“Trials Train You to Fight”

Judges 3:2, “He did this to TEACH WARFARE to generations of Israelites WHO HAD NO EXPERIENCE IN BATTLE” (NLT).

The Contemporary English Version says it like this: “And the Lord had another reason for letting these enemies stay. The Israelites NEEDED TO LEARN HOW TO FIGHT IN WAR, just as their ancestors had done. EACH NEW GENERATION WOULD HAVE TO LEARN BY FIGHTING” (CEV)

God brought the nation of Israel into the Promise Land of Canaan through Joshua. But after Joshua, THERE CAME AN ENTIRE GENERATION WHO HAD NO EXPERIENCE IN FIGHTING BATTLES! How can a generation who knew nothing but to fight for victory, not train the next generation to do the same? However, this is the problem with today’s church, which is why so few know how to deal with spiritual warfare when it arises! They run and hide, and cry, and complain, and beg God to remove what they don’t like or don’t want to deal with. But ‘old church’ knew how to slay a devil, do devotion, wash clothes, pray, cook, clean, fast and help the kids with their homework, all before sundown! Yet, now, if this generation stub a toe they’re out of church for 6 months! If the doctor gives a diagnosis, they go picking out their casket! If someone talks about them, they’ll switch 12 churches in 12 months! If they get into an argument with their spouse they’re downloading divorce papers templates! But what they need to do is “…LEARN HOW TO FIGHT IN WAR, just as their ancestors had done. EACH NEW GENERATION WOULD HAVE TO LEARN BY FIGHTING”

TRAINING AND TESTING, IS ONE OF GOD’S IMPORTANT STRATEGIES THAT ENABLE HIS CHILDREN TO SUCCEED IN SPIRITUAL WARFARE!

The Bible says: “Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I HAVE TRIED AND CHOSEN YOU IN THE FURNACE OF AFFLICTION” (Isaiah 48:10 AMP) People of God, like it or not, Your Affliction is Trying You, But It Is Also Refining You! The word ‘refine’ is defined as ‘to remove impurities or unwanted elements from; to make changes so as to improve.’ And that’s the purpose of God refining you, so He can get out of you everything that’s unlike Him, so He can improve you and make you a better representative of Him in the earth! Refining is for your good! It’s proof that God loves you far too much to leave you as is, especially when He sees so much more in you! Yes, it hurts, yes it’s painful, yes it feels unfair, yes everybody sees your refining process, yes it makes you cry, yes it wakes you up in the middle of the night to enter prayer, yes it’s uncomfortable, but it’s making you into a Warrior That Knows How to Fight the Battles of Life! Not the worrier who only knows how to weep and whine, scared of getting the slightest of battle bruises!

Now, we’re always quick to say that we’re “Chosen”, but God says I’ve “…CHOSEN You IN THE FURNACE OF AFFLICTION”! Saints, Your Anointing Has Affliction Added To It, Not Subtracted! You Need Them Both! You Need Anointed Affliction if You are to Become the Warrior God CHOSE You to Be! Which means you have to learn how to handle affliction! Psalm 119:71 says, “It is good for me that I have been AFFLICTED, That I may LEARN Your statutes.” (AMP) However, Venting is not handling affliction, posting on social media is not handling affliction, having a self-pity party is not handling affliction, trying to get the whole church to wipe your crocodile tears is not handling affliction! The only way to handle affliction is to keep your sword sharp which is the Word of God! You need to learn how to fight using the weapon of the Word that’s freely at your disposal! Hebrews 4:12, ” For the word of God is living and active and full of power [making it operative, energizing, and effective]. It is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating as far as the division of the soul and spirit [the completeness of a person], and of both joints and marrow [the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and judging the very thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (AMP) In other words, when in battle, every word out of your mouth needs to be the Word of God! Matthew 4:4, “But Jesus replied, “It is written and forever remains written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes out of the mouth of God.’” (AMP) That’s how God’s soldiers fight in His army!  No Word, No Weapon, No Weapon, No Victory! If you are to successfully handle affliction you will need to learn how to go toe-to-toe with the enemy, using the Word of God that stops him in his tracks every time! 2 Corinthians 10:4-5, “The weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood]. Our weapons are divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying sophisticated arguments and every exalted and proud thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought and purpose captive to the obedience of Christ,” (AMP) Affliction should always send you running for the Word of God, that’s your weapon to wield until you attain victory…

BUT, unfortunately…

This Generation of the Church has become pitiful in Spiritual Warfare, and you know why? Because There’s a Whole Generation “…WHO HAS NO EXPERIENCE IN BATTLE” That’s why we cry over everything from a disobedient child to a troubled marriage, to an unexpected health issue or pink slip from the job! Because We Do Not Have Experience In Battle! And guess how GOD HIMSELF said this will be rectified? “…EACH NEW GENERATION WOULD HAVE TO LEARN BY FIGHTING”! So put your cute shoes away and lace up your boots, it’s time to go to battle!                

TRIALS ARE FOR TRAINING YOU TO WIN VICTORIOUSLY! This is why the life of the believer is NOT WITHOUT TRIALS! Ephesians 6:16, “Above all, lift up the [protective] shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” (AMP); James 1:2-4, “Consider it nothing but joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you fall into various trials. Be assured that the testing of your faith [through experience] produces endurance [leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace]. And let endurance have its perfect result and do a thorough work, so that you may be perfect and completely developed [in your faith], lacking in nothing.” (AMP) 1 Peter 1:7, “THESE TRIALS WILL SHOW THAT YOUR FAITH IS GENUINE. It is being TESTED as fire tests and purifies gold-though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong THROUGH MANY TRIALS, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.” (NLT) Your Trials Show Whether Your Faith Is Genuine Or Just a Sorry Form of Godliness, That Lacks Power! 2 Timothy 3:5, “holding to a form of [outward] godliness (religion), although they have denied its power [for their conduct nullifies their claim of faith]. Avoid such people and keep far away from them.” (AMP) Your Trials Are Your Greatest Teacher Because Your Faith Learns From Them! Every Time You Endure a Battle, Your Faith Gets Bruised…But Made Better! So Stop Having Temper Tantrums and Endure Your Trials! The Bible says, THESE TRIALS…” ARE SENT SPECIFICALLY TO SEE IF OUR FAITH IS FULL OF POWER OR MERE EMPTY POWERLESS WORDS! Which is why the Bible informs us: “If you fall to pieces in a crisis, there wasn’t much to you in the first place.” (Proverbs 24:10 MSG). Yes, that sounds harsh, but it’s honest! Truth is: We talk real big until small trials come to test our faith and then we find out that we only had words, with no meaning, conviction or power! The purpose of your trials is to test and prove your faith! Again, this is for your good and God’s glory, which should keep you from grumbling! Now, Mustard Seed Faith is Awesome! But you’ve been saved how long now? Shouldn’t your seed have grown and produced a harvest of faith by now? Listen, don’t try to make your faith sound big while you keep holding on to mustard seed faith, year after year! Your faith is to be nurtured so it can grow and experience greater depth and newer levels! Your affliction and trials are helping with that, so stop complaining and learn to fight!

The Bible further records, “They were left to TEST the Israelites to see whether they would obey the Lord’s commands, which He had given their forefathers through Moses” (Judges 3:4). So before you go crying and complaining about your trials and enemies, know that God Allowed Them Both to Teach and Train You (and the greatest lesson is Obedience)! Israel’s enemies were kept in place, BY GOD, to test their obedience and to mature them in it. And likewise, God is not removing every trial, hurt, pain, unfairness, enemy and doctors report just so you can be comfortable! No, He’s leaving them in place to teach you how to fight and win! He’s teaching you to trust what He said no matter what you see! He’s teaching you to follow Him even when the path, map and directions make absolutely no sense! He’s teaching you to rely solely on Him! Remember, this is all for the good of your maturity, growth and development! Don’t fight the process, fight through the process!

Now, Get It Together and Get Your Gear On! It’s Time for You to Learn to Do Battle!

People of God, like it or not:  BUT GOD ALLOWS CIRCUMSTANCES TO DEVELOP AROUND OUR LIVES TO GIVE OUR FAITH OPPORTUNITY TO BE PROVEN! “Also through Him, we have obtained access BY FAITH into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. And not only that, BUT WE ALSO REJOICE IN OUR AFFLICTIONS, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces PROVEN character, and PROVEN character produces hope.” (Romans 5:2-4 HCSB) Did you catch all of that? “…WE ALSO REJOICE IN OUR AFFLICTIONS…” WHY? Because Our Afflictions, “PRODUCE ENDURANCE, PROVEN CHARACTER AND HOPE…” In Other Words: Your Affliction Works to Your Advantage! How? The word ‘endurance’ is defined as ‘to suffer something painful and prolonged patiently; to tolerate; to remain in place even if something is hard.’ It’s Latin Origin ‘indurare’ literally means ‘to harden.’ That’s what God is doing on your behalf when He allows afflictions into your life. They are teaching and training you to suffer through something patiently, even if it’s painful and prolonged; it’s teaching and training you to tolerate the suffering with tough skin; it’s teaching and training you to remain in place no matter how hard the situation gets, because God has hardened you to circumstances, so you don’t break even when you’re bent out of shape! Your afflictions are proving that you have what it takes to endure the battle and win the victory. But it’s also working on your character. ‘Character’ is defined as, ‘the qualities distinctive of an individual.’ Its Old French ‘caractere’, from Greek ‘kharakter’ literally means ‘stamping tool’, which is to engrave, mark, brand or give a seal of approval on something. That’s what God does when He sends afflictions into your life to improve your character. He wants you to grow and develop His characteristics in your life in such a way that people can see His stamp of approval on your life. Your character is your brand. It tells people what you stand for and what you will not tolerate. Your afflictions are teaching and training you to maintain good character, integrity and a reputation that is above reproach and one that resembles God’s! In addition, afflictions groom your hope! ‘Hope’, is ‘a feeling of expectation and desire for something to happen.’ It’s directly attached to your faith and both grow when you learn how to expect God to deliver you, even when you see no evidence that He will (Daniel 3:16-18, ” Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego answered the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to answer you on this point. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to rescue us from the furnace of blazing fire, and He will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up!” AMP). Your afflictions train your hope and faith to believe God no matter how fierce the battle becomes; no matter what the enemy is saying, no matter what the enemy is doing; no matter how badly you’ve become bruised in battle; your hope and faith are teaching and training you to let nothing and no one distract you from victory! Your afflictions are working for your good because they are training you to endure the battle and win the victorious war!

TRUTH IS: IT’S ONLY WHEN WE’RE TESTED IN BATTLE THAT WE BECOME SKILLED WARRIORS!

Therefore, you might as well get ready because you can be confident God will allow trials to come your way through afflictions such as: a strained marriage, straying children, critical bosses, false assaults on your character, or a difficult friendship that requires unconditional love. HOWEVER, Regardless to how many afflictions come our way, GOD HAS PROMISED US, “MANY are the AFFLICTIONS of the righteous: BUT THE LORD DELIVERETH HIM OUT OF THEM ALL” (Psalm 34:19). So What Are You Crying and Complaining About? There Is NO Affliction That Is Permanent! They Are ALL Temporary! When You Pass Your Training Tests of Trials, “…THE LORD WILL DELIVER YOU OUT OF THEM ALL…”

“So why am I still suffering in affliction?” you ask…Simple: YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE SUFFERING, YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE LEARNING! “…EACH NEW GENERATION WOULD HAVE TO LEARN BY FIGHTING” (CEV) So, Stop Sitting Idly By On the Sidelines Waiting For God to Have Pity and Snatch You Out of Your Affliction! Fight While You’re In It Until He Brings You Out of It! Romans 8:37 says, “Nay, IN ALL THESE THINGS we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” (AMP) Listen, God Promised to Bring You OUT, But While You’re Still IN it, Know That You Are More Than a Conqueror, So Fight Like It!

You will discover if you have passed the test, or if you need more battles that will give you the opportunity to learn the art of spiritual warfare. BUT DON’T FEAR THE BATTLES! GOD HAS ALREADY GIVEN YOU THE VICTORY, IF YOU CHOOSE COMPLETE DEPENDENCE AND OBEDIENCE ON HIM!  Remember: His Promises Are Iron-Clad! And He Promised:  “MANY are the AFFLICTIONS of the righteous: BUT THE LORD DELIVERETH HIM OUT OF THEM ALL” (Psalm 34:19). Just as school is not forever, neither is your class of trials and afflictions! But you will be left back to repeat if you don’t learn, grow and graduate!

“Friends, when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. THIS IS A SPIRITUAL REFINING PROCESS, WITH GLORY JUST AROUND THE CORNER” (1 Peter 4:12-13 MSGDid you catch that? “…GLORY IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER”! And all you have to do is endure your refining process! The word ‘Process’ is defined as ‘a series of actions or steps towards achieving a particular end.’ And your ‘particular end’ is, “…GLORY IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER”! So Don’t You Dare Give Up, Give Out or Give In! Keep Going! Glory Is Waiting Just Around the Corner!  

PEOPLE OF GOD: DON’T BE DISCOURAGED IN BATTLES, GOD IS USING THEM TO DEVELOP YOU INTO A GREAT WARRIOR, SKILLED IN SPIRITUAL WARFARE!  NO LONGER A GENERATION WHO HAS NO EXPERIENCE IN BATTLE! BUT NOW A GENERATION THAT MAKES THE DEVIL CRINGE EVERY MORNING WHEN YOUR FEET HIT THE FLOOR TO REMIND HIM, YOU’RE DRESSED IN THE WHOLE/FULL ARMOR OF GOD, AND YOU’RE READY FOR ANOTHER FIGHT! “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but MIGHTY through God to the pulling down of strong holds;” (2 Corinthians 10:4). Cheer up and gear up, because your afflictions are training you to pull down strong holds!

Judges 3:2, “He did this to TEACH warfare to generations of Israelites WHO HAD NO EXPERIENCE IN BATTLE” (NLT). Your afflictions, trials, refining, and fights are all for the sole purpose of teaching and training you for battle! They are skills being added to your spiritual resume, removing ‘no experience’ and instead having ‘a wealth of knowledge in warfare’ added. And just like a resume in the natural realm so it is in the spiritual realm, the more experience you have the greater the opportunities for employment. The more you grow in learning how to handle warfare the more opportunities God will give to you His soldier, because He knows, from experience, you will not retreat but you will return with the spoils of the enemy! Learn what God is trying to teach you and train you, so He can trust you in battle!

“And the Lord had another reason for letting these enemies stay. The Israelites NEEDED TO LEARN HOW TO FIGHT IN WAR, just as their ancestors had done. EACH NEW GENERATION WOULD HAVE TO LEARN BY FIGHTING” (CEV) Did you catch that? “…The Israelites NEEDED to learn by fighting.” The word ‘Need’ is defined as ‘something that is required because it is essential or very important.’ And what is one of our Requirements as God’s servants, stewards and soldiers? 1 Corinthians 4:2, In this case, moreover, it is REQUIRED [as essential and demanded] of stewards that one be found faithful and trustworthy.” (AMP) And how is God going to prove you as faithful and trustworthy if He can never use trials and afflictions to test you? Listen, I get it, this is not an easy process, refining never is. After all, how often do you find a process that involves fire to be a pleasant experience? So, yes, this is going to burn, and be painful and hard, but the warrior that you will grow and develop into will be worth it all! You will have proven faithful and trustworthy to be used by God, and isn’t that the point? To be positioned to be used by God for purpose, on purpose? Ephesians 2:10, “For we are His workmanship [His own master work, a work of art], created in Christ Jesus [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, READY TO BE USED] for good works, which God prepared [for us] beforehand [taking paths which He set], so that we would walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us].” (AMP)

Well, if that is so, here is your FAITH DECREEI decree today that I will no longer stumble over my struggles, cry over my crisis, agonize over my afflictions, retreat from my refining process, or have a tantrum over my trials. There is no test given to me, that my God hasn’t already provided the answers to pass.  This time, when my Faith comes out of the Furnace it will be on Fire instead of in Ashes! In Jesus Name I Decree it to be so. Thank God, Amen. So It Is and So Shall It Be!               

Remember: Trials Turn What You’ve Learned, Into What You Live! So come on soldiers, let’s learn well, train well, fight well and win well!

“All trials are not the reason to give up but a challenge to improve ourselves. Our pain is not an excuse to back out but an inspiration to move on.” (Author Unknown)

“Life will beat you up a lot, so be proud of each and every trial you came through. All your scars from those trials are medals of bravery for not giving up.” (Author Unknown)

“God places obstacles along your journey to prepare you for the blessings that await you at the finish line.” (Author Unknown)

“Trials in life are not meant to make us fail, but to see how far we can fly.” (Author Unknown)

“Don’t let your trials blow you down, let them lift you up.” (Woodrow Kroll)

“Before the fruits of prosperity can come, the storms of life need to first bring the required rains of testing, which mixes with the seeds of wisdom to produce a mature harvest.” (Lincoln Patz)

“A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor a man perfected without trials.” (Lucius Annaeus Seneca)

“From dark clouds we get precious water. From dark mines we get valuable jewels. And from our darkest trials come our best blessings from God.” (Author Unknown)

“Be thankful for your trials. If you’re being tested, you’re being perfected. Which means you have a divine purpose and reason to rejoice.” (Author Unknown)

“Trials teach us what we are; they dig up the soil, and let us see what we are made of.” (Charles Spurgeon)

“Trials are medicines which our gracious and wise physician prescribes because we need them; and He proportions the frequency and weight of them to what the case requires. Let us trust His skill and thank Him for His prescription.” (Isaac Newton)

“You can’t be brave if you’ve only had wonderful things happen to you.” (Mary Tyler Moore)

“What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise.” (Oscar Wilde)

“Life’s trials are not easy. But in God’s Will, each has a purpose.” (Warren Wiersbe)

“Hardships often prepare ordinary people for extraordinary destiny.” (C.S. Lewis)

“While you are going through your trial, you can recall your past victories and count the blessings that you do have with sure hope of greater ones to allow if you are faithful.” (Ezra Taft Benson)

“Usually your biggest trials come right before your biggest breakthroughs. Keep pushing on!” (Author Unknown)

“Faith upholds a Christian under all trials.” (John Newton)

“You wouldn’t be who you are without all of the difficult times. Be Thankful, even during the trials.” (Joel Osteen)

“Trials are the soil in which faith flourishes.” (T.B. Joshua)

“Trials do for the Christian what Storms do for Trees. They give us stronger roots and ground us.” (Author Unknown)

“Sometimes Trials are God’s way of taking our hands off of things that aren’t secure and putting them on the only thing that is…HIMSELF.” (Author Unknown)

“Fiery Trials make Golden Christians.” (Charles H. Spurgeon)

“Trials are medicines which our gracious and wise physician prescribes because we need them.” (John Newton)

“I never had a Trial I wanted to have, but I never had a Trial I wasn’t glad I had.” (Jack Hyles)

“God speaks through Trials…Listen.” (Elissa Gabrielle)

“There are some of your graces which would never be discovered if it were not for your Trials.” (C.H. Spurgeon)

Psalm 144:1, “Blessed be the Lord, my Rock and my great strength, Who TRAINS my hands for war And my fingers for battle;” (AMP)

Much Love, Dr. Shermaine #EnjoyTheRead #BeInspired #BeEncouraged #BeEmpowered #BeChallenged #ShareTheWordFeel free to also join us at: http://www.selfcarewithdrshermaine.blogspot.com Today’s Lesson: “8 Health Benefits of Watermelon”

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“I’d Rather Be DIFFERENT, Than DIE!”

Numbers 14:24, 26-32, “But My servant Caleb, because he has a DIFFERENT spirit and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land into which he went, and his DESCENDANTS shall possess it…And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, How long will this evil congregation murmur against Me? I have heard the complaints the Israelites murmur against Me. Tell them, As I live, says the Lord, what you have said in My hearing I will do to you: Your DEAD BODIES shall fall in this wilderness—of all who were numbered of you, from TWENTY YEARS OLD AND UPWARD, who have murmured against Me, Surely NONE shall come into the land in which I swore to make you dwell, EXCEPT CALEB son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun. But your LITTLE ONES whom you said would be a prey, THEM WILL I BRING IN and they shall know the land which you have despised and rejected. But as for you, your DEAD BODIES shall fall in this wilderness.” (AMP).

Earlier in Numbers 13 Caleb said to Moses: “…Let us go up at once and take possession [of the Promised Land] for we are well able to overcome it” But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we” And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out…” (Numbers 13:30-33 NKJV).

Notice two attitudes at work:

1…AN ATTITUDE OF DOUBT: Ten of twelve spies came back saying, “It CAN’T be done!” But the majority isn’t necessarily right! Hear this, if God promises you something, it’s yours even if you’re in the minority! Don’t let a few foolish, faithless folks who are clothed in fear cause you to forfeit a fruitful future in the land of promise! If it’s only two people out of two-hundred, GO FOR IT ANYHOW! I would rather look silly on the way to obtaining my inheritance, than to look ridiculous walking away from my wealthy place, because of a few fools with a whole lot of Sight, but No Vision, Courage or Tenacity!  The majority report terrified God’s people; which caused them spiritual amnesia. Because, they forgot the last forty years of His Super Natural Provision! But How Is That Even Possible?! How do you forget what the Lord has Already Done?! In other words, how do you panic when you have to go for a physical when God has already healed you in the past? Look at it like this: If nothing is there, You’re Healed! If something is there, He’s Healed You Before, And He’ll Surely Heal You Again! Either Way, How Do You Justify Fear of the Future When He’s Already Fulfilled Promises In Your Past?! ChurchGet Your Faith Together! Be People of Courage and Go For It Inspite of the Circumstances, Conditions and even the Company surrounding you! Now, I know that’s a little different than what most people are doing today, but I’d rather be different than die! You see, Fear Will Make You Look Foolish! I’ll Prove It! They were so fearful that they even talked themselves into believing that Egypt (of all places) was actually the land of milk and honey! Listen to what they said: “Is it a small thing that you have brought us up out of a land flowing with milk and honey, to kill us in the wilderness…” (Numbers 16:13 NKJV) Do you know how stupid that sounds? Fools, Egypt was a land of straw and slavery, masters, whips, beatings and bricks, not milk and honey! Never allow your fear of the future to cause you to reconstruct a faulty view of your past! For your greatest blessing is before you, not behind you! And what’s coming will always be better than what’s been! For the Latter house shall be Greater than the Former house! So, what was their problem? They allowed their surroundings to influence them more than what God said! Saints, Don’t Let It Happen To You! Don’t You Ever Allow Intimidation or Imagination To Cause You To Miss Out On God’s Promises For Your Future?! Never Allow What People Say to Alter What God Has Already Said! There Is No Problem That Can Stop the Process of God’s Promises From Coming to Pass In Your Life! I Challenge You to Be Different Than the Doubters! You never want doubt and fear to cause you to say stupid stuff like: “God may have worked miracles in the past, but He doesn’t do it anymore.” Which as a result of this kind of thinking and talking and unbelief, not one of them entered the Promised Land except Joshua and Caleb! So, Which Company Do You Belong To? The ten or the two, the fearful majority or the faithful minority? Think about it: Twelve were sent, and only Two had a good report! Therefore, Your Challenge For The Week Is To Examine The People In Your Circle That Box You In! And When You Locate Them…Break Out The Box! Understand that when you allow people’s distorted thinking to box you in, it will eventually reshape your faith in God! And you’ll find yourself like Israel, going around in the same circles for 40 years going absolutely nowhere! And you know why? Because a box is a coffin, and I’m not ready to die! I Rather Be Different Than Die! Get Out The Box! I know this isn’t the status quo, but like Facebook I have the authority to change my status as often as I want to! Therefore, every day, you  should have a different status! On Monday My Money Is Coming to Me; On Tuesday My Tuition Is Paid In Full; On Wednesday I’m Walking In Wealthy Places of Favor; On Thursday I’m Triumphant Over Every Trick, Trouble and Trial, On Friday My Future Is Fruitful, On Saturday Every Full Scholarship Available Is Hunting Me Down, and On Sunday I’m Shouting Because All Week Long I Broke the Status Quo! Daily Remind Yourself, Get Out the Box! If you have a company of twelve friends and only one has faith, kick the rest to the curb, and drive full force into your fruitful future! Besides, the passenger seat is made for Only One Person anyhow! Therefore, that one person might as well be a person of Faith!  I Warn You: Be Different Or Die!

2…AN ATTITUDE OF FAITH: God said, “But My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land…and his descendants shall inherit it” Do you realize that the company you keep can even hinder the blessings of your household and your posterity?! Read the text: God said, “…AND HIS DESCENDANTS SHALL INHERIT IT” Now, I can’t speak for anybody else, but as for ME, as a wife, oh I will help my husband exam and exonerate (release) some friends! Why? Because My Inheritance Is At Stake! You see, if he hangs around doubtful, faith-faltering, negative, pessimistic, fearful men, that attitude is contagious! And His Infection Can Kill My Inheritance! The Devil Is A Liar! His Present Inner Circle Will Not Choke Out My Future Blessings! Therefore, You Need to Search the Company You Keep Then Hire, Fire, Promote and Demote Accordingly, for You Alone Are The CEO of Your Life and Future! In this day and time everybody’s trying to fit into a mold! But I need to hear you say, “You Didn’t Make Me, You Can’t Mold Me!” I’ve decided to dare to be different! No, I’m not doing what you doing, and going where you going! Why? Because I’ve got a wealthy future of fulfilled promises STANDING before me, and I won’t allow the company I SIT amongst to rob me and leave me for dead in the wilderness, all because I was too fearful to be different! Boxes are coffins, and I’ve got too much to live for to die now! “I Rather Be Different Than Die!” And if So, Then Get Out The Box!

Church, When God Commands You to Go Forth…GO! You are not spineless, nervous, panic-stricken, fearful, timid, nail-biting, anxiety driven cowards! This is the Generation of Courage! Therefore, Possess the Land, Possess Your Promises, and Bless Your Posterity! And what’s “Posterity”? It means “All Future Generations Of People!” It’s Old French Origin “Posterite”, from Latin “Posterus” Simply Means “Following!” All Future Generations Are Depending On You To Get This Thing Right So That They Are Literally Birthed Into Blessings that Are Already Awaiting Their Arrival! So Don’t Let Them Down! There’s a Fruitful Future Following Behind You, Make Sure You Lead Them Straight Into The Promised Land! However, bear in mind: Anytime there’s a Promise Lingering In Your Future this Great, You Better Believe Folks Will Come From Near and Far to Discourage Your Possession! Especially those who are about to die! Don’t Let Them Do It! God Promised It To You And Your God Cannot Lie! “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). So Let Them Talk While You Walk Into the Land of Promise! Listen: When you made the deliberate decision to be different than the rest, God made a decision to deliberately bless you better than the rest! Unfortunately, however, today people so easily flow with the “norm”; they easily “fit in”; they easily “follow the crowd”; they easily stick with the same ole bunch of knuckleheads doing the same ole stupid knucklehead stuff day in and day out. Romans 12:1-2, “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. DON’T BECOME SO WELL-ADJUSTED TO YOUR CULTURE THAT YOU FIT INTO IT WITHOUT EVEN THINKING. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. UNLIKE THE CULTURE AROUND YOU, ALWAYS DRAGGING YOU DOWN TO ITS LEVEL OF IMMATURITY, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” (MSG) Listen: if you’re going to attain this great promise from God than you’re going to have to do something different! And Your Something Different Will Be Something New!” Why? Because It’s A New Day, A New Year, A New Decade, A New Thing And A New Move of God!

 “Behold, I am doing a NEW THING! Now it springs forth; do you not perceive and know it and will you not give heed to it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert?” (Isaiah 43:19 AMP) God says He wants to “…do a NEW THING…” For YOU, so disregard the circumstances and believe the God who cannot lie! “So shall My Word be that goes forth out of My mouth: it shall not return to Me void [without producing any effect, useless], but it shall accomplish that which I please and purpose, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11 AMP) So If God Said He’s About To Do Something New For You, You Better Believe It and Get Ready! The 10 spies who thought the same, died the same! They thought the same thing, they died the same way in the same place! But Caleb, who had a different spirit, thought differently, acted differently, Lived and Attained The Promised Land! All because he dared to be different!

I like the word “different” because it means “not the same as anything else; or to produce and perform something new!” “Then said the Lord to me…I am alert and active, watching over My Word to PERFORM IT” (Jeremiah 1:12 AMP) People of God, Get Your Tickets Quick and Arrive Early For the Show Because the Lord Is About to PERFORM His Word In Your Life Today! Are You Ready For It?

Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall SPRING forth…” After feeling like you’ve waited forever, Get Ready, God will move Suddenly and Shift You From Egypt to the Promise Land of Exceeding Abundantly Above All That You Could Ever Ask or Think According to the Power at Work In You! Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall SPRING forth… No Matter What the Calendar Says, Hear Me, You Are Entering Your SPRING Season…Your Season To SPRING Forth! Therefore, Don’t You Dare FALL Back Into the Wrong Crowd! Remember Anything In The Box Is Dead! And I’d Rather Be Different Than Die!

If you’re not ready you’ll miss the next open door or the next great idea that God has RESERVED just for you! And do you know what the word “Reserved” means? It means “To keep for future use” or my personal favorite “To make pre-determined arrangements to be kept for the use of a particular person”. “Reserved” also means “To retain or hold for an individual who has the right or entitlement to something”! It further means “Funds kept available by a bank, company, or government” not to mention, “An area of land set aside for the access of a particular person”! “Reserved” has a Latin Origin “Reservare” which literally means “To Keep Back”! And what does all that mean? Glad you asked! I don’t care how rough it’s been, how bleak it looks or how discouraged you are! The reality is, God Has a New Thing In Reserve Just For You! You are NOT the same as the rest, you will not die stuck in the box, you will not live by the same status quo, You Are Different! And Because You’re Different, There’s a Blessing Reserved and Waiting for Particular YOU and it Includes Funds and Land That Can Only Be Accessed By YOU Because As A Child of the King, It Is Your Right and Entitlement! I don’t care how many died in the wilderness, this is your new day to do something different so you can live and inherit the promises that you are entitled to because of who you are and who you’re attached to! The Bible says, “…since you are Christ’s family, then you are Abraham’s famous “descendant,” HEIRS according to the covenant promises” (Galatians 3:29 AMP) Do you know what an “Heir” is? An “Heir” means “A Person Legally Entitled to the Property or Rank of Another Upon that Person’s Death” It also means “A Person Who Continues the Work of a Predecessor”. I don’t know about you, but I’m certainly determined to continue the work of my Predecessor Abraham! He Was Continually Blessed and that’s My Job Too…To Be Continually Blessed! Listen: Truth Is, Abraham Is Dead! However, His Covenant Promises to His Heirs Is Very Much Alive! And what Covenanted Promises Are We Inheriting? Glad you asked! “And I (God) will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you [with abundant increase of favors] and make your name famous and distinguished, and you will be a blessing [dispensing good to others] And I will bless those who bless you [who confer prosperity or happiness upon you] and curse him who curses or uses insolent language toward you; in you will all the families and kindred of the earth be blessed [and by you they will bless themselves]” (Genesis 12:2-3 AMP)

Is that all the blessing you get? NO! The Bible goes on to say, Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, I will give this land to your posterity” (Genesis 12:7 AMP) There’s that word again! And what’s “Posterity”? “To All Future Generations”! Literally meaning  your “Following”! In other words, Every Generation That Follows After You Will Reap The Abrahamic Covenant, Promises, Blessings and Favor! But you got to be different to get it!

Now, if you think that’s awesome, you ain’t seen nothing yet, because your inheritance continues to increase! The Bible further states: Abram was extremely rich” (Genesis 13:2 AMP) In Case You Forgot…Caleb, You Are Abraham’s Heirs! And you have no need to be selfish either, because God isn’t going to just bless YOU, but even your “Posterity” (All Future Generations Following)! Listen, If You’re Smart, You’ll Do Something Different and Follow Me! And what does the Bible say about Abraham and His “Posterity” Nephew Lot? Glad you asked! “Now the land was not able to nourish and support them so they could dwell together, for their possessions were too great for them to live together” (Genesis 13:6 AMPCan you even wrap your brain around the fact that God will so favor you that you have to move because where you are can no longer hold you?! Saints, Pack Your Stuff and Get Ready For a New Move Of God! But remember, you got to be different to get it!

By now you must certainly be thinking “that has to be it?!” Well, once again…, NOPE! Believe it or not, YOUR INHERITANCE GAINS EVEN MORE INTERESTS! The Bible says: The Lord said to Abram…Lift up now your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; For all the land which you see I will give to you and to your posterity forever. And I will make your descendants like the dust of the earth, so that if a man could count the dust of the earth, then could your descendants also be counted. Arise, walk through the land, the length of it and the breadth of it, for I will give it to you…” (Genesis 13:14-18 AMP)

Did you pay close attention to the text? Of course you didn’t, because if you did, you would be shouting right NOW!

1…No matter where Abram looked (“…northward…southward…eastward…westward…” God declared “…all the land which you see I will give to you…” Go Ahead…It’s Okay, You Can Shout! And If Anybody Says Anything To You, Just Send Them To Me And I’ll Explain Your Unspeakable Joy! Seriously, Can You Imagine Being So Blessed That No Matter Which Way You Turn You Bump Right Into a Blessing?! Here’s Yet Another Warning Saints: GET READY! Or Should I Say Brace Yourself, Because You’re About To Bump Into A Blessing!

2…Not only will Abram receive a “anywhere you look the land is yours” blessing, but God declares, “…I will give to you and to your posterity forever…” Do You Know How Long Forever Is?! It’s defined as “For All Future Time!” and “Continually Without Ever Ceasing”! In other words, you AND all your future generations following you will Forever…For all the time into the Future of Eternity Be Abundantly Blessed, Continually, Without Ever Ceasing! Now, I’ve heard of a Big Blessing, But Only God Can Give You A Blessing So Big That It Outlives You and All Your Future Generations That Aren’t Even Born Yet! That’s What You Call A Radically, Ridiculous, Make No Kinda Sense, I’ll Never Be Able to Explain It Kind of Blessing! Listen, You Are So Favored By God That Not Even TIME Can Stop Your Blessing! Now That’s What You Call a Crazy Blessing! How Can You Be In Time, And Yet Have a Blessing Outside of Time, At the Same Time! Your Blessings Are Absolutely Ridiculous! Your Blessings Are So Big That They Defy Logic! Don’t Make No Sense No Kinda Way! Let folks know, If You Want the Same, Just Do Something Different! Want What I Got, Then Do What I Did, And All I Did, Was Do Something Different!  Go Ahead, It’s Okay…You Can Run Again I’ll Try To Explain To Folks Who Don’t Quite Understand That You’re Being Bombarded With a Blessing That’s Hitting You From Every Direction and Angle! And Believe It Or Not, But That’s Not All! On Top of that “Your Every Direction I Turn” Blessing Is Also Going to Last FOREVER! “For You, O my God, have told Your servant that You will build for him a house (a blessed posterity); therefore Your servant has found courage and confidence to pray before You. And now, Lord, You are God, and have promised this good thing to Your servant. Therefore may it please You to bless the house (posterity) of Your servant, that it may continue before You forever; FOR WHAT YOU BLESS, O LORD, IS BLESSED FOREVER!” (1 Chronicles 17:25-27 AMP). From Now On You Need to Wake Up In the Morning With This Declaration On Your Tongue: “I’M BLESSED FOREVER!” Yep, with my purple hair, 10 piercings, 20 tattoos, green lipstick, orange shirt, blue pants, red shoes and rainbow socks! Yep, I’m Still Blessed Forever! Don’t judge me, I might be different, BUT I’M BLESSED FOREVER! I may look different from the norm, but I’m blessed forever, I may talk funny, but I’m blessed forever, my friends may look a little quirky, but I’m blessed forever, I may have come from the wrong side of town, but I’m blessed forever, I may be divorced, I may live in the projects, my brother may be in jail and my sister on welfare, but hear me when I tell you, I’m blessed forever! Remind Yourself: different is the new norm! Because I’m different, I’m blessed FOREVER! But you can only get this type of blessing when you dare to be different, when you break out the box, when you stand away from the crowd, when you break the status quo, when you move from the murmurers, when you follow God fully, when you trust and believe His promises! You Can’t Get Something Different Doing the Same Thing!

3…Then God tells Abram, “Arise, walk through the land, the length of it and the breadth of it, for I will give it to you…” Can You Imagine a “Anywhere I Place My Foot It’s Mine” Blessing?! That sounds a lot like Deuteronomy 11:22-25, “That’s right. If you diligently keep all this commandment that I command you to obey – love GOD, your God, do what He tells you, stick close to Him – GOD on His part will drive out all these nations that stand in your way. Yes, He’ll drive out nations much bigger and stronger than you. Every square inch on which you place your foot will be yours. Your borders will stretch from the wilderness to the mountains of Lebanon, from the Euphrates River to the Mediterranean Sea. No one will be able to stand in your way. Everywhere you go, GOD-sent fear and trembling will precede you, just as He promised” (MSG). Saints, I Challenge You: “Put Your Foot On It!” No Matter How Long or Wide You Walk…The Land Is Yours…Forever! You Better Go To “Sport’s Authority”, “Models”, “Payless”, “Foot Locker”…Somewhere/Anywhere, And Get You A Good Pair a Sneakers And Get To Stepping! Where? IT DON’T EVEN MATTER! THE LAND, IN ALL IT’S LENGTH, IT’S DEPTH, AND WIDTH…ARE YOURS…FOREVER! NOW RUN TELL YOUR HATERS THAT! God Is Giving Me Mountains, Rivers, Seas and Land…FOREVER! No matter what state, city, town, country, it’s mine forever! Deuteronomy 11:24, says: “Every place whereon the soles of your feet shall tread shall be yours…” The word “sole” is defined as the “underside of a person’s foot”. But more importantly, its secondary definition means “One And Only; Belonging or Restricted to One Person or Group” It’s Latin Origin “Sola” Literally Means “Alone”! If I was preaching this, I would tell you to tell somebody, don’t get mad, but this ones for me, aloneIf you want the same, be different! Caleb was blessed for having Abraham as his predecessor, he could claim the Abrahamic Covenant Promises and Blessings, which is why Caleb didn’t care about the giants in the land, the promise from Abraham’s posterity that he is attached to as an heir said, One: “Wherever the soles of your feet shall tread shall be yours” and Two: “…GOD on His part will drive out all these nations that stand in your way. Yes, He’ll drive out nations much bigger and stronger than you.” When You’re Different It Don’t Matter! It don’t matter who comes against you, don’t matter who they are, don’t matter what they said, don’t matter what they do, where they come from, what their size is, or who they bring with them to the fight! Just by being different, I don’t even have to fight. I can sit back relax, and enjoy the ride, because God promised me and my posterity, that He alone will drive out all the nations that stand in my way, and He’ll drive out nations much bigger and stronger than me! But You Got To Be Different To Get It! Knowing the promises that were given to your predecessors in the past, is what keeps you focused as you move forward into your future, even when problems arise!

Saints, don’t be like the doubters and die in the wilderness, when you can simply follow God, be different and live in the Promised Land!

Caleb’s…Your Abrahamic Covenant of Generational Promises, Blessings and Favor are Awaiting You! Don’t Die, Be Different and LIVE!

Much Love, Dr. Shermaine #EnjoyTheRead #BeInspired #BeEncouraged #BeEmpowered #BeChallenged #ShareTheWordFeel free to also join us at: http://www.selfcarewithdrshermaine.blogspot.com Today’s Lesson: “Veggies That Are Healthy Sources of Carbs”

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“Church, Let’s Go Fishing”

Luke 5:10, “And so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon (Peter). And Jesus said to Simon, Have no fear; from now on you will be CATCHING MEN!” (AMPC)

I assure you I was not your typical young girl! I didn’t dream of the most beautiful wedding, the most expensive wedding gown with the long train that took 5 people to carry it. I was more of the tom-boy who was climbing up trees and jumping out of them; learning to work on engines since my dad was a mechanic; walking the dogs; chopping wood since I wanted to do everything my dad did, because if you haven’t guessed it, I was indeed the typical daddies’ girl! And one of my dad’s absolute favorite things to do in all the world was to go fishing! So once again you guessed right, I just had to learn how to fish! And it wasn’t a struggle for me either. Before you knew it, I was digging for worms, and baiting hooks, casting my line, and catching some fish!

Now, as for me, catching the fish was fun. Eating them was fun. But, in between, there was this one step that was a lot less fun – cleaning them! But for that fish to realize its culinary destiny, it had to be cleaned.

If you’re a fisherman, you’re apparently Jesus’ kind of person. Four of the twelve disciples He called were fishermen by trade. When He summoned them to His service, He said, “…Follow Me [as My disciples, accepting Me as your Master and Teacher and walking the same path of life that I walk], and I will make you fishers of men” (Mark 1:17 AMP). He told Simon Peter, “…Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.” (Luke 5:10 NKJV).

So the business of bringing people into a relationship with Jesus Christ apparently has some things in common with fishing. For example, you don’t try to attract the fish with what you’re interested in, but what they’re interested in. For example, I like pizza. I don’t like worms. But if I put pizza on my hook, I’m going home with an empty bucket. I’ve got to offer what will be interesting to the fish that I’m trying to attract. And so it is church, with reaching people for Jesus Christ, especially MEN! Think about it, if all you offer is religious bait, coming to a religious meeting to hear a religious speaker talk on a religious subject in a religious place, you probably won’t attract many of the lost men who need Christ so desperately. But if you’re talking about needs they care about in a place where they feel comfortable, in words they can understand, you have a far better chance of getting them within hearing distance of the Gospel. Now, does that mean if they enjoy the strip club, you go to the strip club to win them to Christ? Uh, No! Your convictions, character and calling should never be compromised! But will an unsaved man be more likely to talk to you over a game of bowling, than an hour of bible study, yes sir! Remember, your bait is not supposed to catch your interest, but theirs.

Now, there’s another very important fishing principle we need to keep in mind as we present Jesus to the people around us. It’s a principle it seems many believers have never thought about. And church, here it is: FISH AREN’T CLEANED UNTIL THEY’RE CAUGHT FIRST! Now that’s pretty deep and profound don’t you think? Nope! Just common sense, that has become way too uncommon in the church!

You see, far too many times, lost people feel judged by us rather than loved by us, because we attack the things they do. But they do those things because they’re lost, which is why instead of judging their lost ways, we should be leading them to the One who will take them from lost to found! However, that’s hard to do because we’re too busy trying to get them in “proper church attire”; trying to change their habits; their mindset; their way of life; their behaviors; and their speech. We’re too busy trying to take out their piercings; cover their tattoos; restyle their hair; and put sheets over their splits, and safety pins to close up their cleavage. Before they get in the church good, we have 5 auxiliaries to put them on; and want to cram tithes and offerings down their throat. Now, let’s be real, how would you feel about a group of people telling you Jesus loves you, now all you have to do is give Him 10% of the paycheck you worked hard to earn, and the one that barely covers your bills as it is? As church folks, we have a tendency of going too far, too soon!

Think about this: No fishermen goes to the water, immediately sticks his hand in the water, snatches out a fish, cleans it, cooks it and eats it. No, there is a process to fishing, and one of the greatest parts to that process is waiting! It doesn’t happen in an instant. And most men, in particular, aren’t going to just pour into the church like a floodgate has opened either. A fishermen knows that he can sit out there for hours and catch absolutely nothing; or just one or two. If only we could learn to be that patient with catching men!

Women have a stronger tendency to fill the church pews, men not so much, not so many, and not so quickly! So, if you’re attempting to grow the men’s ministry, you will need patience and better bait!

And more importantly, it’s vital that you remember: You catch them, then JESUS cleans them!

Take a brief walk with me through Luke 19 beginning with verse 5. The whole town is shocked when Jesus says to Zacchaeus, of all people – the town crook, “I must stay at your house today.” As stunned as anyone, the Bible says Zacchaeus “welcomed him gladly. The people started muttering, ‘He has gone to be the guest of a ‘sinner.’” But after meeting Jesus and experiencing His unconditional love, Zacchaeus can’t stand his sin anymore. He announces he’s going to make right the dishonest wrongs he has done, “If I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” Jesus announced, “Today salvation has come to this house.

Zacchaeus Got Clean, But He Got Caught First!

The problem with the lost people you know is not their profanity or their dishonesty or their immorality – truth of the matter, they’re lost and they’re living like it! So why are we as the church, mad at the world because they behave like the world? That’s like being mad at a dog because he barks; a cat because he purrs; a fish because he swims; or a lion because he roars! It’s the same as being mad at an elephant because he has a trunk; or a giraffe because he’s tall; or a bear because he’s big! You can’t be mad at something or someone that does what it’s purposed to do! And guess what, sinners…SIN! I know, who knew! 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, “Don’t you realize that this is not the way to live? Unjust people who don’t care about God will not be joining in his kingdom. Those who use and abuse each other, use and abuse sex, use and abuse the earth and everything in it, don’t qualify as citizens in God’s kingdom. A number of you know from experience what I’m talking about, for not so long ago YOU were on that list. SINCE, THEN, YOU’VE BEEN CLEANED UP AND GIVEN A FRESH START BY JESUS, OUR MASTER, OUR MESSIAH, AND BY OUR GOD PRESENT IN US, THE SPIRIT.” (MSG) So, we can’t be mad at sinners who sin. However, I love the way we, the church, conveniently forget that text also says, “…A number of YOU know from EXPERIENCE what I’m talking about, for not so long ago YOU were on that list. SINCE, THEN, YOU’VE BEEN CLEANED UP AND GIVEN A FRESH START BY JESUS, OUR MASTER, OUR MESSIAH, AND BY OUR GOD PRESENT IN US, THE SPIRIT.” (MSG) Don’t forget, you weren’t born saved! And some of your best sinning even came, AFTER salvation! Therefore, we need not be mad at the world for acting like the world, but we should be mad that the church acts like the world! But dare we address such a controversial matter?! You were just as bad off as they are, but the Godhead was merciful! Jesus  cleaned you up with the Father and the Holy Ghost! And pay close attention to WHO did the cleaning! It was the Godhead! Not the Bishop, Pastor, Overseer, Elder, Evangelist, Deacons, Missionaries; Ushers; Trustees; Mother Board; Music Ministry and the like, no it was the Godhead Alone! Try to remember that the next time you go Man Fishing! You Catch, God Cleans!

You see, sinner’s real problem is that they need a Savior! Yes, they must repent, but that’s part of being rescued by Jesus from their sin! Don’t make their lifestyle the main issue. Make Jesus the main issue, and say with the great spiritual fisherman, Paul, “You’ll remember, friends, that when I first came to you to let you in on God’s master stroke, I didn’t try to impress you with polished speeches and the latest philosophy. I deliberately kept it plain and simple: first Jesus and who he is; then Jesus and what he did—Jesus crucified. (1 Corinthians 2:1-2 MSG). See church, simple is still best! One righteous man (Jesus) went to an unrighteous man (Zacchaeus) and his life was made the better because of being in the company of a man who didn’t judge him, didn’t try to change him, didn’t bring up his past, his mistakes, his failures, his sins, his habits. No, you simply had one short, unrighteous man that went to great lengths to see Jesus. Jesus looked up, saw him, and talked to him (not about him). The man (Jesus) let’s Zacchaeus know I’m your uninvited guest today, and Zacchaeus was delighted to have Him.

Now, I must note this, as soon as the righteous starts talking to the unrighteous, the so-called ‘righteous’ start gossiping! Luke 19:7, “And when the people saw it, they all muttered among themselves and indignantly complained, He has gone in to be the guest of and lodge with a man who is devoted to sin and preeminently a sinner.” (AMP) Now, you would think the “church folks” would be happy to see someone unrighteous come into contact with someone righteous. And not to simply visit a church service, but to receive salvation! You would think this was a good thing! Sad as it is to say, you will experience some of the very same behavior. But remember, you have to catch them, before He can clean them. So, if that means going to their house, instead of the House of Worship, just to have a conversation that may bring about salvation, is worth it, don’t you think? Even if it is done in the midst of muttering church folks!

Well, in spite of those who should have been spreading the gospel, and not the gossip, neither Jesus nor Zacchaeus pays them any attention, nor verbally responds to them! Take note church: There will be some folks who don’t think you should be around such people, even if you are trying to win them to Christ. But don’t you get distracted, you have the right bait available and over the process of time, they will be caught by you, and cleaned by Him, and the naysayers can do nothing about it! After all, is their soul about them, or Him? Remember Paul’s words: “You’ll remember, friends, that when I first came to you to let you in on God’s master stroke, I didn’t try to impress you with polished speeches and the latest philosophy. I deliberately kept it plain and simple: first Jesus and who he is; then Jesus and what he did—Jesus crucified. (1 Corinthians 2:1-2 MSG). People of God, if you want the same results, follow the same regime: Keep it simple, meet them on their terms, use the right bait, and once they’ve been caught, let Jesus clean them (after all, if you had the power to clean them, you would’ve been able to clean YOU years ago!) #Selah

But just as you needed someone to reach out to you, and you needed time to come to Him, and more time to let Him clean you after you were caught, give your brothers and sisters the same courtesy. Don’t get caught up in protocols, programs, and positions. There simply needs to be one brother/sister telling another brother/sister how they can become family. Don’t complicate the matter about rules, regulations, laws, do’s and don’ts. Do your part, and let God do His. You catch, let Him clean!

Psalm 51:1-2, “Have mercy upon me, O GOD, according to Your steadfast love; according to the multitude of Your tender mercy and loving-kindness blot out my transgressions. WASH ME THOROUGHLY [AND REPEATEDLY] from my iniquity and guilt and CLEANSE ME AND MAKE ME WHOLLY PURE FROM MY SINS!” (AMPC);

Psalm 51:7, “PURIFY ME WITH HYSSOP, AND I SHALL BE CLEAN [CEREMONIALLY]; WASH ME, AND I SHALL [IN REALITY] BE WHITER THAN SNOW.” (AMPC);

Psalm 51:10, “CREATE IN ME A CLEAN HEART, O GOD, and renew a right, persevering, and steadfast spirit within me.” (AMPC)

In all of that WASHING; CLEANSING; and PURIFYING, did you note that the ONE who was doing it was: “…O GOD…”! Not, “O James, Jasmine, Edward, Esther, Jeffrey, Juanita, Joseph, Julia, Dwayne, Dorothy, Douglas, Diana, Derrick or Deidra”! Nor was it, “O Apostle, Bishop, Pastor, Elder, Evangelist, Minister, Deacon, Missionary, Brother or Sister”! NO, It Was, “…O GOD…”Because that’s the Only One Who Can!

It’s simple directives, you catch, He cleans! And as soon as you stop playing God and stay in character with the only role you were cast in, the sooner we can fill the pews with more than just women and babies, but we will see a great catch of men filling the House of God as redeemed Men of God! Church, don’t let any more men and women be left out floating aimlessly in this world, when you have the bait to catch them, and you have the means of getting them to your God so He can clean them! Don’t complicate such a simple process by attempting to be grand. The goal is to make sure your Name is written in the Lamb’s book of Life, not your Accomplishments or Head Count!

Saints, today is a good day to go fishing! And unlike my dad who had his favorite spot to fish in. God has sent us into all the world to fish! Meaning, you need to be casting your line with bait attached to doctors, lawyers, teachers, janitors, bank tellers, cashiers, CEO’s, police officers, fire fighters, and nurses. You need to be casting your line at the supermarket, at the bank, at the laundromat, at school, at work, at home, at the homeless shelter, at the soup kitchen, in the prisons, in the nursing homes, at the hospital, in the emergency rooms, at the rehab, at the dialysis and chemo centers. You need to be casting your line among those married with three children and those divorced with 5; among the unwed mother; the identity and gender confused; among those with 10 piercings and 20 tattoos; among those in Ivy League colleges; among those in community college. Cast your line walking down the street, boarding the bus, train or plane. Cast your line as you share that cab ride. Cast your line as you wait in line at the social services office; while you’re standing in the unemployment line; while you’re getting ready to perform at Madison Square Garden! Are you getting this? Sinners are everywhere, therefore the church needs to be casting her line everywhere! After all, it is what we’ve been commissioned to do, right?

Acts 1:8, “He told them, “You don’t get to know the time. Timing is the Father’s business. What you’ll get is the Holy Spirit. And when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world.” (MSG)

Mark 16:14-20, “Still later, as the Eleven were eating supper, he appeared and took them to task most severely for their stubborn unbelief, refusing to believe those who had seen him raised up. Then he said, “Go into the world. Go everywhere and announce the Message of God’s good news to one and all. Whoever believes and is baptized is saved; whoever refuses to believe is damned. “These are some of the signs that will accompany believers: They will throw out demons in my name, they will speak in new tongues, they will take snakes in their hands, they will drink poison and not be hurt, they will lay hands on the sick and make them well.” Then the Master Jesus, after briefing them, was taken up to heaven, and he sat down beside God in the place of honor. And the disciples went everywhere preaching, the Master working right with them, validating the Message with indisputable evidence.]” (MSG)

Matthew 28:18-20, “Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.” (MSG)

Church, we have work to do! So, Let’s Go Fishing!

Matthew 4:19, “Walking along the beach of Lake Galilee, Jesus saw two brothers: Simon (later called Peter) and Andrew. They were fishing, throwing their nets into the lake. It was their regular work. Jesus said to them, “Come with me. I’ll make a new kind of fisherman out of you. I’ll show you how to catch men and women instead of perch and bass.” They didn’t ask questions, but simply dropped their nets and followed.” (MSG)

 “We’ve Strayed From Being Fishers of Men to Being Keepers of the Aquarium.” (Paul Harvey)

Much Love, Dr. Shermaine #EnjoyTheRead #BeInspired #BeEncouraged #BeEmpowered #BeChallenged #ShareTheWordFeel free to also join us at: http://www.selfcarewithdrshermaine.blogspot.com Today’s Lesson: “Healthy Habits: Better Eating Resolutions”

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“The Blessing and Benefit of Circumcision”

Joshua 5:8, “And after the whole nation had been Circumcised, they remained where they were in camp Until They Were Healed.” (NIV)

BEFORE the nation of Israel could go into the Promised Land…THEY HAD TO BE CIRCUMCISED FIRST! 

Circumcision is Painful, Bloody, and Personal…However, For the BELIEVER…SPIRITUAL CIRCUMCISION IS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY! 

God REQUIRES each of us to be Circumcised IN HEART BEFORE we are allowed to enter and receive the blessings that await each believer in the Promised Land!

Circumcision can often be very Painful But it’s always Purposeful! 

Circumcision requires cutting off our old way of life! 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior], he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come [because spiritual awakening brings a new life].” (AMP); Romans 6:4, “We have therefore been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory and power of the Father, we too might walk habitually in newness of life [abandoning our old ways].” (AMP) I reiterate, circumcision requires cutting off our old way of life! And when you look at circumcision in the Natural, what is Cut Away is neither Kept, Reused, or Put Back In Place! IT’S COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY DISCARDED…NEVER TO BE REATTACHED AGAIN!

Can you imagine if we had our LIFESTYLES CIRCUMCISED…TO THE EXTENT THAT NOTHING THAT WAS CUT AWAY EVER REATTACHES AGAIN??!!

CAN YOU IMAGINE HAVING THAT NASTY ATTITUDE CIRCUMCISED THAT IT NEVER REATTACHES AGAIN?! THAT DISOBEDIENT NATURE CIRCUMCISED THAT IT NEVER REATTACHES AGAIN? THAT LUSTFUL SPIRIT CIRCUMCISED THAT IT NEVER REATTACHES AGAIN? THAT PERVERSE MOUTH CIRCUMCISED THAT IT NEVER REATTACHES AGAIN? THAT BOASTFUL, PRIDEFUL, ARROGANT, CONCEITED, ENTITLED DEMEANOR CIRCUMCISED THAT IT NEVER REATTACHES AGAIN?! THOSE CORRUPT COMPANIONS, ASSOCIATES AND FRIENDS CIRCUMCISED THAT THEY NEVER REATTACH AGAIN? THAT JUDGMENTAL, CRITICIZING, CONDESCENDING, BELITTLING BEHAVIOR CIRCUMCISED THAT THEY NEVER REATTACH AGAIN?! THAT HABIT/ADDICTION CIRCUMCISED THAT IT NEVER REATTACHES AGAIN? WHAT WOULD THE CHURCH LOOK LIKE IF THAT BACKBITING, SLANDERING, GOSSIPING, LYING, RUMOR FILLED TONGUE WAS CIRCUMCISED, NEVER TO REATTACH AGAIN?! WHAT IF JEALOUSY, COVETING, ENVY, COMPARING, AND COMPETING WERE CIRCUMCISED, NEVER TO REATTACH AGAIN?! WHAT IF BITTERNESS, ANGER, SPITE, MALICIOUSNESS, UNFORGIVENESS, AND HATRED WERE CIRCUMCISED, NEVER TO REATTACH AGAIN?!

PEOPLE OF GOD, THAT’S THE PURPOSE OF CIRCUMCISION (SPIRITUALLY AND NATURALLY)…IT IS PURPOSED TO CUT AWAY WHAT’S NOT NECESSARY SO THAT IT’S NEVER ALLOWED TO REATTACH AGAIN!

And Despite What You’ve Heard, Circumcision, Both Natural and Spiritual, Is NOT Gender Specific! Both Males and Females Have Been Circumcised (HOWEVER, I BELIEVE THE LORD’S PREFERENCE (According to the Word of God) IS MEN NATURALLY, AND MEN AND WOMEN SPIRITUALLY …READ YOUR BIBLE SAINTS!)

SO, HAS YOUR LIFE BEEN CIRCUMCISED YET?! Have you finally made the decision to get rid of some UNNECESSARY Stuff (WHICH INCLUDES PEOPLE, PLACES, THINGS, CONDUCT, BEHAVIOR, THOUGHTS, DEEDS, SPEECH ETC…)? Have You Matured Enough To Go Without the Stuff You Should Be Without In the First Place!?  

And bear in mind, just as a natural circumcision takes time to heal, so does a spiritual one! Truth is it’s not easy having God cut away some stuff and people that have been attached to us for a very long time. And it doesn’t even matter if we already know they’re poisonous, toxic and infectious, they’ve been attached to us too long for them to easily be detached without wound or pain! So, when you’re ready to reap the promises of God for your life, and you finally make the decision to be circumcised, you will need time to heal. Which is why like the children of Israel, we must WAIT UNTIL WE ARE HEALED BEFORE WE GO FORTH INTO THE PROMISED LAND! 

If we launch out too early, we will not only be Ineffective but we may Risk Infection and Disease and will not be at our Full Capacity! You see, Circumcision opens you up to Vulnerability and Pain, two things none of us like to be in! And when you think about (I pray you can handle this) but Circumcision is in a very Private Area, and not just Private, But Vital to Life! It’s an Organ Where LIFE Itself Is Produced! It All Starts Right There! Yep, I Said It…Nicely! This Very Place Will Release a Seed for Something to Be Birthed (9 Months Later) So It Is Indeed the LAST Place You Want Infected! Hello! 

Remember what the Bible says about the Israelites: “And after the whole nation had been Circumcised, THEY REMAINED WHERE THEY WERE IN CAMP UNTIL THEY WERE HEALED” – Joshua 5:8 (NIV) You Can’t Go Forth Until You’ve Been Circumcised and Healed! You Have to Stay Right Where You Are! Yes they had the place of promise before them, but they couldn’t attain it: “…UNTIL THEY WERE HEALED”! And You Are No Different! Yes, God has Great Things To Be Produced From Your Loins, but BEFORE He Does, You Will Be Circumcised, Then Made to Wait Right Where You Are (In a Vulnerable and Painful Place) Until You Are Healed!

When a Circumcision takes place, the doctors give clear instructions on what to wash with, how often, what cream to use, what to do for the pain etc…and if you’re smart, You Will Follow the Doctors Orders! The very same with a Spiritual Circumcision, Yes It Is Going to Hurt, Some of the Things and People He’s Going to Cut Away Have Been Attached For a Very Long Time And Many of Those Attachments Have Been Private, So When He Removes Them, It Is Going to Hurt, But It Won’t Hurt Always! However, In the Meantime, After He Cuts Things/People Away (That You Don’t Need Anyway) and you Follow His Instructions on How to Recover, Your Painful Experience Will Be But a Memory As You Enjoy the Promised Land!

BUT…YOU HAVE TO BE CIRCUMCISED, STAY WHERE YOU ARE, AND HEAL…FIRST!

