Memory Loss

I have been blessed with a great memory, but one thing I struggle with is remembering people’s names. I don’t know if you can relate. The frustrating thing about it to me is that I can remember everything else about the person, how I know them, where we met, what we talked about, even in some instances what they were wearing; but for the life of me I can’t seem to remember their name.

Sometimes we can have this same trouble remembering when it comes to God. We seem to remember the things we are suppose to forget and forget the things we are suppose to remember. I heard Pastor Steven Furtick say these things in his recent message called “The Divine Reminder” in the series entitled “Ghost Stories.” He said “Instead of remembering our burdens, we need to be reminded of our blessings.” He went on to say “Instead of remembering our sin that was nailed to the cross, we need to focus on the sacrifice that was made by the person who died on the cross.”

I believe if we could remind ourselves of this truth and remember the sacrifice that was made for us, we would forget about our burdens and remember all of our blessings.

So how do we forget what we are suppose to forget and remember what we are suppose to remember? Well I think David gives us some helpful steps when he writes these words in Psalm 119:

“I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Praise be to you, Lord; teach me your decrees. With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth. I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. I meditate on your precepts
and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.” (Psalm 119:10-16 NIV)

1) I seek.
The first thing David says he does is that he seeks with all he’s got. Now the act of seeking implies that you have lost something and you are earnestly and desperately trying to find it. You originally had it in your possession but for some reason or another you have misplaced it. So you go looking for it. What is it in your life that you had but you have now seemed to have lost it? Maybe it’s that first love. Maybe it’s the passion you had when you first met Jesus. Maybe it’s that desire you had to change that injustice that you see in the world today. Whatever it maybe. Seek after it with all that you got. Don’t give up until you find it.

2) I have hidden.
When you hide something it’s to protect that particular thing from others trying to steal it or take it from you. You most likely put it in a place where only you can find it. An area in where only you would know to look. One of the reasons I believe we seem to forget the blessings of God in our lives is that we don’t hide them in our heart and leave them out in the open so that the enemy can come and steal them away with his lies and condemnation. What is it that you need to keep hidden? Put it in a safe place where, when you need to be reminded of the goodness of God, you can find it.

3) I recount.
Have you ever heard of the saying “measure twice, cut once”? This is a phrase that most people in construction have to help remind them whenever they have to make a particular cut to always go back and check your measurements in order that you don’t mess up the cut, waste the material, and have to go back and do it all over again. Before you start making cuts in your life; go back and measure again how deep, how high, how long, and how wide God’s love is for you. Go back and recount the many blessings that He has poured out on you. Because believe me if you keep going back to recount all that God has done in your life, you won’t have time to remember all the mistakes you have made in your past.

4) I rejoice.
Paul writes in Philippians 4 “Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice.” (See Philippians 4:4) Never miss an opportunity to be joyful. Cherish the little things in life. Always be first to find the joy in every situation instead of digging around for the junk. And when you come across times in your life were there seems to be no joy, go back to a time and place where there was and rejoice in that.

5) I meditate.
Paul goes on to write in the same chapter of Philippians only a few verses later “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (See Philippians 4:8) Paul knew the tendency that we have as human beings to remember what we are suppose to forget and forget what we are suppose to remember, so he instructs us to think (to meditate) on the things that we are to remember. What are you constantly thinking about? Are you continually thinking about your burdens and not about you blessings?

6) I delight.
Where do you find yourself taking the most pleasure in? Are you finding your delight in what God says, like David, or are you finding it in what others say? If you are trying to find your delight in your house, in your car, in your bank account, in your career then you will never be satisfied, but if you find your delight in God then you will never find yourself searching for satisfaction again.

My hope and prayer is that you are reminded of the truth that you are a child of God. That you are priceless. That you are complete. That you are His workmanship. That you are blessed. That you were created on purpose, with a purpose, for a purpose. And most importantly that you are loved.

Advertisements

Power of Prayer

I remember growing up and being drug by my parents every week to an hour prayer meeting on Saturday night. Most of the time, it was just myself, my parents, and a few other people that would show up to this prayer meeting. I would wonder about why there wasn’t more people showing up for prayer. Hundreds of people would show up for praise and worship on Sunday morning but only a handful of people would show up for prayer Saturday night.

