weren't at the store, we were thinking about it. Many people daydream about what life would be like someday but someday is today!

Don't have anything to do with worthless, senseless stories and daydreams. Work hard to be truly a man of faith. 1 Timothy 4:7

Many people daydream about life being more comfortable if I only had my own business or if I were the boss, and my favorite wish I could be a Pastor they only work one day a week! Being a success at anything, especially in the Kingdom takes complete commitment and focus. Paul was warning young Timothy to not have daydreams about an easier life but instead to stay focused on the Kingdom. He was most likely dreaming about how much easier life would be if he weren't in the ministry or how much easier it would be as the ministry grew and he could finally relax. That would come under the idea of a senseless story or a daydream.

If God calls you to a greater purpose and anointing along with that calls comes a greater demand on your time, energy, strength, and gifts. As we learn to rely on God's grace, wisdom, and strength our character will blossom and grow and we will be able to handle anything that comes our way and be successful as well!

When Paul says, "don't have anything to do with" It means to refuse, utterly reject, walk away from any fables, old wives tales, or daydreams that will limit you. Paul doesn't want young Timothy to get caught up in wishing, dreaming, schemes or anything other than God's great plan. The enemy wants to get our focus off of the greatness God has for us. He will fill our minds with useless thoughts that take us away from God's purpose. It especially happens when things begin to get tough. We long for easier days, hoping every problem will go away. Those who follow the Lord's anointing will be taking on the prince of this world and his kingdom and will be conquering one kingdom after another.

"Work hard" is that word exercise, again. We are to grow in strength, stamina, endurance to win the race, to overcome, to win the crown. Ease is not something that men and women, who are hungry for God, will ever attain. However, rest, joy, peace, love, grace, wisdom, and power are the place where the man (or woman) of faith exist!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

November 14 Thought for the one likes discipline but...

We have all seen them, you are at Walmart, and there is a child or a couple of children that are entirely out of control. They are screaming, yelling at their parents, refusing to listen, maybe even telling their parents, "no!" They are a little-undisciplined anarchist. I can predict their future...jail time. Discipline is not only needful but absolutely necessary for success. Our flesh hates it, the devil hates it, but God blesses us through it.

No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward, there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. Hebrews 12:11

We are all born of flesh, and the flesh wants what the flesh wants, and most of that are things contrary to God's best for us. Our most significant battle is not with the devil but with the flesh. If the flesh is under subjection to Christ, then the devil has no possibility of ever winning in our lives. Being wholly submitted to the Father crucifies our flesh and leads us to more power, greater anointing and complete freedom, love, joy, peace and so much more! Walking in a disciplined life allows us to be entirely used of the Holy Spirit tieing in with yesterday's "thought" regarding excellence!

The word "discipline" means to educate, instruct, any action taken for the betterment of one's life. It is not only the process but also the attitude we want to be disciplined to grow, mature, and excel! This type of attitude is vital if we are going to mature. I know how important my disciplines of being in the Word, prayer, and working out our to my spiritual and physical health but some morning I lack the desire to do them, even though I know how vital they are to me. This word is a severe word meaning we must have a strictest of disciplinary approaches to life in order to overcome our flesh.

If I want the outcome of a disciplined life; moving in a greater anointing, power, wisdom, and all of the fruit of the Spirit, I must choose to discipline my flesh, effectively killing it off so the Holy Spirit may completely flow through me. It certainly is neither easy nor comfortable. Little children put it this way, "Mom, everyone else is doing it why can't I?" It hurts, "painful" meaning grievous, uncomfortable, distressing. It is hard work to go to get a degree, work out every day, learn a language. It is also hard to stop smoking, lying, swearing, or any other bad habit. "trained" is the word for weight training, physical exercise, or running, the results will be worth it.

The writer in talking about a "peaceful harvest of right living" is referring to progress in your life of godliness. You will see the fruit of the Spirit in everything you do, the power and anointing of God in greater measure, fear, anxiety, worry, anger, and all of the work of the flesh will be subdued in your life. This is not a "do it once and done" Jesus said, if anyone wants to be his disciple (follow His discipline) they must take up their cross (crucify their flesh) daily. For me, just like the working out discipline walking in His discipline is so very daily. It is worth every moment, every sacrifice, to witness all the lives that are being changed and the way the Holy Spirit is moving in our church. Try it today and see if it is worth it to you!

Monday, November 13, 2017

November 13 Thought for the excellent

When I was growing up an elderly neighbor lady, Mrs. Gee used to tell me, "Keep your shoes shined, it shows people who you are!" It took me a while to get what she meant. I when I would enter their home everything was pristine, her and Mr. Gee were in their 80's, but everything was in order. They had very little money, but they took care of everything they had. I asked Mr. Gee one day what she meant about the shoes, He told me they had very little money their entire lives, but because he took care of his shoes, Mrs. Gee knew because he could be trusted with the small things she could trust him with her life. They were nearly married for 65 years, and he took care of her every day. God looks for people with that kind of passion and attitude of excellence for the bigger things.

"This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work." 1 Timothy 3:1

The Gees had very little money or the things of this world, but they constantly trusted the Lord. They did everything they did to the absolute best of their ability. They valued all they were given, each other, and the Lord. By doing so, they honored the Lord. Too often today, excellence is not something we strive for passion is based on the moment, not on the way to live your life and value what God has given or called you to do. Paul is challenging us with passion.

The word "desire" means to reach beyond, to stretch to grasp, it is a fierce, unyielding passion to have or be something. It is the inward attitude of a person to always desire to be and do the best. The Holy Spirit is speaking through Paul and saying that is the type of person you should be looking for to place in any type of leadership position.

It is a very sad thing when people have gifts, talents, and abilities and refuse to grow with them. It is equally disappointing if someone is limited in their gifts but chooses not to improve themselves or their position by studying, researching, or simply working to be better. This is showing the Lord they do not have a desire for excellence. The first thing the Holy Spirit list in looking for in quality leaders is "desire!" Mrs. Gee taught me the little things matter because they reflect the big things. Jesus said, "he who is faithful with little will be given much." I am not a perfectionist, but I desire to grow in the Lord, my skills, my abilities, and in any way I can. I always want to be the best I can be for the Lord, not striving for perfection, just a deeper relationship with him.

When people look at your work, your life, or your attitude, are you emulating things that honor the Lord? Why would the Lord entrust great things to someone who will handle them with mediocrity rather than excellence? God has great things for all of us. If you know of someone, who is comfortable with the status quo gently encourage them to push into the Lord more. A desire for excellence is so essential the Lord puts it at the top of the list for what to look for in leadership. I hope it is at the top of yours. If we are not growing and learning, we are dying!

Friday, November 10, 2017

November 10 Thought for the day...leaders needed

What do you think God looks for in leadership? Many would think someone that has the right gifts, talents, and abilities. While these things are important they are not what God wants us to look for, Paul helped young Timothy find the right people

This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work. 1 Timothy 3:1

Timothy was going to be pastoring one of the largest churches in the world. To do this efficiently, he needed leadership he could trust. Paul gave him advice regarding who to look for and trust. God's leadership choice is always about character first, gifting second.

The word translated bishop really means, "a person who has oversight!" I believe every person in the church, because of our need for integrity in the church and leadership in the world, should live up to these qualifications. I am thankful, in my church,  that many do and many others are working on these character traits. It doesn't stop within the church.

This term can be applied in all aspects of life. Paul is preparing to tell us various traits that one should look for in a person that can be trusted to be a leader in any area. In Rome, this term was used of people who could be trusted to get jobs done, oversee projects, handle and account for funds, a person that would make sure everything was completed with excellence, and integrity.

Today this could be a manager, supervisor, administrator, anyone who wants or desires to hold a position of leadership. God expects people who love Him, to be excellent in all they do it is one of the ways, we can bring glory to Him. When we use our gifts the best, we can we bring Him glory. In the church, people are needed for areas of responsibility, areas of excellence. The church of Ephesus that young Timothy pastored needed quality leadership to meet all of the needs and impact the world.

Every pastor needs and should be looking for leaders with the character traits we will be talking about over the next few days. Every business deserves to have Christians that live these character traits as well. Every boss, who calls themselves a Christian, should emulate these traits giving their employees an example to live by.

Keep reading over the next few days to see if this is you! I hope it is. Try to live in such a way that if someone spoke badly about you that no one would believe it!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

November 9 Thought for the day....never disqualified

Several years ago the Lord hit me with a scripture. I was busy doing all the things the Lord had asked me to do. I was quite productive in every way. However, there were a few things off in my life that I did not recognize until he hit me with today's verse.

But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified. 1 Corinthians 9:27

I have always been a prayer, faster, Bible reader. I had always been faithful to serving others and serving the Lord to the best of my knowledge. However, I had put on weight. Everyone has a weight that is good for them, as long as you are healthy you are good. For me, I was getting unhealthy my blood pressure, and cholesterol was rising, but what was worse as I traveled the world I was beginning to feel like my weight was being a bad witness of Christ. For me, my weight had begun to disqualify my witness.

Paul is talking about bringing every fleshly desire under control. Anger, greed, lust, gluttony, manipulation, all of these things and more that the flesh so desires. When Paul is writing "disqualified" it means that or discredited, disapproved, dishonored, shamed, set aside.

Demas was a disciple and friend of Paul and Luke. We find him having traveled with them on part of their journey, in the book of Colossians. However, in 2 Timothy 4:10, we find he was disqualified, he left the faith because he didn't want to lose his reputation or fear. It is dangerous for us to assume because God used us at one time that because we may be used by Him know that we are still someone powerful in the Kingdom.

Most falls of men and woman of God are because they could not control their flesh. My being overweight was not some major downfall it just showed me that I was lazy in one area and it could have easily followed through in others. I needed to bring my flesh under subjection to Christ.

It doesn't take blatant sin to start us down the road to being disqualified as ministers of the Gospel (if you are a Christian you are a minister of the Gospel). A little pride, anger, greed, lust, gluttony manipulation, (you can find a nice list in Galatians 5:19-21) can easily start you down a road to disqualification.

There is hope. Be filled with the Spirit. He not only will protect you from the flesh overrunning your life but will cause growth, life, freedom. For me, I'm 38 pounds lighter, have more energy and strength, and a certain freedom I hadn't realized I had lost. Whatever is trying to disqualify you, ask the Lord to show you and then ask Him to show you how to will win!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

November 8 Thought for the day...opportunities for God to shine!

For 8 hours I had been driving with my Russian friends. We had seen maybe two or three cars in all of that time. I was on my way from a ministry time, and they were hurrying to get me to the airport so as not to miss my flight. All of a sudden the van ran out of gas. They were upset thinking I was going to miss my flight. I had enough time to share with them a story of how the Lord managed to get me out of another impossible situation in Nicaragua and because of that experience I knew the Lord would get us out of this one. As I completed my story, we saw lights coming from behind us a few miles back. My brothers began to figure what they would do if this car gave us a little gas. To all of our surprise, in a few moments, what we thought was a car turned out to be a truck hauling gasoline. It pulled up beside us and sold us enough gas to fill up the van. God is always looking for people who won't give up but will trust that He will always get you where you need to be.

"...Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea." 2 Corinthians 11:25

We only have one record of Paul being shipwrecked, but apparently, it happened to him three times. Can you imagine? Did Paul miss God's plan? Should he never have gotten on those ships? Had he stepped outside of God's will because these bad things kept happening to him? Of course, the answer to all of these questions is, "No!" Aren't these the types of questions others ask us, or we ask ourselves when bad things happen? Acts 27 we can read Paul's story of shipwreck.

The one thing the devil is terrified of is a Christian who stays on course. He will do everything he can to hinder, hassle, cause confusion, or simply get you to give up. The only time the devil wins is when we give up, become frustrated, or surrender our dream/God's plan for our lives. Paul did not miss God, the devil simply tried to stop him. Paul didn't panic, didn't complain he sought the Lord, and the Lord told him what would happen and how to protect everyone on board. Can you imagine the revival that took place among the crew? Can you imagine the power the Gospel had to these men after this incident? God's plans are bigger, and we don't always understand why we go through what we go through. We always have a choice trust God and win or surrender to a negative mindset, give up and let the devil win.

One of these shipwrecks caused him to tread water for an entire day. Most of us would have never gotten on a ship again. Paul understood, it didn't matter if he was on water or on foot, the enemy was terrified of him. The devil was determined to stop Paul at any cost. Paul knew all of these circumstances were opportunities for God to shine and he was determined to allow God to use him to shine!

What opportunities do you have right now for God to shine? Have you given up on God because of things that have happened? Have you been hurt or disappointed so badly that you gave up on God? Allow me to challenge you to revisit those places, allow God to pick up the pieces, and look at them in light of today's "thought!" You terrify the devil when you keep going and trust God! Start scaring him today!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

November 7 Thought for the day...senseless and stretching

Senseless shootings are just that, senseless! When they happen in a house of worship that makes them particularly heinous. It is the world we live in but not an unusual event.

Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; 2 Corinthians 11:25

By now you might be saying why do you keep talking about this. I am bringing this up to remind us to live each day with intentionality. I am not fatalistic here, I am one of the most hopeful and hope-filled people I know, We need to understand we are not guaranteed tomorrow. Let's stop wasting time with our little squabbles, disagreements, prejudices, and sin.

My first trip to China we smuggled in some Bibles. I was met in the dark by two men who wept as we gave them their Bibles. When they reached for them, I noticed rope burns on their wrists. They had been hung by their wrist, with them tied behind them for 30 days. The only thing that saved their shoulders was their feet were tied just right to keep their shoulders from dislocating. If they wanted to eat they were fed their own feces, to drink, their own urine. Their crime, being a Christian in Communist China. Two or three days after their release they were meeting me to get more Bibles. Their love of God was amazing. China has dramatically changed since those days, but things like this and worse happen every day to believers around the world. November is persecuted Christian month, and we need to remember what faith in Christ cost many around the world.

Paul was "beaten with rods." Three times they bound him with ropes, strung him upside down then beat the bottoms of his feet severely to brokeness. The devil had hoped Paul would give up, so he attacked his means of transportation, his feet. Three times Paul got right back up and kept on walking. Rather than give up, Paul knew the resurrection power of Christ, and he quite literally walked in it knowing that God would bring him through anything. Why do we allow little offenses to hurt our relationships? Why do we give up so easily when the flesh or the devil causes some frustration? Paul's heart beat more for God's plan then these "minor inconveniences!"

In this world, we will have troubles; we will battle physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual battles. God has already won every battle for us. If you really believe, if you have a real vision of God's divine plan, don't allow anything or anyone to steal that from you. The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy but Jesus has come to give us abundant life. The life we live in America is really unusual in light of Christian history. Pennsylvania was founded as a state to harbor those who suffered from persecution because they were true Christians. Allow the Lord to stretch your view of your faith. God wants to bless his children, always but we must always keep our eyes on Him, not our circumstances.

You might be thinking what does the photo have to do with the topic? Nothing, the topic was so intense I thought I might give you something peaceful to look at to take the edge off a bit!

Monday, November 6, 2017

November 6 Thought for the day...real faith

One of the advantages I have from traveling to over 100 nations is I have seen the church around the world. My point of view is a little different from the "American Christianity" many of my brothers and sisters in Christ have in the US. Some of the happiest Christians I have met are those in the worst circumstances. They have come to know Christ not through stuff but as the friend He is. Struggles have not pushed them away but instead, have made them among those with the most profound faith.

"....In the world, you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

A few days ago I shared with you the cost of changing the world. Paul went through many tribulations as Jesus spoke of here. What did Jesus mean? The word "tribulation" means to be pressured, squeezed, super stressed to be in a situation that is so intense that in the natural it is almost unbearable. Paul told us in 2 Corinthians 11:24 that he was beaten with 39 stripes. They did this to him 5 times. They bent him naked over a post 13 times they beat him on the face and chest with a three strapped whip that had bits of bone in it to rip at his flesh. The other 26 stripes were done to his back, legs, and buttocks. He then put his clothes on and kept sharing the Gospel not allowing anything to defeat him! That is real faith

Paul gave us an example of "being in good cheer" despite tribulation. This means, be courageous, take heart, be bold, keep moving with zest. It takes no faith to never face and trial, difficulties, or struggles. Chances are if you aren't facing these things and at times deserts you aren't growing! Faith is overcoming, a lack of faith gives up in the face of struggles.

When Jesus said, "overcome the world," this means that we will continuously, always, in every way have victory. In other words, Jesus is telling us despite what we may be walking through, we had the victory, will have the victory, and will continuously have the victory.

The word "world" here refers to the arena in which Satan tries to wield his power. People of faith, despite trials, tribulation, and struggles, if we keep our eyes on Jesus will have victory, continuously over Satan and the authority he has, because "greater is He that is in us, than he that is in the "world!"

Real faith doesn't mean we don't go through stuff. In fact, it means just the opposite if you are growing in Christ you will face opposition at every turn because the "prince of this world" doesn't like you making claims and taking his territory, the people and/or stuff he controls. Real faith takes the stuff and overcomes it to walk in victory every time. We don't walk by might, nor power, but by His Spirit for victory continuously!

Friday, November 3, 2017

November 3 Thought for the day...the cost to changing the world

Everyone wants to change the world like the disciples. They want to see the power of God move like it did in the first century. My challenge is, are you tough enough or too soft?  It seems in our culture it doesn't take much to ruffle people's feathers or hear them start to complain. They run from one thing to another when something gets hard. The problem with changing the world is it means taking the devils territory. If he can make it "hard," most will just stop. Paul showed us we must have the determination to win. (This will be my most intense post yet)

Are they ministers of Christ?—I speak as a fool—I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often.  2 Corinthians 11:23

To be mightly used of God takes mighty determination. We must know the Lord, how to pray, His word, and our call. Paul knew all of that and didn't waver from any of it. To do something mighty for God, you must throw yourself into it regardless of the inconvenience or the cost. Jesus said, "Give, and it will be given to you"..." the measure that you use it will be measured back to you."  We need to remember we will see the Lord moving in our lives in exact proportion to our willingness to give our lives to Him. Paul was sold out!

To push hell out of the way we have to be more determined than hell itself to see God's Kingdom moving. To take territory we will fight, we will choose His Kingdom over our Kingdom, and we will be more than conquerors! This is Paul story here. "Stripes above measure" Paul is telling us he was beaten severely and more frequently and intensely than anyone really understands. If we are going to take on hell, we have to stand up to the pressure hell might give. Otherwise, you will say, "this is too hard" or begin to whine, complain, or place blame. We must determine to be tougher than anything the devil can throw our way. That is one of the many reasons we need the fullness of the Holy Spirit.

"In prisons frequently" Pauls was talking about his regular imprisonment were rather than complaining, he used it as time to write parts of our New Testament. The word he uses refers to small, very confining cells, where only the worst criminals were held under the heaviest guards. This was Paul's confinement and his best place for writing.

Paul writes "I die daily," we generally interpret that as our spiritual condition. What the actual interpretation is that he literally faced death on a regular basis. He knew how not to fear death and to trust that his life was in the hands of God and he kept his eyes on the Lord knowing no man could take his life until God gave permission.

The Holy Spirit empowers us to walk in truth, power, life. He causes us to be hope, joy, love, and peace filled. We have the power to overcome the enemy every time. We have the power to change our world. We must be determined to push into God 100% rather than only giving Him part. Ask yourself these questions: Am I in the Word every day? Do I spend quality and quantity time talk with God? Am I giving my time, talent, and treasure to God always? Am I choosing to trust Him above everything including my feelings, every day? As you come to the place of being able to answer yes to all of this, then you can expect to have the impact in the world that the disciples had. This is the cost to changing the world.

What do you gain? Peace, love joy, power, life, all that you need every day emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually! Knowing God intimately. What a life that is!!!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

November 2 Thought for the day....let nothing stop you

If there is anything I really get frustrated about it is Christians that act like the devil is more powerful than God. I also get frustrated about those that blame the devil for decisions they make in the flesh that cause them heartache and trouble. Today I want to deal with the former, the devil is a fallen angel, and as such he maintains the authority he was given as an angel, but the authority we have in Christ is far greater, it is not even a competition.

"We wanted very much to come to you, and I, Paul, tried again and again, but Satan prevented us." 1 Thessalonians 2:18

Well, this seems to say that Satan is relatively powerful that he could stop Paul from his work. The question we need to answer is did he? Jesus told us that Satan comes to kill, steal, and destroy, but that Jesus came to give life, abundantly. Jesus, trumping Satan again.

The word used here for "prevented" means to tear up a road to make it impassible. Paul used the tense of this word to show that while he may have been inconvenienced by the enemy, the enemy could not stop God's plans for him.

Paul had a situation that happened in Ephesus (Acts 19,20) where a riot broke out threatening many of the leaders, to the point where Paul was unable to minister. Many Christians finding themselves in the same situation would have been whining, crying, feeling sorry for themselves. Paul didn't go there, he knew God had called him to accomplish a great task. He didn't give credence to the attack of the enemy rather he, through wisdom and prayer, found a solution to his problem and did it and God's purpose for Paul was accomplished.

Why should we get upset, whine, complain, or even stop what we are doing because the devil gets in the way? If you are going to do anything for God, the devil is going to get in our way. He will lie, try to deceive, try to bring fear, insecurities, whatever he can do to stop us. As Christians we have to recognize the devil is a failure and if God has called us to a task, we are to let nothing stop us. If we come to a hindrance, look for a way around it. God will show you a better idea than you thought. That worked for Paul all of the time and will work for you too!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

November 1 Thought for the is time to do the impossible

The Lord is really moving in our church right now. I am just crazy enough to believe that this is only the preparation for even bigger things. If I had a dime for every person that told me nothing was ever going to happen in our area, I would be a very rich man. I know what the Lord has told me and I know what is going to happen. "Why?" might be a good question and here is a great answer!

Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” Mark 9:23

This is a pretty tall order, but I believe it is just as true today as it was when Jesus said it. If we are going to do "greater things" then at a minimum we have to believe Him at His word! What is Jesus saying here?

The word "possible" means ability, power, one who is capable of doing the task. It is the same word as the word for power as is used in Acts 1:8 "you will receive power from on high." Jesus is saying that there is something that activates an unstoppable power in your life and that is "belief!"

When Jesus says the word "believe" it is the same root word as "faith, " but it implies actively having this faith, always, not stopping or giving up but being active daily in faith! A person that "believes this way is habitually, constantly, consistently, unwaveringly straining forward to take hold of that desired goal he sees before him!

Faith is the spark that lights up the impossible to make it possible. Once a person ignites their faith the things that seemed impossible to do are now quite possible. You become enabled and empowered to do whatever God has called you to do to fulfill any dream he has for you. You can do anything! That sounds kinda arrogant, but the truth is, God wouldn't ask you to do the impossible if you weren't capable of having it happen as you put your faith and trust in His call on your life.

When I receive a new direction from the Lord, it is time to put my "big boy pants on" and begin to renew my mind with prayer and God's Word. Then I can begin to believe that "all things are possible to those that believe." The church has become too fearful. It is time that we put the fear of God in the devil and the world. Let's start to believe for the impossible. The funny thing is, if we do, the impossible will start to happen! Now that is something I can live with!