Thursday, September 18, 2014

Whatever You Give

Proverbs 19:17
17He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, And He will pay back what he has given.
Jesus said in the Word that when you give to the least of these you give to Him. Remember, Jesus gave up His heavenly wealth and riches and became poor on earth for our sakes. So Jesus has a special understanding and compassion for those who are poor. Remember, Jesus would occupy the home of those who lived in the town where He was traveling to. It is not always about giving money if you do not have money to give. It may be about opening your home or utilizing car for their needs or maybe even a word of encouragement, prayer or healing. When Peter and John were going to the temple a lame man was there begging. Peter turned to him and said, "silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you" and then Peter proceeded to proclaim the man's healing in the name of Jesus and the Lord restored his ability to walk.
One morning a couple of months ago I was on my way somewhere. I wanted to stand but God said to go sit where a man was. I was listening to my music on my headphones. I spoke and the man spoke. Shortly thereafter, he turned and asked what I was listening to. He was of a different color but I didn't expect or assume that he would know the artist but I said CeCe Winans. He said he had never heard of the artist. Then he asked if it was gospel. When I said yes, he said, "I could sure use some right now. Can I listen?" So I took my earphones out and I sang along getting my praise on. Before I knew it, tears were rolling down his face. I learned the man had just been released from jail the night before, with no where to go and had lost a lot as a result of being falsely accused. He had just been exonerated for a crime he didn't commit but it took a while. He shared how he was a believer in Christ but when God didn't come right away, he lost heart. What God enabled me to give was some encouraging words about enduring and continuing to praise God no matter the circumstance. The songs and atmosphere of praise was needed.
Whatever you give with sincerity, God will return it to you. One day you may be in need of whatever it is you may have given.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Much is Required

1Samuel 16:14
14But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and a distressing spirit from the Lord troubled him.
Saul took for granted the Spirit of the Lord that was upon him. He delighted in disobedience and half truths. Eventually, the Lord showed Saul just how displeased He was. He not only took His Spirit from Saul, but the Lord anointed someone else to be king that would be willing to serve God's people and not just himself. The man to be king was David. Saul, took for granted the presence of the Lord in his life. Saul took for granted the favor of the Lord in his life. Saul took for granted the blessings he was given. And then, the Lord took them away. Saul was so angry that he even murdered those who were called to be priests. Poor David had to endure under the misdirected anger of Saul. Saul was angry with God but also with himself. He couldn't stand that he lost the favor of God and it being given to another. Saul had favor but at the time he had it, it didn't mean much to him. But as the Word says, God uses everything for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. God used the situation as a training ground for David. It taught David to go deeper into the presence of God. David kept his poise under pressure by the grace of God because he sought God. Saul unfortunately didn't understand how much he lost until the end. He struggled to hold onto the kingdom and lead God's people without the Spirit of the Lord. But God had already blessed David, it just hadn't been formally announced to the entire kingdom. When Saul truly considered all he lost, it was the night before battle when his death had been prophesied by the Prophet Samuel's spirit which was awakened by a witch through divination. Saul was not to trust in anyone but God. However, the entire downfall of Saul was because he trusted in everything but God. Saul had so much. As the Word says, to whom much is given, much is required.
What has God given you? Have you lost anything God gave you because you took it for granted? Have you watched the Lord transfer blessings to someone else? Have you delighted yourself in half truths for the sake of pleasing yourself?  Have you received much but given God little?

Sunday, September 14, 2014

No Constraints

Acts 10:44
While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word.
The people who 'heard' and 'received' the Word of God while Peter was preaching had not yet been baptized by water. But God released the Holy Spirit to descend upon them. How so? God can do anything. And His purpose was to show those who were circumcised that they could not put constraints on God and who He will give His spirit to. And how He should orchestrate a service. For those who question whether the Holy Spirit can descend while one is preaching, the Word gives proof. The Word says it is a sin to deny the Holy Spirit. But as a body of Christ, the Holy Spirit is denied each time we limit what we are willing to give God. He is denied each time we make doing something else more important then giving God His praise and the Word He desires for us to receive.
This morning, God was showing me all the times that there were no constraints on the preached word and how the Holy Spirit worked throughout the service. We call my Pastor at City of Restoration Christian Center (CRCC) "superman" because when the Holy Spirit gets hold of him during his preaching he leaps not just in the Spirit but physically as well like superman "he leaps in a single bound."  I remember when we fellowshipped with another church because he was asked to preach at their men's day. That church wasn't used to seeing freedom in the Holy Spirit. And when my pastor jumped from behind the pulpit, the congregation was astonished, yet it was normal for us. We started out breaking up the ground with worship and praise. We went in as a body of Christ with no constraints and the Lord had His way in that place. The motto at CRCC is "the order of service is subject to change by the Holy Spirit." 
When the ladies of God's Chosen Vessels (GCV) went to Action Chapel Virginia we saw there were no constraints on God. And therefore the Holy Spirit fell upon the people during the preached word. They started out breaking up the ground and ushering in the Spirit through the music ministry. The Holy Spirit was so in that place that when we looked up and the service was over, it was about the midnight hour. The same happened on our recent Tea & Talk with Minister Tanya Matthews. There were no constraints. And when we were done, it was the 23rd hour.
When I had my first visit to a Kenyan church years ago when Samuel Yego was asked to preach, I was in for a new experience. At that time, Samuel was the deacon assigned to me by the church we were members of at that time.  I had heard Samuel preach before and even that sermon before. But myself, the young lady present and his wife, Hellen, noticed that something was different. See, the church broke up the ground and they had no constraints on them with their worship and praises to the Lord. And that day, I saw no constraints on Samuel and the preached word was received. When we looked up, it was later in the day.
Putting constraints on what you will give to God or how you think God should operate during a worship service puts constraints on the receiving end too. Maybe not for everyone but certainly for you.