Why is this? Why is everyone so quick to praise but not willing to pray? Why are we so quick to shout but not willing to walk about? The problem with this today is that we have forgotten how powerful prayer is. James tells us “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16 NIV) If prayer is so powerful and effective then why do we tend to neglect it?

Daniel prayed three times a day. (See Daniel 6:13 NIV) The only thing that the disciples asked Jesus to teach them was to pray. (See Luke 11:1-4 NIV) Jesus, Himself, prayed in the garden before He went to the cross. (See Luke 22:39-44 NIV)

If Daniel was faithful to pray and it delivered him from the lion’s den, if the only thing the disciples asked Jesus to teach them was to pray, and if Jesus took the time to pray before going to the cross; why wouldn’t we take the time to pray more often?

I heard T.D. Jakes say once that “Maybe the reason why you are still on the cross or still in the grave is because you didn’t pray your way in.” In other words if you don’t pray your way into it, you can’t praise your way through it.

Maybe that breakthrough you’ve been praising God about, you need to start praying for. Maybe that wall you’ve been shouting about to come down, you need to walk about it in prayer. Maybe before you jump up to your feet in praise, you need to drop down to your knees in prayer.

James goes on to say “Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.” (James 5:17-18)

Prayer is so powerful that it can stop something in your life from happening and it can also produce something in your life. What is it in your life that you are wanting to see stopped? Or what is it in your life that you are wanting to see produced? Start praying about it first before you start praising God for it and see if it doesn’t come to pass. Remember there is power in prayer!

Two Questions to Ask Yourself

Yesterday I heard an amazing message from the Student Director at NewSpring Church, Brad Cooper. In his message, he presented two questions that I believe everyone wrestles with. I believe if we could grasp the truth to these questions our lives and the lives of others around us would be drastically changed.

Question #1: How does God see me?

Many of us believe that because of our past, because of our mistakes, or because of our sin; God sees us as unrighteous, unworthy, or undeserving of His love. The truth is God’s love toward us is not based on our performance but rather on our position as His son or daughter. If you are in Christ, when God looks at you He sees Jesus and therefore sees you as righteous, spotless, and clean in His sight. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:17-19:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.

Because of Jesus, God does not see our past anymore. He does not see our mistakes anymore. He does not see our sin anymore. Be confident that you are priceless and complete in God’s sight.

Question #2: How do we see others?

This is a tough one because of our natural human inclination to view others the way everyone else sees them. In the same passage to the Corinthians, Paul explains how we should view others. This is what he writes:

For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. (2 Corinthians 5:14-16 ESV)

In other words because of the love of Christ, we see people the way God sees them. There is a familiar passage in the Bible where the religious leaders catch this woman in the act of adultery. You know the story. They bring her to Jesus, waiting for His judgement, ready to stone her to death for what she has done. Jesus’ response to them is not normal. He does not condemn the woman, as did the religious leaders, but rather clears her of her guilt and shame. He does not throw stones but rather shows mercy.

When you see others, are you condemning or are you clearing? Are you throwing sticks and stones or are you showing mercy and grace? Are you pushing them down or are you picking them up? Start seeing the people around you the way God sees them.

Can You See Me Now?

I heard this recently in a message from T.D. Jakes.

There is this encounter between Jesus and a woman with an infirmity that kept her bent over for 18 years. This is what Luke writes:

“As He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath, a woman was there who had been disabled by a spirit for over 18 years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, He called out to her, “Woman, you are free of your disability.” Then He laid His hands on her, and instantly she was restored and began to glorify God.” (Luke 13:10-13 HCSB)

The Bible specifically mentions that Jesus saw this woman. I believe everything that is recorded in the Bible is there for a reason and nothing is written by accident. So with that in mind, the fact that Jesus saw her implies that other people didn’t. While she was invisible to everyone else, Jesus didn’t overlook her.

I want to speak to the people who feel like you are overlooked. That you are walking around as if you are invisible. That no matter what you do, people don’t notice you. Even though everyone else may ignore you, Jesus sees you. He sees your situation. He sees your circumstance. He sees your problem. He sees your pain. He sees what you’re going through. He will never overlook you. He will never ignore you. He will never not see you.

Take heart in that whether you are on top of the mountain or at the bottom of the valley, Jesus sees you.

Running Scared

I did track for one year in high school. During that time, I learned a valuable lesson for life from my track coach. He told me, that when I run, that I need to look straight ahead. He told me to never look back. The reasoning for this is because looking back slows you down. The only way you can run with all you have inside of you is to focus on where you are running to and not where you are running from.

In his message about changing the way we change Judah Smith, Senior Pastor of The City Church, says that the reason why people never change is because we never introduce them to the agent of change, Jesus. We always tell people they need to turn from something but never tell them that they have to turn to something. We try to get people to change by telling them to stop doing instead of telling them to start doing. People today are running scared. Change will only occur when people stop trying to run away from something and start running to someone, Jesus. Paul said it this way in Philippians:

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12-14 ESV)

In other words Paul is saying that he doesn’t look back at his past but looks forward to his future. He stresses the point to the Philippians that he is not running from something but that he is running to someone. The writer of Hebrews writes it this way:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV)

Focusing on Jesus, looking to Jesus is the only way people will be able to change. Running toward Jesus is what will bring about transformation in people’s lives.

It wasn’t until the prodigal son in Luke 15 realized what he had to turn to that he began to change. It wasn’t the fact that he had thrown away his inheritance, it wasn’t because he was working for someone else, it wasn’t even because he was eating with the pigs; it was what he had to run to that brought about his transformation.

What would happen if instead of telling people to turn away from sin, death, and despair; we told them to turn to grace, life, and hope? What if instead of running from their past, they were running toward their future? What if instead of trying to pull them away from something, we pushed them toward someone? I believe we would see a change like none other. I believe we would encounter transformation like we’ve never seen before. I believe we would come across a lasting impact in the lives of the people around us. Let’s change the way we change!

Sandals

Growing up whenever I came in the house from playing outside, my parents would have me take off my shoes. They had me do this because they didn’t want me to trek all the dirt that had gotten onto my shoes from playing outside all day inside of the house. Till this day, I still take my shoes off whenever I go over my parents house.

There are two instances in the Old Testament where God tells someone to take off their shoes. The first one is probably the most popular one and the one that you have most likely heard of before. It’s found in Exodus 3 where Moses encounters the burning bush in the wilderness. The second one is recorded in Joshua 5 where Moses successor, Joshua, comes in contact with the commander and chief of the Lord’s army, Jesus. In each instance it is sort of a weird request that God tells Moses and Joshua to do. Why would God make such an odd command? Why would God request that they would take off their shoes? Well I believe there is two reasons.

1) Submission

Back in the times of Moses and Joshua, one thing that distinguished servants from their masters was that servants did not have sandals. This signified that the person was in submission to everyone else around them. The two encounters that we see in the Old Testament is the first time that God calls Moses and Joshua to lead His people. The first thing that God wanted to know is if Moses and Joshua would submit to His leading. That they would yield to His command. That they would be subordinate to Him. That is why God requested them to take off their sandals (shoes). God knew that if they couldn’t obey this simple command that they wouldn’t be in submission to His leading.

2) Separation

In both situations, Moses and Joshua are told that the ground that they are standing on is holy. The only thing that stood in between Moses and Joshua from coming in contact with the ground was their sandals. The thing that was separating them was their shoes. So God wanted them to remove their sandals in order that there may be nothing that separated them from Him.

So let me ask you. Do you have your shoes on? Are you having trouble submitting to God’s leading? What is it in your life that is separating you from God that you need to remove? Whatever it is, let it go. Remove it. Take it off. Don’t allow it to stand in the way of you and God any longer. Submit and be set free today.

Connections

Every night I plug my phone in so that when I wake up the next morning it is fully charged and ready to be used. If I forget to plug my phone in at night, the battery will have drained over night and I won’t be able to use it until I plug it back in and let it charge. As long as the phone is connected to the power source, it becomes recharged and is ready to go the next day. But if the phone is disconnected to the power source, it’s battery life will slowly drain until it is no longer usable unless it is reconnected to the power source.

David starts out the Psalm likes this:

“Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.” (Psalm 1:1-3 NIV)

David tells us that the blessed man is like a tree planted by streams of water. If the tree is not planted, then it’s roots will not be able to grow deep and it will die off because it is not connected to the power or life source. In other words, the blessed man or woman needs to be connected (planted) to the source.

Jesus said it this way in John 15:

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” (John 15:5-7 NIV)

Jesus is our power source. We need to be connected to Him. Just like if I forget to plug my phone it at night the battery life drains away, if we are not connected to Jesus our life will fade away, we won’t be able to accomplish anything, and we will become useless. We need to be plugged into Jesus so that we can accomplish what we were created for.

So let me ask you. Are you feeling powerless? Is your battery life being drained? Plug yourself into Jesus and get connected to the power source today.

Looking Glass

If you’ve ever been to the eye doctor in order to have an eye exam, you’ve had the doctor ask you to read a specific line of letters in order to test your vision. While you’re doing this, you are looking through a huge pair of what you could call adjustable glasses. If you can’t make out the letters on the chart, the doctor makes a certain amount of adjustments in order for you to see more clearly and to be able to see the letters the way he sees them. These would be one great pair of glasses. If you were having trouble seeing something, you could just make a couple adjustments (clicks) until you saw everything clearly.

Going back to the encounter between Jesus and the blind man in Mark 8, it’s sort of strange to me that after the first time Jesus touches the man’s eyes, he doesn’t see clearly right away. Jesus asks the man if he can see, which is crazy right there, and the man responds “I see people; they look like trees walking around.” (Mark 8:24 NIV)

I always wondered “Why wasn’t this man’s sight completely restored the first time Jesus touched him?” Every other time Jesus healed someone it only took one time. Why was this man so different?

The writer of Hebrews tells us “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1 NIV) Just like in order to read the chart at the eye doctor’s office you have to look through those big pair of adjustable glasses, in order to see how God sees we must look through the lens of faith. The trials and tests that we go through in life are how God increases our faith and makes the necessary adjustments to our vision in order that we may see more clearly. Each time God tests us, tries us, touches us we start to see more clearly until we finally see exactly how He sees our situation, our circumstance, our problem, our obstacle, our world.

The first time Jesus touched the blind man, he could see for the first time. Jesus asked the man if he could see because He wanted to know if the man could see things the way that He could. Jesus touched his eyes again until the man eventually could see how He saw. Paul said it this way to the Corinthians “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12 NKJV) He goes on later to say “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 3:18 NKJV) In other words Paul is telling us that God is going to keep making adjustments to our vision, going to keep increasing our faith, until we finally see how He sees.

So what are you seeing? Are your circumstances and situations not lining up with what God says in His Word? Are you seeing the world as God sees it? Start looking through the lens of faith today.

Rest and Relaxation

When I was young, growing up, every now and then I would stay over my grandparents’ house. Every time as soon as my brother and myself got inside my grandparents’ house, my grandmother would immediately say, like clock work, “Put your pjs on. Time for R & R. Rest and relaxation.” My grandmother knew that whenever we were at our house my dad would have us working around the house doing chores and that when we got to her house we were in need of rest.

I believe we do the same thing in life. We work all the time that we don’t get any rest. And we believe that the more we work that later in life we will be able to rest, but we all know that isn’t true. We end up finding more and more work instead of finding rest. We wind up feeling like 24 hours in a day is not enough to get what we need to get done and there is no time to rest. Everywhere we turn, we find more work. So what do we do? How do we find rest?

Matthew records the words of Jesus saying this:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 NIV)

The only place that you can find rest is in the arms of Jesus. Everywhere else you will find work, but in Jesus you will find true rest. Just like I had to go to my grandparents’ house in order to find rest, you must come to Jesus in order to find rest.

For those of you who are tired and burdened, come to Jesus. He alone will be able to give you rest. His offer still stands.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: