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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Just As God Has Plans For Our Lives So Does Satan! Let’s Not Be the Ones Who Supply Satan With the Ammunition to Take Us Out! Holiness Will Always Keep Us Safe From What’s Hellish!

Focal Point: “…SO THAT HE MIGHT SANCTIFY THE CHURCH, HAVING CLEANSED HER BY THE WASHING OF WATER WITH THE WORD [OF GOD]…” Point: I’ve learned that to keep myself from sin, I need to position myself where the enemy can’t get to me! And if I dare to stay with Christ, and allow Him to sanctify me by Washing Me With the Water of the Word of God, the enemy can’t get to me. Reminds me of Moses and the Red Sea! They went through, while their enemies went under! Or like the unclean spirits that came out of the man and asked Jesus if they could enter the pigs. They were granted their request, and rushed down the steep bank into the sea; and they were drowned [one after the other] in the sea, says the Scripture! How awesome is that! If I keep myself out of the enemies reach, he can’t touch me! But family, that means that we actively do what we must to stay out of harm’s way! You can’t play with sin and the devil, and then get mad when you get hurt! You can’t play with hell then cry when the heat burns you! A safe place for you is to dwell in the presence of God, in the Word of God, in prayer with God! Allow Him to be the Rivers of Living Water flowing out of you (more water that the enemy can’t swim in!)

People of God, don’t be tricked, or fooled, it (and they) may look real good, and may promise to make you feel even better. However, don’t fall for it! It may be pretty, but it (and they) can be quite poisonous! Stay clean, stay holy, stay drenched in God, and stay alive!

Remember: Just As God Has Plans For Our Lives (Jeremiah 29:11); So Does Satan! 2 Corinthians 2:11, “I did this so that Satan would not win anything from us, because we know very well what Satan’s plans are.” (NCV) And What Are His Plans For Our Lives? “…TO STEAL AND KILL AND DESTROY!” (John 10:10) Let’s Not Be the Ones Who Supply Him With the Ammunition to Take Us Out! Instead, Let’s Obey Christ’s Orders: Matthew 10:16, “Stay alert. This is hazardous work I’m assigning you. You’re going to be like sheep running through a wolf pack, so don’t call attention to yourselves. Be as cunning as a snake, inoffensive as a dove.” (MSG)

The Enemy Is Playing For Keeps, so keep yourselves alert in this hazardous kingdom assignment! Don’t compromise and don’t live contrary to Christ’s commands. We will not lose our crown nor silence His ‘well done good and faithful servant.’ Let’s examine our lives people of God, and get back to raising the Standard bar of a Spirit of Excellence among God’s Children. Let’s not be fooled again by Satan’s Pretty Containers With Poisonous Content, We Have Too Much to Loose!

Holiness Will Always Keep Us Safe From What’s Hellish! The Enemy Is Playing For Keeps.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

This Is What Your Prayers Need To Sound Like! Be Like The Blind Men, When You Can’t See Jesus, Listen For Him, And When You Hear Him, Make Sure He Hears You! Open Your Mouth; Therein Lies Your Miracle!

This is what your prayers need to sound like!
See, too often our prayers are like those vague answers I give my family in regards to buying gifts for me, "Anything will be fine, and anything you pick out or pick up is alright by me." Likewise, we talk to God about "give me a blessing," "I need an answer," "send help!" or some GENERAL spiritual request. And I wonder if Jesus is standing there asking, "Well, like what? What are you asking for?" In fact it's really expanded my praying to imagine Jesus standing there as I pray, saying, "Okay, J.P., what do you really want Me to do for you?"

And so, I learned not to just ask God to bless my marriage, but I’ve learned to take specifics about my marriage to Him. I no longer just say “Lord, keep my children safe.” But I’ve learned to pray “Lord, keep my children safe not just from others or harm, but from their own imaginations; desires; devices; wants; lusts; insecurities; immaturity”, and the like. I dont just say “Lord bless my finances.” But “Lord, bless me to be a good steward over the finances that you have provided for me. Help me to be disciplined in my spending and saving…”

In other words, I dont want to be like the blind men sitting by the road yelling Lord have pity and mercy on me, when my specific request is, “I WANT YOU TO GIVE ME MY SIGHT!”

Matthew 20:29-34, "As Jesus and His disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd was following. Two blind men who were sitting by the road heard that Jesus was passing by, so they began to shout, “Son of David! Have mercy on us, sir!” The crowd scolded them and told them to be quiet. But they shouted even more loudly, “Son of David! Have mercy on us, sir!” Jesus stopped and called them. “WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO FOR YOU?” He asked them. “Sir,” they answered, “WE WANT YOU TO GIVE US OUR SIGHT!” Jesus had pity on them and touched their eyes; at once they were able to see, and they followed Him." (GNT)

Be Like The Blind Men, When You Can’t See Jesus, Listen For Him, And When You Hear Him, Make Sure He Hears You! Open Your Mouth; Therein Lies Your Miracle!

Therefore, starting today, pray Big and Bold! Ask the hard thing! And be specific! Dont be afraid! Ask God to heal the situation in your marriage; the substance abuse in your children; your fear of tithing because of your bills and debt. Take to Him specifically what the doctors diagnosed! Jesus is not afraid of Cancer; Heart Failure; Diabetes; Arthritis; HIV or Aids! He Can Heal Anything, So Take Everything to Him! He has no fear in regards to your mistakes and even deliberate sin. He can handle the divorce; the unemployment; the church transition; the foreclosure; the bankruptcy; the child support (and even lack thereof).

Why struggle with fear, fret, panic, anxiety worry, stress; anguish and the like, when you could simply enter your prayer closet (the one that you make anywhere, including a bathroom stall at work!)

Block out people who try to discourage you with such statement as “nobody has ever survived that; or my dad died from that same exact thing; or boy you must be out of your mind to think God will do that; or girl you may as well throw in the towel because not even Jesus can clean this mess up!”

Jesus loves these kinds of prayers: Persistent and Bold!

And lastly, let's focus on the one secret of prayer that we miss all too often. In verse 32 Jesus says, "What do you want Me to do for you?" It seems like such an obvious question though, dont you think? I mean after all, here are two BLIND men! And Jesus heals BLIND people! However, the blind men say instead, "Lord, have mercy on us." And there’s nothing wrong with that, but Jesus says, "Well, tell Me exactly what you want Me to do?" This is a characteristic of prayer that gets miracles and that’s praying Specifically!

See, these guys had already made a GENERAL request, "Lord, have mercy," but Jesus insists that they narrow down their request and tell Him EXACTLY what they want, SPECIFICALLY. And when they do, Jesus responds with a miracle!

Now it isn't that He doesn't know what the need is. He just wants us to know what we believe Him for...specifically...not vaguely because we have doubt, fear and unbelief!

Listen to Philippians 4:6, "Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [SPECIFIC] requests known to God." (AMP)God honors specific faith! Not demands, but requests that are always under the umbrella under which even Jesus Himself prayed, "Not My will but Yours, Lord."

Coming to God persistently, daring to believe Him for big, bold, specific requests touches His heart!

The wordspecific” is defined as “clearly defined or identified; precise or clear; relating to a particular individual or situation; a definite reference; limited to one particular thing; exact; detailed; intended; distinctive; unique; designated; explicit.

You know what I also find interesting as well? Once they make a persistent, big, bold and specific request of Jesus; once their request is granted; they “…joined the procession.” This is the same crowd of critics that tried to mess up their miracle! This is why you can’t be deterred by your critics. Let God’s work in your life be what silences those who tried to silence you! Think about it: Two blind men shouting to get their sight silenced those who tried to shut them up…isn’t God amusing!

Let today be the day your prayer life takes on a new dynamic. One that is specific in its nature.  One that goes to God KNOWING He hears and He answers!

