It has been a year so far into this pandemic and so much has changed. People have been thrust into illness due to the Covid-19 Virus, and some have died as a result. The entire world has been impacted by these events. Presently, we are still in a pandemic. Many are starting to feel some relief with the vaccines that have been made available. We will still need to wear masks and social distance a little while longer until it becomes safe to return to normal. The question remains, will things get back to the way they were?
We have been afforded the opportunity to re-evaluate our lives and to adjust our thinking. Many have had to take a serious look within to assess what is of vital importance right now, and align themselves accordingly.
What were the things you were involved in before the pandemic occurred? Have you had to rethink anything? If nothing else, we've seen how brief life is and unpredictable at that. Things happen quickly without warning, much beyond our control. This is not the time to be sailing through life without an anchor of some sort.
There were people I knew who died of Covid-19; some were very young, some were peers, while others were in the prime of their lives. There is so much grief and sadness in the world right now, on top of the usual stuff that many were experiencing. Now is the time to settle one of the most important questions of one's life. Do you know where you will end up when you die?
No one gets to choose how they will leave this life or the events that will bring on death, but we can know where we are going when we breathe our last breath. If you happen to be reading this blog and you don't know the Lord as your personal savior, then please ask yourself that question and see what answer you come up with.
What I love about God is that He gives us a choice whether or not to choose the salvation He offers through His son, the Lord Jesus Christ. He, God, sacrificed His only son to provide a way where mankind could have a relationship with Him. His offer is free for the asking. John 3:16 states very clearly, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." Yes, the word, 'Perish' suggests that there is something else after one dies and leaves this earth. God's desire is that all of mankind receives the opportunity to live forever!
There is a question that lingers for those who are Christians and it is this; What have we been focused on before the pandemic? What, if anything, has changed for us now? We should not be going about life the same way as we were prior to Covid. There should be a shift in our thinking. If nothing else, we should have connected with the fact that time waits for no one. The things God has given you and I to do will not wait until we are ready to do them. The ministry work will pass on to someone else if we are not busy doing it.
May we each take a look at where we want to be, spiritually speaking, and may we have the courage and the faith to execute the will of God for our lives. That is the key to 'True Success' with peace and contentment. There is no better life than to live out the life God planned for you. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us, "I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
May God help us all to realize the value of our lives and to live like there's no tomorrow.
Stay safe, wear your mask, and keep social distancing!
Areas the Lord uses to speak to us, to teach us, or to discipline us:
1. Emotional challenges: situations that tap into those deep emotional places we struggle with. The Lord enters those places to help us develop strength, and to adjust us so that we don't let these issues hold us back spiritually and in our lives. He wants us to press forward despite things that may have hurt us in the past.
2. Financial challenges: We may be tested in this area to see how much we are trusting God to provide or if we're trusting Him at all. He wants to develop our faith more.
3. Under attack: When the enemy comes to discourage us, the Lord may allow his tactics and the people he uses to cause us grief. The Lord God wants us to be resilient and persevere no matter who doesn't like us, or treat us well, or who is our adversary. So the Lord will send those challenges our way to teach us how to get through it and to keep keeping on.
Life is full of ups and downs. There is not one of us who have not had obstacles in our path. We have all experienced hardship, discouragement, hurt and pain at some point in time of our lives. Initially we may feel as if we can't move forward.
One thing I've learned is that every unpleasant situation that life throws at you is important. It provides an opportunity to learn who you really are and what stuff you're made of. We learn from those experiences, or should learn valuable lessons from them. It's an opportunity to readjust our thinking, our decisions, and the direction we're going in.
As a believer, we are to take our situations to God and sit down with Him and hash out every aspect of it in order to see things from God's perspective, and to get the help needed to deal with the problem. God always has a solution for every challenge we face. We first must be willing to be honest with God about the circumstances we're in and how we feel about it, as well as the struggle we're having in moving forward.
