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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Don't Let Comfort Cripple Your Capability

I have quite a few social media sites. With that said, unfortunately it gives people the misconception that I’m Ms. Technology, when that couldn’t be further from the truth! For instance, as much as I use my cellphone, I know very little about how it really functions, or how to use it to its full capacity. And the reason why? Because outside of making a call, receiving a call, or sending a text, I really don’t care to know much else! However, I’ve come to find out that is to my own loss. You see, there are so many buttons and gadgets that I really don’t want to take the time to figure out. I look at them and ignore them. And what makes matters worse is that my phone wasn’t just handed to me. It came in a box with a Manual for Maximum Usage! Have I read the manual? Absolutely not!

Finally, I got tired of everybody telling me how awesome my phone is and all the great things it’s capable of doing. So I enlisted the help of one of my IT guys to pick his brain. And to my amazement, I could not believe all the things I was able to do, that I wasn’t doing, only because I didn’t know I could! I was so comfortable with what I knew, that I didn’t want to put in the work to find out what I really needed to know. And that was that my comfort was crippling my capability!

However, now, at the click of one button I can access all of my schedules (and finally avoid so many scheduling conflicts because who knew my phone could organize my dates in priority without my help?). With one button I can check all of my email accounts. With one button I could have all of my social media sites on one page. I could even control what goes on in my house, while I’m away, by my phone! And all of this was at my fingertips, but I was too complacent to grab a hold of its full capability!

Now, let’s see what the Bible has to say about this.
Matthew 14:25-29, “And in the fourth watch of the night (3:00-6:00 a.m.) Jesus came to them, walking on the sea.  When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. But immediately He spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I! Do not be afraid!” Peter replied to Him, “Lord, if it is [really] You, command me to come to You on the water.”  He said, “Come!” So Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus." (AMP).

All the other disciples were just trying to ride out the storm. But Peter suddenly got a glimpse of the power of his Master and of something supernatural he could do if he risked everything on Jesus. And suddenly Peter was doing what people don't do. He was walking on water!

The fact is that Jesus may be preparing you to step up to something far more supernatural than you've ever been or you've ever done before. In fact, if you’re anything like me, He's made your heart restless for more so you would get out of the boat and start walking toward Him in an exciting new way. Truth is, there are quite a few endeavors that I’ve had my heart set on for quite a while. And fear and nervousness about stepping into something new, uncomfortable, and unfamiliar is honestly terrifying! BUT I don’t want to miss a moment because of a minute of insecurity.

Peter found out that day that if Jesus wants you to do it - no matter how beyond your capability it may be - He will give you whatever it takes to do it.
A lot of our Christian lives are like my multi-faceted cellphone. We're settling for a level that is far below where we could be living. We're looking at all those spiritual buttons. Maybe we know some other people who have tapped into those capabilities, but we're settling for a powerless life when Christ in us wants to make our life really powerful. We're settling for the mediocre when we're wired for the miraculous.

Look at it like this: Who knows what will happen if you finally decide to get out the boat and apply for the mortgage, the business, student or car loan? Who knows what will happen if you finally decide to get out the boat and head that ministry or start a new one? Who knows what will happen if you finally decide to get out the boat and try that, or go there? Truth is, being inside the boat, especially during a storm, seems like the safest, best and most comfortable, and sensible place to be. But if Jesus isn’t in the boat, do you really think it’s the best place? If He’s outside the boat, even in the storm, don’t you think it’s better to be where Christ is than where your cushion is?

Are you settling for only pushing a couple of God's buttons when there are so many more that could open up a whole new frontier for you?
You need to be reading the Manual. You know that's the Bible, and you need to be reading it every single day. Not just for theology, not just for a lesson to teach or a Word to preach. But looking for the keys to powerful faith and then using them. And tell the Lord, "Lord, I want the "something more" you've made my heart hungry for. Then surrender yourself in a new, fresh way to Him. With all the things that are going on in your life now, update that old surrender. Let go of those areas that you've insisted on controlling. Get out of that safe little boat and dare to walk where you've never walked before! In a nutshell: You will never get THERE staying HERE! Yes, this requires chance, risks, the probability that it won’t work, even failure. And yet I challenge you to try it anyway!

