Saturday, October 24, 2015
When the storms come who is in your boat? There is a saying, “make sure that everyone in your boat is rowing and not drilling holes when you are not looking." Know your circle. Who you allow in your boat could affect everyone in the boat causing it to sink. The winds of adversity are causing destructive waves endangering your life-boat and causing elevated stress levels in thousands of households. Satan wants you to sink. Many unanchored boats (lives) are being swept away in the currents of circumstances, taking in water at an alarming rate. The disciples knew who was in their boat, many times we don’t know who is in our circle; we have to invite Jesus inside the boat to keep the winds and waves out of our lives when we are being tossed back and forth.
We ask ourselves: Where did that storm come from? What is the real problem? How do we address such a storm in our lives? How do we keep the waves out of our boat? Is it possible to weather this storm?
Jesus never sent His disciples to cross the lake by themselves! No He said: “Let us go.” He will never leave you nor forsake you. What does that mean? Well, if you invite Him into your boat, He’ll captain your life to weather the storm. You do not have to face the wind and the waves on your own. You have access to the King of kings to see you through. Here we have a group of Believers who were in the act of obeying God. They were not busy with sinful insurrection. Yet, suddenly they found themselves in a life-threatening storm. Can you identify with them?
Storms come and go. Even the faithful are not exempt from life’s storms. Yes, the disciples were up against it, but they had one thing going for them: They had Jesus in their boat! Do you have Jesus in your boat? This storm was not a judgment from God against them. It was not a result of their bad timing, Jesus initiated the journey. Imagine Jesus sleeping in your most dire moment. Your boat is sinking; you can no longer keep your boat on course and the waves out. The word of God is clear: “He who keeps Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps.” (Psalm 121:4) God is not oblivious to your situation. Jesus set the course for the disciples and then stepped back for these experience sea-farers to track their progress towards the other side. God will save your soul, set you free from sin and bondage, empower you with ability and Holy Spirit power and then let you navigate towards all the Lord has for you. He does not get out of your life-boat, He merely entrusts you with faith, wisdom and character to get you to your divine destiny. That’s what Jesus was doing then and that is what Jesus is doing now.
When the disciples realized that they were in over the heads, they turned to Jesus. He clearly was their Captain and they needed His personal assistance. It is time for you to address the wind in your life first. Identify the source of your storm and stop trying to focus on the waves. You will do well to invite Jesus to step in. Give His control. Follow His storm management plan. Your buckets may help some with the waves, but the voice of God over your life will dissolve the winds of adversity.
Jesus’ voice over your circumstances will result in a great calm (perfect peacefulness) according to God’s word. Peace doesn’t come from finding a lake with no storms. When your life has been shipwrecked with a lot of turbulence; remember you can reach the port if you weather the storm and you weather the storm when you have Jesus in the boat. If you are steering through life unanchored in the midst of a storm, you will surely drift away.
Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Miracles begin when we focus on God’s power, instead of our problems! God can meet you ANYWHERE simply because He’s EVERYWHERE!
When You’re In Need of a Miracle, Just Do What the Master Says! “But his mother told the servants, “Do whatever He tells you to.” (John 2:5 TLB) Do you need a miracle? Then reread the story of Jesus turning water into wine. And while you’re at it, keep in mind what Mary said to the servants at the wedding reception: “…Whatever He says to you, DO IT.” (AMP). However, that means you must do it…EVEN THOUGH…
1. YOU’RE NOT IN THE RIGHT PLACE: They were at a wedding, not a church, when Jesus performed this miracle. “Three days later there was a wedding in the village of Cana in Galilee…” (John 2:1 MSG). Believe it or not, but some of our greatest blessings will occur at “other places” than where we’re used to, accustomed to, or expect. The problem is, we simply have to learn how to be sensitive and obedient to a move of God in unfamiliar places. We expect to come to church and hear testimonies of the goodness of God. But do you know God works miracles outside of the four walls of the church?
So the next time you need a miracle from God, call on Him, no matter where you are! He can hear you from the basketball court; in the hospital; at the Medicaid/Medicare office; at the mechanic shop; waiting for the bus; standing in line at the supermarket; waiting for customer service at the bank; or even sitting on a swing in the park! He Hears You, He Sees You, And He Will Indeed Meet Your Every Need…No Matter the Address Your Need Shows Up At! Think about it: If He can show up and help the three Hebrew boys in a fire; Jonah in the belly of a fish; a bleeding woman in a crowd; and a paralytic coming down through the roof, surely He can show up anywhere you are, don’t you think? When You’re In Need of a Miracle, Just Do What the Master Says! It may seem odd to you because it's an unfamiliar place, thing or suggestion; but Christ wasn't making a suggestion, he was telling them what to do: He made a statement; turning water into wine seemed impossible to the people at the wedding in Cana; “But his mother told the servants, “Do whatever He tells you to.” (John 2:5 TLB). "Whatever He says to you, Do It." They had a problem, they had run out of wine at the wedding, their focus was on the problem , they needed a miracle. Miracles begin when we focus on God’s power, instead of our problems! God can meet you ANYWHERE simply because He’s EVERYWHERE!
We all really need to understand this pruning process, especially since it’s one of God’s Most Important Methods In Growing Us! In fact, some of the difficulty and loss that you’re experiencing right now May Actually Be Your Heavenly Father Cutting You Back to Help You Grow Up! And the results are going to be far greater than they ever could have been if He left what He has been taking away! “If God didn’t think twice about taking pruning shears to the natural branches, why would he hesitate over you? He wouldn’t give it a second thought…” (Romans 11:21 MSG).
As Jesus was in His final hours before the cross, He prepared His disciples for the battles and the assignments ahead with some powerful teaching. And since they saw grapevines pretty often, He chose that as an analogy of their, AND OUR, relationship with Him. In John 15, beginning with verse 1, Jesus says: “I am the true vine, and My Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in Me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” (NIV).
Jesus went on to explain that all the things we do for Him have to flow from our deep relationship with Him –If you keep loading up on Jesus and getting ever closer to Him, your life is going to be Abundantly Fruitful! You’re going to make a Greater Difference with your life than you’ve ever made before! You’re going to be More Spiritually Magnetic, and having you around is going to be more and more like actually having Jesus around! You are going to attract more people into the Fruitful Kingdom of God! BUT before the fruit, COMES THE PRUNING!
I imagine if a vine could talk, he’d say to the pruner, “You’re killing me, man!” And the gardener would reply, “I know this hurts, but I’m actually removing things you don’t really need so you can explode with greater fruit.” THAT MAY BE EXACTLY WHAT’S HAPPENING IN YOUR LIFE RIGHT NOW! IT DOESN’T FEEL GOOD, BUT IT IS GOOD! GOD IS LOVINGLY REMOVING THINGS (AND PEOPLE) YOU THINK YOU NEED, BUT THINGS (AND PEOPLE) THAT MAY BE HOLDING YOU DOWN, HOLDING YOU BACK, OR HOLDING YOU CAPTIVE! THE CUTBACKS ARE COSTLY BUT WORTH IT! THE PRUNING IS PAINFUL, BUT ESSENTIAL TO YOUR POTENTIAL, PRODUCTIVITY AND PROSPERITY!
If You Are Not Sure What Kind Of House You're Building, It's Really Easy To Find Out. All You've Got To Do Is Just Watch
Now, if you’re not sure what kind of house you’re building it’s really easy to find out, all you’ve got to do is just watch what happens when the storms of life hit! Because evidence that you built on sand is when you can easily walk out of the marriage, children, church, job and school because of a few drops of rain on a cloudy day! You see, a house built on rock will withstand the same storm that levels those built on sand!
Architects say that people find construction details boring; they’d rather spend their money on glitzy stuff instead. They focus on the light fixtures, the carpeting, and what colors to use in each room as opposed to if a storm hits, is the foundation fortified enough to keep this house from floating like Noah’s Ark?
The problem is that people fail to understand that it’s the foundation that determines the strength, stability, and ultimately the value of the house. In other words, a ceiling fan in the bedroom, central A/C, and a patio to barbecue are irrelevant if the house collapses because you cut corners in its construction! Well, as it goes for a house, so it goes the same for your Character and the Construction of Your Life and Lifestyle. Which is why you should take the time to ask and answer the following for yourself: Am I putting all of my efforts into maintaining an image while I neglect foundational things such as my attitude, integrity and responsibility to fulfilling my God-given purpose?
“Afflicted city, storm-battered, unpitied: I’m about to rebuild you with stones of turquoise, Lay your foundations with sapphires, constructing your towers with rubies, your gates with jewels, and all your walls with precious stones. All your children will have God for their teacher— what a mentor for your children! You’ll be built solid, grounded in righteousness, far from any trouble—nothing to fear! Far from terror—it won’t even come close! If anyone attacks you, don’t for a moment suppose that I sent them, and if any should attack, nothing will come of it. I create the blacksmith who fires up his forge and makes a weapon designed to kill. I also create the destroyer— but no weapon that can hurt you has ever been forged. Any accuser who takes you to court will be dismissed as a liar. This is what God’s servants can expect. I’ll see to it that everything works out for the best.” God’s Decree.” (Isaiah 54:11-17 MSG)
God is building a home. He’s using us all—irrespective of how we got here—in what He is building. He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation. Now he’s using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together. We see it taking shape day after day—a holy temple built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God is quite at home.” (Ephesians 2:19-22 MSG)
“Meanwhile, God’s firm foundation is as firm as ever, these sentences engraved on the stones: God knows who belongs to him…” (2 Timothy 2:19 MSG)
And what’s our rule and standard? “These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are FOUNDATIONAL words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit—BUT NOTHING MOVED THAT HOUSE. It was fixed to the rock.” (Matthew 7:24-25 MSG). Our standard is that of excellence! We do not go the way that is quick, cheap and easy, but we plan, prepare, work hard, and build what is solid and lasting.
In other words, the marriage may not be smiles every-day, but it will last; the children may not be perfect, but they’re progressing; the church may push you to want to switch religions some days, but stick it out, growth often comes in the midst of struggles; the job may not give you the promotion you desire or even deserve, but it yet provides a paycheck that keeps you from standing in line waiting for a cot and a cup of soup at the homeless shelter and soup kitchen; school can oftentimes make you wonder if your brain even works, but remember even if what it took them 2 years to get, if it takes you 10 years to get, it will still be worth it, because you didn’t throw in the towel. You stuck it out and made it work, and that’s what rock builders do, they work hard, they sweat hard, but they eventually enjoy the spoils of victory from life’s hardest battles!
HOWEVER, building on rock is hard; it takes time, effort foresight and perseverance – but the results are worth it because they’re lasting! Whether it’s a marriage, mother/fatherhood, a business, ministry, church or friendship, when you take the time and build it accordingly, it will outlast the storms of life! “But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach. When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards.” (Matthew 7:26-27 MSG).
Remember this: Character is the result of Commitment, Consistency, and Building According to the Principles of God’s Word. When you make these the Foundation of Your Life you’ll make it through Any Storm in Life!