Friday, June 10, 2011

Refuse to be Deterred

Nehemiah 6:2c-3
But they were scheming to harm me; 3 so I sent messengers to them with this reply: “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?”

Did you know that when you are on task to do what God has designated for you, the enemy is unhappy? God had laid a very serious desire upon Nehemiah's heart to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem after the exile. Nehemiah had even received support from unexpected places to do so. But as he was very much on task, so were his enemies. See, the enemy can come in many different shapes and forms. For Nehemiah, the enemy came in the form of Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem who were very unhappy with his progress. So their plan was to distract Nehemiah so the work would not be completed. Yes, the old smoke and mirrors trick. But God had given Nehemiah a discerning spirit. One where he was able to see that these men meant him harm. So his response, though sharp, was to let them know, he was not moved by their "so called" sincerity.

Now what does this story have to do with us? If God has laid something on your heart to do, then it is indeed a necessity that it be completed. But know this, the enemy NEVER likes it when God's plan are being carried out. So like Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem, the enemy of our souls will use anyone or anything as an attempt to provide a distraction. It's up to us to seek God's discerning spirit to correctly see through insincerity. Sometimes the enemy may attempt to use our weaknesses against us. What carrot has the enemy tempted you with in the past to get you off God's plan for you? We must be aware of it so when it appears, we can identify it and simply refuse to be deterred. Just because the invitations by the enemy arise, doesn't mean we have to accept them. The invitations are our test to see where our heart really is.

P.S. I'm extremely humbled and excited to be the keynote speaker for Celebration Church's Debs In Christ Debutante Ball this Sunday in Columbia, MD. What an honor to speak to such wonderful young ladies! Also, please be sure to tune in on Father's Day, Sunday, June 19th at 8:45am as I will be interviewed live by Stubbs on Callers are welcome and we will be giving away one free autographed copy of Get Your JOY In The Morning!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Taken for Granted

Luke 17:18
18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?”

Do you take for granted what the Lord does for you? Jesus was between Samaria and Galilee when he came across ten people with leprosy. Nine of them were Jews and one was Samaritan. What is leprosy? According to Merriam-Webster's Dictionary, leprosy is defined as

a chronic bacterial disease marked esp. if not treated by slow growing swellings with deformity and loss of sensation of affected parts.

So basically one loses the ability of limbs and they can fall off. At that time there was no treatment for leprosy and anyone with it would be considered ceremonially unclean. In mosaic law, one unclean could not be amongst others. Hence the ten were outside of the city limits. Again, leprosy could not be treated at that time. So for Jesus to come along and heal all ten of the lepers was an extreme miracle. Jesus told the ten to
show themselves to the priests because everyone knew the ten had leprosy. If the miracle was so extreme and such a blessing, why then did only the Samaritan return to thank Jesus? Even Jesus had to ask the question. What was so amazing about the dilemma was that if anyone was going to thank Jesus, it should've been the Jews. Why? Because they already knew who God was and then they had already learned through the prophets in scripture about what Jesus would do. He would be called a healer, counselor, etc. But the one who showed the most gratitude was one who was unlearned of the ways of God.

Does the Lord receive the same response from us that he did from the Jews? Or are we like that of the Samaritan? Do you know that anything the Lord does for you he doesn't have to do? He could decide right now, that your time is up and snatch the breath of life from your body? Whatever you have right now, he could decide that you will have it no more. What miracle has the Lord performed in your life that you have failed to give him praise for? Was it for waking up? Was it for having a cool air-conditioned home? Was it for the money you found on the ground as you were walking? Was it for making you late so you would miss that man or woman that ran the red light? Whatever it may be, let us not forget to give the Lord praise. We ought to praise the Lord for everything. We were put here to do praise the Lord and give glory to Him in everything we do.

So again, do you take for granted what the Lord does for you?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Malicious Intent

Proverbs 26:26
26 His malice may be concealed by deception,
   but his wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.

What is malice? According to Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary, malice is defined as:

1: desire to cause pain, injury, or distress to another
2: intent to commit an unlawful act or cause harm without legal justification or excuse

Movies have been made on this topic of malicious intent but only God truly understands what lies in a man's heart. According to the word given to King Solomon, malice or man's intent cannot be contained. The assembly is a group of people. In other words, not only will one person found out about the malice and deception but it will become public knowledge. The fearless King Solomon received the wisdom of this statement but it's also reiterated in the New Testament as Jesus spoke on light.

Luke 8:17
17 For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.

According to the NIV Study Bible, the destiny of truth is that it cannot be hidden. So no matter how much it is covered up, the truth has to be exposed because that is what it's designed to do. But why would someone have malice? Notice that in the definition there is "no legal justification or excuse" but jealousy, envy, selfishness and other such descriptions that are not fruits of the Holy Spirit are not about legality but one's emotions and character. A person with malice has a spirit that is not in line with God but focused on self and self alone. Jesus said we are to love our neighbor as ourselves as it is right next to loving God. But if one has malice, loving a neighbor is not a focus. Remember, whatever relationship one has with God will be reflected elsewhere. Pray for those with malicious intent, that the deeds may be exposed and deposed according to God's will. Pray that whatever way the exposure comes that it will lead a person to have a repenting heart and desire to change.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Take a Stand

Psalm 119:113
 113 I hate double-minded men,
   but I love your law.

Have you ever known someone to be double-minded, including you? The psalm, which is a devotional, was used by the priest for teaching the families. What is double-minded? Webster's 1913 Dictionary describes it as:

a.1.Having different minds at different times; unsettled; undetermined.

What is wrong with being unsettled or undetermined? It means that one is not sure as to where they stand. The psalmist/priest notes that he hates double-minded men. Unfortunately, a lot of us are double-minded. We don't make up our minds about a situation and even if we do, we do not stick to it. The least little thing will make us change our minds. In other words, the minute we don't like the circumstances, we don't have the same level of commitment. The priest said he loves God's law. It's such that when the Word of God suits us, we accept it, but when it doesn't, we reject it.

James 1:8
8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.

But here's something the apostle James, the brother of Jesus says, being double-minded in one area, reflects other areas of life. Where else in our lives do we go back and forth? Our relationship with God is also reflected in other areas of life. So if we are double-minded with God, we will be double-minded with others. Take a stand. Know what God has determined for you, and stick with it.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Note-Worthy Praise

John 5:44
44 How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God[a]?

Is it more important to you to please man or God? The Jews Jesus spoke to were very praise worthy in the site of man. Their goal was to obtain note-worthy praise from people yet had no concern for obtaining praise from God. Whatever they did was about gaining man's attention and acceptance. Jesus was very clear that praise from God counts for more than what man could ever give. Man can give hand claps and flattering words but only God can bestow upon one many blessings. It is not by man's hand that one gives blessings. It is God who gives blessings so that others may be blessed. So ultimately, If one is more concerned with praise from God, praise from man will be much more genuine. We are in a society that seeks to look good in man's eyes no matter how off one may be. What if you don't know who you are because you've been so busy being who everyone else wants you to be? Then what is your self-image? Praise from the one who created us is more satisfying. Let's face it, you can't please everyone anyway because people are fickle. Why not work on pleasing the one who never changes?