Pop Quiz

You probably got a little nervous when you read the title of this post because, like me, you dreaded hearing your teacher say “We are having a pop quiz today.”

The reason why your’s and my teacher gave us a pop quiz was to make sure we knew the material that they were teaching. Like me, if you hadn’t done any of the reading, done any studying, or done any of the previous work; you hated pop quizzes.

In life, I believe God gives us pop quizzes all the time. Every time we ask Him to give us something, instead of being a genie and granting our wishes, He gives us a pop quiz to see if we have learned what He is trying to teach us. When we ask for patience, instead of giving it to us, He has different situations pop up so that we can demonstrate patience. When He is teaching us about perseverance, He will place us in circumstances where we will have to persevere in order to get through. When we want Him to increase our faith, He will make certain things pop up in order to have us trust Him more. When He is teaching us to give, He will place us in situations where we are able to bless someone by giving.

Every time God teaches us something, He will give us a pop quiz on it in order to test us. That’s why Peter wrote this “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you.” (1 Peter 4:12 KJV) In other words Peter is saying, don’t be caught off guard or surprised by what you are going through, because after God teaches you something, there will be a test. So whatever you are learning from God, be ready, because someday He’ll give you a pop quiz on it.

Advertisements

Insanity

Have you ever wondered why Mary totally ignored Jesus’ response to her in John 2 before Jesus turned the water into wine? This is what John writes “On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, They have no wine. Jesus said to her, Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come. His mother said to the servants, Whatever He says to you, do it.” (John 2:1-5 NKJV)

It baffles me that Mary would totally blow off Jesus. Whether it was because she was His mother or because she just didn’t want to hear what He had to say, whatever the reason, she turned to the servants and told them what to do as if Jesus had never said anything. This is mind boggling to me because Mary assumes that Jesus can fix the problem even though we have no account of Him doing anything like this or performing any miracles previously.

As I was wrestling with why Mary responded the way she did and why Jesus turned the water into wine even though it looked like He didn’t want to do it; God told me that when you step out of your comfort zone and do something you’ve never done before, that’s when the impossible happens, that’s when miracles happen. This isn’t the only example of this that we have in the Bible. In John chapter 5, Jesus tells the cripple man by the pool in Bethesda to do something he hasn’t done in 38 years. In Matthew 14, Jesus tells Peter to step out of the boat, what was comfortable to him, and do something he had never done before. God told Noah to build an ark even though it had never rained before. God told Moses to speak to a rock in order to get water to flow from it. Whenever the impossible happened in scripture, someone had to get up out of their comfort zone and do something that they had never done before.

We think that if we keep doing what we’ve always done that we are going to get our breakthrough. But the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting to get a different result. We are told that if it’s not broke, then don’t fix it. We fall into the tendency of fixing things when we don’t need to because it’s working and not fixing things when we need to because we want to get a different result. If you want to see something you have never seen before, you have to do something you have never done before.

So what is it that God is telling you to do? Maybe He’s telling you to go back to school and further your education. Maybe He’s telling you to quit your job and try to find another one. Maybe He’s telling you to move somewhere else. Maybe He’s telling you to step out and bless someone financially. Maybe He’s telling you to do something that doesn’t make sense naturally. When it doesn’t make sense in the natural, that’s when the supernatural is going to take place. Maybe He’s telling you to do something that you have never done before. Whatever He tells you to do, DO IT!

No Easy Way Out

When I was in college, I worked out regularly six days a week. After a while, the early mornings and long hours that I had registered in the weight room started to produce results, pay off, and people begun to take notice. One specific incident was during my senior year. A fellow student came up to me in the cafeteria and told me he wanted to be just like me. He wanted to be as big, muscular, and strong as I was. He asked me what I had done to get to the place I was at, and when I told him what I did, he told me that he couldn’t do that and walked away.

So many times in life we are just like that fellow student of mine in college. We see what others have and we want it for ourselves. We see their church, we see their ministry, we see their job, we see the size of their house, we see their fancy car and we want the same thing. The only problem is that we don’t want to put in the work, log in the same type of hours, make the sacrifices that they did in order to get there. I heard Joyce Meyers say “Don’t want what other people got if you’re not willing to do what they did to get it.” In other words we shouldn’t be envious or jealous of what others have or the position they are at if we are not willing to do the work they did to get there.

In our society and culture today, we want everything to be given to us. We think that God is a genie and He is going to grant all our wishes. A good friend of mine said “In order to receive the promises of God, you must first be willing to go through the processes of God.” Nothing in this world comes easy, you have to work through a process to get it. Everything in life is a process not an instance. There is no easy way out.

Stand on the promise that Paul writes in Galatians 6:9 that you will be rewarded if you don’t give up. Stay faithful through God’s process and see if He will not bless you with His promise.

Don’t Stop Believing

How can a limitless God be limited? How can an all-powerful God be held powerless? How can a God who is able to do anything not be able to do something? The answer is because of our unbelief.

God can do all things. He is able to do above and beyond what we can ask or imagine (See Ephesians 3:20), be He will only do what we can and will believe.

A prime example of this is found in Mark 6. Jesus is going about healing the sick, restoring sight to the blind, opening deaf ears, casting out demons, and raising the dead. Then all of a sudden, He arrives at His own country and He can’t do anything. This is what Mark writes “Then He went out from there and came to His own country, and His disciples followed Him. And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue. And many hearing Him were astonished, saying, Where did this Man get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands! Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us? So they were offended at Him. But Jesus said to them, A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house. Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He marveled because of their unbelief. Then He went about the villages in a circuit, teaching.” (Mark 6:1-6 NKJV)

Because of the people’s unbelief, Jesus was only able to heal a few sick people. Jesus was going around doing mighty works, miracles, signs and wonders everywhere else but couldn’t do the same in His home town. We can believe that God can heal someone else, but we can’t believe it for ourselves. We can believe that God can provide for someone else, but we can’t believe it for ourselves. We can believe that God can give others a breakthrough, but He can’t for us. We believe that God can bless others, but He can’t bless us. We believe that God can save others, but He can’t save us.

If you can behold it, you will become it. If you can believe it you can receive it. Stop limiting God today and start believing that He can do everything He said He can do.

Lights Out

Growing up my father always tried to save money anyway he could. To this day, he still tries to conserve financially. One of the ways he did this, and still does, was to make sure we didn’t leave any lights on in the house. If we were done doing whatever it was in a certain room, when we left, we had to make sure the light was turned off. My father would also not turn on a light unless he felt it was absolutely necessary to do so. My father would rather walk around in the dark and risk bumping into things then waste turning on a light. It got to a point where my brother and myself would not turn on a light rather we would wait for our father to turn it on. So this meant that there would be times when we would be sitting at the dinner table eating in the dark. On one of these occasions, my brother and myself were eating in the dark, my father came over and finally turned on the light. As soon as my father turned on the light, my brother blurted out “Oh, we’re having pasta tonight.”

Just like my brother and myself couldn’t see what we were eating because we were sitting in the dark, when we’re not walking in the light, we are unable to see what we are doing. Paul said it this way in Ephesians “Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,
“Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.” (Ephesians 5:7-14 ESV)

Light expels darkness and allows you to see more clearly. We use to walk around in the darkness but because of Jesus, we can walk in the light. This world is sitting in the dark. They don’t know what they are doing. They can’t see what is in front of them. They are stumbling because they can’t see where they are going. They need us to be the light. They need us to shine. They need us to burn bright. They need us to bring them to Christ so that He can shine on their circumstance, their situation, their problem, their marriage, their finances, their family, their community, and their world.

Jesus told us to let our light shine before people in order that they may see. (See Matthew 5:16) So don’t hide any longer, don’t allow your light to go out, and don’t let the world continue to walk in darkness.

Who Am I?

I feel like I need to speak to the person out there who thinks that nobody cares about them. You think to yourself “Who am I?” You think that you’re unimportant, that you’re insignificant, that you’re unworthy, and that you’re useless. You believe that because of your current condition that no one cares for you. You believe that since you haven’t seen any changes that there’s no longer any hope of anything ever getting better.

For those of you that feel this way, Peter writes this “Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” (1 Peter 5:7, 10 ESV) God really does care about you. He cared about you so much that He sent His son, Jesus, to die for you. He cares about you so much that He has never given up on you. When everyone else has given up on you, God hasn’t. When everyone else has killed your dreams, God hasn’t. When everyone else has crushed your hopes, God hasn’t. When everyone else has turned their back on you, God hasn’t. When everyone else has deserted you, God hasn’t. When everyone else has abandoned you, God hasn’t. When everyone else has been unfaithful, God hasn’t. God still cares about you.

One of the best examples of of this truth that God cares about you is recorded by Luke. This is what he writes “And when he had said these things, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. When he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, he sent two of the disciples, saying, “Go into the village in front of you, where on entering you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever yet sat. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say this: ‘The Lord has need of it.'” So those who were sent went away and found it just as he had told them.” (Luke 19:28-32 ESV) I like how the last verse says that they found it just as Jesus said. This colt was never used before, it was tied up, and seems like it was neglected; but Jesus knew exactly where it was at and He had need of it. If Jesus can remember a colt a week before His crucifixion, then He still remembers, cares, and has need of you. Some of you are just like the colt; you have never been used, your skills have been sitting idle, nobody has allowed you to reach your full potential, you’re tied up, tied down, and neglected. It seems like everyone else is being used, everyone else is getting a breakthrough, everyone else is getting blessed. It seems like nobody cares about you; but hold on, don’t quit, don’t give up because Jesus knows exactly where you are, what condition you’re in, and He is sending someone to loose you and bring you to Him in order that He might be the first one, and only one, to use you for His glory and His purpose.

When you feel like nobody cares just remember that God does and reflect on these lyrics from the song “Who Am I?” by Casting Crowns.

Who am I, that the Lord of all the earth
Would care to know my name
Would care to feel my hurt
Who am I, that the Bright and Morning Star
Would choose to light the way
For my ever wandering heart

Not because of who I am
But because of what You’ve done
Not because of what I’ve done
But because of who You are

I am a flower quickly fading
Here today and gone tomorrow
A wave tossed in the ocean
Vapor in the wind
Still You hear me when I’m calling
Lord, You catch me when I’m falling
And You’ve told me who I am
I am Yours, I am Yours

Who am I, that the eyes that see my sin
Would look on me with love and watch me rise again
Who am I, that the voice that calmed the sea
Would call out through the rain
And calm the storm in me

Not because of who I am
But because of what You’ve done
Not because of what I’ve done
But because of who You are

I am a flower quickly fading
Here today and gone tomorrow
A wave tossed in the ocean
Vapor in the wind
Still You hear me when I’m calling
Lord, You catch me when I’m falling
And You’ve told me who I am
I am Yours

Not because of who I am
But because of what You’ve done
Not because of what I’ve done
But because of who You are

I am a flower quickly fading
Here today and gone tomorrow
A wave tossed in the ocean
Vapor in the wind
Still You hear me when I’m calling
Lord, You catch me when I’m falling
And You’ve told me who I am
I am Yours

I am Yours
Whom shall I fear
Whom shall I fear
‘Cause I am Yours
I am Yours

More Than Enough

Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke them. Then he gave them to the disciples to set before the people. (Luke 9:16 NIV84)

I was listening to a message by Bishop T.D. Jakes recently on this famous story in the Bible of Jesus feeding the five thousand. He made a great observation that I’ve never seen before that I would like to share with you.

He pointed out how Jesus went from having not enough to having more than enough. There are two specific things Jesus did that we see in the verse above.

The first is Jesus gave thanks to God for what was not enough. So many times we want God to bless us with more than enough, but we won’t first thank Him for what we already have. Even though it might not be the job that you wanted, you need to thank God for blessing you with it anyhow. Even though it might not be the house you wanted, you need to still thank God. Even though it might not be the car that you wanted, you need to still thank God for a reliable vehicle that gets you from point A to point B. You need to quit complaining about what you don’t have and start thanking God for what you do have. Until you start doing that, you will never go from having not enough to having more than enough.

The second thing Jesus did was He broke the bread. Some of you refuse to step out of your comfort zone and refuse to allow God to break you. My grandfather use to raise horses, and in order for a horse to be ridden, it must first be broken. Some of you need to let God break you in so that He might be able to ride you from the realm of not enough to the realm of more than enough. Jesus had to be broken, Peter had to be broken, Paul had to be broken, so you will have to be broken too.

If you find yourself trapped in the realm of not enough, thank God for what you already have and allow Him to break you so that He can take you to the realm of more than enough.

How Low Can You Go?

This past week, I was watching a message from Judah Smith, Senior Pastor of The City Church in Seattle. There is a particular part of the message that I believe someone who is reading this needs to hear.

There are times in our lives when we feel tormented because of something we have done in the past. We believe that because of a certain thing that we had done that no one could love us and that we can’t be used by God. We think that we have sunk, fallen, or drifted so low that God can no longer reach us. We think that we have walked to far away that God can’t save us. We have come to a place where we have lost all hope.

David felt the same way after he had murdered someone and committed adultery. This is what he wrote “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me.”(Psalm 139:7-10 NKJV) David wanted to hide. He wanted to run. But he knew that no matter how low he fell, God went even lower. Even to the pit of hell, God is still there.

Jesus humbled himself to the lowest of lows in order that no matter how low we have fallen, He can still lift us back up. Peter talks about this “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison. (1 Peter 3:18, 19 NKJV) In other words, Jesus would rather go to hell, and He did, so that He wouldn’t have to spend eternity without you. So it doesn’t matter what you have done or how low you think you have fallen, Jesus went to the furthest lengths in order that He might be able to lift you up.

Nothing you have done, do, or are going to do can separate you from God. Paul says it this way in Romans 8 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35, 38, 39 NIV84)

So do you think that your past has made you fall too low, I want to let you know that God can go lower. Do you think that your present situation is to low for God to raise you up, God can go lower. Do you think that you are trapped in a prison of torment that there is no way out, God can go lower. Do you think that you have sunk too low into despair, God can go lower. No matter how low you can go, God can and has gone lower and He can and will lift you back up. All you need to do is call upon His name to save you. No longer be tormented, no longer lose hope, no longer wallow in despair. Let Jesus lift you back up today.

In The End

I heard a good friend of mine; Tavner Smith, student pastor at Redemption World Outreach Center and founder of Unite Greenville; say “The greatest failure in life is to be successful at something that doesn’t even matter.”

So many times in our lives we get caught up in chasing after, pursuing, and striving for what the world says that really matters. We chase after the nice house, the fancy cars, the fame, the fortune, the platform, the title, the career, the perfect man, the hottest woman. We buy into the lies of the enemy that tells us that our lives will be miserable, won’t be successful, and we won’t be satisfied unless we have all of these things. But ask anyone who has worked all their life to attain all these things, once they finally got them, they’ll tell you that they’re still not satisfied, they’re still not successful, and their life is still miserable. The great philosophers, Linkin Park, said it this way in their song “In The End,”

“I tried so hard
And got so far
But in the end
It doesn’t even matter
I had to fall
To lose it all
But in the end
It doesn’t even matter”

Why is it like this. Well Jesus put it this way “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21 ESV) Jesus later on in the same chapter goes on to say “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33 ESV)

The only thing that truly matters in life is Jesus. So quit striving after what the world says is important, quit buying into the lies of the enemy; and start seeking, striving, and pursuing after Jesus. Because if you do that, you will truly be satisfied.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: