There is only one way to move in the kingdom of God and that is forward! Believers should always be growing and moving forward because if we are not going forward we are either standing still or falling behind. Time continues to move. Nothing stays the same. Move on to what is next and embrace all that God has for you. Moving forward will require a higher level of faith but your past victories are there to uplift and encourage you. Don’t fear the future and know that there will also be new battles to fight. Your past victories are to encourage you to keep moving. When we get to a place when the way forward looks difficult, we often tend to take a glance back over our shoulder to see what it is we’ve left behind. We are tempted to think that it’s just easier to turn around and go back or remain where we are than it is to continue to move forward. We already know what is behind us and the fear of the unknown is real. We are comfortable with what is familiar. We’ve been there and done that and besides, there’s no faith required to go back to where you once were. However, if we always do what we have always done, then we will only receive more of what we already have.
Don’t ever become stuck at where you are right now. If you do, you are settling for less. Want more – you deserve more and the tests you will face will show God how badly you want everything that He has for you. Hold onto your promises and let the tests strengthen you. There is only one way to pass your tests and that is to keep moving forward. There can never be a time or place in our lives that we stop moving forward! You are not finished yet! The future is full of all kinds of possibilities. We must never accept as permanent what is supposed to only be temporary. Your present stage is meant to be temporary; you have many more steps to climb so never give what is temporary permission to become permanent. Don’t become complacent and stop moving. Standing still won’t get you where you want to go! Turning back leaves you powerless to move forward and remember that other people have a vested interest in you and they want to see that you are determined to keep moving forward no matter what. Always look towards the future with hope and know that every step you take is one step closer to fulfilling God’s plan for your life.
Jesus said the first and greatest commandment is to “the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” And the second commandment is this: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” I think the focus on loving people has been lost. It starts by each person loving people. We need to help people feel loved and respected because that’s what Jesus did and God wants us to model what Jesus did. We are to see the good that is inside other people, build a relationship with them and demonstrate a love that is a reflection of God’s love.
I think somewhere along the journey we forget about loving our neighbor as ourselves. We think that going to church week after week and worshiping God is all we need to do. However, showing God how much we love Him goes much further and deeper than that. One of the ways for us to love God first is to love what He loves – the people He has made. Put action to your words. Influence your world. Make a difference in someone’s life. Demonstrate your love for God by giving. Giving a little bit of your time is the most precious thing you can do. Make a phone call, bake a cake, send a card are just a few things we can do to let someone know that we are thinking about them. In loving others, you are loving God. When you do something for someone, you show God that what is important to Him is also important to you.
Love God. Love people. Do something with the life that you have been blessed with. Take pleasure in putting a smile on someone’s face. Demonstrating your love for others shows God that you truly love Him with all of your heart, all of your soul, and all of your mind because you are honoring the first and greatest commandment.
In Ecclesiastes, the 3rd chapter, the Bible tells us “there is a time for everything, a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to up root, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build . . .” I do not believe we can build the kingdom of God in a way that is pleasing to Him until we realize that now is the time to tear down the walls that are dividing us. Then and only then can the kingdom of God reign upon the earth. Galatians 3: 26–28 says “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” God wants us all to understand that race, culture, ethnicity, skin color, rich, poor, educated, uneducated – these things should not divide us. Martin Luther King, Jr had a dream that one day his four little children would one day live in a nation where they would not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. Unfortunately, that dream has yet to be realized because some people feel that they are valued less than others based solely upon who they are.
In John 4th chapter Jesus is leaving Jerusalem on his way to Galilee. On the way to Galilee, Jesus and his disciples take a route that leads them through Samaria. There was a deep hatred between the Jews and the Samaritans and the Jews avoided Samaritans at all costs, but Jesus showed us that the love of God extends to all people. In Samaria Jesus sat down by a well and when a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus asked her for a drink of water. Just speaking to this woman addressed a racial and a cultural problem. Jews would never drink from a vessel that had been used by a Samaritan but Jesus purposely came to that particular well to offer that woman living water which is eternal life. Jesus is teaching us a valuable lesson. The kingdom of God does not recognize social, racial or cultural differences. How could it? God created man in His own image and the cross justifies and redeems everyone who accepts Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Eternal life is available to all and judging people based on their differences is not how God wants it to be.
The answer to all things that divide us is Jesus. Jesus wants us to find unity in Him. This means breaking with any prejudices that we might have. Believers must be like Jesus. The only Jesus some people might see is you, so don’t hold back, be involved and make a difference. Offer the living water to all in the same way that Jesus did. Colossians 3 says “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Now is the time to step outside our comfort zones and not be content with the way things presently are. Let’s reach out to all people of all nationalities and enjoy the diversity that God has created.
Whether we like to think about it or not, we all are getting older day by day. Some people even try to stop the aging process by paying for a tuck here or a lift there to make themselves look ten years younger. Regardless, time marches on and no one will ever be able to beat the clock and stop the aging process. The good news is that II Cor. 4:16 says “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” Even though we can’t stop the aging process, we do have a way to grow and mature spiritually. A faith-lift is free and available to anyone who has a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Since our faith is or should be centered in the Lord, it should come from the Lord. Our faith cannot be lifted by an outside source. I think we all need to focus more on the Lord and knowing Him personally. Matthew 6:33 says “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” It’s easy to lose heart in life if you pay attention to the events going on in our world today. Focusing on terrorism, racial tensions, the economy or politics won’t work. They won’t satisfy. They won’t result in fulfillment. You will never really begin the process of being renewed day by day until you begin the process of drawing nearer to God. Knowing God is vital to life and once we begin to know God better our faith will be lifted higher and higher and our attitude to the otherwise alarming world events will be one of courage, hope and an assuring confidence that God is still in control.
Christ asked a question in Luke 18:8: “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” The fact that He even had to ask is a good indication that faith will be scarce at the time of His return. Hebrews 10:38 states that “the just shall live by faith.” Do you need a faith-lift? If fear knocked on your door today will faith answer? Believers who undergo a faith-lift have a reality of God’s sustaining and intervening presence in their lives. Be certain that you live with that same reality. Seek God daily and watch your faith lift you where you have never gone before.
All of my life God has been good to me and I’m sure that if you look back over your life, you have the same testimony. I’m reminded of what David said in Psalms 37 “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging for bread.” In other words, God never changes! He took care of the generations before you and will do so even after you are gone all because He’s the same yesterday, today and forever!
God’s reason for blessing you down through the years is not just for you alone, but that you might be a blessing to others. He gives us favor when we don’t deserve it and He withholds from us what we really do deserve because of our sin nature. He protects us from dangers, both seen and unseen. He works out for our good the situations that we put ourselves in due to disobedience. The goodness of God is everlasting and it is immeasurable.
If you are young you have so much to look forward to. If you have been walking with the Lord for a long time you know without a shadow of a doubt that God is faithful. You know how important it is to wait on the Lord because God might not come when we want Him to but He’s always right on time. Over and over again you have seen how God takes our setbacks and miraculously turns them into set ups that propel us into our destiny. You have seen God open doors that no man could have opened on their own. God is known for making a way out of no way. He is the one keeping us alive. He did it for that great cloud of witnesses and He is still doing it for you and for me. That is why David could speak of the goodness of God in the past and present tense. God has been God for a very long time and that is why it doesn’t matter if you are young or old, every child of God will have a personal testimony to share about the love and grace of God.
The righteous will never be forsaken. That will never change. Therefore, when the enemy of your soul throws fiery darts at you don’t give up – don’t quit. “Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world!” (1 John 4:4). I believe as David did that goodness and mercy will follow those who believe in God all the days of their lives. This promise covered not only those who came before us, but it is true for this present generation and every generation to come. Stop and give thanks to God today for what He has already done in your life and for what He has promised to do for those who will come after you. Remember the words of 1 Corinthians 2:9 “Eye has not seen nor ear heard neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for them that love him.”
There is the story of two buckets. One bucket was an optimist and the other bucket was a pessimist. One day the two buckets were walking to the well and the pessimistic bucket said “There has never been a life as disappointing as mine. Even though I always come away from the well full, I always return empty.” The optimistic bucket said “There has never been a life as happy as mine. Even though I come to the well empty, I always go away full again.”
As we look back over the days of our lives, we can look at life as being something positive or as something negative. We can look back with regret or with rejoicing. It all depends on what we focus on. There are those who see the glass half full and others who see it half empty. There are some people who look at their life and see only the negative, while there are others that choose to see the positive. You can look back and see all the trials you experienced and become bitter that your life’s path was so difficult, or you can look back at the trials and be blessed by how the trials strengthened and matured you and were used of God to bring you closer to Him.
Satan likes to make the most of our misery and cause us to doubt God. Our questions of “why” may lead us to distrust the love of God and wonder whether God cares about us at all. In this state you are seeing life as half empty. We will never know all the answers to our questions, but there should be no doubt about God’s love, mercy and compassion for us. In the middle of a tough time you might not always see it or appreciate it, but be assured that God will never leave nor forsake you. There are some things and some situation in life where you are just going to have to trust God. It doesn’t matter how good you are, bad things happen to good people sometimes to enable us to understand that God can make a way out of no way for you. This revelation will cause you to see life as full.
Is your faith in God pessimistic or optimistic? Would you describe your life as disappointing or happy? Do you see only the troubles or the blessings? Have your encounters with God left you empty or is your spirit so full that you can’t help but share the good news of Jesus Christ wherever you go? I pray that you are optimistic, happy, blessed and full of the spirit of God. The world needs your light to shine like never before. Share your testimony. Lift up the name of Jesus and God will do the rest.
Sunday, June 19th is Fathers Day. I want to honor all of our fathers, step-fathers, grandfathers, uncles, teachers and family friends who fill the role of ‘father’ in someone’s life. I salute you. Many of you grew up knowing the love and security of a present father; a father who provided and protected you and was there when you needed him. You have a lot to be thankful for. Yet, there are those who lived with the pain of an absent father or had a father in the home who fell short of being the father they really needed. Hopefully, you were able to find the love, guidance and support from another family member or had someone in your life that filled in the gap and made a difference in your life. Be thankful for that person because children can live without many things but love is not one of them. That is what Father’s Day is all about – giving honor to those who treated us like they were our father.
Nevertheless, every believer has a heavenly Father who loves us unconditionally. God truly is the most wonderful Father of all! The fact that He would love us, save us by His grace, and adopt us into His family proves this. Our adoption was made possible because of the sacrificial blood that was shed by His Son, Jesus Christ, on our behalf. It’s because of Jesus that we became part of His family and that is why when Jesus taught us how to pray He used the words “Our Father.” Our Father is our protector, our provider, our teacher and the one friend who has promised never to leave or forsake us. Almighty God is the only one who can be all things to all people all of the time. Isn’t that wonderful?
If you are a father, my advice to you is – it’s more important for you to allow your children to watch you live a godly life than it is for you to tell them how they should do it. I want my children to see what I believe to be right and true. Proverbs 20:7 says “The righteous man walks in his integrity; his children are blessed after him.” God, our Father in Heaven, is the perfect model of what it means to be a father. Love as He loves. Forgive as He forgives and show compassion to everyone that you meet and your fingerprint will be remarkably like His. Happy Father’s Day!
What do you do after you have done all that you can when facing adversity? First, let me answer that by telling you what you don’t do. You don’t give up. When your back is against the wall you are to ‘fear not.’ The Word of God tells us over and over again to fear not. God repeats this command because He knows that the first thing we will be tempted to do is to become fearful. In other words we are to let the peace of God rule our hearts and this requires faith. Remember, faith without works is dead.
Secondly, after doing all that we can is to be still and let God be God. If you think that ‘fear not’ is difficult, standing still is not an easy command either. You will be able to stand still only if you focus on how big God is and not how big your problem is. Nor are we to focus on our own ability because we are limited in what we can do, but nothing is impossible with God. We are not to allow our emotions to overshadow the promises God has made to us and that is that He will never leave or forsake us. God is with us today and He will be with us even to the end of the earth. Psalms 46:10 says ‘be still and know that I am God.’ Hold onto that promise. If God said it, He will do it!
God will deliver you from the Red Sea of your situation if you trust Him and obey His commandments. Fear not and stay right where you are. Don’t worry about how things might look. God has a plan of deliverance no matter what position you find yourself in. As believers, we need to put our confidence in God and realize that God positions us where He wants us, not where we want to be. Sometimes the only way we can recognize our own inadequacy is for God to position us to where we have to trust in Him. When opposition comes, it is good to know that God is our refuge and strength … a very present help in the time trouble.
Any time that you are trying to go to a new level in your life, you will find that two things are true: The enemy will fight you for your destiny and you will have to win the battle in your mind. If you are going to get anywhere in reaching your God-given destiny, you must understand that you will encounter some battles. No one gets to where God wants them to be without a fight – nobody! It must be understood that you cannot come out of a battle without a scar. Your scar will be either emotionally, mentally or physically. And after you have lost a battle, you must do everything you can to stir up your faith again so that you have the mind set to charge forward one more time. It will be easy to just give up, but you are a winner, so says the Word of God, and every time you get back up from being knocked down, you have won a major fight – the battle of the mind. Your mind will tell you what can’t be done but if you have the mind of Christ you will know that there is nothing impossible with God.
Are you prepared to keep fighting no matter what? The question is – how bad do you want it? You already know that you are to expect some battles on your journey, but what about fighting the battles that you don’t expect – the ones that just creep up on you just when you think everything is going to be all right again? Better yet, are you prepared to fight a battle that you thought you had won a long time ago but it has somehow showed up once again? The most important thing to remember is we have powerful spiritual weapons that we sometimes forget to use. Prayer, worship and meditating on God’s Word must become a lifestyle. Why? Because they are the bridge over troubled waters. Being in God’s presence will hold you steady until your victory comes.
You must have a pit bull type of mentality that will show Satan you are in it to win it. There is no giving up or turning back no matter what he does to try and stop you. Show Satan what a winner looks like. God has given you everything you need to be the one standing when the last bell has rung. Seeing your dreams come to pass depends on your ability to hold fast to the truth that God is for you and not against you. That great cloud of witnesses is cheering you on. They have already succeeded and so will you!
How is your prayer life?
Prayer is one of God’s greatest gifts to His people yet many believers do not make communicating with God on a daily basis a priority. Sadly, communicating with God is often reduced to when they are dealing with a crisis. However, I recommend that every child of God needs to set aside some time in their schedule to leave the cares of this world behind and find a solitary place where they can be alone and talk to their heavenly Father. Martin Luther King Jr said “to be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.” A person gets a totally new outlook on life when they spend time in God’s presence. Your priorities change as well as your desires and goals in life. No believer is going to grow strong and healthy without cultivating a prayer life. Without prayer we are doing life based solely on our own strength and we lack the wisdom and power we must have if we are going to be used by God to further His kingdom on earth.
Jesus understood the value of prayer. Therefore, He arose early – making it a priority to spend time in prayer. Not only did He wake up early for the purpose of prayer, Jesus made it a point to find a place to pray. Why? Because He wanted to avoid any distractions and focus on what was important – alone time with God. When you spend time with the Father you will be able to focus and receive clarity about what is important in your life. Prayer is the only way to find the source of direction, inspiration and courage to do what God wants you to do. You might be a person who makes a daily ‘To Do” list and you prioritize the tasks according to how important they are to you. You list the most important task as number one but prayer isn’t the least you can do, rather it is the most you can do to change your life and to change the world.
It’s time to examine your prayer life. If you are like most people you wish you could be better at communicating with God but the ball is in your court. Make prayer a priority if you want to allow God’s will, power and blessing in your life. Remember that “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (James 5:16).