SEE to it today that you Make Your Prayer Request Specific! You Have NOTHING to Lose And EVERYTHING to Gain!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

There Is A Difference Between Following Religion&Following Jesus.“Religion Gave Birth To Twins. One Is Culture;The Other Is Tradition. These Twins Often Keep Men&Women From Becoming What God Designed.

At The Heart of Worship is Worship From the Heart. Some people view the worship service in church as a time for entertainment. We sit in the audience attentively watching the actors on stage. God is the audience for our Worship. What matters most takes place within the hearts of the congregation-not onstage. By focusing on the external of worship, we too miss the point: The Lord is interested in a sacrifice of the heart, an internal attitude of submission and thanksgiving. The goal of worship is nothing less than to meet and please our God.  When the early church prayed, the buildings shook. Today we shake our buildings by turning up the volume of our sound systems. 

The most beautiful place of worship in Jeremiah’s day was the temple in Jerusalem, which King Josiah had recently repaired and restored (2 Chron. 34–35). The people were fixated on the magnificent building (Jer. 7:4), and they foolishly thought that having the temple there meant that God would protect them from their enemies.

Instead, Jeremiah pointed out the sin in their lives (vv.3,9-10). God is not impressed by beautiful buildings constructed in His name if there is no inward beauty in the hearts of those who go there.
He is not interested in an outward legalistic worship that is not matched by inward holiness. And it is wrong to think that God protects people just because of the religious things they do.

You see there is a Difference between Following Religion and Following Jesus.  “Religion gave birth to twins. One is Culture; the other is called Tradition”. These twins often keep men and women from becoming what God designed them and redeemed them to be.

Religion says, Look at your sin God says, Look at my Son. Religion can push you to change what you do, but only God can change who you are.

Religion: Change your behavior & it'll change your heart. Jesus: Let me change your heart & your behavior will change.

Just because we’re reading the Bible, praying, worshiping and having fellowship with other believers doesn’t mean that God is somehow then obligated to do something for us. He cannot be manipulated. The purpose of those external activities is to develop our relationship with the Lord and to help us live differently than those in the world around us.  At The Heart of Worship is Worship From the Heart.


Thursday, November 9, 2017

Are We Pleasing To Him In Our Daily Lives, No Matter The Feeling Or Experience.When We’re Pleasing To Him In ALL Things, That Means The Marriage &The Divorce; When The Doctor’s Report Is Unfavorable:

Colossians 1:10-13, “That you may walk (live and conduct yourselves) in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him and desiring to please Him in all things, bearing fruit in every good work and steadily growing and increasing in and by the knowledge of God [with fuller, deeper, and clearer insight, acquaintance, and recognition]. [We pray] that you may be invigorated and strengthened with all power according to the might of His glory, [to exercise] every kind of endurance and patience (perseverance and forbearance) with joy, Giving thanks to the Father, Who has qualified and made us fit to share the portion which is the inheritance of the saints (God’s holy people) in the Light. [The Father] has delivered and drawn us to Himself out of the control and the dominion of darkness and has transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of His love.” (AMPC)

John 15:13, “No one has greater love [no one has shown stronger affection] than to lay down (give up) his own life for his friends.” (AMPC)
This is the love, life, blood, sweat, tears, and sacrifice that were given for us. But, what have we given to Him in return?

Like the chorus says, "He paid a debt He did not owe, I owed a debt I could not pay - I needed someone to wash my sins away. And now I sing a brand new song, 'Amazing Grace'; Christ Jesus paid a debt that I could never pay."

“That you may walk (live and conduct yourselves) in a manner worthy of the Lord…”: First, ‘walk’ is present tense, letting us know that this is to be done on a continual basis! Day in and day out we are to walk out this lifestyle of Christ-like Discipleship. Which requires quite a bit of daily discipline.  Secondly, our lives and conduct are to be lived out in such a manner that it is worthy of the Lord Jesus Christ! The word “worthy” is defined as “deserving or good enough; deserving effort or attention or respect.” Can we honestly say that’s descriptive of our lives and conduct on a daily basis? Are we giving Him what He deserves? Is what we’re giving Him good enough? Is what we’re giving Him reflective of effort, attention and respect? Everyday? In public and private? In church, at home, at work, at school, at the laundry, at the mall?

The Bible goes on to read, “…fully pleasing to Him and desiring to please Him in all things…”. The word ‘fully’ is defined as ‘completely, entirely’.  Do we live our daily lives and conduct in such a way that Christ is Fully Pleased with it and us? And not just our Sunday-Go-To-Meeting ‘Form of Godliness’, but when we’re in traffic and get cut off, is He still pleased with our words, actions and thoughts? Is He pleased with us completely…entirely…and in ALL things? Are we pleasing to Him in how we handle conflict, crisis, disagreements, anger, bad news, disappointments, let downs, betrayal? Are we still pleasing to Him when someone else gets the pat on the back; the word of encouragement; the support? Are we pleasing to Him when we’re overlooked; under-estimated; passed over; ignored or rejected? 

When We’re Pleasing To Him In ALL Things, That Means The Success And The Failure; The Promotion And The Demotion; The Marriage And The Divorce; Financial Increase And Financial Decrease; When The Doctor’s Report Is Favorable And When It’s Unfavorable; when someone else gets the house while we’re still trying to pay for the studio; when they drive the car out the dealership while we’re scrapping to get coins to go on a Metrocard; when we can keep the utilities on and when they’re cut off? Are We Pleasing To Him In Our Daily Lives, No Matter The Mood, Feeling Or Experience? Or are we well over-due for an attitude adjustment that’s more in line with His characteristics?

Do People Look At Us And Want What We Have? Do They See God? Do They Hear God? How Do We Represent Him? How Do We Present Him? How Do We Reflect Him?

Is our Christian Conduct, Character, Lives and Lifestyles Drawing People Nearer to Christ or Drawing Them Further Away? Let’s be honest, some people will not receive Christ, not because of Him but because of His Christians.

“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” (Mohandas Gandhi)

Is this descriptive of us? Have we so warped our walk with God that people aren’t following Him, not because of Him, but because of Us? Believe it or not, but how we live, how we act, how we speak, how we dress, how we behave, matters. We represent and reflect Christ…everyday…everywhere…before everyone!

In essence, we are Christ’s Brand! A “brand” is defined as, ‘a type of product manufactured by a company under a particular name; an identifying mark.’ We function under the name of Christ and our conduct and lifestyles are the identifying mark of Who He is. Acts 11:26, “And when he had found him, he brought him back to Antioch. For a whole year they assembled together with and were guests of the church and instructed a large number of people; and in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians. We are in His Image and Likeness; We are Called by His Name; We are Christians; We are Believers; We are Sons and Daughters of the Most High God; We are Ambassadors and Personal Representatives of Christ…Therefore, How Do You Think We Should Live? How Should We Act? How Should We Behave? How Should We Speak? How Should We Dress?

In a Manner That is Worthy of the Price He Paid!

Our conduct, lives and lifestyles should produce manifested evidence of being strengthened with all power! Now, does that mean we don’t experience weak moments? Absolutely not, we’re still frail and faulty flesh. However, we should never walk around day-to-day with a defeated disposition, anxious attitude, and miserable mindset! We are strengthened in the might of His Glory, therefore, let’s sound, act, live and look like it! And in light of that text, we’re not to be easily intimidated by trials, tribulations, struggles, suffering, stress, situations or circumstances!

Today’s Selah Moment is Simply This: “Is Your Walk Worthy of the Price He Paid?” No One Can Answer This But You!


J.P. Olson

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

You Might Not Particularly Like What's Going On In Your Life Right Now, But You Must Know That It Had To Pass Through God's Hands Before It Got To Yours! Today Deliberately Decide to Be Joyful!

Remember the donkey in Winnie the Pooh? He's the one that usually managed to see the dark side of everything! There always seemed to be something wrong in Eeyore's world. But I never found anyone that was all that fond of Eeyore. Know any people like that? I know I do!

Here’s how you spot Eeyore: Eeyore always has a way of focusing on the rain instead of the rainbow! Eeyore has clothes in the closet, but because they don’t have name brands, Eeyore complains. Eeyore has food to eat, but because it’s not his favorite restaurant chain, Eeyore complains. Eeyore has money for a bus pass, but complains about walking to the bus stop. Eeyore has a car, but complains because it’s not as new as his neighbor’s. Eeyore has a wife but complains because she’s not the distorted perfection image he had in mind. Eeyore has a job, but complains about going to work every-day. Eeyore has money in the bank, but complains because it’s not a million dollars. Eeyore has an apartment to live in, but complains because she would rather live in a house. Eeyore complains if hair is too short, or too long; if it’s hot or cold; if it’s sunny or snowing; if he’s in the North or the South! Eeyore Finds Everything to Complain About, Yet Nothing to Celebrate! Think about it: It's amazing how one negative person can be a cloud that blots out the sun for everybody else.

Only if Eeyore knew the Word of God found in Nehemiah 8:10, “…This day is holy to God. Don’t feel bad. The joy of God is your strength!” (MSG). In a nutshell: The Joy of the Lord is Your Strength; Your Stronghold and Your Protection! Therefore, Who Wouldn’t Be Happy About That? Let’s be honest, we all know some two-legged Eeyore’s! They’re on the job, in the church, in school, and even living under our own roof! They are the people who respond to the pressures and problems of life by throwing a party - a pity party that is, for themselves (yet always managing to invite you to the festivities…voluntarily or involuntarily)!  You can’t live a healthy life under a daily dark cloud! So what’s the cure? JOY! Listen: Nehemiah had been through all kinds of burdens, challenges, and attacks. Yet, here's what he said, "Do not grieve. For the joy of the Lord is your strength." See, joy gives the ability to look for God in any situation and ask the question, "How could God use this?"

Let's Be Honest: You Might Not Particularly Like What's Going On In Your Life Right Now, But You Must Know That It Had To Pass Through God's Hands Before It Got To Yours! Which Means, He's Okayed It! Job 1:8, “And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job…” The Message Bible says it like this: “God said to Satan, “Have you noticed my friend Job…” (MSG).

Now, I’m all for receiving a person’s recommendation, but God this was a bit much! How do you call me your friend, and yet recommend me to Satan all in the same sentence?! However, God would never okay it if He wasn't able to work through this, if He didn't have a purpose in allowing it. Jeremiah 29:10-11, "This is God’s Word on the subject...I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for." (MSG) Trust God, He Knows What He's Doing!.

Eeyore was known for complaining, moping, looking depressed, and living under a consistent dark cloud. And if you’ve become Eeyore, today is your day to change characters. Think about this: At the moment you’re reading this, someone just received the phone call that their loved one has passed away; someone’s home is being foreclosed on; someone is being evicted; someone is battling with addiction; someone was just diagnosed with a terminal disease; someone’s marriage just ended; someone’s child has run away from home; someone just committed suicide; someone is beating and abusing their own wife; someone is scraping together coins to get a can of corn for dinner; someone needs a coat for the changing season but doesn’t have one; someone woke up on the park bench; someone received a pink slip after 20 years on the job; someone is getting prepped for surgery; someone’s church or business doors are closing…and again, the list is endless.

So today, step back from worrying, fretting and fussing about everything, and find something to be grateful for. It doesn’t matter how big or how small it is, just be grateful for it and watch your gratitude turn into joy that will ultimately turn your day and life completely around for the better!

Today Deliberately Decide to Be Joyful! It’s the Cure for Eeyore-itis!


J.P. Olson