Hopeless or Hopeful

For the past few weeks at church, I have been learning about God’s Word and seeing things through the eyes of a lion. Some people who are skeptical of God and Jesus might say Jesus was weak because he didn’t remove himself from the cross. There is nothing weak about Jesus. He could have taken Himself off the cross. God could have removed Him from the cross. Jesus cried out to God saying if it was His will to have Him go through the agony and death on the cross, then He would stay there in order to fulfill God’s plan for Him and all mankind. What if Jesus had taken the easy way out?

Where do you turn when you have a situation that feels hopeless? Do you tell others about it, secretly hoping they will agree with you and justify your actions? Do you stay in the “poor me” state of mind? Do you keep that victim mentality? OR – Do you go to the One who gives you hope? Do you tell God how you truly feel and listen to His instruction?
Jeremiah 29:11 says that God has a plan for us and His plan is for us, not against us. If you will call on the name of the Lord, you will find Him, ready and faithful. Jeremiah 29:12 says that if we will truly seek the Lord, we will find Him. We must look for Him with all our heart. All. Our. Heart. Not half-hearted. Not with part of our heart. All. Our. Heart.

At work, we are writing “playbooks” for key processes we know managers will utilize to help their teams operate to their fullest potential. We are including the overview which gives the value of the process, along with the steps to the process. We create these processes by looking at the customer experience from the eyes of the customer so we can lessen the effort for the customer. The Bible is that for us as Christians. The Bible tells us how to live our lives to the fullest, living our best that God planned for us. It gives us the hope of Jesus.

Where will you turn when you feel hopeless in a situation? I hope you will turn to Jesus. I hope you will turn to His Word. It will take action on your part, but it’s worth it. I hope you begin to do these things now, even if you’re not feeling hopeless. God can make any situation better. Nothing is too big or too small. Loving Him makes everything better.

He Is Risen

By His Wounds
Isaiah 53:5-6 says “But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray. Each of us has turned to his own way, But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him. ”
I pray this morning that each of us will allow those words to permeate our hearts and emerge for this day with thankful hearts, begging and pleading that God will go before us, preparing the hearts of those to come to church and allow His words in a song or the message to pierce hearts and change lives forever. We serve a risen Savior, which no other god (little g) can claim. Please take time to grow closer to God (Capital G) this week as we prepare for Easter. Build bridges and allow God to change your life–you will never regret it. Love y’all.

What’s Your Ministry?

When you think back to the day you accepted Christ, your situation is most likely different from mine. Although we have different testimonies, it all includes the same beginning – we accepted Christ. Christ is the only way to salvation. Don’t take my word for it, read it in the Bible.

Once we are part of His family, we each have a purpose to fulfill. Just like each part of the body. Check out 1 Corinthians 12:12-27.

Everyone is needed. Everyone is important to getting the Word out to the lost. Everyone has a gift to use for His purpose. What do you enjoy doing? How can you use it for the Lord’s purpose? It’s not just about preaching, or playing music, or singing songs. You can use just about anything for the Lord. Do you like to write or draw? You can write poems and create cards to share with the elderly. You can visit with the folks who can no longer attend church. You can play checkers, cards and board games with them. My sister repurposed Christmas cards by laminating them on some construction paper to make placemats to take to residents in nearby nursing homes. They LOVED them. Many of the folks don’t see anyone at Christmas. Many can’t get out of their beds to see the tree that may be in the lobby of their home. This is one way to bring a little happiness to them. This year she is making 500! Yes, we hit all the closeout sales and collected Christmas cards from our friends to use. My Mother is working on them every day! Just a thought – what if someone on this distribution reads this and decides to do that for their area at Christmas or Easter or 4th of July or another holiday? What if a children’s leader decides to get the children’s ministry at their church involved in creating these? Wow. Can you just imagine the smiles on the faces of those receiving the placemats each time they eat their meal? Some may even hang them on their walls as a picture. What are you passionate about? Who do you have a heart for? What small thing can you begin today? I read on someone’s status at work – start small, think big, scale fast. What if you did that for God today? Start small…

How Deep? How Wide? How Long Is Forever?

How Deep? How Wide? How Long Is Forever?
Don’t you want to show the glory of the Lord to others? Moses had seen God and when he came down from the mountain, he was shining so bright with the glory of the Lord that folks around him had to turn their heads. Now that’s shining bright! Don’t you want your friends and family to know you have Jesus in your life? When you experience God in a deep way, you will have so much of Him inside you that others can see Him shining through you. This past week, I experienced God in a way that I never have before. The Bible tells us God is love. The Bible tells us that God so loved the world (you and me), He gave His only Son to die on the cross for our sins and save us from eternal separation from Him. That’s a love like no other. Jesus died for you. Jesus died for me. Because I experienced God in a deep way this past week, I KNOW God is love. I KNOW His love for me is deeper and wider than I have ever imagined. I know God sent His Son. I know Jesus died for my sins so I’m not going to be separated from God forever. While I’m here on this earth, I know He loves me to get me through a situation I can’t handle on my own. Believe me, I’ve spent my life trying to overcome this situation. God freed me from something that has been hindering me from experiencing life to the fullness He promises us. His love endures forever. Take a peek at Psalm 136. Do you see how many times David records and reminds us how God’s love endures forever? Some folks may think contemporary songs are repetitive. I think that sometimes too. In the song, “Forever”, I think it is so sweet to remind us many times, much like Psalm 136, how God’s love endures forever. Maybe if we sing it enough times, we’ll allow it to sink in.
What I know is we can tell people more about an experience, with more passion, if we have experienced it ourselves. If you are going through a tough situation right now, allow yourself to go through the “moment” of truly exclaiming you can’t do it yourself. In that moment, you will experience and KNOW God’s love.
If God has recently gotten you through something and has shown His faithfulness to you, please share it with someone to help encourage them. Maybe you can recognize others going through your same situation because you’ve been there. You don’t have to give them all the details. You will connect on a different level because you will have compassion for them. Allow God to use you for His purpose, even if that means you are vulnerable. Feel free to listen to the song, “Forever” and let it sink in.

Are You Praying?

A friend of mine recently gave me a wonderful book on prayer. When I first picked it up, I scanned the table of contents. I saw chapters referring to sin and prayerlessness. This seemed intriguing, so I kept reading. Since I have written the foreword to my books and experienced how difficult this can be, I make it a point to read them in books. I’m so glad I read this one because it truly set the tone for the whole book. If you would like the name of the book, please let me know and I’ll be glad to refer you.
God has been dealing with a few things within me for a while now. I have begun digging into His Word more than ever before. I am journaling, which is a GREAT tool for me. Not only does it allow me to decompress at the end of the day, it also allows me a wonderful time with the Lord, giving thanks and pouring out my heart to Him. In a way, it’s my additional prayer and thanksgiving time, aside from studying and praying. If you have thought about journaling but have never gone through with it, I encourage you to start today. Just reach over, grab a pen and a piece of paper and start writing. It’s truly that simple.
How much time do you spend in prayer with God? Would you say you spend at least an hour each day? How about 30 minutes? 15 minutes maybe? 5 minutes?
As believers, we have access to the Holy Spirit within us. Many of us fail to activate it. Sad isn’t it? God is disappointed when we don’t come to Him. It saddens Him. He longs for us to want to spend time with Him. That’s why He created us. He didn’t need us. He wants a relationship with us. When we spend 5 minutes a day, or fifteen minutes a day, we are basically saying we don’t have time for Him. I mean, if we are truthful about it, we spend way more than 15 minutes a day watching tv, texting, playing games on our phones or a hobby we enjoy. Many of us pray every day but we are not truly spending time with Him. We tell Him all we think we need, or want. We ask Him for things and then end it. That’s not a relationship. That’s being spoiled, isn’t it?
If you are not praying every day, deepening your relationship with Christ, is that showing how much you still live in the flesh every day and not in the Spirit? You have a choice, as a Christian. You can either live in the flesh or in the Spirit. These two cannot go together. We tend to think we can accept Christ, be filled with the Holy Spirit and then continue to live as the world lives and expect God to be OK with it. Check out Galatians, specifically 3:1-3. Ouch, right? When you live in the flesh, you are impacting your service to God. This leads to a bad place.
Are you part of a church that seems stagnant? Is prayer an important part of the people in the church or is it just something the Pastor does at the beginning and end of service? Are folks in your church family praying for one another? I mean truly praying for one another, not just saying they will pray. You will experience miracles when folks pray for one another.
Satan knows that he can influence your impact to God’s kingdom if he can keep you from praying, activating the Holy Spirit. He can’t read your mind, so he watches you and does things to keep you from praying. Have you ever been praying and your mind wanders off? Have you tried praying and you are met with one distraction after another? I mean, you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. You can bet satan knows what will effectively render you useless for God and wants to keep you from overcoming it. You may have been praying about something for a long time and you begin to have doubt or unbelief that God will answer you. You may begin feeling hopeless. That’s exactly where satan wants you. Don’t let him win. Call on the power of the Holy Spirit. Ask God to change your unbelief into belief. Ask God to change your “want to”. Brothers and Sisters in Christ, I want all of us to experience the power of God that is inside each of us. Let’s not settle for living or surviving. Let’s call on the power of Jesus to give us the abundant life that God so wants each of us to have on this earth. To help each of us, myself included, I have listed a few steps each of us can begin taking today. Let’s do this with God!
Grab a pen and paper and start journaling – thank God for his blessings and faithfulness to you.
Ask God to give you time in your day so He can be your priority. Be obedient when He is faithful.
Ask God to change your “want to” so He can be your priority. Be obedient when He is faithful.
Pray for at least one person at this very moment. What miracle would you like to see God perform so you can tell others of His awesomeness?
Call on the Holy Spirit to reveal areas you need His help with so He can be glorified. Embrace them when He is faithful.

Are You Resolved?

Have you made your resolutions for this year? Isaiah 43:19 is our focus today but let’s back up to verse 18. Take a moment to read those two verses. Verse 19 is the scripture I chose for the scripture memory challenge I am beginning this year. These verses remind me to not dwell on my past. God is ready to “do” something new and something even better than He’s already done in your life. “Do” in this instance means an activity with a purpose. God can do something better than He has done for you in the past. If you have accepted Christ as your Savior, He is longing to do something greater for you today. Will you allow Him? Have you resolved to allow God to change your life? If what you have been doing on your own hasn’t been working, why not try something new? As for me, I’m choosing to get out of the boat and trust the Lord to keep me afloat while He does great things in and through me. I don’t know what He will ask me to do, but I trust Him.
If you have not accepted Christ, I hope you will check out John 1:43-51. If this scripture spoke to you, I hope you will take a moment to have a talk with Jesus. That might sound scary, but it’s really not. Just close your eyes and begin to talk to Him. Tell Him what’s on your mind. Tell Him how you are feeling today. He will be faithful. He loves you. He will meet you right where you are. If what you have been doing on your own hasn’t been working, why not try something new?
o Begin a conversation with God, telling Him how you feel.
o Listen to God as He speaks to you.
o Commit to God you will take the first step He is asking you to take.

Mega Size It!

Have you ever attended a large ‘mega church’? The guy delivering the message is great at speaking. Some might call this person a great motivational speaker. You might even hear folks say things like “Wow, he’s very inspiring!” You also notice the music is done by professionals and you feel like you’re at a concert rather than church? The stage has great lighting, great flowers and trees. It’s very pleasing to the eye? I’m really not knocking mega churches because I believe they have a purpose. They get people into church that wouldn’t ordinarily venture inside. Once they are inside, God begins to work in them. God is great at taking situations and bringing good out of them. He’s not interested in everything being perfect, although, we should offer our best to Him.
We are called to worship in Spirit and in truth. In John 4, Jesus is talking to the woman at the well.
John 4:21 – 24 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
We tend to look at people worshipping from the outside. Some sit because other sit. Some stand because others stand. Some raise their hands. Some sing the same songs just because that’s how it’s always been done in their church. God looks at our hearts. He wants each of us to worship Him from our heart. As believers, we have the Spirit within us. That’s what allows us to worship in Spirit, as we surrender our hearts to God.
Hebrews 10:16 says “This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord.
I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.”
To worship in Spirit and in Truth, we must worship through Christ. Christ is Truth – the Bible says in John 14:6 – “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Worship that is Christ-centered is true worship. Worship that comes from your heart, filled with Jesus is true worship.
Worship is our response to Who God is in our lives and what He has done for us through His Son. God doesn’t care if the church building is shiny and new with all the conveniences you could ever hope for. He is interested in a surrendered heart.
All of this is possible through the grace of God. Grace is extended to us because of His love for us. God is love and His love never changes. This Sunday, start a new beginning with your worship time. Align your heart with God, surrender your heart to God and express your thankfulness to Him. The Holy Spirit will invite you to worship in Spirit and truth. Accept that invitation and do as the Spirit leads you.

Happy Birthday Jesus!

Are you ready to celebrate?
Are you ready for a party?
Do you have a gift?
Take a few minutes to read through Matthew 1:18-25. This was foretold in Isaiah 7:14, so you might want to go check that out too.
Being pledged in those days meant the families agreed to the union and they made a public announcement. It’s sort of like our engagements today, only it was more binding. Being with a child before you were married, especially not from the one whom you were pledged, was serious business. Mary could have been divorced, and worse, she could have been stoned to death. I’m sure glad Joseph listened to the Lord and stayed with Mary, aren’t you? Jesus’ birth was free from sinful nature, while still human. Jesus is both man and divine. Why is this so important? So He could come into the world without sin, and be with us. He knows our hard times. He knows sadness. He knows happiness. He can save you from eternal separation from God. He can give you peace in the midst of a difficult time or situation. He is offering you the gift of salvation. Will you accept it? Your heart and life could be your gift to Him this Christmas, or should I say for His birthday. Your worship blesses God.
Are you ready for a celebration?
Are you ready for a party?
Will you give your gift to Jesus?
Happy Birthday, Jesus!

Prepare For the Good News

Our hope is in God and in his son Jesus Christ. Our peace is found when we trust in Him.
John 14:27 says Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

We were created with a void that only God can fill with his peaceful presence. Think of peace as Jesus’ gift to you for His birthday, this Christmas season. It’s someone else’s birthday celebration and YOU get the gift. Not a bad deal is it? It sounds pretty easy in fact. If it’s so easy, why is it so hard to do? Oh that’s right. We still live in the fallen world on this side of eternity.

If you have accepted the gift of peace that passes all understanding, and you have felt grace poured out to you, have you shared the good news with anyone so they too can have hope? God gives us these things along the way in our lives to help prepare us to share with others.

Are you preparing for the Good News? Remember that without Christmas, we wouldn’t have Easter.

God Is Beautiful

On this first Sunday of advent, we are reminded of the coming of Jesus into the world. This is when we turn our focus on the real meaning of Christmas.

God can take all our blemishes and make us beautiful.

God can take all our sins and make us beautiful.

God can take what’s rotten in us and make us beautiful.

God can work all things for His glory for all who believe in Him and follow His ways.

Will you accept God’s gift of eternal life this Christmas season? You can do NOTHING to earn it – it’s a gift.

Matthew 1:23-25 tells of the conception of Jesus.

If you have received God’s great gift of Jesus, will you share Him with others this season?

Are you thinking you want to share the great news of Jesus with others but feel like you “can’t”? I encourage you to read these two passages to begin your journey with God this Christmas season. Oh what joy shall fill my heart!

Philippians 2:13
Philippians 4:13

Build bridges and allow God to change your life – You will never regret it.