Think about it: Can you imagine how David’s story would’ve turned out if he stayed
in the field with the sheep because he’d become comfortable in what he’s used to doing? What if Abraham decided not to leave his people and country? What if Noah decided he didn’t want to chance looking silly building an ark? What if Moses' stutter held him captive? What if Esther thought that she wasn’t good enough since she was an orphan? What if Deborah said ‘no thanks, I’ll just stay in the back since men go in the front’? What if Paul thought his past was too bad for him to have a better future? What if Peter thought his denial would lead to the Lord’s ultimate denial? What if Hannah decided to accept her barrenness as this is just the cards I’ve been dealt? What if Joshua and Caleb agreed that the majority is always right? What if Rahab thought my profession will hinder me from protection? What if Mary said the public scandal would be too much for me to bear, kindly use someone else?

Can you imagine the tragedy of having their stories re-written with the pen of fear?Listen to what your manual is telling you: Matthew 19:26, “But Jesus looked at them and said, “With people [as far as it depends on them] it is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (AMP);

Today is the day you find your courage, your strength and your faith. Today is the day you deliberately decide I’m not staying in this comfort zone any longer. I may fall, I may fail, I may get it wrong, but I won’t get stuck in this place of mediocre any longer. Today, I’m getting out of the boat! Yes, I know no one has ever done it before; yes, I know it’s safer in the boat during the storm; yes, I know I’m taking a big risk and chance; yes, I know those who are in the boat are probably talking about me making the dumb decision to do something new, uncomfortable, unfamiliar, and different; yes, I know they’re sitting in the boat thinking I’m crazy for even trying this; yes, I know they’re waiting for me to sink so they can say I told you so; yes, I know getting out of the boat to walk on water is strange, nuts, odd, and even dangerous. AND YES, I’M STILL GOING TO DO IT ANYWAY!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

What If We Treat Our Bibles The Way We Treat Our Cell Phones? What If, What Then?

What If We Treat Our Bibles The Way We Treat Our Cell Phones? What If, What Then?
Our Instruction Manual for life before we leave this earth is the Bible. What if we began to treat our Bibles the way we treat our cell phones?What if we carried it everywhere? Check for messages throughout the day; Turned back to get it if we forgot it? Used it in case of an emergency? Spent an hour or more using it each day/ What If, What Then?

God's Work Done In God's Way Will Never Lack God's Provisions

When no one can comprehend all that we have been through; God Knows. When no one understands our feelings or situations or heartaches; God Understands. When no one can possibly fathom our hurting hearts, God Does. You are waking up with a clean slate. God's mercies are new this morning. Not once did the Bible say worry about it, stress over it or figure it out. But over and over again it clearly says "Trust God." Our heavenly Father knows every decision we need to make and every challenge we face. Lord forgive us for the times we have tried to figure this thing out on our own. We need you. Faith and Expectancy goes together. God's work done in God's way will never lack God's provisions.
J.P. Olson

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

I NOW GIVE YOU EVERYTHING. The Keys of Honor and Obedience Unlock the Blessings of God!

If you want to get what Noah got, observe two things about his life:
  1. HE HONORED GOD: “By faith, Noah built a ship in the middle of dry land. He was warned about something he couldn’t see, and acted on what he was told. The result? His family was saved. His act of faith drew a sharp line between the evil of the unbelieving world and the rightness of the believing world. As a result, Noah became intimate with God.” (Hebrews 11:7 MSG). Noah had NEVER seen rain, nor had anyone else! On top of that, Noah lived a hundred miles from the nearest ocean! Therefore, even if he could learn to build an ark, how would he get it to the water?! And how about rounding up all those animals? UGH! Listen: Growing up we always had dogs, but we only had one at a time! And even with just One Dog, trying to get him in the house or in the yard sometimes was an all-day event! So, I can’t even wrap my brain around what Noah had to do! Ok, truthfully speaking, if it was me, I would’ve been sitting there in full negotiation mode with God…Seriously! Listen God, I’ll get the animals, but can I just get “some animals?” I mean do I necessarily I have to get “Specific Kinds“, and to add more burden to my back, do I really have to also pair them up?! God this really sounds like unnecessary excess don’t you think?! See, that’s why I’m J.P. and HE WAS NOAH! And before You think this was just a little walk through the park, listen to Noah’s task:
    I’m going to bring a flood on the Earth that will destroy everything alive under Heaven. Total destruction. “But I’m going to establish a covenant with you: You’ll board the ship, and your sons, your wife and  your sons’ wives will come on board with you. You are also to take two of each living creature, a male and a female, on board the ship, to preserve their lives with you: two of every species of bird, mammal, and reptile – two of everything so as to preserve their lives along with yours. Also get all the food you’ll need and store it up for you and them.” (Genesis 6:17-21 MSG) Ok, did you catch all of that?! First off, that’s a lot of relatives to gather in the first place! Laugh if you will, but have you seen the chaos that breaks out when we have to get families together for an event?! Lord have mercy! I promise you I would’ve boarded that boat leaving behind at least 2 siblings, 4 cousins, 6 nieces and nephews 8 aunts and uncles, and 10 in laws…not to mention a spouse and at least 1 kid! I Promise You I Would Not Have Made Out As Good As Noah! And then if that wasn’t enough, God tells him to be Specific, “Get Two of Everything”…Seriously God, Two of Everything?! And then you have to look at the animals carefully, because you have to make sure you have a “male and female“, I would’ve certainly been upset if I had to be the one to check for this in each animal! But then God goes even further to make sure he got two of “Every Species“! What?! Do you know how many “Species” of “Each AnimalThat Is?! Let’s just say I don’t think me and God would’ve been on the best of speaking terms after that ordeal! However, Noah, with all that his task required of him, HONORED GOD! Even though for a hundred and twenty years he was a complete and utter laughingstock in the land! Noah, yet Honored God! And because he Honored God, God Honored Him! People of God, I know this was somewhat comical, but truth is, that is my prayer for you! That you will live as People of God, Who Honor Their God, No Matter the Task They Receive From Their God! Whatever God assigns to your hands that will Preserve Your Posterity, Do It! No matter how ridiculous, no matter how silly, no matter how time consuming, Do It! For When You Honor Your Father, Your Father Will Honor His Children!
  2. HE OBEYED GOD: “So Noah did everything exactly as God had commanded him” (Genesis 6:22 NLT). Saints, Understanding can wait; Obedience Can’t! Instant Obedience will teach you more about God than a lifetime of Bible discussions. In fact, there are many of God’s commandments you won’t understand until you first obey them! And is there really a blessing of grace and favor when you obey God? Sure is, listen, when Noah emerged from the ark after the flood, the Bible says, “God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fertile, multiply, and fill the earth. All of the animals on the earth will fear you and dread you – all the birds in the skies, everything crawling on the ground, and all of the sea’s fish. They are in your power. Everything that lives and moves will be your food. Just as I gave you the green grasses, I NOW GIVE YOU EVERYTHING” (Genesis 9:1-3 CEB). The first thing God does in response to Noah’s Honoring and Obeying him was to BLESS HIM! That’s your motivation! God has a blessing that is released as soon as I embrace His commandments with obedience! And what I also found to be an interesting point, the Scripture says, “God blessed Noah AND HIS SONS…” Now, if you’re anything like me (and God help you if you are), the first thing to come to mind is: “What are they being blessed for? They didn’t do anything…I did!But God loves us so, that when we Honor and Obey Him, He Grants Us Generational Blessings That Are Poured On the Entirety of Our Posterity! In other words, Parents, Your Sons and Daughters Are Blessed Because Of Your Honor and Obedience! You see, With God, your reward will ALWAYS be Greater than your Obedience! So, never compromise what you’ve been called to do! Truth is, sometimes we try “Partial Obedience”: We say things like, “I’ll attend church, but won’t tithe. I’ll read my Bible, but I won’t forgive the person who hurt me”. But: “Partial ObedienceIS FULL DISOBEDIENCE! The word “Partial” literally means “Incomplete”. Which is why I find it interesting that we always want God to Completely Bless Us While We Incompletely Obey Him! However, Our God is a God of “Completion”: The Bible says, “And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who BEGAN a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to FULL COMPLETION in you” (Philippians 1:6 AMP) God Completes Us So We Can Complete What He’s Given To Us and that Can Only Be Done In Complete Obedience! The Bible says, “You see that a man is justified (pronounced righteous before God) through what he does and not alone through faith [through works of OBEDIENCE as well as by what he believes]” (James 2:24 AMP). Your faith and belief are not enough! God is looking for your…WORKS OF OBEDIENCE AS WELL AS BY WHAT YOU BELIEVENoah had a job to do for God and so do you! So get your overalls on and Put Your Obedience To Work! Why is Obedience so important? Because Jesus said simply, “If you [really] love Me, you will keep (obey) My commands” (John 14:15 AMP).
Know this: God is watching you: The Bible says, “The Lord directs the steps of the godly. HE DELIGHTS IN EVERY DETAIL OF THEIR LIVES” (Psalm 37:23 NLT). He’s Looking At Your Life (“…In Every Detail…”) Whether It Be In Church, On the Job, In the Home, In the Streets, In Public or In Private…and He’s Expecting To See Honor and Obedience…Will He Find It In You?
That’s the blessing that’s waiting on you, your blessing to be fertile, multiply and fill the earth; the blessing of having power and dominion! Not to mention His previous blessings were awesome but after You Honor and Obey Him, He then says, I NOW GIVE YOU EVERYTHING! What Person Do You Know That Would Pass Up That Blessing?!
People of God, Blessings Are Waiting To Be Picked Up By You, But It Can Only Be Claimed By Those Who Honor and Obey God…So Do You Have a Valid Ticket?
Genesis 6:8, “But Noah found FAVOR and GRACE in the eyes of the Lord.” (AMP); “But Noah was different. GOD LIKED WHAT HE SAW IN NOAH.” (MSG); “But NOAH PLEASED THE LORD.” (NCV); But as for Noah, THE LORD APPROVED OF HIM.” (CEB)
Once God likes what He sees in you, and you’re found to be pleasing to the Lord and receive His approval…like Noah, you’ll have the opportunity to hear God say, “…I NOW GIVE YOU EVERYTHING” (Genesis 9:3 CEB).

Never Forget: The Keys of Honor and Obedience Unlock the Blessings of God!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

All Of Us Want Our Prayers to Work. We All Struggle With Unanswered Prayers.

Prayer is an altar for surrender. We all struggle with unanswered prayer. Read 1 Kings 18. All of us want our prayers to work. As Elijah waited for God to send down fire to burn up the sacrifice during his challenge to the prophets of Baal, so we wait for evidence of God’s power to come down upon our lives. We all struggle with unanswered prayer. Elijah must have wondered why King Ahab’s wife, Jezebel, still ruled Jezreel when all those prayers were being prayed by the godly few remaining in Israel. And yet, he knew that his country’s altars were in ruins and his people needed to repent.  One reason our prayers aren’t answered is our altars lie in ruins. We’ve neglected our relationship with God and we need to repent of sin in our lives. But once we’re putting repentance to work in our spiritual disciplines, we can find ourselves even more confused if our prayers still don’t produce results.

Although we cannot always know why we don’t see results, in some cases it could be that we have not truly surrendered to God. Repentance is not complete if we do not surrender to God. And yet we cannot surrender if we have not first repaired our ruined relationship with Him. Sometimes we fervently pray, “Take my life Lord.” But the Bible says, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear” (Psalm 66:18, NKJV). Surrender is an attitude. Our very lives are borrowed. So if we are living on borrowed time, exercising borrowed gifts, what we should be asking in our prayers is when God would like for us to do what! We should be praying, “What would You like that is Yours today, Lord?”

All we have to do is what the Lord says, even if we think we have a better idea! When we give God the things He has indicated that He wants from us, there is a certain peace that indicates that our sacrifice is acceptable to God. Talk to God about the things you have put on the altar lately. Are these the sacrifices He has asked you for?

Have we asked the Lord, “What will You have me to do or to give? Where do You want me to go? China? Bosnia? Uganda? Haiti? Syria? Across the road?” Maybe we dare not ask this for fear that God will want something very close to our hearts. If we dare to get serious about living a life of surrender, it may well mean that our favorite things get placed on the altar. But if they do, there will be such peace in our hearts that we will kick ourselves for not surrendering sooner!