Friday, May 20, 2011

Is It A Cliche?

Acts 12:5
5 So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.

When we say, "I'll pray for you" do we mean it or has it become a cliche? For Peter, the results of being prayed for came in the form of release from prison by an angel of the Lord. Peter was originally put in prison by Herod during persecutions. Herod arrested Peter because it seemed to please the Jews and he wanted to win their favor. But God! God worked on Peter's behalf because the church prayed for his release. What does this tell us? First of all, if we say we are going to pray for someone, do it because going to God on a person's behalf can have an impact. Secondly, we ought to pray for everyone anyway for it may seem like the least we can do but actually it's the best thing we can do for someone. What if you were the only one praying for that person? What if the person doesn't know God or the people they know don't know God? God may be using you to pray for their exposure to him in the way that they will receive him. Ignoring the opportunity to pray for someone can mean the difference between results and the lack there of. Words such as I will pray for you actually mean a lot to anyone who is going through a rough time. Or we don't always have to say it, just do it. But let's make good on it. For Peter it made the difference. It can make a difference in every life.

P.S. If you live in Prince George's County, MD and would like to obtain a copy of Get Your JOY In The Morning from the shelf, please call John 3:16 Christian Bookstore to see if any copies are left at 301.459.5999.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Does it Hurt Enough Yet?

Jeremiah 17:5
5 This is what the LORD says:    “Cursed is the one who trusts in man,
   who depends on flesh for his strength
   and whose heart turns away from the LORD.

Are you depending on you to get your through? If so, per the Word of the Lord as given to the prophet Jeremiah, you are cursing yourself. The prophet Jeremiah was given a word to give to the people of Judah because they backslid so much. If like the people of Judah, we go from relying on God to relying on us, we have put ourselves in a pickle. We do not have the ability or strength God has without relying on him. However, from time to time we get in our minds that we are big and bad enough to say "I'm good God. I got this one." And when we have that attitude the Lord will step back and let us have things our way until we mess it up enough we can no longer handle it. If we are relying on others before turning to God, again we put ourselves in a pickle. Man will disappoint man. Unlike God, let's face it, man is fickle. We're ok with each other today but tomorrow we may not be for whatever reason. God stays the same but man changes like the wind. When we rely on vices to get us through a situation before turning to God, is that not turning away from him? We are damaging ourselves and don't always know until we look up and have gone so far to the left where we can no longer see God. Pride is not pleasing to him, and often he lets the string go enough just for us to see how much we will need to trust him in the end. How have you been relying on you instead of God? Does it hurt enough yet?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

No Longer Standing

Isaiah 40:7
7 The grass withers and the flowers fall,
   because the breath of the LORD blows on them.
   Surely the people are grass.

No one can stand up to God. God gave Isaiah words to comfort his people. God wanted his people to know that no one from Babylon or anywhere else could overtake God. And surely his people would be released from Babylon. When God's hand is present, no one can go beyond God. Though the Babylonians were full of themselves thinking they were the beginning and the end, God said Babylon was like grass and could turn brown and die.

Nothing can continue when God decides to put an end to it. Just as God put an end to the captivity of the Israelites, so he can put an end to anything. Yes our God is merciful but never mistake God for weak. When God wants something to stop, it will stop. It can be anything. Maybe you haven't been using your money wisely, he can dry it up to get your attention. Maybe you haven't been taking time with him because you've wondered away from him. He can make it so the faucet of problems become so great that you long for relief by being with him. We all have tried to hold on to something that God has said must end. It can be a career, car, relationship, etc. So what happens? God will dry it up so no matter what we try to do, we can't resurrect it. Babylon wanted to resurrect it's power, but what it failed to realize was, the power never belonged to it, only God. He only loaned it to them to teach Israel what he wanted them to learn. He decided when they could no longer carry that power. When God says it's over, it's really over. What has God said is done in or around your life?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Willing to Drink the Cup

Matthew 20:22
 22 “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?”    “We can,” they answered.

The mother of the sons of Zebedee wanted her children to be great! She asked Jesus to make them great or make sure that they had a legacy. Did you ever say you wanted to do great things? What about for your children? Jesus asked, if they were willing to drink the cup. The cup symbolizes suffering. Let's be honest, many want to be great. But just as Jesus, who is willing suffer? To be great anywhere means sacrifice. In the kingdom of God, being great means to give up what you want if it doesn't line up with God and to want only what he wants for you. It's not actually bad thing. Because often we don't think as well of ourselves or love ourselves like the Lord does. How so? We want cubic zirconium and he wants to give us diamonds. We want scraps and he wants to give us the best he has. There's a huge difference. But more importantly, we don't want to make sacrifices or give up anything to get there. Jesus said he would make the sons great but indeed they'd suffer for it. Are you willing to suffer for the reward God desires to bless you with? Even if your reward isn't received while you are on this side of life but rather on the other side with Jesus would you drink the cup?

P.S. Thank you to all those that were able to join me at John 3:16 Christian Bookstore in Lanham, MD this past weekend!! The book signing was a success!!! As of last Saturday there were only 4 books left in the store!! Get Your JOY In The Morning was the bestselling book of the day in the store!!! Thank you again for your support!!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Spring Cleaning

Ecclesiastes 3:6b
a time to keep and a time to throw away,

Springtime for many people means "spring cleaning" in the house. Spring cleaning involves preparing the house for this new season. It means cleaning cobwebs and putting things away that now do not fit the season we are in.  It also means throwing things away that do not belong. King Solomon went through the different times and noted that ultimately we are not in charge of when the times arrive but that we must be willing to do in accordance with them as they arrive. What has God said to you about the things that must be cleaned up in your life? What must be thrown away? What items, behavior or even people no longer fit the season you are in? Are you willing to do some spring cleaning in your life not just your house? Some of us are in the season of manifestation of God's promises. How does it look to God if we are not prepared for it? How does it look to God if we are unwilling to make room for the new things he wants to bless us with? If we are so busy being a "pack rat" with behaviors, people, or anything God said must go that we are still trying to keep, how then can God really give us what he wants to bless us with? If we are unsure as to what must be kept and what is to be thrown away, ask God. He will surely stamp "expired" on the things that must go.