It's important to get to a place where we can shed the weight of troubles quickly. If we hold on to sadness, disappointment, and difficulties for too long, we end up getting stuck. Being stuck can hold us back from the good things that are waiting to happen. 'Being Stuck' now becomes a hindrance. It can linger way too long. In 1 Peter 5:7 it says, "Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you." It is God's pleasure to take all of our cares, burdens, and struggles and manage them for us. He takes the load of those things and lightens the stress, the pressure, and the weight of it all. Our duty is to do the 'casting', meaning, we are to readily hand them over to Him. This is how you spell
God has a wealth of blessings, and wonderful things in His hand waiting for you to partake in. Don't allow yourself to be hindered by past hurts, present trials, or current situations that seem hard to bear. Give them to God! Don't get stuck!
Often we forget important events or things that happened in our lives. Here are a few things worth remembering:
1. What it felt like when you were last encouraged!
2. When God answered your prayers in a way you hadn't expected.
3. When you got what you didn't ask for, but God threw that one in there...
4. When God took care of your adversary.
5. When He made a way despite all the odds against you.
6. Why He said, "No".
7. How He provided for your need...
8. All the times He protected you from you...
9. No one has your back like God does...
10. You'll be able to trade in your body for a new one...
11. The Christian you're struggling to like today, will be your bestie in heaven...
12. To laugh more and more by seeing the humor in things...
13. Don't sweat the small stuff...
14. No one wrote the Bible but inspired men of God; don't run with stuff people say unless you see it written there!
15. He has not given you the spirit of fear!
Perhaps 2020 taught us that we need o discontinue certain relationships because they weren't working for us. Maybe we have outgrown certain individuals and are in need of new ones. Whatever the situation, we must approach the quest for relationships very wisely.
We all may know what types of people to avoid, but we may not be clear on the type of friendships we really need in our lives. I will attempt to give some suggestions in regards to this. We each can make up our own minds based on the particulars of our personality and make up with the specifics of it all.
Avoid friendships of utility. This is what the world calls 'Networking'. Those of us who run a business or ministry work know the importance of being able to network with others. God does use networking when necessary, but it is never one sided. Friendships of utility are people who will only attach themselves to you for something they need from you. They will say all the right things, lead you to believe that they are really interested in you, but they are only interested in what you do, and how you are able to do what you do, and how they can get a piece of the action. They are self seeking, unreliable, and selfish to the bone.
Avoid individuals who only speak of themselves. They are always on display and you can't seem to get a word in edgewise.
Avoid people who are sponges. They have the tendency to suck the life out of you. Their long list of problems are overwhelming and when you try to put their hands into the Lord's hand (spiritually speaking), they shy away from it. They only want to stay focused on their problems and emotional needs.
Avoid negative attitudes that only seem to see the glass as half-empty as oppose to half-full. Their mindset is negative and it leaves very little room for stimulation and growth.
Avoid liars! It may take a little time to see that things are not adding up with them.
Embrace those who treat you the way you want to be treated. They are the considerate kind.
Embrace ladies who show love. That's a true friend.
Embrace individuals who are good listeners. They give you time to express yourself.
Embrace sisters who are prayer warriors, for when they are though listening to you, they pray for you and with you. They know who holds the key to all the answers you're looking for and they don't mind accompanying you to the throne of grace where you can find help in time of need.
Embrace those who know how to laugh and don't have to have a 'plaster for every sore', so to speak. They can find where the chuckles hide because they have learned how to laugh at themselves on occasion.
Embrace individuals who know what it is to sit in God's presence daily and hear from Him. This shows that they are dependent upon God and are not navigating through their Christian life aimlessly. They are filled with the Holy Spirit and are in tune with God!
These are thy who push us closer to God!
"What ever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might." Ecclesiastes 9:10
What a simple, yet, important verse. There are a few ways to do something. Something can be done just for the sake of doing it, to say you got it done; it can be done in a mediocre way, or it can be done with all your heart and soul! I prefer the latter.
God insists that we be passionate about what we do. There should be an energy that is evident behind all we do. Nothing should ever be done in a haphazard way. God demands our best. We owe it to Him for all that He has done for us, after all, He gave His very best for us.
It sounds like a tall order to: clean the house to the best of our ability, to cook to the best of our ability, to do laundry, take care of the children, to go to work and do our best, to work that ministry like no man has seen before, to invest the proper amount of time on that sermon, to teach Sunday school, and do everything we know how to do as one who is driven and passionate about it. But is it a tall order? Not to God! It is expected of us.
We are in year 2021 and although church attendance is different and our gathering together is less, it will still be up to God's standards to handle our lives in this way. If you and I develop a habit of doing something a certain way, it will become natural and normal for us to operate to the full maximum potential.
May 2021 prove to be the year we make great strides spiritually, keeping in mind that God is the person who deserves your best!
It's a New Year, by God's Grace! I'm glad to be in the land of the living despite everything that's been happening!
I encourage you, as you move forward this year, to be very selective with your relationships. We all need them, but maybe we don't need all of who we've let in.
I liken relationships to vitamins. We all need them, but we must understand which ones are best for our health. There are so many vitamins on the market today claiming all sorts of things. The price is high, some are hard, while some are soft. I see relationships in a similar way. Individuals must weed through all of the hype and narrow it down to the specifics.
It's a New Year, and each day of this year will bring its own challenges, as well as triumphs. You will need the type of friends who will help you to maintain good spiritual health. I will make a few suggestions and it'll be totally up to you as to how you navigate this area of your life.
1. If you've had to let go of relationships in 2020 because they were not healthy for you, I commend you. It's not easy to let go of people, but unfortunately, that won't be good enough. You must now attach yourself to those who are wise, and God fearing, who walk in the Spirit, and who show that they are obedient to God.
2. Be very discerning! Observe how people converse about others. What you hear them say, will be what they will do and say about you given the opportunity. Weigh their words carefully!
3. Always ask God to show you the things you need to see about others so that you will know who He has sent into your life for the friendship that best suits you.
4. Never assess people based on a title they may hold in the church, or the activities they get involved in. Anyone can perform tasks if they're interested, but what you're looking for is a person with Godly character. That should be first and foremost.
5. Ask God for courage! 2021 will be a year that will require Christians to have courage in order to meet the challenges that are coming. Even in the best of relationships, we may have to stand up for certain principles that we believe in, and the friendship may be challenged, but if it is a godly friendship, it will stand the test of time.
Be strong in the Lord and in the Power of His might! He will never leave you nor forsake you!
May this year be a year of growth, peace, and joy in the Lord!
This is the last day of the year, and what a year it has been! Never before in my generation and the one behind, have we heard, seen, or experienced such catastrophic events! Its been heart wrenching and sad, and it's been overwhelming for many.
As we enter phase 2 of this pandemic, there's a stronger strain spreading from state to state. While some are getting the vaccine, there are many who are not candidates to receive it due to health related issues. It almost seems as if there is no hope in sight.
I have lost people I knew to this devastating virus. It has touched my family as well. If I didn't know God, I would not have been able to keep my wits about me. Faith in God and prayers to the One who is the Almighty left us with peace, and calm during a difficult time.
And so, here we are, at the end of another year. If you are reading this, you were given the blessed opportunity to see the last day of 2020.
I am concerned as to how you're making it through. What have you chosen to place your faith in? To whom do you go when you are afraid? I give you Jesus! Perhaps you have heard of Him, perhaps you have had a personal encounter with Him. Never the less, He is the One who has the peace, the comfort, the strength you need during these perilous and difficult times!
If you don't know Jesus Christ as your Lord and personal Savior, maybe this bible verse will help you:
John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." You see, life on this earth isn't all there is. There is an after life that will go on for an eternity. There are two places that eternity will be, heaven is one, and there's another place that is far from the presence of God. A place of judgement for un-repented sins and rejection of this Savior who died at Calvary for your sins and mine.
What I love about God is that He forces no one to come to Him. We all have a free will to choose as we wish. I pray that you will choose wisely where you will spend eternity.
So as this pandemic continues, death will continue to surround us more and more. I really hope that you will not be personally visited by the Covid-19 virus, but because it comes to who it will, you want to be assured that you are covered, spiritually speaking. I will be praying for you.
Have a peaceful and healthy New Year! And May God Bless You and your family!
Groupie - A person (women) who regularly follows a celebrity in the hopes of meeting them or getting to know them. A fan, or an admirer.
Luke 8:1-3 says, "After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod's household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means (finances)."
If you recall, women have faithfully followed the Lord, sticking by him, even in those isolated moments when his own disciples didn't. Some of these women were at the foot of that cross looking upon his anguish, pain and suffering and some showing up at the tomb with spices only to be told he has risen! What love, what an attachment they had to Christ!
What about you and I? Can that be said of us? Is there anything different about these women in comparison to us? The bible tells us that some of these women were delivered from evil spirits, strongholds in their lives that they couldn't break free from. Others had illnesses and diseases that no doctor around could cure, while other women experienced deliverances of other sorts. What is clear is that they all were women with serious needs that were beyond the bounds of human help.
When you have experienced true freedom from emotional, physical and mental bondage, you know that you are free indeed! Now you are able to live out your life to the fullest without anything holding you down. You can be all that you were created to be.
We also learn from scripture, that there were those who only followed Christ for the miracles and the food (John 6:26; 6:2). Yes, there were 'Groupies' back in the bible times. You could say that Jesus was pretty popular then, for some he was infamous, while for others he was a celebrity. There were people who were intrigued by the wondrous, out of this world, acts of power that blew them away. While others, stuck around for the refreshments afterwards. You see, everybody ain't warming a church bench for all the right reasons.
There are parts of the religious society (Christendom) that have a 'What have you done for me lately' mentality. This is self seeking and void of anything substantial. If certain individuals feel that they will get something personally out of following a certain thing or person, they will pull out all stops to do so. This sounds like a 'Groupie' mentality to me.
The women in the above passage were sincere in their act of following the Lord. They had such a personal encounter with him that solidified their faith and definitely proved to them that he was who he said he was and that he truly came from God. There was no doubt in their minds! These women were found wherever Jesus was, as often as they could be around him, and the words he spoke. They ministered to his needs, they supported his ministry work from their own pockets, and they wept for him at the foot of that cross, as their hearts remembered all that he had done for them, and all that he had given them. No groupies here!
May we seek to follow Christ with all sincerity of heart, giving him the best that we've got, while in these last and closing days!
Don't Be A Groupie!
"Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom." Psalm 51:6
It is so easy to convince ourselves of whatever we feel comfortable with. The human heart can justify its position on just about anything especially if it feels threatened in any way.
In life we are challenged often as far as our integrity is concerned. There's always the temptation, and opportunity to fall short in the area of 'honesty'. We can either lie to ourselves by telling ourselves that we are in the right or not guilty of what we are being confronted with. It's much easier to do that than to take a cold hard look at whatever it is and face it.
God takes pleasure in the integrity of His people. He wants truth to always characterize us, deep on the inside. This requires constant self-judgement. If we can't be open and honest with ourselves, then we won't be able to be honest with God or anyone else.
Being honest with oneself could reveal or expose a problem that we may not realize is even there. Sometimes it may take a certain situation to occur to flush a problem to the surface that God wants us to deal with. At times, pride steps in and gets us to quickly justify and continued to hide what God is trying to get us to face. It takes courage to look within ourselves and be honest about what is in the deep recesses of the heart. It takes courage to say, "I did lie, I did refuse to deal with that situation, or I did mistreat that person."
God gives each of us plenty of time to handle our business with integrity. He gave Ananias and Saphirra that same chance, but they chose to lie, and as a result, instant judgement took their lives because they lied to the Holy Spirit within them. They thought they were only lying to Peter, but they lied to God, and paid with their lives. That tells you how much God detests dishonesty!
It's always better to sit in judgement of our own actions, words, and behaviors and to stay on top of our character. If we fail to do that, eventually others will be privy to the lack of integrity within us, and lose respect for not only the ministry God gave us, but for anything we say.