“Your Storm is Keeping You on Course”

Acts 27:44, “the rest were to follow, holding on to the planks or to some broken pieces of the ship. And this was how we all got safely ashore.” (GNT) 

It was some years ago, but I remember when they closed a local airport. You see there was a violent storm at Newark airport, and thousands of people had their plans suddenly changed…indefinitely. I’ve come to find out in life, Storms have a way of doing just that! There’s a snow storm, for example, and schools and businesses, even though they all had their plans made for the day, suddenly have all those plans thrown out the window. Meetings that HAD to be today are amazingly rescheduled. Planes and ships are diverted and all because of a storm. You see, a storm is a classic embodiment of that familiar phrase, “Due to circumstances beyond our control…” Ever heard that line? 

Truth is: maybe you’re in the middle of a storm right now. Your life and plans are being blown around in every possible direction, and it seems like everything is completely out of control. Well, if that’s your testimony, then I’ve got some really good news for you today! According to the Word of God, Acts 27 talks about A Stormy Surprise! Now, I don’t know where your storm is right now, but maybe there’s something blowing your life out of control: (a marriage conflict; a troubled child; a financial crisis; a health scare; a job loss or loved one loss; or a ministry transition). Whatever your storm is, it’s blowing fierce and hard! And to make matters worse, you’ve already tried everything to get it back to smooth sailing, and yet, all you see in all directions is nothing but complete and utter chaos!

And by the way, if you’re one of those tremendously blessed folks who’s not in a storm Right Now, Just Stay Tuned; Your Forecast Will Change Just Like the Rest of Us! That’s just the way life is. Before you know it, out of no-where, the winds blow, the waves are high, the lightening is bright, the thunder is loud, the foundation is shaky, the cold airs of conflict and crisis strike, and you’re wondering if you’ll Survive the Storm! We all get them, so if you haven’t YET, simply Stay Tuned!

However, for those who feel that In Your Life Right Now Things Are Completely Out of Control By the Storms of Life, You’ll Most Definitely Be Able to Relate to Paul’s Storm in Acts 27!

What was happening was that Paul was being taken by Roman soldiers on a grain ship from Israel to Rome. They had a lot of water to cross to get from where Israel is and to cross the ocean and to get over to Italy where they needed to be, and in the middle of all this they encountered a terrible storm that lasted for fourteen days. Hurricane strength, we’re told in Acts 27:20, “When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved.” (NIV). Now, if you’ve ever felt like all your points of reference were gone, like Acts 27:20, you couldn’t see the “…sun, the moon, the stars…” –Which Are All Things You Can Usually Count On To Be There As Your Day-to-Day, Consistent Point of Reference…When That’s Gone, The Storm Is Bad! The things you were able to hang on to before, They’re No Longer There! That one song that use to encourage you, now you can’t remember one verse of it, that friend whose shoulder use to be available for you to lean on has vanished into thin air, that Scripture that would pop into your head right when you were ready to throw in the towel (and now you have no idea what book of the Bible it’s even found in). It feels as though all you used to Depend on has somehow Disappeared into the Darkness of the Storm! 

Well, maybe you’re there right now, and you know what, truth is, it’s easy to give up hope. I know “church folks” will tell you that’s not supposed to ever happen to a believer. But truth is, life can get real hard, and heart breaking. It’s difficult to keep a praise on your lips when your coworker is cursing you out. It’s hard to keep joy when you’ve lost loved ones back-to-back. It’s not easy to keep shouting when your marriage is screaming divorce. Its’ rough trying to teach Sunday school to other children when your own don’t even attend. Life is not easy! No, not even for the believer. So never beat yourself up when you have a moment of lost hope, it happens to the best of us, from the pulpit to the door (whether we admit it or not)!

However, before you feel as if your lost hope can never be found again, keep this in mind: The Outcome of the Story Is What You Need to Take Note Of! Acts 27:44 declares, “…Everyone Reached Land Safely.” They were blown into the rocks after two weeks, But It Says, IN THE END, They Were On An ISLAND! And in chapter 28 we find out the ISLAND was called MALTA! Do you know where Malta is? IT’S ON THE SOUTHERN COAST OF ITALY! Why is that such good news? Because, Regardless to a Violent Storm, They Ended Up Right Where They Were Heading All Along! Oh, they’d been out of control for two weeks or so it seemed, BUT THE WHOLE TIME THEY HAD BEEN OUT OF CONTROL, THEY HAD ACTUALLY BEEN RIGHT ON COURSE, AND SO ARE YOU!

The Surprise About Your Storm Is, That YOU’RE STILL ON COURSE! I know the storm blew some stuff all over the place, I know you received some bumps and bruises and even some brokenness in the storm, but YOU’RE STILL ON COURSE! As hectic as it is, as violent as it was, as rough as it’s been, as depressed as you’ve felt, YOU’RE STILL ON COURSE! Yes, with a marriage that seemed to be sinking, children that seemed to be jumping over-board, a ministry that seemed to lose the wind in its sails, and a health that has seemed to be tossed to and fro, from healthy to sick all in the same week, YOU MY FRIEND ARE STILL ON COURSE! REGARDLESS TO THE STORM, PAUL STILL ENDED UP EXACTLY WHERE HE WAS SUPPOSE TO BE…AND SO WILL YOU! SO, DON’T BE DISCOURAGED BY THE STORM, YOU’RE STILL ON COURSE!

Nahum 1:3 says, “…The Lord has His way in the whirlwind and the storm, and the clouds are the dust beneath His feet.” (AMP)

Look at this text in a few additional translations with some deeper insight:

“…He can BE SEEN in storms and in whirlwinds; clouds are the dust from His feet.” (CEV) Some encouragement during your storm is found in knowing that God is SEEN even in storms. The problem is that like Peter, we tend to focus on the storm instead of the Savior who’s in the storm With Us! Matthew 14:30-32, “But when he saw [the effects of] the wind, he was frightened, and he began to sink, and he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus extended His hand and caught him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.” (AMP) The key is knowing that Jesus is in the storms of life WITH us, and close enough to us in the storm, like Peter, that all He had to do was reach out His hand and touch him. He’s that close to us in the storms of our lives as well. So take heart beloved, because in the harshest of storms, the hand of God is still nigh. Those are the things we lose sight of in storms. We began to focus on the ‘effects of the wind’ instead of keeping our eyes on the One who created and controls All the Elements! When your in the storms of life, don’t look at the storm or its effects, look for God, He can always be seen in the storm!

“…He will USE whirlwinds and storms to show His power. People walk on the dusty ground, but He walks on the clouds.” (ERV) Don’t be afraid of the storms, God uses storms to show forth His power! The problem is that we focus on how powerless we feel in the storms of life instead of focusing on how powerful God is even in the midst of the storm! In fact, He’s using the storm you’re in right now for your good not your harm. That’s why you have to always condition yourself to look for the lessons He’s showing you on how to trust Him even in strong storms where you feel most weak! 2 Corinthians 12:9, “but He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you [My lovingkindness and My mercy are more than enough—always available—regardless of the situation]; for [My] power is being perfected [and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness.” Therefore, I will all the more gladly boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ [may completely enfold me and] may dwell in me.” (AMP) God uses storms to showcase His power, and uses your weaknesses in the storms of life to do the same. Be encouraged in knowing that God is Using this storm on your behalf!

“…Raging winds and storms MARK HIS PATH, and clouds are the dust from His feet.” (GWT) When the winds and storms are raging in your life, don’t try to figure out which way to go, simply look for the Path of God. Follow His Footsteps and You’ll Exit the Storm Better Than You Entered it! Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him, and He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way].” (AMP) Don’t pace the floor in fear, walk by faith as you follow the path of God. If you just ask Him, He’ll show you the way to go! Psalm 37:23, “The steps of a [good and righteous] man are directed and established by the Lord, and He delights in his way [and blesses his path].” (AMP) In chaos, let God order your steps, and you will be sure to never stumble. Just ask Him to show you where He’s marked His path so you can follow it, instead of tripping over trouble trying to figure it all out on your own. Jeremiah 33:3, “This is God’s Message, the God who made earth, made it livable and lasting, known everywhere as God: ‘Call to Me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own.’ (MSG)

“…He shows His power in the TERRORS of the cyclone and the raging storms; clouds are billowing dust beneath His feet!” (TLB) No matter how terrifying your storm is, know that God still shows His power in the terrors of the cyclone and the raging storms. When God is in the storm with you, you need not worry yourself, no matter how bad the storm is. Your Storm Will Never Be Bigger Than the Size of Your God! Remember, Your God is Omnipotent; Omnipresent; Omniscient; All-Powerful; All-Present and All-Knowing. What Storm Do You Know Can Top That?!

Psalm 147:5, “Great is our [majestic and mighty] Lord and abundant in strength…” (AMP);

“Great is our Lord and of great power…” (AMPC);

“Our Lord is great and so strong…” (CEB);

Our Lord is great and powerful…” (CEV);

“Great is our Lord, and abundant in power…” (ESV);

“Our Lord is great, and His power is great…” (GWT);

“How great He is! His power is absolute!” (TLB);

“Our Lord is great, with limitless strength…” (MSG)

Now, with a God that Great, are you really going to let this temporary storm scare you?!

“…Tornadoes and hurricanes are the wake of His passage, Storm clouds are the dust He shakes off His feet…” (MSG); “…Where the Lord goes, there are whirlwinds and storms, and the clouds are the dust beneath His feet.” (NCV) I hope you’re starting to understand that when God is in the storm with you, you are in the safest place in all the world! And that means even in the midst of the tornado, hurricane, whirlwind and storm, He is always present, and you are always protected! After all, the Bible says, “Where the Lord goes, there are whirlwinds and storms…” If you’re in a storm, God is already there, so take heart!

Be Not Discouraged! The Lord Is Still In Control of Your Care and Course…Despite the Storm!

Believe It Or Not, As Bad As It Looks, His Ways Still Work…Even In the Storms of Life! And for an added bonus, God speaks in storms too!  “And now, finally, GOD answered Job from THE EYE OF A VIOLENT STORM…” (Job 38:1 MSG) Never feel as though storms have the power to cut off your communication from God. He sees you, He hears you, He speaks to you, He’s there with you! Even when the storm is Violent it can’t silence His Voice! So, make sure that while you’re in the storm, you keep your ears open, the Lord has a wonderful way of communicating calm even in the midst of chaos! Listen to the Bible: “Late that day he said to them, “Let’s go across to the other side.” They took him in the boat as he was. Other boats came along. A huge storm came up. Waves poured into the boat, threatening to sink it. And Jesus was in the stern, head on a pillow, sleeping! They roused him, saying, “Teacher, is it nothing to you that we’re going down?” Awake now, he told the wind to pipe down and said to the sea, “Quiet! Settle down!” The wind ran out of breath; the sea became smooth as glass. Jesus reprimanded the disciples: “Why are you such cowards? Don’t you have any faith at all?” They were in absolute awe, staggered. “Who is this, anyway?” they asked. “Wind and sea at his beck and call!” (Mark 4:35-41 MSG) Your storm is never designed to take you out! You just have to remember what happened BEFORE the storm took place: The Bible says, “…He said to them, “Let’s go across to the other side.” The best lifesaver in the storms of life is to always remember what “…HE SAID…”! He didn’t suggest to go, He said LET’S GO! When God is with you, never let what’s around you distract you from the direction He’s already given you! If HE SAID let’s go across to the other side, it doesn’t matter what takes place along the journey, one way or another you will reach the other side! Remember: Your Storm is Keeping You On Course! Yes, Even With All of Its’ Chaos! Therefore, Never Allow the Sound of the Storm to Drown Out What God Has Already Said!

People of God, Your Storms Will NEVER Be Powerful Enough To Short-Circuit The Power Of The God You Serve! Remember: Even Jesus Himself had to face storms: “Right now I AM STORM-TOSSED. And what am I going to say? ‘Father, get me out of this’? No, this is why I came in the first place. I’ll say, ‘Father, put your glory on display.’” A voice came out of the sky: “I have glorified it, and I’ll glorify it again.” (John 12:27-28 MSG) Jesus Himself was “…STORM-TOSSED…” yet He determined to endure it because it would display the glory of the Father! And as bad as your storm is, and as violently as it’s tossing you to and fro, don’t give up, give out or give in! Stick it out! You will eventually arrive to your destination and there will be glory after this!

Yes, In the End You May Just Make It By On Broken Pieces, However, That Still Does Not Change the Unchangeable Fact and Truth, That You Still Made It!  Jesus made it to the Crown, but not without the Cross, Enemies, Spit, Mockery, Piercing, Tomb, Grave, Nails, Pain, Suffering, Agony, Blood, Sweat etc…Yes, He made it, but it was a horrible journey. And yet He didn’t stop and take down the sails, He stayed the course, because there was too much Purpose and Promise on the other side of this. Likewise it is for you!

Paul Was Destined For Italy, and the Storm Would Not Be A Distraction, But a Driving Force to Ensure He Made It There! And Not Just Made It There, But Made It There With the Testimony of What He Had to Make It Through To Get There! And if it’s anyone who has a testimony of endurance, it’s certainly Paul! The Bible says, “I’ve worked much harder, been jailed more often, beaten up more times than I can count, and at death’s door time after time. I’ve been flogged five times with the Jews’ thirty-nine lashes, beaten by Roman rods three times, pummeled with rocks once. I’ve been shipwrecked three times, and immersed in the open sea for a night and a day. In hard traveling year in and year out, I’ve had to ford rivers, fend off robbers, struggle with friends, struggle with foes. I’ve been at risk in the city, at risk in the country, endangered by desert sun and sea storm, and betrayed by those I thought were my brothers. I’ve known drudgery and hard labor, many a long and lonely night without sleep, many a missed meal, blasted by the cold, naked to the weather. And that’s not the half of it, when you throw in the daily pressures and anxieties of all the churches. When someone gets to the end of his rope, I feel the desperation in my bones…” (2 Corinthians 11:23-29 MSG) Now, if Paul can survive THAT, you can survive THIS!

Listen: Your Storm Will Not Be a Straight Path To Your Destination! And After All, Who Wants to Hear the Boring Story of How You Left Here, and Simply Made It Straight There, With No Bumps, Bruises or Brokenness…Who Can Relate To That?! That’s Why Your Storm Is Adding Streets, Paths, Cliffs, Dead-Ends, U-Turns, Corners, Hills, Avenues, Back Alley’s, Valley’s and More to Your Story’s Journey! People Will Be Able to Relate to What You’ve Been Through, and then Further Be Encouraged to Know That They Can and Will Make It Through Just the Same!

You may feel like you’re either going nowhere right now or you’re on the verge of utter shipwreck disaster; maybe on the verge of being blown on the rocks even to crash and burn. But remember, the surprise in the storm is this: GOD STILL CONTROLS SEEMINGLY OUT-OF-CONTROL TIMES! He uses them to blow His children right where they were supposed to go all along! SO DON’T LET THE STORM DISCOURAGE YOU, DISTRACT YOU OR DISHEARTEN YOU! THE BOTTOM LINE IS: THE STORM IS KEEPING YOU ON COURSE! YOU WILL SURVIVE AND YOU WILL HAVE AN AWESOME STORY AND TESTIMONY TO TELL ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STORM!  

The word ‘storm’ is defined as, ‘a violent disturbance of the atmosphere with strong winds and usually rain, thunder, lightning, or snow; an uproar or controversy; a sudden attack and capture; to move forcefully in a specified direction.’ People of God, do not allow your storm to disturb you, even when it disturbs the atmosphere around you. Because my favorite definition of ‘storm’, is ‘to move forcefully in a specified direction.’ Your storm is not working against you, it’s working for you! It’s pushing, shoving, and moving you forcefully, but it’s taking you in the right direction! Your storm is not there to throw you off track, but to keep you on course! And your ‘specified direction’, is in the Will of God for your life! It will not be the easiest, or smoothest ride there, but you will arrive where God desired all along! Acts 27:44, “the rest were to follow, holding on to the planks or to some broken pieces of the ship. And this was how we all got safely ashore.” (GNT) Truth is, they survived the storm, but on broken pieces. Likewise, you will not survive this storm without some scrapes, scars, bruises and even broken pieces. But the key is, you survived the storm, you made it through and out of the storm! No, you will not look like GQ’s man of the year, or America’s Next Top Model, when it’s over, but you will have the testimony that you outlasted the storm! The storm won’t remain, but you will remain standing when the storm is over!

REMEMBER: THE SURPRISE OF THE STORM IS THAT THE STORM DIDN’T SURPRISE GOD! YOU WILL SURVIVE! And before you know it the storm will be over! The Bible says, “WHEN THE STORM IS OVER, there’s nothing left of the wicked; good people, firm on their rock foundation, aren’t even fazed.” (Proverbs 10:25 MSG) You’ll eventually look back and wonder, how you got over!

Here’s some more encouragement, “Moses left Pharaoh and the city and stretched out his arms to GOD. The thunder and hail stopped; THE STORM CLEARED.” (Exodus 9:33 MSG) And the same will happen for you! As soon as you reach your destination in God, the storm will clear and you’ll be able to clearly see that it was all worth it in the end!

Therefore, Sail On Through the Storm, It’s Helping You to Stay On Course!

Psalm 107:23-32, “Some of you set sail in big ships; you put to sea to do business in faraway ports. Out at sea you saw God in action, saw His breathtaking ways with the ocean: With a word He called up the wind— an ocean storm, towering waves! You shot high in the sky, then the bottom dropped out; your hearts were stuck in your throats. You were spun like a top, you reeled like a drunk, you didn’t know which end was up. Then you called out to God in your desperate condition; He got you out in the nick of time. He quieted the wind down to a whisper, put a muzzle on all the big waves. And you were so glad when the storm died down, and He led you safely back to harbor. So thank God for His marvelous love, for His miracle mercy to the children He loves. Lift high your praises when the people assemble, shout Hallelujah when the elders meet!” (MSG)

Your Storm is Keeping You On Course!

“And once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in.” (Haruki Murakami)

“You will not be the same after the storms of life; you will be stronger, wiser and more alive than ever before.” (Bryant McGill)

“Don’t fear the storms that life may bring. You’ve been chosen by God to survive it, overcome it, and outlast it.” (Sheryl Brady)

“The greatest miracles aren’t seen in calm peaceful waters, they are seen in the rocky, turbulent and frightful waters of a faith-filled life.” (Kelly Balarie)

“We shall steer safely through every storm, so long as our heart is right, our courage steadfast, and our trust fixed on God.” (St. Francis de Sales)

“The little reed, bending to the force of the wind, soon stood upright again when the storm had passed over.” (Aesop)

“When the storms do come; you can only allow them to slow you down, but don’t let them stop you. There will be delays, detours, and disappointments but you have to keep pushing through it. Pursue your dreams.” (Bernard Kelvin Clive)

“When the storms of life strike, it’s what happens in you that will determine what happens to you.” (Jerry Savelle)

“Often as we experience the storms of life, we witness the Lord’s hand in providing eternal protections.” (Quentin L. Cook)

“Clouds, leaves, soil and wind all offer themselves as signals of changes in the weather. However, not all the storms of life can be predicted.” (David Petersen)

“We cannot stand through the storms of life based on someone else’s faith. We must be fully assured in our own hearts and minds.” (Joyce Meyer)

“Without rain nothing grows, learn to embrace the storms of life.” (Author Unknown)

“You can’t calm the storm so stop trying. What you can do is calm yourself. The storm will pass.” (Thimber Hawkeye)

“If you want to see the sunshine, you have to weather the storm.” (Frank Lane)

“We all face storms in life. Some are more difficult than others, but we all go through trials and tribulation. That’s why we have the gift of faith.” (Joyce Meyer)

“Life’s toughest storms prove the strength of our anchors.” (Author Unknown)

“Who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed?” (Hunter S. Thompson)

“No storm can last forever. It will never rain 365 days consecutively. Keep in mind that trouble comes to pass, not to stay. Don’t worry. No storm, not even the one in your life, can last forever.” (Iyanla Vanzant)

“Not all storms come to disrupt your life, some come to clear your path.” (Author Unknown)

“There are some things you can only learn in a storm.” (Joel Osteen)

“He who sends the storm steers the vessel.” (Thomas Adams)

“I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship.” (Louisa May Alcott)

“God’s peace is not the calm after the storm. It’s the steadfastness during it.” (Dr. Michelle Bengston)

“Storms may postpone your journey, but they can never stop you from reaching your destination.” (Author Unknown)

“Beneath our clothes, our reputations, our pretensions, beneath our religion or lack of it, we are all vulnerable both to the storm without and to the storm within.” (Frederick Buechner)

“Embrace your storms, they’re a part of the journey too.” (Author Unknown)

“Once you have learned to dance in the rain, you will be able to survive life’s passing storms.” (Author Unknown)

“I like storms. They let me know that even the sky, screams sometimes.” (Author Unknown)

“You may be facing the storms of life but you can also walk over them. Fix your gaze on Jesus and begin to walk over lack, depression, confusion, sickness and attacks of the enemy. Don’t look at the waves. Don’t focus on who is attacking you or trying to pull you down.” (Pastor Mensa Otabil)

“Don’t be crushed under the oncoming tide of adversity that moves in to test your faith. Make sure that your foundation is built on the solid rock of Jesus Christ. Be ready for the storms of life and move forward in a confidence that cannot be shaken by the strong winds of hardship.” (Calvin W. Allison)

“The storms will come and the winds will rise and the gusts will threaten to pull you from your roots. Let the winds come. Let them rage and know that you will not break in the breeze, you will bend. Always bend because you are made of more strength than you know, because you are better than the breaking.” (Tyler Knott Gregson)

“Don’t let people pull you into their storm. Push them out of your peace.” (Author Unknown)

“This life will never be without storms. Stop fearing the storm. Build your inner shelter.” (Yasmin Mogahed)

“Storms make trees take deeper roots.” (Dolly Parton)

“In all my years, I’ve learned that life delivers many storms for us to weather. Some will be slow, brooding, quiet beasts, and others will be loud, thunderous, and frightening. But if you’re willing to look close enough, no matter how devastating the storm may be, after the rain you’ll always find new life sprouting in the aftermath.” (Renee Carlino)

“We can’t predict all the struggles and storms in life, not even the ones just around the next corner, but as persons of faith and hope, we know beyond a shadow of any doubt that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true and the best is yet to come.” (L. Tom Perry)

Much Love, Dr. Shermaine #EnjoyTheRead #BeInspired #BeEncouraged #BeEmpowered #BeChallenged #ShareTheWordFeel free to also join us at: http://www.selfcarewithdrshermaine.blogspot.com “Secret Tricks For Eating Your Way to a Flatter Stomach”

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“How to Get UP When You’re DOWN”

“Elijah was…just like us…” (James 5:17 NIV)

There are times in life when we ALL feel down. Today, we’ll take notice of how Elijah got Down, but more importantly, HOW HE GOT BACK UP:

1…IT HAPPENED ON THE HEELS OF A GREAT VICTORY: He didn’t start out in Doldrums (which is defined as a ‘state of stagnation or depression’), and he didn’t fall into sin (as most saints like to analyze and assume that’s the cause to every downcast spirit). NO, ON THE CONTRARY, he’d just called down fire from heaven and slain 450 false prophets (1 Kings 18:22-39)! So he went from Exhilaration to Exhaustion IN AN INSTANT! Ever been there? I know I have. Elijah was weary, with his defenses down and vulnerability up, so he fell into a natural depression, because fatigue always strips us of focus and fight! And to tell the truth, we could really be a blessing to others if we’d all simply learn to be honest enough to share with folks that “I’ve been there.” When everything was going right, and then out of nowhere, in the midst of the battle you had to cry out, “I’ve been hit!” In my own personal life, I went from shouting Sunday, to rushed to the hospital Wednesday, to have my dad pass away Friday. My body, soul and spirit all shut completely down! And I even began to feel guilty, as though my title didn’t entitle me to breakdown (PEOPLE OF GOD, DON’T EVER BELIEVE SUCH A LIE!) But I thank God for a nucleus of honest folks that simply said, ‘the preacher in you may not want to cry, but the daughter in you has too. Be real, be free, and do what you got to do to get through.‘ Will that be an easy task to accomplish? Absolutely not! Because before I knew it, I ended up crying out yet again, “I’ve been hit!” My mom became ill and I became her guardian in more ways than I could count. It was first some complications due to diabetes, then over the course of five years added to her health struggles was a toe amputation; breast cancer (which led to a loss of hair); her skin started to breakout in acne, sores and rashes, kidney failure and dialysis; over 20 pills a day; a cane; then a walker; then surgeries. She ended up having to retire from work, and could no longer do her own laundry or groceries, or go to her doctor appointments or pharmacy alone. She could no longer even bathe herself. Then cooking and cleaning became a hardship. She ended up on a portable oxygen machine that she hated with a passion. Finally, she went one day to have her vein port checked, she didn’t feel well at the doctor after the procedure and yet went home anyway. A few minutes after being home, she collapsed and stopped breathing. By the time she arrived at the hospital, she had gone too long without oxygen to the brain. She was comatose from March 16th to the day before the plug was pulled on April 1st and she passed away. I share this all with you, because we all suffer hurt, depression, struggle, confusion, dismay, anger and the like. And the most dangerous thing you can do for your body, soul, spirit, heart and mind, is to pretend like you’re unaffected, especially when you have a title, and therefore, don’t feel entitled to breakdown. I didn’t cry during her service, funeral, or even burial. It actually took me a few days before it really hit, that she’s gone. And that’s when I broke. More than her loss of life was the guilt of knowing that this was the one and only doctor’s appointment that I didn’t take her to personally. So the what if’s became like daily daggers to my body, soul and spirit. And can I tell you I’m over it all, honestly? No, that would not be the full truth. I still struggle, especially during holidays, or if my mind wanders to a particular memory. What I’m saying folks is it’s okay to be hit, and to hurt and even to cry and bleed. But don’t stop there. Keep moving towards healing. Just know that you’ll never get to healing without honesty. So even if you were just promoted, got the house, got the car, got the clean bill of health, had the baby, got married, passed the test, graduated school…know that for every high, lows come on their heels. It’s not sinful to want to throw in the towel after being so high, only to be hit so low. Which is why you have to learn to guard yourself when you’re walking through your bed of roses…thorns are still ever presentElijah went from high to low in an instant, and so have many of us. So don’t feel guilty! Leader and laity alike, we all get dealt some very harsh life blows. And yet I encourage you to keep going (even if you have to make some pit stops along the way to catch your second wind), still keep going. Never stop moving towards healing! Just Remember: The Best Way To Get Up…Is To Get Honest…Especially With Yourself, Than Others!

2…FEAR CAUSED HIM TO LOSE PERSPECTIVE: The man of God who’d just faced down an evil MULTITUDE, ended up running from ONE WOMAN (1 Kings 19)! Fear made him forget God’s power; it skewed (distorted) his perspective and left him feeling suicidal! Exhaustion coupled with Fear is Dangerous! It invites feelings of hopelessness, wrongful thinking, and creates the illusion that your options are all gone! I’ve been there too, when fear gripped me so badly that I felt like it had a choke-hold on me! To an extent it crippled my perspective! Everything was going wrong AT THE SAME TIME! Within the span of a few months I had 3 back-to-back health issues, surgery, marriage challenges, a dead father, a sick mother and 2 unemployed, struggling family members, depending on me to carry them through! All I wanted to do was crawl in a hole and never resurface again! It was as if multiple gunshots were piercing me and I was losing too much blood to hold on any longer! Fear had a vice-grip on me. 1 John 4:18 says it like this, “fear hath torment“ And that’s how I felt, and I’m sure how Elijah felt… “tormented”. But bear in mind, that same text declares, “…perfect love casteth out fear.“ Holding on to the perfect, unconditional love of God will refocus your fearful perspective every time, no matter what or who you’re facing! Here’s another personal testimony: I went to have a mammogram done the first week of 2019. The results came to my primary doctor that the left breast was fine, but the right one needed to have further mammogram imaging and a possible ultrasound, since the mammogram was obscured. I received that letter and please let me share my complete honesty with you. My first reaction was I cried. I was nervous and fearful. I immediately thought of all the worst case scenarios. The first thing that popped in my mind was that my mom had breast cancer (she didn’t die from it, and was a year later cleared, but in my mind, she still had it, and possibly I did too). Fear immediately shifted my focus and perspective to death instead of life. It actually wasn’t until I went into my daily prayer in my living-room one morning when it hit me. The letter did not say I had breast cancer, it didn’t even suggest that. All it really said was that my mammogram was inconclusive and needed further testing. However, in that moment on that previous night, that’s not how the letter read in my mind at least. But being in prayer, and sharing my heart with God and having Him share His with me, brought a calm that I gave away to fear, freely. I needed to make another appointment, get the tests done, wait for the results, walk by faith, believe the report of the Lord that by His stripes I am healed. And when my doctor does call, we’ll go from there. I reiterate, I share this with you because sometimes we can feel like we lose a portion of our calling, anointing, gifts and ministry because we’re honest that life dealt us a blow that we weren’t prepared to receive. However, that is not the case at all. Let no one and nothing make you feel as if you are ever doing life alone. Your God is an ever present God. There’s nowhere you can go and He not already be there. You can cry, pace, and even get on the verge of throwing in the towel, and still God will be right there saying, ‘as soon as you’re done, I’ll be right here for you to talk to.’ Being saved does not in any way exempt us from trials, struggles, pain, hurt, loss, and the like. It doesn’t even exempt us from moments of human feelings of being nervous, panicked, fearful, scared or worried. The great thing for us however, is that we have a loving Father that we can take all of that too. He’s ready and willing to catch anything we cast on Him! Therefore, People of God, no matter what’s going on, what’s going wrong or what’s going nowhereREFOCUS! GOD WILL ALWAYS USE HIS PERFECT LOVE TO SHIFT YOUR FOCUS FROM FEAR BACK TO FAITH!

3…HE BECAME ISOLATED: Elijah left his servant at Beersheba and journeyed into the wilderness ALONE (1 Kings 19:3-4). When you most need support, anxiety, a sense of inadequacy and fear of failure, will push you into isolation every time! At that point you’re in the worst possible company – YOUR OWN! Elijah thought, “I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me” (vs 10, 14). Translated: “It’s bad and I can’t see it getting any better!” Note that WHEN YOU’RE DOWN, THAT’S THE WRONG TIME TO ISOLATE YOURSELF! That’s when you need to reach for God, and the people who love you and can help you back up! Here’s some more honesty for you, I’m a loner by nature. I don’t like crowds, and sometimes even one other person is a crowd to me, especially if I’m going through something. The worse part for me is that when I’m hurting I don’t want anyone to see it, hear it or know it. So I often go into isolation. Family and friends don’t hear from me. I become very closed off and distant. If you get two words out of me in an hour that’s a lot. I don’t answer my phone. And for some this will be a system shocker, but the one place I have a bad tendency to avoid is church. As a leader, I came up under the ‘fake it till you make it’ era; show no signs of weakness or fear; hide everything and share nothing; dress up and show up no matter what. Such training however, causes you to have a very skewed mindset. I would began to feel like, ‘I’m in Elder, they can’t see me crying; I’m a Doctor of Christian Education with a second doctorate in Pastoral Care and Leadership; I have 10 degrees under my belt; I’ve overcome some crazy physical, mental, emotional and spiritual attacks; people can’t see me have a weak moment, what would they think? I’m married to an Elder; we’ve raised our children by faith to believe God for any and everything, how can I let anyone see my vessel has cracks? People come to me for wisdom, counsel, advice and direction, what do I look like going to them for the same things? I travel and teach and preach the Power of God, His Word, His Will and His Way, I can’t let anyone see that I’m now struggling to pray, avoiding His Word, not sure if I’m all the way in His Will and feel as lost as if I were never found.’ Please hear my heart when I tell you, do not isolate yourself with only yourself, when you’re down and out! As a matter of fact, today is a good day to re-exam your circle and the company you keep. Do you have people who know how to wipe your tears, who can hear your silence, who are genuine shoulders to lean on and trusted ears? Do you have people that know when to let you cry, and then when to tell you that’s the last tear I better see fall! Do you have people that will call you out of your isolation? Do you have faith infusers when your fears are draining your faith of substance? You need people in your circle that refuse to allow you to ball up in the corner and die! Pay Attention to the Admonishment of Scripture: “How can two walk together accept they agree?” “Jesus sent them out two-by-two.” “One will chase a thousand, and two will put ten thousand to flight.” So never isolate yourself when going throughGalatians 6 says, “…Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens…” If you’ll take a brief moment to lift your bowed down head, you may be surprised at how many are, “Stooped down and reaching out willing to help you bear your burdens…” You my friend are not in this life journey alone! There are people all around you who will be there with you during the u-turns; wrong turns; dead-ends; cliffs ahead; slippery roads; caution paths; steep valley’s and seemingly immovable mountains. You are not alone! We are one church with many members, but most importantly we are ONE UNITED CHURCH! Don’t separate yourself in times of struggle!

SO, after all of that, what was God’s prescription for getting Elijah back on his feet? A lecture on the Prophet’s faltering faith? NO! JUST REST AND NOURISHMENT! I know you thought it would be something really deep right (as church folks, we always do)?! But God recognizes our limitations, even when we don’t. His Word declares, “A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick He will not snuff out” (Isaiah 42:3). The Message Bible says it like this, “He won’t brush aside the bruised and the hurt and He won’t disregard the small and insignificant, but He’ll steadily and firmly set things right.”  

Therefore, People of God, WHEN YOU’RE DOWN, DON’T ISOLATE YOURSELF! GET AROUND THOSE WHO WILL HELP YOU REST AND AID YOU WITH NOURISHMENT! SPIRITUAL ANOINTING SHOULD NEVER RESULT IN NATURAL ABUSE! YOU ARE NEVER SO ANOINTED THAT YOU IGNORE THE SIGNS THAT YOU’RE BODY, SOUL AND SPIRIT HAVE TAKEN ON TOO MUCH BURDEN AND TOO MUCH BAGGAGE! MATURITY IS A GOOD BALANCE OF SPIRITUAL AND PHYSICAL WELL BEING!

When we neglect our own LEGITIMATE NEEDS, it shows up in our Attitude!

And God understands that being down is a “Perspective” problem, and getting back up simply requires an Adjustment in four crucial areas:

(a) HE ADJUSTED ELIJAH’S GOD-PERSPECTIVE: “Get in the presence of God and he’ll meet with you“ (1 Kings 19:11). The One who gave Elijah victory on Mount Carmel, could also sustain him in the desert of Jezreel! But first Elijah had to spend time with Him, otherwise he was stalled on an emptying tank! People of God, Before You Can Deal With Your Problem, You’ve Got to Dwell In His Presence!

(b) HE ADJUSTED ELIJAH’S WORLD-PERSPECTIVE: Elijah said, “God’s covenant is broken, His altar destroyed, His prophet’s murdered, and I’m the only one left.” (vs. 14) But God showed Elijah that He still had the necessary resources and strategies to accomplish His purposes, even in a hostile environment! So, People of God, stop allowing your limitations to limit God! You Are Not All God Has Left! So when you need to sit out a few games, don’t feel as though you’ve lost your position, you’re just being repositioned to regain new strength in order to win!

(c ) HE ADJUSTED ELIJAH’S SELF-PERSPECTIVE: The Prophet saw himself as helpless and inadequate: “Lord, let me die…I am no better than those who preceded me.” (vs. 4). But God showed him there were still kings to anoint, battles to win, and He “…knew the plans He had…” for Elijah, and the important role he was to play in all of it (vs. 16). You May Want to Throw in the Towel, But There’s Far Too Much More God Has For You To Do! So, People of God, Take That Same Towel, Wipe Your Blood, Sweat, and Tears, Weep From the Pain, Wrap Your Wounds, and Keep On Fighting!

(d) HE ADJUSTED ELIJAH’S FRIENDSHIP-PERSPECTIVE: He sent Elisha to minister to him (vs. 21). You’re not supposed to carry it alone! No matter how big and bad you think you are! Allow yourself to need help, and watch who God sends! Church, Check Your Friendship Circle and Make Sure Your Elisha Is Present! If He Is, Lean On Him, If He’s Not Locate Him!

Today, ask God to Adjust Your Perspectives and Help You to Refocus!

Truth is, You’ve Been Down Long Enough…It’s Time You Finally Get Back Up, the Kingdom and the World Has Need of YOU!

“A person who falls and gets back up, is much stronger than a person who never fell.” (Author Unknown)

“In life, many things don’t go according to plan. If you fall, get back up. If you stumble, regain your balance. Never give up.” (Author Unknown)

“Sometimes you have to get knocked down lower than you have ever been, to stand up taller than you ever were.” (Author Unknown)

“Never quit. If you stumble, get back up. What happened yesterday no longer matters. Today’s another day, so get back on track and move closer to your dreams and goals. You can do it.” (Author Unknown)

“Never let a stumble be the end of your journey.” (Author Unknown)

“The true measure of success is how many times you can bounce back from failure.” (Stephen Richards)

“I don’t measure a man’s success by how high he climbs, but how high he bounces back when he hits bottom.” (George S. Patton, Jr.)

“Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.” (Author Unknown)

“Everyone gets knocked down in life, but not everyone bounces back. Victory belongs to those who manage to get back on their feet every time.” (Author Unknown)

“Get your fire back. It’s not over until God says it’s over. Start believing again. Start dreaming again. Start pursuing what God put in your heart.” (Author Unknown)

“No matter how many steps you take away from God, it still only takes one to get back.” (Author Unknown)

“God didn’t give you the strength to get back on your feet so that you can run back to the same things that knocked you down.” (Marvin Sapp)

“For every set back, God has a major come back.” (Author Unknown)

“No matter how many times you get knocked down, keep getting back up. He sees your determination. And when you do everything you can do, that’s when God will step in and do what you can’t do.” (Joel Osteen)

“Don’t forget you’re human. It’s okay to have a meltdown. Just don’t unpack and live there. Cry it out and then refocus on where you’re headed.” (Author Unknown)

“God will give you new pictures. Instead of going back into your memory, let God move you into your future through your imagination. Your memory replays your past; your imagination pre-plays your future.” (Mike Murdock)

“It’s time for you to get back up again! It doesn’t matter how hard you’ve fallen or how many times you’ve messed up. God still has a plan for your life and He’s telling you to get back up again!” (Matthew Johnson)

“There is no setback you can face in life that God doesn’t already have a comeback plan for.” (Author Unknown)

“Don’t let setbacks set you back; turn them into challenges and get back on track.” (Patrick Manifold)

“The circumstances and events that we see as setbacks are oftentimes the very things that launch us into periods of intense spiritual growth.” (Charles Stanley)

“The comeback is always stronger than the setback.” (Author Unknown)

“Failure: it can destroy you or it can make you so freakin’ mad that you work even harder to become the winner you know you are.” (Author Unknown)

“Making a comeback is one of the most difficult things to do with dignity.” (Greg Lake)

“Try to avoid complaints. Self-pity, even when legitimate, never fails to undermine your strength.” (Mariane Pearl)

“One must not let oneself be overwhelmed by sadness.” (Jackie Onasis)

Much Love, Dr. Shermaine #EnjoyTheRead #BeInspired #BeEncouraged #BeEmpowered #BeChallenged #ShareTheWordFeel free to also join us at: http://www.selfcarewithdrshermaine.blogspot.com “Are These Foods Good For You…Or Not?”

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“When You’re In a Hurry…But God’s Not”

Ecclesiastes 3:11, “He has set the right time for everything. He has given us a desire to know the future, but never gives us the satisfaction of fully understanding what He does.” (GNT)

My friend Katrina was in a big hurry to get home one freezing wintry night, but her aunt wasn’t. Her aunt had taken her shopping, and her aunt was taking her sweet time in leaving. One more thing to buy; one more store to go to; oh, yeah, one more stop to make. Oh, we need to fill up with gas. Needless to say, by the time Katrina finally got home, man, she was frustrated. It was the holiday season and everyone on planet earth was showing up in all the exact same stores she went to. Not to mention matters were made worse by trying to drive through the mountains of snow and slippery, ice-covered streets. Only to get home and have to take out all the shopping bags from the backseat and trunk. And certainly it was no fun trying to carry all of those bags, with her aunt holding on to her so she wouldn’t fall, while Katrina was praying her own version of ‘Lord, keep me on my feet!’ However, they finally make it to the door of the house, and Katrina sort of sputtered as she walked in the front door (tired, frustrated, freezing, and out of breath), only to be greeted by 25 of her best friends jumping out of the darkness shouting, “Surprise!”

Yeah, you guessed it; it was her birthday and believe me, it was a surprise! We planned it for months! And after she had some oxygen and some smelling salts and regained a steady heartbeat and consciousness…lolshe began to realize the reason for all those carefully, pre-planned, purposely orchestrated delays! Time was needed to get her surprise ready! And maybe, just maybe, that’s why you’re waiting right now too!

A portion out of Ecclesiastes 3:11 that I’ve gone back to as an anchor so many times to interpret what God was doing or seemed like He wasn’t doing in my life says this: “He has made everything beautiful in its time

Problem is, we get real Ugly while waiting for God to make everything Beautiful in its time!

Shall we be honest? Our tempers flare, we get discouraged and depressed, and certainly our faith begins to waver, while our doubts remain steadfast, then of course unbelief snuggles up next to us every night closer than our pillows and covers. Our attitudes go through a period of needing some serious adjusting and resetting. Our speech and thoughts become negative and pessimistic. Jealousy and envy and coveting rear their ugly heads, because now we believe God has favorites and we’ve clearly not made the cut to be on His team. Resentment, bitterness and anger all become a part of our daily garments as much as our pants, shirts and shoes are. And dare we even began to talk about our ‘Sarah Complex’ of attempting to help God out with a back-up plan since He obviously has no idea that His plan A has some glitches in it that need to be worked out!

In a nutshell, it simply becomes a very Ugly time while waiting for something Beautiful to happen!

You see, it all kind of goes with that fullness of time principle the Bible talks about when it refers to the coming of Christ in these words: But when the right time finally came, God sent His own Son…” (Galatians 4:4 GNT) Saints, God even waited for the right time to send His own Son to save us! You know, I’m starting to think that God has a thing about this whole ‘Timing’ bit!

And do you know why I say that? Well, just take a look at how other translations state this Scripture:

“BUT WHEN [IN GOD’S PLAN] THE PROPER TIME HAD FULLY COME, GOD SENT HIS SON…” (AMP);

“BUT WHEN THE TIME WAS RIGHT, GOD SENT HIS SON…” (CEV);

“BUT WHEN THE TIME ARRIVED THAT WAS SET BY GOD THE FATHER, GOD SENT HIS SON…” (MSG);

“BUT WHEN THE SET TIME HAD FULLY COME, GOD SENT HIS SON…” (NIV);

“BUT AT THE RIGHT TIME, GOD SENT HIS SON…” (NLV)

Even with something as important, urgent and vital as our salvation, God still waited for the right, set time to fully arrive in His plan before He sent His Son. And if He’ll wait for the right timing for that, He’ll wait for the right timing concerning all things concerning us! Like it or not my friend, but you may be in hurry, BUT GOD’S NOT! He is waiting for the Fullness of time! And the word “fullness” is defined as “after a due length of time has elapsed; completely filled; containing all that can be held; filled to the utmost; filled to capacity; perfectness; wholeness; and entire.” In other words, God is waiting for the absolute perfect timing to bring things to pass in your life, and when it does come, it will be more than you could have asked, dreamed or imagined (Ephesians 3:20, “Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]—” AMPC).

Just think about, when the time fully came for Him to send His Son, did we lack anything in receiving Him? Absolutely not! In fact, yes, He came to save us, but we received so much more than just salvation, we’ve been saved, healed, delivered, redeemed, justified, consecrated, gifted, anointed, protected, provided for, and still have so many more promises of God that haven’t been delivered to us yet! Listen, when you wait for God to do it in His timing and in His way, according to His plan, you will receive perfected promises! You simply cannot go wrong with that!

But again, the problem for us is that little phrase concerning the waiting periods of our life: “In the fullness of time, God…” Which means you my friend will have to wait! But will your waiting be in vain? Absolutely not!

Habakkuk 2:2-3, “And then God answered: “Write this. Write what you see. Write it out in big block letters so that it can be read on the run. This vision-message is a witness pointing to what’s coming. It aches for the coming – it can hardly wait! And it doesn’t lie. If it seems slow in coming, wait. It’s on its way. It will come right on time.” (MSG)

What you’re waiting on is also waiting on you! You’re excited about it, and it’s excited about you! “…It aches for the coming – it can hardly wait!…” The promise and vision are just as on high alert as you are in expectation of their arrival…BUT you’ve got to wait, because it will only come “…right on time.”

Even when it seems slow, wait, don’t attempt to rush God! And in those moments when you feel the need to, remember King Saul:

1 Samuel 13:8-14, “He WAITED seven days, THE TIME SET BY SAMUEL. Samuel failed to show up at Gilgal, and the soldiers were slipping away, right and left. So Saul took charge: “Bring me the burnt offering and the peace offerings!” He went ahead and sacrificed the burnt offering. NO SOONER HAD HE DONE IT THAN SAMUEL SHOWED UP! Saul greeted him. Samuel said, “What on earth are you doing?” Saul answered, “When I saw I was losing my army from under me, and that you hadn’t come when you said you would, and that the Philistines were poised at Micmash, I said, ‘The Philistines are about to come down on me in Gilgal, and I haven’t yet come before God asking for his help.’ SO I TOOK THINGS INTO MY OWN HANDS, and sacrificed the burnt offering.” “That was a fool thing to do,” Samuel said to Saul. “IF YOU HAD KEPT THE APPOINTMENT THAT YOUR GOD COMMANDED, by now God would have set a firm and lasting foundation under your kingly rule over Israel. As it is, your kingly rule is already falling to pieces. God is out looking for your replacement right now. This time he’ll do the choosing. When he finds him, he’ll appoint him leader of his people. AND ALL BECAUSE YOU DIDN’T KEEP YOUR APPOINTMENT WITH GOD!” (MSG)

People of God, you don’t want to lose everything because you couldn’t wait! Don’t attempt to take things into your own hands. If God set a date and a time, wait for it to come to pass no matter how slow the timing may be. Saul could’ve kept his kingdom generation after generation, and yet because of one fools move of moving outside of the set timing, he lost everything and was replaced! Listen, for the record, God knows what He’s doing and doesn’t need your assistance at all!

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) God knows what He’s doing, His plan is fool-proof, now just make sure you’re not acting the fool to mess it up!

You know, I heard about a pastor not too long ago whose secretary walked into his office, and she found him pacing back and forth, which was not what he usually did in his office. She said, “Hey, what’s the matter.” He said, “I’m in a hurry and God isn’t.” Did you ever feel that way? You say, “Well, that’s my life right now. I’m in a hurry and God isn’t.” And maybe you’re asking, “Where is that answer? What’s taking so long? God are You not listening to my prayers? Didn’t you hear me tell you about the urgency of the matter? The rent/mortgage/car note/ car insurance and tuition are all due on the same day! I need gas money, they’re about to turn off the water, gas and electricity if miracle funds aren’t deposited in my bank account by 5pm today! The doctor said if this last treatment doesn’t go well, that’s it, there’s nothing else he can do! God they’ve already laid off 5 people from my department and they’re not done yet…what are You going to do? God we need groceries, the kids need money for their school trip, Tommy needs braces and Tina needs glasses, and I need the money to pay for it all! God the child support is about to put my paycheck on life support! God if you don’t step in today we’ll be getting divorced tomorrow! God are You listening? God do You even care? God what are You waiting for? God when are You going to move?”

Ever been there? Are you there right now?

Well, God is following a careful process, invisible to you, but it will bring glory to Him and it will bring lasting joy to you. But right now He’s taking time to get you ready for the answer, recreating you into someone who has mountain-moving faith. Because if you don’t have to wait, you don’t have to develop faith. And all of us, no matter how powerful we think we are, need our faith to experience life events that cause it to develop.

James 1:2-4, “Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.” (MSG)

Your faith muscles need exercise so they can be strengthened to develop and the weights that work best for this is tests and challenges that come at you from all sides! Strengthening your faith in the waiting time brings you peace like you’ve never known. It gives you the reassurance that God is at work, and you will be rewarded, in the fullness of time! So, don’t rush, don’t panic, and don’t try to get out of any situation that God is using for your ultimate good!

Remember: “…don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.” (MSG)

Saints, if you let it happen God’s way you will not be deficient in any way! So WAIT! It Will Be Good!

Romans 8:26-28, “Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is working into something good.” (MSG)

Even God knows we get tired in the waiting, and He’s even prepared a plan for that. The Holy Spirit comes alongside to help us along, interceding along the journey.

Listen, I know you’ve been waiting so long you’ve lost count on how many days, weeks and years you’ve actually been waiting. But I still say wait! Why? Because God is working on something good just for you, and all you have to do is trust Him and wait for it!

Psalm 27:14, “Wait for and confidently expect the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for and confidently expect the Lord.” (AMP)

And that’s exactly what I’m admonishing you to do today, wait for God; be confident in God; be strong and don’t lose heart as you wait for God; expect God to do it!

Truth is, if God gave many of us what we asked for, when we asked for it, we’d be in some serious trouble. I mean, if God gave me the six-figure job, twenty years ago, when I was struggling to pay my $20 tithe from my temp job, would I really have been disciplined enough to handle so much More, when I was already struggling with so much Less? Now, I would love to say yes, but the truth is a resounding No! I wasn’t disciplined then; I didn’t trust Him as much then; I didn’t believe Him as much then; I wasn’t as focused then; my faith wasn’t developed then. It took me a long time, a lot of years and quite a bit of painful life events to get me to the point that I can trust and believe in God for absolutely anything no matter the waiting time. Now, does that mean I don’t experience some anxious days even now? Nope. I most certainly do. I may not be as bad as I was then, but I still have my moments when I’m waiting for the doctors reports to come back for my husband or children; or I’m working on a major job or ministry project and I’m wondering how it will all be done by the deadline. I still have my moments and my days, but when I do, I turn to one of my favorite Scriptures that empowers me in the wait:

Philippians 4:6-7, “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. And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours]” (AMP)

So, I’m not telling you something I read, but something I know, I live and I believe. Pray about every circumstance and every situation, take it all to God, believing that He will handle it in His way, in His time, and for your good! It’s still worth it to wait on God!

Furthermore, the waiting time is your developing time. It’s the time you take to do some self-examination and I promise once you do, you’ll say like me, “I need to change don’t I?” The answer, yes we do! And God knows this, which is why He’s taking time to get the answer ready for you. There’s a person, or a position, or a location that right now God is making just right for you. He’s working even though it’s invisible to you. Now if you panic while He’s getting everything ready, oh you’re going to ruin the plan, or maybe you’re going to end up with a short-term fix, or worse yet, a long-term mess!

So, don’t get Ugly in the wait, trust your Father’s timing, He does make everything Beautiful in its time.

Trust God’s timing even if it seems late to you. Truth is, God always seems to work a little more slowly than I want Him to, but He’s always right on time. My friend Katrina learned that the delays were only to set up a wonderful surprise for her. And my friend, your delays are doing the same thing for you! So be patient with all the stops and waits right now, because you’ll love the surprise at the end of this wait.

Don’t forget: Ecclesiastes 3:11, “He has set the right time for everything. He has given us a desire to know the future, but never gives us the satisfaction of fully understanding what He does.” (GNT)

We don’t need to know the timing of God, we just need to wait on it. We’ll never fully understand what God does, but knowing that He’s the one doing it, should bring us reassurance and comfort, and certainly more faith, patience, expectation and anticipation that something good is on the way.

He’s Set the Right Time for Everything Concerning You…Now Leave the Clock Alone and Stop Trying to Hurry the Hand of God!

Remember: When You’re in a Hurry…God’s Not! And Father Knows Best!

Psalm 13, “Long enough, God—You’ve ignored me long enough. I’ve looked at the back of Your head long enough. Long enough I’ve carried this ton of trouble, lived with a stomach full of pain. Long enough my arrogant enemies have looked down their noses at me. Take a good look at me, God, my God; I want to look life in the eye, So no enemy can get the best of me or laugh when I fall on my face. I’ve thrown myself headlong into Your arms—I’m celebrating Your rescue. I’m singing at the top of my lungs, I’m so full of answered prayers.” (MSG)

“But when the right time finally came, GOD…” (Author Unknown)

“God is not in a hurry. You are. It’s why you’re tired, anxious, stressed, worried and disappointed. Trust that what is meant to be yours in accordance with His Will, will be yours, at just the right time!” (Aniket Yadav)

“God is not in a hurry because all His works are done in love.” (Warren W. Wierske)

“The best things are never arrived at in haste. God is in no hurry. His plans are never rushed.” (Author Unknown)

“God is never in a hurry, but He is always on time.” (Author Unknown)

“Don’t try to rush things that need time to grow.” (Author Unknown)

“Patience! Patience! You are always in a hurry, but God is not.” (Charles H. Spurgeon)

“Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.” (Saint Francis de Sales)

Much Love, Dr. Shermaine #EnjoyTheRead #BeInspired #BeEncouraged #BeEmpowered #BeChallenged #ShareTheWordFeel free to also join us at: http://www.selfcarewithdrshermaine.blogspot.com “What to Know About Forming Habits”

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“Don’t Miss Your Mentor’s Mantle”

2 Kings 2:1-15, “Just before God took Elijah to heaven in a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on a walk out of Gilgal. Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here. God has sent me on an errand to Bethel.” Elisha said, “Not on your life! I’m not letting you out of my sight!” So they both went to Bethel. The guild of prophets at Bethel met Elisha and said, “Did you know that God is going to take your master away from you today?” “Yes,” he said, “I know it. But keep it quiet.” Then Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here. God has sent me on an errand to Jericho.” Elisha said, “Not on your life! I’m not letting you out of my sight!” So they both went to Jericho. The guild of prophets at Jericho came to Elisha and said, “Did you know that God is going to take your master away from you today?” “Yes,” he said, “I know it. But keep it quiet.” Then Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here. God has sent me on an errand to the Jordan.” Elisha said, “Not on your life! I’m not letting you out of my sight!” AND SO THE TWO OF THEM WENT THEIR WAY TOGETHER. Meanwhile, fifty men from the guild of prophets gathered some distance away while the two of them stood at the Jordan. Elijah took his cloak, rolled it up, and hit the water with it. The river divided and the two men walked through on dry land. When they reached the other side, Elijah said to Elisha, “What can I do for you before I’m taken from you? Ask anything.” Elisha said, “YOUR LIFE REPEATED IN MY LIFE. I WANT TO BE A HOLY MAN JUST LIKE YOU.” “That’s a hard one!” said Elijah. “BUT IF YOU’RE WATCHING WHEN I’M TAKEN FROM YOU, YOU’LL GET WHAT YOU’VE ASKED FOR. BUT ONLY IF YOU’RE WATCHING.” And so it happened. They were walking along and talking. Suddenly a chariot and horses of fire came between them and Elijah went up in a whirlwind to heaven. ELISHA SAW IT ALL and shouted, “My father, my father! You—the chariot and cavalry of Israel!” When he could no longer see anything, he grabbed his robe and ripped it to pieces. THEN HE PICKED UP ELIJAH’S CLOAK THAT HAD FALLEN FROM HIM, returned to the shore of the Jordan, and stood there. He took Elijah’s cloak—all that was left of Elijah!—and hit the river with it, saying, “Now where is the God of Elijah? Where is he?” WHEN HE STRUCK THE WATER, THE RIVER DIVIDED AND ELISHA WALKED THROUGH. The guild of prophets from Jericho saw the whole thing from where they were standing. They said, “THE SPIRIT OF ELIJAH LIVES IN ELISHA!” They welcomed and honored him.” (MSG)

Question: Where have all the Mentors gone? And since I’m a woman, let me talk from a woman’s perspective today (brothers, please don’t be offended, I’ll get back to you next week, ALTHOUGH, if you pay close attention, I’m sure you’ll still be able to glean something of encouragement from today’s devotional too).

Now, when I ask where are all the Mentors, I mean where are the older, wiser women who once taught younger women to bake bread, sew clothing and keep their kitchens spotless? Where are the women who once gathered in homes for coffee and encouragement? Where are the women who taught other women how to be good mothers, supportive wives, and holy single women? Where are the women who taught you how a godly woman ought to dress, behave and speak? Where have all the Mentors gone?

Well, truth is, they haven’t disappeared entirely. They can be found in the church, in homes, offices, neighborhoods and schools. Their focus may have changed a bit in this day and time, but they are still there for the younger women who have much to learn from them!

I often share with people that I wasn’t raised in a “Christian household”, nor was I raised in church. For some who’ve known me for the last 20 years or so, would be shocked to hear that (and I indeed count it as a humbling honor), but truth is I wasn’t on the choir, I was in the club; I wasn’t taking communion, I was taking shots at the bar; I wasn’t preaching, I was partying! 

However, when I turned 25, and was homeless with 2 children on my own with nothing more than a high school diploma and no job or money, Jesus started to look pretty good to me! Seriously! 

Well, I eventually made it to a little underground, Baptist church and if you saw what I looked like you would be amazed that the mother board didn’t attempt to take me and drown me in the baptismal pool, with or without salvation! LOL! You see, I walked in with braids down to my behind; a face full of cheap make-up amateurishly applied; a mouth worse than the worse cussing sailor on the high seas in the midst of a disastrous storm; a sheer tank top, colored bra and a skirt the size of belts I wear now (and it still had two splits on the side…LOLTalk about a hot mess! I’m so grateful ‘selfies’ and the like were not around! However, a true fun fact is, in 1997 (the exact same year of my 25 birthday and the year I received Christ, while looking a hot mess), the first recognizable social media site, Six Degrees, was created! Talk about being grateful! God got me before social media could! LOL! THANK YOU JESUS! And people are running around thanking God for houses, cars, and jobs! I was thanking God that He called me before social media caught me! I reiterate, a Hot Mess!  

And yet, it’s the older women I remember and cherish most about my early days of salvation.  They were indeed the epitome of love, encouragement, support and help (in addition to rebuke, reprove, correction and instruction)! I will never forget a single one of them! And here’s a few reasons why:

I had one mother that said, “baby go in the bathroom and wash that makeup off your pretty face! You know how many ugly women need those products that you’re wasting on your face?” That’s Old School though, (she didn’t care two cents about how she delivered her message, nor how I felt when I received it!) LOL! I laugh now, and I certainly laughed then! And believe it or not, I went straight in that bathroom and did what mother said do!  Truth is, I loved the church mothers because at least they were too busy talking to my Face to talk behind my Back! FACTS! They were a bold Baptist bunch who were determined to make me a believer, voluntarily or involuntarily! One way or another, they were going to make me right with God no matter how wrong I was!

Another one of the mothers came up to me and explained what a “lap cloth” is and why I needed one…desperately…again, I laugh now, and I certainly laughed then! You see, mother said, “why buy the cow when they can get the milk for free? And baby you’ve already let 2 men dabble in your milk, no sense in letting them take your cheese too” LOL! Honey, I thought I would hit the floor on that one! I was like “WHAT?!” What the heck does that even mean? LOL! What does milk and cheese have to do with sex, babies and salvation?! LOL! But mother didn’t play! So, trust when I tell you, grown or not, I learned to wear my skirts covering my shoes with my legs tightly crossed and still had on a “lap scarf“! Good times I tell you the truth! Oh, I was determined to stay saved, and mother was more determined to keep me saved!

Not to mention the mothers who helped my mouth get delivered!  One mother said “ignorant women curse, intelligent women either use wise words, or utilize the strength of restraint and be quiet. Fools argue with fools, wise women know the wealth of their words (and their silence) and simply walk away”. I must admit, I cussed a few more folks out after that, but I eventually got better…a little better…LOL!

Serious Moment: I tell you, I was blessed to be surrounded by older women who invested in me. Not my gifts, ministry, anointing, calling, purpose, destiny etc…but Me…Personally! They helped me dress better, speak wiser, act appropriately, behave more becoming, and they certainly were not shy at all about calling me on the carpet about anything that reappeared from my pre-saved days! LOL!

These same women helped me to go to school, get a job, an apartment, and to raise my daughters in the admonition of the Lord. They taught me about saving money, about tithing, about dating appropriately and dating appropriate men, since I was single at the time. With that said, I’ll never forget the first time a mother said to me “not him baby, that’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing“.  Now, that may make sense to you who have been saved all your little life. But imagine someone saying that to someone not raised in church at all?! Now, I’ve heard of men being equated to dogs (‘all men are dogs’, as the saying goes), but never had I in all my days heard of a man being equated with a wolf and a sheep! And just how did the wolf shear the sheep to get its wool and make clothes out of it?! And where was all of this found in the Bible?! What exactly was the lesson I was supposed to walk away with here?! I was like, mothers what are you doing to my sanity! What in the world did dating, sex, men, sheep and wolves have to do with being saved?! LOL!!!!! I couldn’t figure out if the man was bad because he was a dangerous wolf, or bad because he was a punk sheep! Yall laugh, but church folks, you can’t use “church lingo” on everybody! If nothing else, develop a Church Dictionary and give it to unbelievers when they cross over so we all know what yall talking about! You can go ahead and laugh, by now you know I laughed then…and I’m certainly laughing now!

These same women invited me to their homes for cooking lessons and sewing lessons (and yet I still hate to sew to this day!)

And these women were smart too! I had one mother who was the mother of all mothers say, “you are so pretty with your cute little figure, now this is what you’re going to do in the church to keep your pretty little cute figure…SAVED!” Next thing I knew, I was a Missionary, Choir and Praise Team Member, Usher, and First Lady’s Assistant! LOL! Not to mention I was at church every Sunday before anybody, standing on the steps with my 2 babies waiting for Pastor to open the church house! LOL! Those were the days! Honey, those mothers had me in prayer and bible study (every Tuesday); missionary meetings (every Wednesday); usher meetings (every Thursday); rehearsals (every Friday); and Monday nights I met with one of the Sunday School Teachers, who taught me at her house how to read and understand the bible! And Saturdays were no longer party day’s, they became the day I had to study for my missionary class, usher class, Sunday School, and back then our choir had homework….literally….homework! Like, here’s the paper with the words to the song, now go home and find at least 5 scriptures to support this song being sung in church…LOL! First Lady Was Crazy! LOL!  

Those mothers/women were determined! I was a real life Christian Frankenstein project! They didn’t care how I came in there, but they certainly refused to let me stay that way! LOL!

Well, sisters, I share all of this with you because we need this kind of support and love in the church today (especially for our younger women, and our babes in Christ). We have more than enough criticism and judgments, we need those who look past all of the outer exterior and help people from the inside…out! It works, I’m a witness!

Listen, my youngest daughter Ashley, if she walked in your church today you more than likely would think she knows absolutely nothing about Jesus! She has around 30 tattoos, 20 piercings, red, green, silver, pink, purple, multicolored hair and contacts (depending on the mood of the  day), her finger nails are long and pointy, she wears open-toe sandals in winter and leather jackets in summer! Everything about her outer appearance is questionable, and I’m her mama! LOL! But little do people know she’s been in church since she was four and singing on the choir and praise teams since then as well. She’s never missed Sunday school or bible study, or prayer meetings or rehearsals, and she still had to memorize a Scripture every Sunday to stand before the congregation to recite. She worked with the youth and dancers, and at home had to do devotional service in the morning before I took them to school and at night before they went to bed. But by her outer appearance many would assume she knew nothing about Jesus and was raised in the streets! But that’s why mentors are so vitally needed in church. I didn’t have to raise her by myself, she had a whole church that became grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, godparents, and they helped her to grow into a phenomenal young woman! Still strange, but phenomenal nonetheless! LOL! She loves God and to see her get lost in praise and worship has brought this mother to tears many of days. Mentors, there are a whole lot of ‘Shermaine’s” and ‘Ashley’s’ out there that look different than you’re accustomed to for a ‘church lady‘, but she needs God and you can get her to Him, regardless of what she looks like in the process! Don’t judge, just help! Don’t criticize, just help! Don’t gossip, just help! Don’t try to make them change, just help! Many of us look quite different on the outside, but we have a David’s heart for God on the inside, don’t be the one that gets in the way of that development and growth!

Now, I was far from perfect then and now, but I promise you I would’ve easily been in a grave and had my children taken from me, had those women not stepped into my life and turn it completely upside down! I will forever be grateful for all of my awesome motherly mentors!

You see, some Mentors are much like Elijah, who was faithfully carrying on his role as God’s prophet when he saw Elisha working in his father’s fields. He saw the potential in this young man, so he threw his mantle on Elisha’s shoulders, symbolically passing the leadership to the next generation.  (1 Kings 19:19, “So Elijah left there and found Elisha son of Shaphat, whose plowing was being done with twelve yoke of oxen, and he drove the twelfth. Elijah crossed over to him and cast his mantle upon him.” AMPC) Elisha then said good-bye to his old life and moved forward, following Elijah and learning from the older man. I’m so grateful that I had mentors/women/mothers, who looked past all of my problems and still saw some potential.  Elisha was busy in the fields, but I was busy having fun. And still my Elijah’s found me, saw my potential, and they went to work to make sure that my potential produced something!

Eventually we find the prophetic pair at Bethel, the house of God. Elisha had steadfastly, faithfully and consistently stayed with his Mentor Elijah. Even when Elijah commanded Elisha to remain in Bethel, Elisha refused, saying he would never leave the older prophet’s side. You see they left Gilgal together and Elijah told him to stay put as he would go forth on his assignment. But for Elisha he followed Elijah to Bethel, to Jericho and then on to Jordan. Thus, Elisha expressed his love and faithfulness not only to Elijah, but also to God. Elisha vowed never to leave Elijah, and he didn’t until he had gleaned everything he needed to know from this godly man, until he received the blessing of his Mentor, until he watched his Mentor vanish in a heavenly whirlwind. I love the way Elisha stuck like glue to Elijah, because I certainly did the same with my mentors/mother’s! I watched everything they did; I listened to how they talked; I mimicked how they would sit as ladies, back straight and head held high with shoulders squared! I would dress as they dressed, tone down my makeup, clean up my speech, whatever they did, I did. I was determined to be better, and they were determined to make me better!

Truth is, we all need Mentors like Elijah: women who have faced challenges and overcome them; women who have grown through struggle and perseverance; women who have seen God perform miracles; women who have gone through hard times and experienced God’s presence with them. 

We all need Mentors who make us better physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, academically, socially, spiritually, etc…We All Need Mentors!

We all need Mentors/Women who can pass on the news that God’s Word is still active and dynamic among us. Those who will teach us how to pray instead of having pity parties; teach us to search the scriptures instead of seeking out a girlfriend to get bad advice from; to teach us to fast instead of fall apart over every failure! We all need Mentors to correct our speech; our dress attire; our attitude; our behavior; our laziness etc…We need Mentors to say “no honey, you not ready for marriage, motherhood or ministry” We all need Mentors!

Why? Because these are the very ones who can place the mantle on our shoulders and confirm that we’re ready to move on to greater tasks, or withhold that mantle until they know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we’ve matured enough to carry it!

Mentors, we need your insight; knowledge; understanding; wisdom; discernment; guidance; counsel; experience. We even need to know your failures, mistakes, missteps, mishaps and the like too. In essence, we need you to help us to walk around the pitfalls you fell into!

So…Who are the godly women walking along the roads in your life, willing to pass on the knowledge they’ve gained? Who has watched you as you’ve worked in your Bible study, your volunteer position or at your job? Who has seen your gifts and your potential? Who stands by waiting to knock you down a few pegs when you get arrogant, conceited, prideful and entitled; or lifts you up when you feel low? Who corrects you, rebukes you, trains you instead of just tolerating you? 

Find Your Elijah! And while you’re at it, try being like Elisha. Follow your Elijah and glean from her knowledge of the living God concerning how to best serve Him and live for Him. 

Remember Elijah’s words to Elisha, “if you see me, you’ll get from me what you asked”. Elisha Kept His Eyes On His Mentor, Stayed In Close Proximity and Obeyed Him and Thus He Received Elijah’s Mantle! But the key is, he watched his mentor! Unfortunately, too many of us are trying to be seen, that we’re not watching, and thus we’re missing the mantle! Selah…

Get a Mentor, Stay Close, Be Obedient, Remain Watchful, So You Don’t Miss Your Mantle!

“…And so it happened. They were walking along and talking. Suddenly a chariot and horses of fire came between them and Elijah went up in a whirlwind to heaven. ELISHA SAW IT ALL and shouted, “My father, my father! You—the chariot and cavalry of Israel!” When he could no longer see anything, he grabbed his robe and ripped it to pieces. THEN HE PICKED UP ELIJAH’S CLOAK THAT HAD FALLEN FROM HIM, returned to the shore of the Jordan, and stood there. He took Elijah’s cloak—all that was left of Elijah!—and hit the river with it, saying, “Now where is the God of Elijah? Where is he?” WHEN HE STRUCK THE WATER, THE RIVER DIVIDED AND ELISHA WALKED THROUGH. The guild of prophets from Jericho saw the whole thing from where they were standing. They said, “THE SPIRIT OF ELIJAH LIVES IN ELISHA!” They welcomed and honored him.” (MSG)

There will always be evidence that you are carrying your mentor’s mantle! Elisha was able to do what his mentor did, and not out of comparison or competition either! And the other prophets saw him, and their collective testimony was, “THE SPIRIT OF ELIJAH LIVES IN ELISHA!” THEY WELCOMED AND HONORED HIM.” Would people be able to say the same about you? Do they see the reflections of your mentor in your life, speech, behavior and actions? Can they see the evidence that you’ve been a good student and follower?

Remember to do as Elisha did, stay close, obey and be watchful!

Reflection Questions:

  1. Who do you see as an Elijah, faithfully serving God in your community/church/life? Have you reached out to them for mentoring?
  2. What do you need to do to become more available to learn from a godly Mentor?
  3. Who do you trust to tell it like it is?
  4. Who pat’s you on the back and simultaneously kicks you in the butt?
  5. Who teaches you; trains you; instructs you?
  6. Who invests time into developing and maturing you?
  7. If you have a mentor, how well do you think they’re doing? How well do you think they would say you’re doing?
  8. Name 1 woman who has mentored you the greatest and why?
  9. What is the best mentor advice you’ve ever received?
  10. In what ways could you become a Mentor to another woman?

1 Kings 19:19-21, “Elijah went straight out and found Elisha son of Shaphat in a field where there were twelve pairs of yoked oxen at work plowing; Elisha was in charge of the twelfth pair. Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak over him. Elisha deserted the oxen, ran after Elijah, and said, “Please! Let me kiss my father and mother good-bye—then I’ll follow you.” “Go ahead,” said Elijah, “but, mind you, don’t forget what I’ve just done to you.” So Elisha left; he took his yoke of oxen and butchered them. He made a fire with the plow and tackle and then boiled the meat—a true farewell meal for the family. Then he left and followed Elijah, becoming his right-hand man.” (MSG)

Titus 2:1-5, “Your job is to speak out on the things that make for solid doctrine. Guide older men into lives of temperance, dignity, and wisdom, into healthy faith, love, and endurance. Guide older women into lives of reverence so they end up as neither gossips nor drunks, but models of goodness. By looking at them, the younger women will know how to love their husbands and children, be virtuous and pure, keep a good house, be good wives. We don’t want anyone looking down on God’s Message because of their behavior. Also, guide the young men to live disciplined lives.” (MSG)

Elijah’s, Find Your Elisha’s, They Have Need of You!

Much Love, Dr. Shermaine #EnjoyTheRead #BeInspired #BeEncouraged #BeEmpowered #BeChallenged #ShareTheWordFeel free to also join us at: http://www.selfcarewithdrshermaine.blogspot.com “Checklist For Staying Healthy”

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“Take it ONE Day at a Time”

Zephaniah 3:5, “…Morning by morning He dispenses His justice, and every new DAY He does not fail…” (NIV)       

At first, our kids couldn’t feed themselves. Then they slowly began to learn to do it for themselves. And since then, I must say, they’ve been pretty good at it (lol).

But in those very early days of teaching them to feed themselves, we didn’t just hand them a big slab of meat and say, “Go for it kid! Dig In!” 

No! Every parent knows the drill: you cut the big piece into bite-size chunks so it’s manageable.  

Believe it or not, I got so used to doing it, it was embarrassing when I was out with my now 32 and 29 year old daughters at IHOP a while back and I leaned over and attempted to cut their pancakes for them! Old habits certainly die hard (LOL)!

That memory caused me to be mindful of Zephaniah 3:5. It’s just seven reassuring words, but in those words, God points us to the way He wants us to handle this “big piece of meat” called Our Life! It simply says, “…Every New DAY He Does Not Fail…

God is saying to you Today, “Instead of trying to do Weeks, Months and Years, would you please do yourself a huge favor, and simply do Life in the 24-Hour Increments that I’ve obviously wired you to handle!  I’ve even given them a special name says God, I call them DAYS”!

Think about it: If GOD Even handled HIS creative work by “DAYS”, what makes you think you can handle them by Weeks, Months and Years?!

The Bible says, in the beginning:

…God called the light day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the First DAY.” (Genesis 1:5).

…And the evening and the morning were the Second DAY.” (1:8).

And the evening and the morning were the Third DAY.” (1:13).

And the evening and the morning were the Fourth DAY.” (1:19).

And the evening and the morning were the Fifth DAY.” (1:23).

…And the evening and the morning were the Sixth DAY.” (1:31).

And on the Seventh DAY God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the Seventh DAY from all his work which he had made.” (2:2).

Do you see the Pattern here? Learn how to handle your LIFE in “DAYS”!

When we try to drag Yesterday, with its baggage and its failures into Today, we become stressed, overwhelmed, feeling incompetent, even bitter, angry and resentful! When we try to drag Tomorrow into Today, with its worries and its fears, we run ahead of His resources, which are issued each new DAY for that DAY! 

In a Nutshell: I’ve got Wednesday’s resources for Wednesday’s needs! When I start worrying about Thursday, or a week from Thursday, I’m on my own and I’m going down…FAST!

Which is why the Bible Admonishes Believers: “Therefore I tell you, stop being perpetually uneasy (anxious and worried) about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink; or about your body, what you shall put on…the heathen wish for and crave and diligently seek all these things…your heavenly Father knows well that you need them all…so do not worry or be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have worries and anxieties of its own. SUFFICIENT FOR EACH DAY is its own trouble.” (Matthew 6:25-34 AMP).

The word ‘sufficient’ is defined as, ‘enough and adequate.’ And ‘adequate’ is defined as ‘satisfactory or acceptable.’ Its Latin origin, ‘adaequare’ literally means, ‘to make equal to.’ You need to learn how to handle your life in the days that God has given you. He has promised that we will always have ‘sufficient for each day.’ Which means, daily we will have what is satisfactory, acceptable, and equal to the needs of that one day! So, stop worrying about February; stop worrying about the holidays (that have not yet arrived); stop worrying about the September school year; and stop trying to plan every day of 2022, and for some of you, even  2023 in advance! Live in this DAY! Embrace this DAY! All you have need of, God will grant you, for this DAY!

And just in case you need something short and sweet: “Give us This DAY our DAILY Bread.” (Matthew 6:11).

Understand that there has Never been and there Never will be a DAY that our God has failed us On different days our spouse may have failed us, our family may have failed us, our boss, friends, coworkers, folks at church; even our income, car or our health has failed us.  But …Every New DAY, He Does NOT FAIL…” declares the Word of God! And that’s a Promise You Can Take to the Bank! Why? Because:  

“God is not like people. He tells no lies. He is not like humans. He doesn’t change his mind. When he says something, he does it. When he makes a promise, he keeps it.” (Numbers 23:19 GWT);  

“My word, which comes from my mouth, is like the rain and snow. It will not come back to me without results. It will accomplish whatever I want and achieve whatever I send it to do.” (Isaiah 55:11 GWT);  

“Then the Lord said to me, “Right. I am watching to make sure that my words come true.” (Jeremiah 1:12 GWT);  

“For as many as the promises of God, they all find their Yes in Him [Christ]. For this reason we also utter the Amen (so be it) to God through Him [in His Person and by His agency] to the glory of God.” (2 Corinthians 1:20 AMP). 

In other words, GOD KEEPS HIS PROMISES…YOU HAVE HIS WORD ON IT!

Furthermore, here is your Lord’s Guarantee for each New DAY. He’s Promised New Mercies For Every Battle!

Listen: Surrounded by the collapse of everything around him, Jeremiah wrote in Lamentations 3, “I remember my affliction and my wandering” In other words, on many “new days”, Jeremiah failed – just like you and meBut he goes on to say, I remember the bitterness and the gall … my soul is downcast within me. YET this I call to mind and therefore I have hope. Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for His Compassions NEVER FAIL. THEY ARE NEW EVERY MORNING; Great Is Your Faithfulness.

God knows how to balance Your Grief with His Goodness! He knows just when you need encouragement, and He sends it! He knows just when you need a hopeful sign, or comfort and rest, or an extra shot of strength, or a miracle at the last minute! And He sends them all right on time! God knows when you’ve had all you can take and He raises His almighty hand and says, Enough! No More!” He’s promised to NEVER let you have more than you can bear” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Because of the Lord’s great love,” you are “Not Consumed.”  And You NEVER Will Be!

You serve the God of DAILY Bread; the God of the “strength that will equal your DAYS” (Deuteronomy 33:25).

The God of whom you can say Every New DAY: “This is the DAY my Lord has made…” (Psalm 118:24). Not the day my condition has made, or my boss has made, or my frustrations have made, or my disease has made, or my spouse has madeMy LORD Made This DAY And He’s Promised Me Everything I’ll Need To Live In It, Therefore I Will Rejoice in it and Be Glad!

“All you saints! Sing your hearts out to God! Thank him to his face! He gets angry once in a while, but across a lifetime there is only love. The nights of crying your eyes out give way to DAYS of laughter.” (Psalm 30:4-5 MSG). No matter how many crying nights you’ve had, they will Never outlast or outweigh your DAYS of laughter! Just remember to take it One DAY at A Time!

Saints, Don’t try to handle that big piece of life you’ve got in front of you right now! Your Heavenly Father cuts it into bite-size chunks so it’s Manageable. And those bite-size chunks are called “…Every New DAY He Does Not Fail…

So instead of stressing, seek God; instead of panicking, pray; instead of worrying, worship; instead of fear, have faith; instead of planning tomorrow, just give God praise for TODAY! Live in this moment, this DAY!

Philippians 4:6-7, “Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” (MSG)

Nowhere in that Scripture says to stress and pace and lose sleep and pull your hair out! No, you are to pray, praise and let Christ settle you down! And how do you began to do that? Change your mindset!

Philippians 4:8-9, “Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.” (MSG) 

Isaiah 26:3, “You will keep in perfect and constant peace the one whose mind is steadfast [that is, committed and focused on You—in both inclination and character], Because he trusts and takes refuge in You [with hope and confident expectation].” (AMP) 

Romans 12:1-2, “Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies [dedicating all of yourselves, set apart] as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship.  And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you].” (AMP) 

Change Your Mindset and Teach Yourself How to Stay in a One Day at a Time Mentality! Keep Your Mind on God, Because He Has His Mind On Everything Else, Including You and All That Concerns You! 1 Peter 5:6-7, “So be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs. God’s strong hand is on you; he’ll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you.” (MSG); Psalm 55:22, “Cast your burden on the Lord [release it] and He will sustain and uphold you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken (slip, fall, fail).” (AMP)

You Can Be Content and Carefree, You Know Why? Because God’s Strong Hand is On You and He Will Sustain You, Uphold You and Will Not Allow You to be Shaken, Nor to Slip, Fall or Fail! So No More Worrying, No More Stressing, No More Fear, No More Panic Attacks, No More Anxiety, No More Nervousness, No More Pacing the Floors! Release Your Burdens to the Lord, and Receive His Blessing of Peace!

He Does Not Need Your Worrisome Input! After all, why would a God who never slumbers or sleeps need YOU to stay awake with Him?! 

Psalm 4:8, “In peace [and with a tranquil heart] I will both lie down and sleep, For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety and confident trust.” (AMP) Does anything in there speak of you staying up all night in worry, stress and fear about a tomorrow that’s already in God’s hands?! Absolutely Not! 

So, today, determine from now on to: Chew One Bite Size DAY Of Life At A Time! God has everything under control, even the things that are out of control for you! God gives us faith in steps and stages, He gives us daily bread and strength for the day’s journeyThere has to be a clear message He’s sending to His children about trusting Him, day-by-day!

Proverbs 3:5-12, “Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to God! Run from evil! Your body will glow with health, your very bones will vibrate with life…” (MSG)

People of God, receive this as a love note from God, take life, DAY-BY-DAY! Trust God With the Future! After all, He’s the same yesterday, today and forevermore. So He can be trusted to take care of your past, present and future! He is the beginning and end, so from start to finish of your life, you need not worry, God’s got you from the Cradle to the Grave and even thereafter!

Rest in His Promise to Take Care of You Day-By-Day!

Zephaniah 3:5, “But the Lord is still in that city, and he continues to be good. He does not do anything wrong. He continues to help his people. Morning after morning he makes good decisions for them. Not a day passes without his justice. He never gives a decision that is crooked or is something to be ashamed of.” (ERV)

Much Love, Dr. Shermaine #EnjoyTheRead #BeInspired #BeEncouraged #BeEmpowered #BeChallenged #ShareTheWordFeel free to also join us at: http://www.selfcarewithdrshermaine.blogspot.com “Mask Mistakes You’re Making Now”

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“BUT GOD!”

1 Chronicles 28:2-3, “Then David the king rose to his feet and said, Hear me, my brethren and my people. I MYSELF INTENDED to build a house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the Lord, as a footstool for our God, and I prepared materials for the building. BUT GOD said to me, You shall not build a house for My Name [and Presence], because you have been a man of war and have shed blood” (AMP).

“…I MYSELF INTENDED…BUT GOD…”

Vincent’s passion for ministry led him to the Belgian coalfields where he preached to miners, tended the injured, fed the hungry and earned a place in the people’s hearts. His church was filled to capacity with those eager to learn about Jesus. But his superiors weren’t happy because Vincent wore cast-offs, lived in a shack and gave his salary to the people. You look worse than the people you came to teach,” they said. “Wouldn’t Jesus have done the same?” Vincent asked. His bosses disagreed and he was dismissed from the ministry. He was hurt and angry; his only desire had been to build a church that glorified God, so why hadn’t God let it happen? Then one day he watched an old miner struggling beneath a load of coal. Moved by the sight he began to sketch the bowed figure. And although he didn’t realize it at the time, he’d discovered his Real calling. The young preacher who was rejected by his denomination eventually became an artist the world will long remember: Vincent van Gogh!

With that thought, how do you react to the “…BUT GOD…” interruptions in your life? Do you fuss and fume, or do you look for His hand in them? Understandably, Vincent was not happy at all that the one thing he desired to do, he could no longer do. Why? Because God had a different set of plans! And can you imagine what the world of art would be like without Vincent van Gogh? Can you imagine the void from his absence in artistry? There’s a quote I’ve recently come across that states: “Sometimes, the Interruption is the Assignment.” But let’s be honest, who do you know of that gets excited about interruptions? After all, its very definition states: “to stop the continuous progress of; to break the continuity of something.” Its Latin Origin ‘interrumpere’ literally means, ‘to break.’ And if it’s two things we do not like, it’s to be interrupted and to be broken! But oftentimes that’s when God does His best work in our lives. One, when we’re interrupted, because we have a tendency to be busy little beavers working on dam’s God never assigned us to build! And two, we also have a tendency to be arrogant when we have it supposedly altogether! So God interrupts and breaks us so He can get our hands on the right blueprints for building and so we can be made humble before He honors us! Saints, I encourage you to learn how to embrace both interruptions and brokenness, for in them lies God’s greatest plans, purpose and direction!

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)

Proverbs 16:3, “Commit your works to the Lord [submit and trust them to Him], And your plans will succeed [if you respond to His will and guidance].” (AMP)

Our plans will always work, when they’re rightly aligned with His Plans and Purpose!

Proverbs 19:21, “Many plans are in a man’s mind, But it is the Lord’s purpose for him that will stand (be carried out).” (AMP)

Truth is, all of us will experience “…BUT GOD…” moments in life. I wanted to marry that man/woman…BUT GOD! I wanted to go to that school…BUT GOD! I wanted to accept that job…BUT GOD! I wanted to purchase that house…BUT GOD! I wanted to start that business…BUT GOD! I wanted to have a baby…BUT GOD! I wanted to start a church…BUT GOD! I wanted to relocate…BUT GOD! I wanted to throw in the towel and call it quits…BUT GOD! So, how do you handle the “…BUT GOD…” interruptions in life?

Let’s take a listen in and see if David has some advice for us: David said, “I…intended to build a…home for the ark…BUT GOD said…’ Your son Solomon…shall build My house” (1 Chronicles 28:2-6 NASB). Now, I can’t speak for you, but if I were David, I would’ve been a bit upset. Can I be truthful with you?! God, this is me, David, King David at that! I’m Your friend! I’m the Anointed One! I’m the one You sought after and declared to all that I Have a Heart After You! How can You skip over me and give this assignment to someone ‘less qualified than’ me? And for Solomon? He’s my son and all, and that’s wonderful, but he’s young and inexperienced, and You’ve never said about him the things You’ve said about me. Surely, I’m more qualified than he, surely I would make a better architect than he? Why am I, of all people receiving a “…BUT GOD…”?

However, when God nixed his plans, David didn’t respond as I may have, instead, he immediately followed his “…BUT GOD…” with a “…YET GOD…” and declared, “YET, the Lord, the God of Israel, chose me from all the house of my father to be king over Israel forever. For He has chosen Judah to be a leader; and in the house of Judah, my father’s house, and among the sons of my father He took pleasure in me to make me king over all Israel” (1 Chronicles 28:4 NASB)

You see, instead of complaining about what he DIDN’T get to do, David rejoiced in how God had ALREADY blessed him by promoting him from herding sheep to leading the Israelite nation! Amazing! But isn’t perspective and gratitude two things that can make all the difference?! It’s not about how we see it, it’s about looking at everything through God’s Perspective!

I wonder if we were asked would we be able to say we respond to our “…BUT GOD…” moments with a “…YET GOD…” declaration? Instead of murmuring and complaining, comparing and competing, David celebrates what the Lord has already granted him. Going forward, will you mature to David’s level of leadership and trust God’s plan, even when it differs from the one you intended? You see, the word ‘intended’ means ‘planned.’ Therefore, it’s not like David was sitting on his hands and just making wishes, goals, aims and hopes. When he says ‘he intended’, it means he already made plans. Listen to the text again: “…I MYSELF INTENDED to build a house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the Lord, as a footstool for our God, and I PREPARED MATERIALS FOR THE BUILDING. BUT GOD…” This wasn’t a let’s see what happens, this was a watch and see what happens. David wasn’t passive or lazy or procrastinating, no, he intended for his plans to come to pass for he already started making preparations! So, what do you do when you’re not simply sharing a good idea moment, but your BUT GOD, steps in when you’ve calculated all the numbers, you’ve assembled the team, you’ve drawn up the blueprints, you already know what it’s going to be named and the completion date is already scheduled in ink in your mind. Until God Steps In And Interrupts Your Process, Progress and Plans with a BUT GOD moment! How do you handle it?!

Well, while you think that over, let’s look at another “…BUT GOD…” Interruption:

Beloved, my whole concern was to write to you in regard to our common salvation. [BUT] I found it necessary and was impelled to write you and urgently appeal to and exhort [you] to contend for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints [the faith which is that sum of Christian belief which was delivered verbally to the holy people of God].” (Jude 1:3 AMP).

Jude’s WHOLE CONCERN was to write one thing, BUT he found it more necessary and impelling to write urgently about something else. You see, BUT GOD moments aren’t just from God. When you learn to align your faith and hearing and godly wisdom with God, there are some thing’s where your spirit will put a pause on your plans! When you learn how to move according to God’s purpose and plans you can stop yourself and say, ‘I know I desired to do that, and there was nothing wrong with it, but there is an urgency in my spirit to do this instead.’ You’ll learn how to sharpen your perspective to such a degree that you’ll input BUT GOD moments in the middle of your own plans!

Max Lucado writes, “I awoke early one morning for a meeting…[and] spotted a bag of cookies. Our daughter had attended a bake sale so I thought she must’ve set them out for me. I ate one…interesting texture…I ate a second…with coffee it made an interesting option. I grabbed a third for the road, and would have grabbed the fourth but only one remained. Later my wife phoned, ‘Looks like someone’s been in the bag.’ ‘It was me,’ I admitted. ‘I’ve had better breakfast cookies but those weren’t bad.’ ‘Those weren’t breakfast cookies,’ she replied, ‘they were homemade dog biscuits!’ His response? ‘All day when I scratched my belly, my leg kicked…not to mention my new found interest in fire hydrants!’ Moral of the Story: I SHOULD’VE CONSULTED THE MAKER FIRST BEFORE BECOMING A PARTAKER!

As comical as that may sound, it is actually the truth for many of us. We just make choices without ever considering the consequences. And honestly the consequences wouldn’t be so harsh if we first consulted God before making our choices!

James 1:5, “If any of you lacks wisdom [to guide him through a decision or circumstance], he is to ask of [our benevolent] God, who gives to everyone generously and without rebuke or blame, and it will be given to him.” (AMP)

In Max Lucado’s story, could you imagine how different this scenario could’ve gone, had he FIRST asked permission to take what didn’t belong to him in the FIRST place? And even if he thought it was for him, how bad could it have hurt to simply ask “are these for me”? Because the Bible does not lie: “There is a way which SEEMS right to a man and APPEARS straight before him, but at the end of it is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12 AMP). Often many of us suffer because we chose what SEEMED and APPEARED right! But had we asked God for clarity, we would have SEEN it for what it really was, a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing! God alone can see clearly behind the mask, the makeup and the materials! You simply cannot hide behind the disguise of someone who is the creator of Discernment! So why not ask Him first?! Which is why the Bible says, “[Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight” (Philippians 2:13 AMP). It’s not your work, it’s His Work In You that brings Him Good Pleasure and Satisfaction and Delight! We have a bad tendency to get this backwards!

When you sense “A Hold” in your spirit, it’s more than likely God Himself trying to get your attention! Remember: He promised to, “…guide you along the BEST pathway for your life…advise you and watch over you.” (Psalm 32:8 NLT). Did you catch that? When God guides you, you will always be found traveling down the BEST pathway for your life! Not so-so, not alright, not pretty good, but when God guides, you only go down the BEST road! Who would be foolish enough to go at it alone when this is the promise from God Himself? The Worse Thing You Can Do Is Ignore The Best Advice, Which Is Following God’s Guidance!

Remember: Jude said, “I wanted very much to write you about salvation…BUT I felt the need to write…about something else.” Jude wanted to dedicate his epistle to one topic, BUT GOD had other plans! And as you well know, you cannot alter God’s Plan! And as great as His plans are, who would want to? “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.” (Jeremiah 29:10-11 MSG). I reiterate, who would dare mess up plans like those?

A century ago F.B. Meyer wrote, “Are you in difficulty about your way? Go to God…get direction from the light of his smile or the cloud of his refusal…wait there silent and expectant, though all around you insist on immediate decision or action – the Will of God will be made clear; and you’ll have a new conception of God.” If only we’d finally learn the benefit and blessing of going to God for direction, and sitting quietly and patiently until we receive it…

Which reminds us a lot of Proverbs 16:9, “You may make your plans, BUT GOD directs your actions” (GNT). Those “…BUT GOD…” moments are everywhere! That’s why it’s so important that you don’t take a step in ANY direction without FIRST receiving God’s DIRECTIONS!

It’s said when Columbus set out he didn’t know where he was GOING, when he arrived he didn’t know where he WAS, and when he returned he didn’t know where he’d BEEN! Truth is, from time to time we all need help knowing which direction to go; such as whether or not to relocate, take a certain job, or commit to a particular relationship. Which is why the Scripture says, “We should make plans – counting on God to direct us” (Proverbs 16:9 TLB).

Proverbs 3:5-12, “Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to God…” (MSG)

Here’s an example, BEFORE making his decision, the Bible says, “…David ASKED THE LORD, “SHOULD I GO UP…” (2 Samuel 2:1 NLV). Now, that’s what you call a Wise Man! Might I ask, do you do the same? Do you ask or “Inquire” of the Lord? That word “Inquire” means “to ask for information.” Its Latin Origin “Inquirere”, from “Quaerere” literally means “Seek”. And what does the Bible say about “Seeking”? “BUT SEEK (AIM AT AND STRIVE AFTER) FIRST OF ALL HIS KINGDOM AND HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS (HIS WAY OF DOING AND BEING RIGHT), AND THEN ALL THESE THINGS TAKEN TOGETHER WILL BE GIVEN YOU BESIDES” (Matthew 6:33 AMPI would definitely, without a doubt, say that often we go wrong because we don’t First Seek God for the Right way to go!

And why is it so important that we go to God first for direction? Because, truth is, you never know what God will do, say or think because the Scripture holds true: This plan of mine is not what you would work out, neither are my thoughts the same as yours! For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than yours, and my thoughts than yours.” (Isaiah 55:8-9 TLB).

Which is why we should further follow the advice found in the book of Jeremiah: “ASK ME and I will tell you some remarkable secrets about what is going to happen here” (Jeremiah 33:3 TLB). And what’s the benefit of ASKING? The Bible says, “ASK, AND YOU WILL BE GIVEN WHAT YOU ASK FOR. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7 AMP)

People of God, if you would simply ASK GOD, you may better understand the BUT GOD and therefore render to Him a YET GOD trust that has no room for fear, doubt, panic, worry, fret, unbelief or hurry!

Ask God so He can direct you! And how does He direct us? In a variety of ways, but here’s 3 in a nutshell:

1…HIS WORD: “Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. LET THE WORD OF CHRIST—THE MESSAGE—HAVE THE RUN OF THE HOUSE. GIVE IT PLENTY OF ROOM IN YOUR LIVES. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.” (Colossians 3:15-17 MSG). One author writes: “The Bible is to God what a surgical glove is to a surgeon. He reaches through it to touch deep within you.” But that requires reading it, personalizing it, and acting on it. And often the reason we stay in the stuff we’re in so long is because we don’t turn to the Word of God which is the instrument He uses to get us out! “He sends forth His Word and heals them and rescues them from the pit and destruction” (Psalm 107:20 AMP). We could get out of a world of trouble, if only we’d get into the Word of God!

2…PRAYER AND LISTENING FOR HIS VOICE: Jesus said, “My sheep listen to My voice. I know them and they follow Me.” (John 10:27 CEB). And Isaiah adds, “And if you leave God’s paths and go astray, you will hear a voice behind you say, “No, this is the way; walk here.” (TLB). Can you imagine being so loved by God that He watches everywhere you go, and even when you go wrong, His voice is right there telling you how to get right back on track? Psalm 119:9-16, “How can a young person live a clean life? By carefully reading the map of Your Word. I’m single-minded in pursuit of You; don’t let me miss the road signs You’ve posted. I’ve banked Your promises in the vault of my heart so I won’t sin myself bankrupt. Be blessed, God; train me in Your ways of wise living. I’ll transfer to my lips all the counsel that comes from Your mouth; I delight far more in what You tell me about living than in gathering a pile of riches. I ponder every morsel of wisdom from You, I attentively watch how You’ve done it. I relish everything You’ve told me of life, I won’t forget a word of it.” (MSG). If you want to stay on Track, Follow carefully the Directions of the Map of God’s Word! I would even dare say that we often travel down the wrong path so long, not because God isn’t speaking and giving us direction, but because we’re simply not listening! James 1:19, “Understand this, my beloved brothers and sisters. Let everyone be quick to hear [be a careful, thoughtful listener], slow to speak [a speaker of carefully chosen words and], slow to anger [patient, reflective, forgiving];” (AMP). And what’s the best way to listen for His voice, PRAYER! “Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” (Philippians 4:6-7 MSG).

3…WISE COUNSEL: “Without good direction, people lose their way; the more wise counsel you follow, the better your chances” (Proverbs 11:14 MSG); “Where there is no counsel, purposes are frustrated, but with many counselors they are accomplished” (Proverbs 15:22 AMP). Believe it or not, but others have sat where you are currently seated: “Remember your leaders who taught you the Word of God. Think of all the good that has come from their lives, and follow the example of their faith” (Hebrews 13:7 NLT). In other words, is your business floundering? Then talk to a successful businessperson. Are you experiencing a mid-life crisis? Before doing something you’ll regret, ask for help. Is your marriage failing? Then talk to a couple who’ve sat where you’re sitting, but they are standing strong now. Are your kids straying? Then talk to someone who knows what it feels like to see your kids go astray, and then return back to the path in which they were trained upon. Are your finances a mess? Then talk to someone who has managed to become financially secure and debt free. Are you insecure? Then talk to someone who can teach you about self-confidence. Believe it or not, but you are not the first one, the only one, or the last one! God has done it before and He will do it again. But you’ll never know that if you don’t talk to Wise Counselors! “Fools are headstrong and do what they like; wise people take advice” (Proverbs 12:15 MSG).

Remember: Life comes with a lot of “…BUT GOD…” moments, but when you grow in God, increase your prayer life, maintain your faith, refresh your hope, diligently study the Word of God, obey the voice of God, seek God for direction, trust and follow the plan, purpose and Will of God and surround yourself with wise counselors, you’ll become just like David, and find a “…YET GOD…” and be greatly encouraged even through your “…BUT GOD…” moments!

Psalm 73:26, “My flesh and my heart may fail, BUT GOD is the rock and strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (AMP)

Romans 5:8, “BUT GOD clearly shows and proves His own love for us, by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (AMP)

2 Chronicles 20:15, “He said, “Listen carefully, all [you people of] Judah, and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and King Jehoshaphat. The Lord says this to you: ‘Be not afraid or dismayed at this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, BUT GOD’S.” (AMP)

 “You may feel lost and alone, BUT GOD knows exactly where you are, and He has a good plan for your life.” (Author Unknown)

“Sometimes my plans fail, BUT GOD always gives me a better option.” (Author Unknown)

“You may have weaknesses, BUT GOD has strength. You may have sin, BUT GOD has grace. You may fail, BUT GOD remains faithful.” (Author Unknown)

“When we have nothing left, BUT GOD, we discover that God is enough.” (Author Unknown)

“The Bible is not man’s word about God, BUT GOD’S Word about man.” (John Barth)

“Sin does not stop God’s grace from flowing, BUT GOD’S grace will stop sin.” (Joseph Prince)

“My philosophy is: Life is hard, BUT GOD is good. Try not to confuse the two.” (Anne F. Beiler)

“People may do you wrong, BUT GOD will be your vindicator. Situations may look impossible, BUT GOD will do the impossible.” (Joel Osteen)

“Man gives you the award, BUT GOD gives you the reward.” (Denzel Washington)

“BUT, GOD knows best, I concluded.” (Anne Bronte)

“You may not understand it. It may not seem fair, BUT GOD knows what He’s doing.” (Author Unknown)

“BUT GOD is when God backspaces over a period and makes it a comma.” (Author Unknown)

“Things change, people change, places change, careers change, BUT GOD will never change!” (Author Unknown)

“The enemy will try to label you with everything you’ve done wrong. BUT GOD labels you forgiven, redeemed, and restored.” (Joel Osteen)

“Evil may have its hour, BUT GOD will have His day.” (Fulton J. Sheen)

“The devil is busy BUT GOD is busier. Always remember that God is in control.” (Lynette Lewis)

“It may look impossible, BUT GOD can do the impossible. Just because you don’t see anything happening doesn’t mean God is not working.” (Joel Osteen)

“The world changes constantly and dramatically, BUT GOD, His commandments, and promised blessings do not change. They are immutable and unchanging.” (Elder L. Tom Perry)

“When you have nothing left BUT GOD, you have more than enough to start over again.” (Mother Teresa)

“I’ve been let down, and knocked down, BUT GOD has never failed to help me up again.” (Author Unknown)

“The stars may fall, BUT GOD’S promises will stand and be fulfilled.” (J.I. Packer)

“Circumstances may appear to wreck our lives and God’s plans, BUT GOD is not helpless among the ruins. God’s love is still working. He comes in and takes the calamity and uses it victoriously, working out His wonderful plan of love.” (Eric Liddell)

“It’s true my father abused me and didn’t love and protect me the way he should have, and at times it seemed no one would ever help me and it would never end. BUT GOD always had a plan for my life, and He has redeemed me.” (Joyce Meyer)

“The facts may tell you one thing. BUT GOD is not limited by the facts. Choose faith in spite of the facts.” (Joel Osteen)

“Good is not always God’s Will, but God’s Will is always good.” (Watchman Nee)

“You don’t have to respond to those who attack, belittle, or insult you. You may not see it, BUT GOD is dealing with them. If they persist, He will arrange their harvest in such a way that they’ll know it’s because of what they did to you.” (Hart Ramsey)

“Life may not be fair, BUT GOD is always faithful.” (Toby Mac)

“I got to that desperate place where nobody could help me BUT GOD.” (Cheryl James)

“People are fickle. They’ll love you today, and leave you tomorrow. BUT GOD made you a promise that He’ll never leave you or forsake you. That you can bank on!” (Marvin Sapp)

“Man plans, BUT GOD arranges.” (Thomas A. Kempis)

“No matter what may be happening today, God has good things in store for your future! It may not be easy to see now, BUT GOD has already lined up a new beginning, new friendships and new opportunities just for you.” (Joel Osteen)

“When our deepest desire is not the things of God, or a favor from God, BUT GOD Himself, we cross a threshold.” (Max Lucado)

“God loves you simply because He has chosen to do so. He loves you when you don’t feel lovely. He loves you when no one else loves you. Others may abandon you, divorce you, and ignore you, BUT GOD will love you always. No matter what!” (Max Lucado)

“We can’t always see where the road leads, BUT GOD promises there’s something better up ahead we just have to trust Him.” (Author Unknown)

“Bottom Line: God will not allow any person to keep you from your destiny. They may be bigger, stronger, or more powerful, BUT GOD knows how to shift things around and get you to where you’re supposed to be.” (Joel Osteen)

“Your miracle may be taking a long time. BUT GOD did not bring you this far to leave you.” (Toby Mac)

“Trust God to make a way. Sometimes we can only see what’s in front of us, BUT GOD sees the big picture.” (Author Unknown)

Much Love, Dr. Shermaine #EnjoyTheRead #BeInspired #BeEncouraged #BeEmpowered #BeChallenged #ShareTheWordFeel free to also join us at: http://www.selfcarewithdrshermaine.blogspot.com “13 Dehydration Symptoms Everyone Should Know, According to Experts”

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“Who is HE to YOU?”

…AND HOW ABOUT YOU? WHO DO YOU SAY I AM?…” (Matthew 16:13-19 MSG).

Meteorologists have studied weather patterns to discover the WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY and HOW of rain, thunder, lightning, hail, drought, monsoons and the like. They have pondered why deserts receive less than an inch of rain per year, while India’s monsoons pour down over 400 inches annually. Why does lightning strike? What causes hail? Why does thunder make the sound it does? How can we predict hurricanes and tornado’s?

While great strides have been made in observing, predicting and understanding the weather, no one has been able to change it. Why? Because while human beings have studied the WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY and HOW, they often have forgotten to ask the most important question of all: WHO?

Maybe you’ve been making the very same error. Looking at your situation and focusing on the WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, HOW and even WHY? But falling short in focusing on WHO?

Job’s friend, Elihu, didn’t subscribe to the weather channel or own a farmer’s almanac. He understood, however, that God controls it all: “It is GOD WHO takes water from the earth and turns it into drops of rain. He lets the rain pour from the clouds in showers for all human beings” (Job 36:27-28 GNT). He may as well said, “I don’t understand the process of condensation and precipitation, but I do understand that God is in control of it all!

So, what’s keeping you from reaching that same place? A place of complete confidence that even when you don’t understand all that’s going on in your life, you yet trust HIM? You Trust GOD! You may not understand the WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, HOW, or WHY, but what’s keeping you from trusting the WHO that is Always Faithful? “God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, his merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning. How great your faithfulness! I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over). He’s all I’ve got left” (Lamentations 3:22-24 MSG); “For the Lord is always good. He is always loving and kind, and his faithfulness goes on and on to each succeeding generation” (Psalm 100:5 TLB); “God is faithful (reliable, trustworthy, and therefore ever true to His promise, and He can be depended on); by Him you were called into companionship and participation with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:9 AMP) Sounds to me as though we gravely underestimate our God’s Faithfulness towards us. In fact, hearing those Scriptures alone ought to lead us to repentance and a new found attitude of gratitude for the Lord’s Consistent Faithfulness.

Furthermore, the first words in the Bible are, “In the beginning GOD…” So, while we might not understand all the intricate details and secrets of life, we can hold on to this: God set the universe in motion and still sustains it! Paul put it like this: “We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God’s original purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels—everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. He was there before any of it came into existence AND HOLDS IT ALL TOGETHER RIGHT UP TO THIS MOMENT. And when it comes to the church, he organizes and HOLDS IT TOGETHER, like a head does a body.” (Colossians 1:15-18 MSG). Now, if God can create and hold all of this together, surely you have no doubt about His ability to hold you and all that concerns you, together?

Jeremiah states: “Alas, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! There is nothing too hard or too wonderful for You” (Jeremiah 32:17 AMP). Did you read that? “…There is NOTHING too hard…for You” The word ‘nothing’ is defined as, ‘not anything.’ People of God, where is your level of confidence in your God? Do you believe that there is absolutely NOTHING taking place in your life that is too hard for your God to handle? There’s absolutely nothing that you’re experiencing, enduring, suffering or struggling through or with that is too hard for your God to handle. There’s NOT ANYTHING that you can name that will EVER be listed under the TOO HARD FOR GOD TO HANDLE category! Which is why you should be encouraged to finally reach a place where you can confidently say: “…With men this is impossible, BUT ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE WITH GOD” (Matthew 19:26 AMP). In other words, don’t let the government shut-down scare you; you don’t allow the doctor’s diagnosis to cause you to panic; don’t let the marital discord make you believe that what’s out of your hands is also out of God’s; don’t focus on your children doing the very opposite of what you’ve taught and trained them to do under the admonition of the Lord (God has His hands on them too); stop pacing the floor over the funds that are no longer piling high in your bank account (God is neither limited by money or intimidated by numbers). Learn how to trust God even in the moments when you can’t trace Him. Know that He’s still your LIGHT even in DARK places and seasons of life. Believe that He is still a very present help in times of trouble and that no matter how dark your circumstances get, your God is not afraid of the dark, therefore, neither should you be!

When will you reach a place where you trust what He SAID and not what you SEE? After all, “…we walk by faith [we regulate our lives and conduct ourselves by our convictions…” (2 Corinthians 5:7 AMP). So, when will you therefore, begin to conduct yourself by your convictions? A ‘conviction’ is ‘a firmly held belief; the quality of showing that one is utterly convinced of what one believes or says.’ And ‘convinced’ is ‘to cause to believe firmly in the truth of something; to be fully persuaded.’ Its Latin origin ‘convincere’ literally means, ‘to overcome and demonstrate’, from ‘vincere’ which means, ‘to conquer.’ You see, when you reach a growth level where you trust God without question, you began to stretch and strengthen your faith to the point where your convictions are firmly held in their belief because they are utterly convinced of what they believe and what they declare and decreed. Your faith reaches a point where you’re convinced and believe firmly in the truth of what God has already said concerning you, knowing that His Word can’t fail and can’t lie, therefore, you are fully persuaded to overcome your fear by the demonstration of your faith and conquer all that life’s struggles tell you can’t be conquered! You began to walk, talk, think, act and live in the full knowledge that there is Absolutely Nothing Too Hard for Your God, and Nothing With Him Will Ever Be Deemed Impossible!

Know this: Trusting GOD, NOT Your Circumstances, is What Matters Most!

So, are you going through a difficult situation in your life right now? Are there circumstances that you cannot understand? Well, instead of trying to fix it or control it, rather than trying to figure out the WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY and HOW of your struggle, why not simply focus instead on WHO:

FOCUS ON GOD WHO IS ELOHIM: The Creator, Who Made You With a Plan and For a Purpose!  “…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” (Jeremiah 29:10-11 MSG). People of God, you have no need to worry, fret or fear about your past, present or future, for God has a plan, a purpose and a promise, and neither of them will fail due to your problems!

FOCUS ON GOD WHO IS EL ELYON: The God Most High, Whose Ways are Higher Than Your Ways! “I don’t think the way you think. The way you work isn’t the way I work.” God’s Decree. “For as the sky soars high above earth, so the way I work surpasses the way you work, and the way I think is beyond the way you think. Just as rain and snow descend from the skies and don’t go back until they’ve watered the earth, Doing their work of making things grow and blossom, producing seed for farmers and food for the hungry, So will the words that come out of my mouth not come back empty-handed. They’ll do the work I sent them to do, they’ll complete the assignment I gave them” (Isaiah 55:8-11 MSG). So stop trying to figure this out on your own! God’s Got It And You! Trust Him, Follow Him, Lean On Him, Obey Him! He Cannot Lie And Won’t Fail You! He Can Handle What’s Got a Hold of You! This is God’s Message, the God who made earth, made it livable and lasting, known everywhere as God: ‘Call to me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own” (Jeremiah 33:2-3 MSG). Imagine That! God Himself is sitting by waiting for you to call on Him! He’s waiting for you to bring to Him all of your WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY, and HOW questions! Because He alone will “…tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own” So, why are you still struggling with this? Why are you continuing to lose sleep, hair, peace, joy, comfort and strength? When you can simply talk to God, the One WHO is the answer to all of your questions?!

FOCUS ON GOD WHO IS EL ROI: The God Who Sees and Knows Where You are and How You Feel! “So she called the name of the Lord Who spoke to her, You are a God of seeing, for she said, Have I [not] even here [in the wilderness] looked upon Him Who sees me [and lived]? Or have I here also seen [the future purposes or designs of] Him Who sees me?” (Genesis 16:13 AMP). Much like Hagar, you can be at your lowest point in life right now, wandering through the wilderness ready to give up and throw in the towel. Not knowing what to do for yourself or your child. With no provision or protection, and worse yet, having those who should be there to support you, be nowhere to be found. And yet, it is at this very same place where God manifests Himself to you and like Hagar all you can say is “I looked upon Him Who sees me [and lived]…”. In other words, yes you’ll survive this, yes you’ll make it through this! There will be an “After This” testimony for you too! But like Hagar, you have to focus on WHO, not WHAT! “Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.” (Hebrews 4:14-16 MSG). Did you catch that? “…Take the mercy, accept the help”. God is waiting to extend mercy and help to you, so, what are you waiting for? If you can simply take your eyes off everything and everyone else and focus them where they need to be on (WHO) you will come out of this a lot better than you went into it!

FOCUS ON GOD WHO IS EL SHADDAI: The Lord God Almighty, the One Who Can Change You or Walk With You Through Your Circumstances as Surely as He Can Send Rain From Heaven! “Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to God! Run from evil! Your body will glow with health, your very bones will vibrate with life!…” (Proverbs 3:5-12 MSG). If you want to live and have a good life than simply follow God! You want restored health than simply follow God! The WHO is all you need to get through all the WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, HOW and WHY! The greatest exercise to maintain good health and a good life is walking with God! “But look!” he said. “Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God” (Daniel 3:25 NKJV). Saints, there is absolutely nothing you can walk in, where God is absent! Remember: “God is our Refuge and Strength [mighty and impenetrable to temptation], a very present and well-proved help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1 AMP). The Message Bible says it like this: “God is a safe place to hide, ready to help when we need him. We stand fearless at the cliff-edge of doom, courageous in seastorm and earthquake, Before the rush and roar of oceans, the tremors that shift mountains.” (MSG). You are never alone! Your God loves you too much to ever leave your side! “Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you” (Deuteronomy 31:6 MSG). Now that’s what you call comfort! Need a little more reassurance? Here you go: “for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]” (Hebrews 13:5 AMP). You my friend are tucked away safely under the wings of God and in the hands of God, whereby nothing and no one can touch you or take you away! “Count on it: Everyone who had it in for you will end up out in the cold – real losers. Those who worked against you will end up empty-handed – nothing to show for their lives. When you go out looking for your old adversaries you won’t find them – Not a trace of your old enemies, not even a memory. That’s right. Because I, your God, have a firm grip on you and I’m not letting go. I’m telling you, ‘Don’t panic. I’m right here to help you.’ (Isaiah 41:11-13 MSG). Now that’s what you call safe!

And just in case you think something or someone in the world can harm you, God loves you enough to even give you a protection plan that’s better than ADT:

“You who sit down in the High God’s presence, spend the night in Shaddai’s shadow, Say this: “God, you’re my refuge. I trust in you and I’m safe!” That’s right—he rescues you from hidden traps, shields you from deadly hazards. His huge outstretched arms protect you—under them you’re perfectly safe; his arms fend off all harm. Fear nothing—not wild wolves in the night, not flying arrows in the day, Not disease that prowls through the darkness, not disaster that erupts at high noon. Even though others succumb all around, drop like flies right and left, no harm will even graze you. You’ll stand untouched, watch it all from a distance, watch the wicked turn into corpses. Yes, because God’s your refuge, the High God your very own home, Evil can’t get close to you, harm can’t get through the door. He ordered his angels to guard you wherever you go. If you stumble, they’ll catch you; their job is to keep you from falling. You’ll walk unharmed among lions and snakes, and kick young lions and serpents from the path. “If you’ll hold on to me for dear life,” says God, “I’ll get you out of any trouble. I’ll give you the best of care if you’ll only get to know and trust me. Call me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times; I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party. I’ll give you a long life, give you a long drink of salvation!” (Psalm 91 MSG).

And just in case your faith fuel hasn’t reached all the way on full yet, here’s a little more:

“The earth belongs to God! Everything in all the world is His!” (Psalm 24:1 TLB)

“Do you have any idea how powerful God is? Have you ever heard of a teacher like him? Has anyone ever had to tell him what to do, or correct him, saying, ‘You did that all wrong!’? Remember, then, to praise his workmanship, which is so often celebrated in song. Everybody sees it; nobody is too far away to see it.” (Job 36:22-25 MSG)

“What is faith? It is the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen. It is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it up ahead. Men of God in days of old were famous for their faith. By faith – by believing God – we know that the world and the stars – in fact, all things – were made at God’s command; and that they were all made from things that can’t be seen” (Hebrews 11:1-3 TLB).

“Don’t you yet understand? Don’t you know by now that the everlasting God, the Creator of the farthest parts of the earth, never grows faint or weary? No one can fathom the depths of his understanding.  He gives power to the tired and worn out, and strength to the weak.  Even the youths shall be exhausted, and the young men will all give up.  But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:28-31 TLB).

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30 MSG).

People of God, Don’t Allow Focusing On WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY, and HOW, Distort Your Vision That You Can’t See WHO! And YES, It’s Vital That You Know WHO He Is!

When Jesus arrived in the villages of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “What are people saying about who the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some think he is John the Baptizer, some say Elijah, some Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.” He pressed them, “AND HOW ABOUT YOU? WHO DO YOU SAY I AM?” Simon Peter said, “You’re the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus came back, “God bless you, Simon, son of Jonah! You didn’t get that answer out of books or from teachers. My Father in heaven, God himself, let you in on this secret of WHO I REALLY AM. And now I’m going to tell you who you are, really are. You are Peter, a rock. This is the rock on which I will put together my church, a church so expansive with energy that not even the gates of hell will be able to keep it out. “And that’s not all. You will have complete and free access to God’s kingdom, keys to open any and every door: no more barriers between heaven and earth, earth and heaven. A yes on earth is yes in heaven. A no on earth is no in heaven.” (Matthew 16:13-19 MSG).

SO, DO YOU KNOW WHO HE IS? WHO HE REALLY IS? Because if you did, you wouldn’t worry about WHAT is going to happen in the government, WHEN will I be healed, WHERE will I find the money to pay the bills, WHY did the promotion pass over me, and HOW am I going to get out of this? NOPE! You stand confident in your faith knowing that the God WHO is responsible as the source of your faith has never failed before and He most certainly won’t fail you now!

So inspite of WHAT you’re going through, WHO will you allow God to be to you?!

“Though you have changed a thousand times, He has NOT changed once.” (Charles Spurgeon)

Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ (the Messiah) is [ALWAYS] the same, yesterday, today, [yes] and forever (to the ages).” (AMPC)

Much Love, Dr. Shermaine #EnjoyTheRead #BeInspired #BeEncouraged #BeEmpowered #BeChallenged #ShareTheWordFeel free to also join us at: http://www.selfcarewithdrshermaine.blogspot.com “Secret Effects of Eating Salmon, Says Science”

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“Selfless Living in a Selfie World”

Romans 12:3, “For by the grace (unmerited favor of God) given to me I warn everyone among you not to estimate and think of himself more highly than he ought [not to have an exaggerated opinion of his own importance], but to rate his ability with sober judgment, each according to the degree of faith apportioned by God to him.” (AMPC)

The Oxford Dictionary defines “Selfie” as: “A photograph one has taken of oneself typically one taken with a smartphone or a webcam and uploaded to a social media website.

Facebook, for instance, has afforded us the wonderful privilege of knowing more about our family and friends than we ever really wanted to. “I just blew my nose. Thought you all should know it, better yet, see it.” Or, “Current Status: mad at everybody!” Best of all, we can share our “selfies“; pictures of ME, taken by ME. Because it’s all about ME, right? After all it is called Social MEdia! So clearly, it’s all about ME! NO! At least it’s not supposed to be.

Our text says in part: “…I warn everyone among you not to estimate and think of himself more highly than he ought [not to have an exaggerated opinion of his own importance]…”

One TV documentary said, “Despite the Social MEdia attention, there’s still an epidemic of loneliness today.” It’s true. Even in a world that, in one way, is more connected than ever before, so many are still publicly social and yet privately lonely. Superficially, but strangely lacking in the kind of deep human connection that satisfies our love-starved hearts. In essence, life was never meant to be a “selfie” existence.

Think about it this way: Even in the beginning, God didn’t say let ME make man in MY OWN image and in MY OWN likeness. No, He said, “…LET US (FATHER, SON, HOLY SPIRIT) make man in OUR image, according to OUR likeness [not physical, but a spiritual personality and moral likeness]; and let them have complete authority over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the cattle, and over the entire earth, and over everything that creeps and crawls on the earth.” (Genesis 1:26 AMP). Even God Himself focused more on US, OUR and WE, than ME, MYSELF AND I! If only WE’D learn to follow HIS example!

The selfie mentality is where it’s all about how I look, what I’m doing, what I’m feeling, what I want to talk about, what I’m hearing, what I need etc. The problem is that a world that’s only as big as me, is a world that’s too small for anybody else to live in. Or in today’s language, “Status: lonely”.

Years ago a young man wrote to Mother Teresa with a pretty compelling question. This woman who had buried her life in the needs of the most broken in Calcutta’s slums was clearly the one who would know the answer. He asked, “What can I do to have a significant life like you have?” Mother Teresa’s postcard reply was only four words: “Find your own Calcutta.” Or in a different translation: “Find some people who need you and be there to help them.

Now, before you feel the need to get a passport and hop on a plane, understand that you don’t have to go to Calcutta to find people who need you. Truth is, they’re in the local senior citizens’ facility, the hospital, hospice, they’re laid up in cancer centers, they’re receiving chemotherapy, radiation or dialysis, they’re sick and shut-in, they’re disabled and handicapped, they’re laid up in the VA hospital, they’re riding the train to stay warm, they’re digging through the garbage can for breakfast, lunch and dinner, they have a gun to their head, a razor to their wrist, a rope around their throat, or some pills in their hand in hopes that somebody, somewhere will intervene in the midst of their desperation, despair, dysfunction, and distress, they’re sleeping in a cardboard box under the bridge by your house, they’re pushing their entire life in a shopping cart, or they may be kids struggling in school who could flourish if someone took time to tutor them. “Calcutta” is anybody, anywhere that needs help!

In fact, you may not have to look any farther than the people you work with or play with or go to school with. On any given day, someone in your world needs a smile, a hug, a compliment, a word of encouragement, a listening ear, a helping hand, or just to be noticed or included. It’s a matter of recalibrating your radar to see the people for whom you could make a difference.

And if we are to really be honest, your “Calcutta” may be in your very own home. Your son may need to tell you what he’s really been doing after school; your daughter may need to tell you where she’s been going instead of school; your husband may need to tell you how he’s been feeling as he’s getting older; your wife may need to tell you what she’s been thinking about the job she hates so much. And it may stretch out a little further, where your niece or nephew may need an ear besides their mom and dad; your in-law may be struggling in his or her marriage and you may be able to provide some encouragement and support. Your next-door neighbor who you wave at in passing and say good morning or good night, may just need you to ask “how have you been doing? Or how are you feeling?” And then have you intentionally sit there and listen to their response.

The bottom line is, with an approximate 7.53 billion people  in the world (in 2017 alone), you should not be the center of your own little world today!

Your life’s photo album should not be made up of “selfies”. Can you imagine your friend Ted, who’s married with 3 kids, a dog, cat and a fish, inviting you over to their home for dinner. And then during dessert, he breaks out the family photo albums, yep all 999 of them, but page after page, it’s only “selfies” of himself? How does a wife feel who shares her life with a husband who only shares “selfies” of himself? How do their children feel after cheerleading try-out’s, football championships and track and field medals, to look in the family photo album to see only “selfies” of him?

Believe it or not, but the world is a lot bigger than YOU!

I’ve learned how to wake up and ask the “make a difference” question: “Who needs me today?” It’s a deliberate decision to be a giver today instead of a taker. Luke 6:37-38, “Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults—unless, of course, you want the same treatment. Don’t condemn those who are down; that hardness can boomerang. Be easy on people; you’ll find life a lot easier. Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity.” (MSG)

There’s more important things, and especially people, than just you! Stop giving people your ‘selfie’s’ and give them yourself!

Matthew 7:1-5, “Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.” (MSG)

Get the focus off of you, and put it on others where it belongs! After all, that’s what Jesus did! And as a Christian, aren’t you to be Like Christ?!

Self-sacrifice is not without personal benefit, because the fastest way to get out of your pit is to pull someone else out of theirs! And the best antidote for being lonely is to be there for someone else. So, turn your camera lens the other way to make your life a “you-ie” instead of a “selfie” where the other person is the big-picture, instead of your selfish starring role. Sounds comical I know, but how about we live in such a way that our life’s mission is simple: make each person feel like they matter, because they do.

In 2 Corinthians 5:15, God says, “He died for all so that all who live – having received eternal life from Him – might live no longer for themselves, to please themselves, but to spend their lives pleasing Christ who died and rose again for them.” (TLB)See, we’re not supposed to live for ourselves anymore. In a nutshell: Believers don’t do “selfies”! That’s just not our mentality! It’s always about others because we are servants who serve!

George Martin (NY Giants), is a great football player, yes – Super Bowl ring and all. But an even greater man, because he always made other people the big deal instead of himself. He spoke one year for a local high school football team. He had just been named the NFL’s Man of the Year for his work with sick and dying children along with many other charitable causes. It wasn’t the only award he received for “finding his own Calcutta.” He told the players, “You need to know the real reason I’m doing these things that people give me awards for. I’m just copying my hero. My hero is Jesus Christ.” He went on to explain how Jesus forgot about Himself to give us a chance to go to heaven someday. To have a relationship with the God whose love we were made for. For that to happen, the wall between us and God had to come down. It’s a wall I suspect many of us know is there without anyone telling us. And it could only come down if the penalty for us running our own life was paid; a death penalty. As the Bible says, “For the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23). I’m dead meat if that Bible verse ends there. But thank God, it doesn’t. It goes on to say, “…but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Living forever instead of punishment forever; heaven instead of hell. Or in The Message Bible translation: “But now that you’ve found you don’t have to listen to sin tell you what to do, and have discovered the delight of listening to God telling you, what a surprise! A whole, healed, put-together life right now, with more and more of life on the way! Work hard for sin your whole life and your pension is death. But God’s gift is real life, eternal life, delivered by Jesus, our Master.” (Romans 6:22-23 MSG).

Because as the Bible says, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). Or better yet, in The Message Bible: “What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that. Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily.” (Galatians 2:19-21 MSG)

That’s a love you need to experience for yourself if you never have. It’s a relationship you’ve looked for your whole life, and you could begin today. Life is never the same once you have experienced for yourself the transforming love of Jesus Christ. And once you receive it for you, you don’t take a “selfie” and keep it to yourself, you share that with the world!

Can you imagine how many people you pass by on any given day? Especially when you include in that number people on buses, trains, cabs, walking, subways, or in traffic? So many people, and some grant it have heard the good news, but many have not. What are you waiting for? Shift the camera lens from pointing at you, and refocus on those around you. Someone needs to hear the love of Christ, and many more than that need to SEE, HEAR, TASTE, SMELL AND FEEL it. Someone needs to SEE you give help to a child struggling with their grades in school; someone needs to HEAR you compliment the teenage girl with a face full of acne; someone needs to TASTE a good meal prepared by your hands because they haven’t eaten in the last 3 days; someone needs to SMELL a hot cup of coffee as they try not to fall asleep after working triple shifts to keep a roof over their families head; and someone needs to FEEL the embrace of someone who is not offended by their body odor because being homeless doesn’t always offer you the opportunity of a nightly shower.

In other words, the world needs to see the God in you, not just YOU! People need to see a self-portrait of Jesus, instead of just a “selfie” of you.

Today, in some small way, find your “Calcutta”. Find someone who needs you even if it’s just a cup of coffee, a smile, carrying someone’s groceries or helping someone’s grandma get safely across the street. Somewhere, Somebody Needs YOU! Capture The Moment By Showing You Care!

“Do not hurt someone who has hurt you. Do not keep on hating the sons of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord” (Leviticus 19:18 NLV).

“Do the right thing for the weak and those without a father. Stand up for the rights of those who are suffering and in need” (Psalm 82:3 NLV).

“So then, while we [as individual believers] have the opportunity, let us do good to all people [not only being helpful, but also doing that which promotes their spiritual well-being], and especially [be a blessing] to those of the household of faith (born-again believers).” (Galatians 6:10 AMP)

“He who makes it hard for the poor brings shame to his Maker, but he who shows loving-favor to those in need honors Him” (Proverbs 14:31 NLV).

“He who shows kindness to a poor man gives to the Lord and He will pay him in return for his good act” (Proverbs 19:17 NLV).

“He who shuts his ears to the cry of the poor will also cry himself and not be answered.” (Proverbs 21:13 NLV).

“He who gives much will be honored, for he gives some of his food to the poor” (Proverbs 22:9 NLV)

“If anyone fails to provide for his own, and especially for those of his own family, he has denied the faith [by disregarding its precepts] and is worse than an unbeliever [who fulfills his obligation in these matters].” (1 Timothy 5:8 AMP)

“He who gives to the poor will never want, but many bad things will happen to the man who shuts his eyes to the poor” (Proverbs 28:27 NLV).

“Religion that is pure and good before God the Father is to help children who have no parents and to care for women whose husbands have died who have troubles. Pure religion is also to keep yourself clean from the sinful things of the world” (James 1:27 NLV)

“because I helped the poor man when he cried for help and the child without parents who had no one to help him” (Job 29:12 NLV)

“If you could take a selfie of your soul would you find it attractive enough to post?” Selah…

Much Love, Dr. Shermaine #EnjoyTheRead #BeInspired #BeEncouraged #BeEmpowered #BeChallenged #ShareTheWordFeel free to also join us at: http://www.selfcarewithdrshermaine.blogspot.com “How to Lose Weight Without Counting Calories”

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“Sometimes You Just Don’t Feel Like It!”

Every one of us has at least one (or truthfully many) strange friends! And I my friend am no different. You see, I have a friend who oddly enough, feels the need to remind me, every winter, “January is a bad month for me.” I thought, maybe she gets the credit card slips from Christmas, or something. But before I could ponder it too long, she says, “My biorhythms are always down in January. I feel unmotivated; everything just simply goes wrong for me in January.” Needless to say, I don’t spend a lot of time with her in January.

Well, I’m not sure about the biorhythms being the reason for a bad January, but there is an interesting new area that scientists have explored. The biorhythm idea is that our lives are significantly affected by predictable, physical cycles, intellectual cycles, emotional cycles etc. Actually, a biorhythm could be just a fancy new word for a condition that’s as old as mankind. It goes like this, “I just don’t feel like it.” Maybe that’s what we’re really talking about here. Because truth is, that’s the reason for a lot of things we do or fail to do. Simply Put, With No Scientific Babble Attached: “I Just Don’t Feel Like It.

I guess that’s why couples promise to keep their marriage vows: “as long as we both shall live“, instead of “as long as I feel like it.” Because in honesty, “feelings change” and can you imagine if marriages ended in divorce every time a spouse no longer “felt like it?” After all, I’ve been married over 20 years, and truthfully, there have been times when I didn’t “feel like it” 20 times in one hour, one day, one week, one month and one year! Maybe that’s the reason why so many marriages, especially and unfortunately, but Christian Marriages are ending in divorce at the rapid pace they are. You see, over the years we simply alter our vows from, “till death” to “till I no longer feel like it.

Listen, your life depends greatly on what you do on those days when you simply feel flat and fatigued. Think about it: Who would have a job if they quit every time they no longer “felt like it?” Who would Pastor the church if every minister of the Gospel closed the church doors every day they simply “didn’t feel like it anymore?” What would we do with our children if all the teachers decided not to show up at school because they “no longer felt like it?” Where would our public transportation be if all the transit workers decided, “today is just not a good day for me. My biorhythms are off this month. I’m staying home for a while, because I just don’t feel like it”. And dare we even imagine what the hospitals and clinics would be like with all the doctors, dentists, chiropractors, and nurses out for a 3 month long “I just don’t feel like it” break?! How about if all the lawyers, police, fire department, correction officers, judges, janitors, and government officials, all decided “I need a break” and stay home on the couch for the next 6 months, because “I just don’t feel like it”?! In other words, if left unchecked, that “I don’t feel like it” can grow into a terminal disease that kills you and everything and everyone attached to you!

In 1 Corinthians chapter 4, if biorhythms are accurate, I would have to suggest that Paul’s biorhythms were extremely low at the time of this letter. I don’t know whether it was a bad month in his life or a bad time, but listen to this and think about how he must have been feeling. He says, “To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless.” (vs. 11 NIV). Now, it may just be me, but Paul doesn’t sound like he’s feeling the greatest at this moment. I don’t think he was necessarily feeling like treating people gently and kindly…wanting to work on what needed to be done. You ever feel like that? “I just don’t feel like doing what I have to do. I don’t feel like praying. I don’t feel like being very unselfish right now. I don’t feel particularly ‘churchy’ at this moment.” And could we honestly blame him? After all, at that very moment he was hungry, thirsty, dressed in raggedy clothes, brutally treated and homeless! Now if anybody had a right to a bad day and a bad attitude it was Paul!

However, here’s how he operated. It says in verse 12, “We work hard with our own hands…” (NIV) even though he was experiencing all of that, he continued to work and the Bible continues to read, “…When we are cursed, we bless. When we are persecuted, we endure it. When we are slandered, we answer kindly…” (NIV). You say, “What in the world has kept Paul functioning so victoriously when he probably doesn’t feel like it?” Because truthfully, we’ve all had days that were no-where near this bad, and yet if we could’ve thrown in the towel and walked away we would have. And many of us can be brutally honest, and admit that we did just that. But in the midst of how Paul may have justifiably been feeling, he didn’t curse, he blessed, when persecuted, he endured it, and when slandered he yet answered kindly.  I don’t know about you, but the question in my mind when I read this was “How In The World Can You Respond Like This, After Dealing With All Of That?!

Well, I learned just a few verses up the vital key. It’s found in 1 Corinthians 4:2, “Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.” (NIV). There is the word that takes over where your feelings leave off – FAITHFULWhen you don’t feel like it, you must remain faithful to the call you answered. 

Look at this same verse in a few translations:

“Now the most important thing about a servant is that he does just what his master tells him to” (TLB)

“A servant must be faithful to his owner. This is expected of him.” (NLV)

“Moreover, it is [essentially] required of stewards that a man should be found faithful [proving himself worthy of trust].” (AMP)

“In this kind of situation, what is expected of a manager is that they prove to be faithful.” (CEB).

“The one thing required of such servants is that they be faithful to their master.” (GNT).

Are you getting it? Regardless to feelings, you are charged to remain faithful!

Maybe you’re in a time right now where you just don’t feel like doing what you’re supposed to do. You started when the feeling was there, but now you feel flat; you just don’t feel like following through on your school work, or your job, or that ministry or marriage that you were once so excited about. You’ve lost your enthusiasm, your zeal, your momentum. You don’t feel like reaching out to the people in your family or your community. Maybe you feel more like withdrawing into a cave somewhere. You simply don’t feel like finishing what you started. You don’t feel like keeping your commitment or you don’t feel like taking your time away with Jesus.

You’re at a crossroads right now, and that crossroads will determine whether you’re a roller coaster Christian or a solid rock Christian. See, the difference in the people God can trust and can’t trust is that word FAITHFUL. You’ve been given a trust. Will you be faithful to that trust even when the feeling isn’t there and depend on His resources because now you don’t have any?

And what’s the big whoop about being faithful even when you don’t feel like it? God’s reward will be these words, “…Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I’ll make you ruler over many” (NKJV) Another version says it like this: “…His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.” (Matthew 25:23 MSG). Can you imagine GOD of all people wanting to partner up with YOU and all because you were FAITHFUL when you didn’t FEEL like it?! If that’s not incentive, I don’t know what is!

You see, whether the feelings come back or not, you keep moving faithfully toward your goal. Finish the project, hang in there at the job, keep pressing on in the ministry, keep praying over your marriage. No matter what you feel like, remember the fruit of faithfulness is hearing His well done and becoming His partner!

And please believe me, this is not just encouragement nonsense, but I’ve had to force this lesson on myself many of times. It’s not easy receiving a diagnosis from the doctor that turns your world upside down; it’s stressful trying to maintain a marriage, with two spouses in leadership and raising 6 kids, and still go to church, work and school and find two seconds to say hi to each other. Working for the government is no picnic in the park, I have one job title and description and yet I have 10-20 things that have to be completed by the close of each business day. I’m proud of my education and degrees, but they did not come without price (and that has nothing to do with the tuition), the long nights, and longer papers can take an extreme toll on your body, mind and spirit. Having sickly parents was hard. Having six children grow to adulthood and go in 12 different directions in life, none of which even slightly resemble what you’ve taught them, can rack the last of your brain cells! Then you have family members and friends who need counsel, advice, prayer, guidance, not to mention the church that expects you to teach them happy and preach them happier, week after week without fail! And truth is, if I listened to my biorhythms, I would have thrown in the towel on all of it years ago! Why? Because there are times when I JUST DON’T FEEL LIKE IT!

But like you, I don’t get to negotiate my faithfulness to God. I expect Him to do what He’s promised He’d do, and likewise, He expects me to do what I promised I’d do. And sometimes that requires being faithful even when I don’t feel like it. It means going to prayer when I’d rather go to bed; it means reading my Bible when I’d rather watch ‘Scandal’; it means talking to God when I’d rather get on the phone and play catch up with my girlfriends; it means working on my marriage when I’d rather pack my tools away and quit the project; it means continuing to advise my children even when it seems like the advice goes in one ear and immediately falls out the other one. It means going to work when I’d rather go to the airport and hop on a plane to ANYWHERE ELSE! It means going to the gym when I’d rather go to Baskin & Robbin! It means paying my bills when I’d rather go get those shoes I saw in Macy’s window! It means being obedient when I’d rather seek out another option!

Are you getting this? None of us are exempt! We all have moments when we don’t feel like it, yet, God requires of us His children AND His stewards to be found faithful always!

I mean truthfully where in Scripture does it say Jesus went skipping up to Golgotha? Where does it say He was laughing while carrying His cross? Where does it say His obedience and faithfulness were not painful? Where does it say He sung praise and worship songs all the way to the grave? Where does it say He stretched out His arm on the cross and loved every minute of it? Jesus had it harder than any of us ever have or ever will, YET, He remained as much human as divine. He wept; slept; ate; drank; got hungry; was thirsty; had to pray; got frustrated with the people He led; laid hands on people no one else would; restored folks; healed folks; forgave folks; delivered folks; saved folks, and still He never discarded His humanity. And neither should you!

Press on in your faithfulness to your assignment even when you don’t feel like it in your flesh! HOWEVER, you still need to know when to slow down; when to rest; when to sleep and eat, and certainly when to say no, without excuses, apologies or reasons. But even when you take a break, your break shouldn’t be so long that the Holy Ghost has to come and reset a brand new fire under you to get you back up and back to work in the Kingdom!

People of God, no matter what readings you may be receiving from your biorhythms, you remember to be faithful, even when you don’t feel like it. Faithfulness will always be rewarded! Don’t you dare come this far in God only to miss reaping your reward now! Even when your flesh feels weak, make sure your spirit stays willing!

“To that one soul reading this. I know you’re tired. You’re fed up. You’re so close to breaking but there’s strength within you even when you feel weak. Keep fighting.” (Author Unknown)

“If you’re tired, learn to rest, not quit!” (Author Unknown)

“In place of our exhaustion and spiritual fatigue, God will give us rest. All He asks is that we come to Him…that we spend a while thinking about Him, meditating on Him, talking to Him, listening in silence, occupying ourselves with Him – totally and thoroughly lost in the hiding place of His presence.” (Charles R. Swindoll)

Much Love, Dr. Shermaine #EnjoyTheRead #BeInspired #BeEncouraged #BeEmpowered #BeChallenged #ShareTheWordFeel free to also join us at: http://www.selfcarewithdrshermaine.blogspot.com Today’s Lesson: “21 Best Healthy Cooking Hacks of All Time”

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“BIG Ego, BIGGER Fall!”

2 Chronicles 26:11-18, “On the military side, UZZIAH had a well-prepared army ready to fight. They were organized by companies under the direction of Jeiel the secretary, Maaseiah the field captain, and Hananiah of the general staff. The roster of family leaders over the fighting men accounted for 2,600. Under them were reinforcement troops numbering 307,000, with 500 of them on constant alert—A STRONG ROYAL DEFENSE AGAINST ANY ATTACK. Uzziah had them well-armed with shields, spears, helmets, armor, bows, and slingshots. He also installed the latest in military technology on the towers and corners of Jerusalem for shooting arrows and hurling stones. HE BECAME WELL KNOWN FOR ALL THIS—A FAMOUS KING. Everything seemed to go his way. BUT then the strength and success went to his HEAD. ARROGANT AND PROUD, HE FELL. One day, contemptuous of God, he walked into The Temple of God like he owned it and took over…” (MSG)

More than likely you’ve heard many nursery rhymes growing up. Either your parents have shared them with you or you’ve shared them with your children. Some of the most popular ones are: “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”; “Three Little Kittens”; “Three Blind Mice”; “This Little Piggy”; “Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe”; “Row Row Row Your Boat”; “Rock-a-Bye Baby”; “Rain Rain Go Away”; “Pop Goes the Weasel”; “Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater”; “Old Mother Hubbard”; “Mother Goose”; “Mary Mary Quite Contrary”; “Mary Had a Little Lamb”; “London Bridge is Falling Down”; “Little Bo Peep” and the list can go on forever! However, there is one particular nursery rhyme that crossed my mind today: “Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpy Dumpty had a great fall; all the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again.”

But Wait! I thought Humpty Dumpty was just a nursery rhyme. You know, the big egg who sat on a wall, but had a great fall. But as it turns out, Humpty has got a lot of company these days from men sitting on a high wall, and smashed by a big fall!

Take one of the world’s most powerful financial figures, for example, in a $3,000-a-night Manhattan hotel suite one night, and then the next night, in a tough New York jail. He stood accused of serious sexual violation of a hotel maid. Now, those accusations had to be proven in court, but they did resonate with a reputation for mixing power with sexual aggression.

But then that story isn’t what we want to focus on. That’s just the latest of many high-profile stories of a powerful man who has taken a precipitous (‘dangerously high or steep; hasty; sudden and dramatic’) Humpty Dumpty crash! You can think about athletes, politicians, financial high-rollers, and yes, even prominent men in ministry!

Now, at the root is a time-bomb mindset identified by a man who knows this scenario all too well–Tiger Woods. After his darkest secrets spilled out of the closets for all the world to see, here’s what he said: “I convinced myself that normal rules didn’t apply. I felt I had worked hard my entire life and deserved to enjoy all the temptations around me.” Now, listen to his key phrase: “I felt I was entitled.

The word “entitlement” is defined as “to give someone a right to do or have.” In a nutshell, entitlement is the gateway to moral disaster. Entitlement says, “My position means the rules don’t apply to me. I have a right to go out of bounds.” You know, in 2 Chronicles 26:16, the Jewish king Uzziah had led his nation to a new pinnacle of greatness, all the while, he was deeply reliant on God UNTIL the Bible says, “He became successful” and “pride became his downfall.” The Amplified Bible says it like this: “But when Uzziah became strong, he became so proud [of himself and his accomplishments] that he acted corruptly, and he was unfaithful and sinned against the Lord his God…” (AMP)

He walked into the temple and began to take privileges that God had clearly given only to His priests. And like Icarus flying too close to the sun, Uzziah came crashing down.

Even the great King David must have felt that he’d won so many victories and done so much good that, well; he was entitled to sex with the wife of a trusted friend. However, his life was never the same: 2 Samuel 12:15-18, “After Nathan went home, God afflicted the child that Uriah’s wife bore to David, and he came down sick. David prayed desperately to God for the little boy. He fasted, wouldn’t go out, and slept on the floor. The elders in his family came in and tried to get him off the floor, but he wouldn’t budge. Nor could they get him to eat anything. On the seventh day the child died…” (MSG)

It’s just all too easy to succumb to that feeling of entitlement, especially when you’ve escalated in rank, order and position. Some feel entitled because of the position they’ve achieved, or some because of the pressures they face: “If you only knew what I’m going through….I deserve this…I need this…” And even some because of the pain they’re going through. It can be a high-flying leader, a lonely wife, a much-loved pastor, or a very busy, very tired man. Entitled to some relief, some attention, some affection, some stolen pleasure, some reward, a spiritual “day off” if you will. And it is those detours at Entitlement Junction where lives and families and reputations and ministries are ripped apart.

In this day and age of the church, every other day it seems you hear of someone else with a ring, robe, cross, church, position, title, chair, elevation etc. However, the danger is that titles have a tendency to make one feel entitled, even to the things and people they know not to touch. Everyone is important, powerful, anointed, gifted and the like. Everyone is walking around with 20 people following behind them wiping their sweat, pouring their tea, carrying their bible, chauffeuring them around as if they can’t get in their own car and drive from one location to the next. The church has become full of stages, performances, shows, roles, and characters with no Character.

You can’t find humility, servanthood, or anyone willing to work behind the scenes, because they’re all too busy fighting for the starring role and lead! Pride has become prevalent and even acceptable as we make failed attempts to cover it up with “self-confidence”.

However, God really is “no respecter of persons.” Romans 2:9-11, “If you go against the grain, you get splinters, regardless of which neighborhood you’re from, what your parents taught you, what schools you attended. But if you embrace the way God does things, there are wonderful payoffs, again without regard to where you are from or how you were brought up. Being a Jew won’t give you an automatic stamp of approval. God pays no attention to what others say (or what you think) about you. He makes up his own mind.” (MSG); Acts 10:34-36, “Peter fairly exploded with his good news: “It’s God’s own truth, nothing could be plainer: God plays no favorites! It makes no difference who you are or where you’re from – if you want God and are ready to do as he says, the door is open. The Message He sent to the children of Israel – that through Jesus Christ everything is being put together again – well, He’s doing it everywhere, among everyone.” (MSG);

In other words, as entitled as you may think you are, God doesn’t think so! So whatever pedestal you’ve put yourself on or allowed others to put you on, get off it before God helps you down! Proverbs 16:18, “First pride, then the crash – the bigger the ego, the harder the fall.” (MSG).

And, as Warren Wiersbe says, “A lifetime of obedience will not buy you one hour of disobedience.” Just ask King David. God made it clear “your sin will find you out.” Why? Because He loves you too much to let you keep getting away with what will ultimately destroy you. And sad to say, but we really don’t have leaders who are correcting, we just have leaders who are covering! And as my mother always said, “what’s covered won’t heal.” Sounds like she paraphrased that from Proverbs 28:13, “He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But whoever confesses and turns away from his sins will find compassion and mercy.” (AMP).

Brothers, you don’t need anyone else giving you pats on the back, you need to instead surround yourself with those who will give you a swift kick in the behind when you’re heading the wrong way and doing the wrong thing! You need a brotherhood that will be the epitome of James 5:16, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another [your false steps, your offenses], and pray for one another, that you may be healed and restored. The heartfelt and persistent prayer of a righteous man (believer) can accomplish much [when put into action and made effective by God—it is dynamic and can have tremendous power].” (AMP)

Listen, can you imagine how things would have turned out for Uzziah had he had another brother give him a swift kick when he needed it? He wouldn’t have ended up with a Humpty Dumpty irreparable crash! And the worse part isn’t that he fell, but that his fall was so great that he wasn’t able to recover from it. Reminds us a little of King Saul:

1 Samuel 13:8-14, “Now Saul waited seven days, according to the appointed time which Samuel had set, but Samuel had not come to Gilgal; and the people were scattering away from Saul.  So Saul said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the peace offerings.” And he offered the burnt offering [which he was forbidden to do].  As soon as he finished offering the burnt offering, Samuel finally came; Saul went out to meet and to welcome him. But Samuel said, “What have you done?” Saul said, “Since I saw that the people were scattering away from me, and that you did not come within the appointed time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Michmash,  therefore, I said, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not asked for the Lord’s favor [by making supplication to Him].’ So I forced myself to offer the burnt offering.”  Samuel said to Saul, “You have acted foolishly; you have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God, which He commanded you, for [if you had obeyed] the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever.  But now your kingdom shall not endure. The Lord has sought out for Himself a man (David) after His own heart, and the Lord has appointed him as leader and ruler over His people, because you have not kept (obeyed) what the Lord commanded you.” (AMP).

One bad decision, one act of disobedience and Saul lost everything forever! Men of God, surely you don’t want this to be your testimony!

Which is why it’s a must that you build walls high around the places where you’re most vulnerable. And fall to your knees in repentance where you’ve strayed out of bounds before any more damage is done.

1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation [regardless of its source] has overtaken or enticed you that is not common to human experience [nor is any temptation unusual or beyond human resistance]; but God is faithful [to His word—He is compassionate and trustworthy], and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability [to resist], but along with the temptation He [has in the past and is now and] will [always] provide the way out as well, so that you will be able to endure it [without yielding, and will overcome temptation with joy].” (AMP). Make one of your simple 911 prayers, “Lord, in the midst of this temptation, bring back to my remembrance that you’ve already provided me with a way of escape. Grant me the discernment to see it and the wisdom to take it, NOW!”

Don’t allow pride, temptation, or disobedience to be your downfall! Because as much as we like to teach and preach the “fluff” messages that God will restore all things, truth is, sometimes that is not the case. Humpty Dumpty NEVER recovered! Remember? “Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpy Dumpty had a great fall; all the king’s horses and all the king’s men COULDN’T put Humpty together again.” I reiterate, Humpty Dumpty NEVER recovered and neither did Uzziah or Saul, and David barely made it by!

Brothers, don’t take your chances! Don’t assume that you are simply entitled to do whatever you want to do, for that is far from the truth. Your every choice comes with a consequence, and some of those consequences are not temporary. Therefore, never get so caught up in who you are or who you think you are. Never become so consumed by your accomplishments or their accolades and applause. After all, even Jesus had those cry out Hosanna and Crucify Him in the same breath! Never become so big-headed that you become hard-hearted. Uzziah did and look what happened to him: 2 Chronicles 26:16, “But then the strength and success went to his head. Arrogant and proud, HE FELL.” (MSG). Other translations read like this:

“Uzziah became proud of his power, and this led to his DOWNFALL…” (CEV);

“But when Uzziah became strong, his pride caused him to be DESTROYED…” (ERV);

“But when he was strong, he grew proud, to his DESTRUCTION…” (ESV);

“But when he became powerful, his pride DESTROYED him…” (GWT);

“But when he became strong, he grew arrogant and it led to his own DESTRUCTION…” (HCSB);

“But when Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his RUIN…” (NCV);

“But when he became strong, Uzziah’s heart was so proud that his actions were SINFUL…” (NLV)

And he had no one to blame for his own self-destruction but himself! James 1:13-15, “Don’t let anyone under pressure to give in to evil say, “God is trying to trip me up.” God is impervious to evil, and puts evil in no one’s way. The temptation to give in to evil comes from us and only us. We have no one to blame but the leering, seducing flare-up of our own lust. Lust gets pregnant, and has a baby: sin! Sin grows up to adulthood, and becomes a real killer.” (MSG)

Men of God, don’t let this happen to you! Always remain humble and obedient and use godly wisdom for every decision. And before every choice, weigh out the consequences. Remembering that although some may be temporal, others will be permanent and eternal and unable to be undone. In doing this, you won’t end up the Big Man Whose Big Head Caused Him a Big Fall!

“Most of the trouble in the world is caused by people wanting to be important.” (T.S. Eliot)

“The truth is hard to swallow when you’re choking on your pride.” (LiveHappyNow)

“God sends no one away empty except those who are full of themselves.” (Dwight L. Moody)

“Arrogance is the camouflage of insecurity.” (Tim Fargo)

“Arrogance is out of fashion. It is just a façade used by the ego to hide your most authentic you.” (Roxana Jones)

“Pride will cost you Everything but leave you with Nothing.” (Author Unknown)

“Arrogance requires advertising. Confidence speaks for itself.” (TheGoodVibe)

“Arrogance is just insecurities playing dress up.” (Author Unknown)

“I wish you self-esteem so high that you’re humble.” (Author Unknown)

“Knowledge makes people humble and arrogance makes people ignorant.” (Author Unknown)

“Arrogance is an unhealthy ego in need of repair.” (Thomas Faranda)

“Nothing sets a person so much out of the devil’s reach as humility.” (Jonathan Edwards)

“Swallow your pride. You will not die. It’s not poison.” (Bob Dylan)

“When one lives attached to money, pride or power, it is impossible to be happy.” (Pope Francis)

“For pride is a spiritual cancer; it eats up the very possibility of love, or contentment, or even common sense.” (C.S. Lewis)

Much Love, Dr. Shermaine #EnjoyTheRead #BeInspired #BeEncouraged #BeEmpowered #BeChallenged #ShareTheWordFeel free to also join us at: http://www.selfcarewithdrshermaine.blogspot.com Today’s Lesson: “The #1 Cause of Abdominal Obesity”

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