Pay attention to the text: “And after the whole nation had been Circumcised, THEY REMAINED WHERE THEY WERE IN CAMP UNTIL THEY WERE HEALED” – Joshua 5:8  (NIV) You don’t get to say, ‘Lord I’ve been Circumcised and all is well! I’m better now, I’m delivered now.’ NO! You have to remain right where you are UNTIL YOU ARE HEALED!

In other words, you don’t get PROMOTED WHEN CIRCUMCISED! YOU REMAIN RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE! GOD IS NOT TAKING ANYMORE LIP SERVICE FROM HIS PEOPLE! THIS TIME, TO ATTAIN THE PROMISE YOU ARE GOING TO GO THROUGH THE PAIN OF CIRCUMCISION…AND THEN YOU’RE GOING TO SIT RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE UNTIL YOU’RE HEALED AND COMPLETELY DELIVERED! Can you imagine if as Leaders we endured this, and made sure others endured it as well?! Remain Where You Are Until You Are Healed! Do You Know How Many Compassionate, Humble Folks Would Then Make Up the Church Body?! Instead of the Highly Decorated Peacocks We Have Poised In the Pews and Pulpit?!

Here’s another reason why waiting until you are completely healed and delivered is so important: The people of Israel fought ONLY 2 BATTLES when they were coming out of Egypt. However, in the Promised Land they fought 39 BATTLES! Wait For It…

You see, far too many in the church believe once we get to the promise or promised land that we get the glad, glads, and it’s happy go lucky every day! We’ll have no more problems, no more headaches, no more struggles, no more trials! ALL OF THAT IS A LIE THAT SHOULD NEVER BE TOLD…NO MORE!

TRUTH IS: ISRAEL FOUGHT MORE AND TOUGHER BATTLES IN THE PROMISED LAND THEN THE ONES GETTING TO IT! THAT’S WHY YOU NEED TO MAKE SURE YOU ARE CIRCUMCISED…FIRST! AND THEN WAIT AND MAKE SURE YOU ARE COMPLETELY HEALED AND DELIVERED (REATTACHING NOTHING THAT WAS SEVERED!) BECAUSE YOU WILL NEED YOUR FULL STRENGTH FOR THE BATTLES THAT LIE AHEAD IN YOUR PROMISED LAND!

Each of us must be Prepared to enjoy the benefits of living in the Promised Land. And that Preparation Is Spiritual Circumcision! However, we must also be Prepared to wage war against the enemy of our souls. Therefore, make sure the Lord has provided the needed healing to your circumcision experience before you enter the Promised Land!

I find it so amazing that Natural Circumcision Meant So Much In the Old Testament, but in the New Testament, For Believers, Paul Pays Natural Circumcision No Mind and Instead He Talks About the Circumcision of the Heart! He Goes Through Colossians, Galatians and Romans talking about the Pointless Need of Natural Circumcision but of the Value and Importance of Spiritual Circumcision of the Heart. There has to be something to it don’t you think?!

“Look out for those dogs [Judaizers, legalists], look out for those mischief-makers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh. For we [Christians] are the true circumcision, who worship God in spirit and by the Spirit of God and exult and glory and pride ourselves in Jesus Christ, and put no confidence or dependence [on what we are] in the flesh and on outward privileges and physical advantages and external appearances—…” (Philippians 3:2-4 AMP)

“In Him also you were circumcised with a circumcision not made with hands, but in a [spiritual] circumcision [performed by] Christ by stripping off the body of the flesh (the whole corrupt, carnal nature with its passions and lusts). [Thus you were circumcised when] you were buried with Him in [your] baptism, in which you were also raised with Him [to a new life] through [your] faith in the working of God [as displayed] when He raised Him up from the dead.” (Colossians 2:10-12 AMP)

Today, ask God to perform a Spiritual Circumcision on Your Heart! Ask Him to Remove Anything and Anyone that Serves No Purpose to Your Growth In Him! And When He Removes It and Them, Don’t Attempt to Reattach Either One!

You Have a Promise Land and Bigger Battles Ahead of You, You Can’t Afford to be Unprepared! So Be Brave and Ask God to Use the Sword of His Word and Cut You…TODAY!

“For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12 AMP)

The Message Bible reads like this: “God means what he says. What he says goes. His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey. Nothing and no one is impervious to God’s Word. We can’t get away from it—no matter what.” (Hebrews 4:12-13 MSG)

People of God, it is Vital that you have your Heart Circumcised. God has so much in store for you that will only benefit and bless you once you’ve detached unnecessary people, places and things. Let nothing and no one come between you and what God has already gotten ready for you. Remember: God is only removing people, places and things that are non-essential to your journey, life, ministry, calling, promise and purpose.  So make absolutely no attempts to hold onto what God’s hands have already determined you do not need. He has a plan and a promise just for you, but you’ve got to be prepared to receive it, and the only way that will happen, is through circumcision. Don’t miss your blessing, don’t miss your promise! Let it and them go, today, and let neither one return!

Joshua 5:8, “When they had completed the circumcising of the WHOLE NATION, they stayed where they were in camp until they were healed.” (MSG)

Something else that’s important to note is that the WHOLE NATION was circumcised. It’s not enough for you alone to endure this process, but everyone attached to you must as well. Which means it’s important to make sure that your home and your church family are all walking through the process of circumcision. Since all with you are going into the promise and promised land with you, you need to make sure that the Whole House has been Cut, Healed, Ready to Enter the Promised Land and Ready to Fight Even Greater Battles! Mom and Dad, it’s not enough that only you have been delivered, but your children need deliverance too! Pastor and Leaders, it’s not enough that only you have been cut, made to wait, endure healing and get ready to enter the promised land! No, the Whole House needs to be on the same page!

Joshua 24:15, “…but as for me AND MY HOUSE, WE will serve the Lord.” That’s not singular, that’s plural! Meaning everybody in the house will have to follow the same house rules! We all get circumcised, we all have to stay right where we are until we are healed, then we all will go into the promised land, fight and win! This is a collective effort, not an individualized event! And so your prayer life will change. Because it has to shift from ‘me, my, mine, and I’ to ‘us, we, and the whole house!’

Joshua 5:8-9, “And the Lord said to Joshua, “Today I have ended your shame of not being circumcised.” So the place where this was done was called Gilgal (meaning, “to end”), and is still called that today. After the ceremony the entire nation rested in camp until the raw flesh of their wounds had been healed.” (TLB) Another good thing to note, is that regardless to who you were, or what you did, or where you were, the shame is gone after the process of circumcision has been completed! They were circumcised in Gilgal! It was the circumcision to end the shame of their painful past! Gilgal means to end, or roll away! As painful as your circumcision will be, it serves a greater purpose than just pain! It closes the door on the past! It ends the shame of what was, and prepares you for what is to come! So, don’t under-estimate your process of circumcision! It is a good thing that shall work in your favor!

And don’t rush the process either! Yes it’s a painful time, place and process, but it’s also a place where God grants you rest until your wounds have healed! Which means, when your circumcision is complete, don’t rush to start the business, open a new church, buy a house or car, and seek to enter ministry or elevate in it! This is not about any of that! This is your time to let the people, places and things God severed from you, heal. You can’t cut away from flesh and not give it time to heal! You need the memories to heal, you need the ‘what if’s’ to heal, you need the regrets to heal, you need the pain to heal. So don’t rush the process, let God do the cutting, and you do the waiting while healing.

And please don’t think of your process of circumcision as a horrible place either! In Gilgal, yes, there was the pain of circumcision. However, don’t forget some of the other things that transpired in Gilgal. It was also the place of the first encampment of the Israelites west of the Jordan River where a monument was erected to commemorate their passage across the Jordan River! Joshua 4:19-24, “This miracle occurred on the 25th of March. That day the entire nation crossed the Jordan River and camped in Gilgal at the eastern edge of the city of Jericho; and there the twelve stones from the Jordan were piled up as a monument. Then Joshua explained again the purpose of the stones: “In the future,” he said, “when your children ask you why these stones are here and what they mean, you are to tell them that these stones are a reminder of this amazing miracle—that the nation of Israel crossed the Jordan River on dry ground!  Tell them how the Lord our God dried up the river right before our eyes and then kept it dry until we were all across! It is the same thing the Lord did forty years ago at the Red Sea!  He did this so that all the nations of the earth will realize that Jehovah is the mighty God, and so that all of you will worship him forever.” (TLB). It was also the place where the Passover was kept: Joshua 5:10, “While they were camped at Gilgal on the plains of Jericho, they celebrated the Passover during the evening of April first.” (TLB); it was also the place where their first king was crowned and altars were built and sacrifices offered 1 Samuel 11:15, “So they went to Gilgal and in a solemn ceremony before the Lord they crowned him king. Then they offered peace offerings to the Lord, and Saul and all Israel were very happy.” (TLB); it was also the place of the school of the prophets: 2 Kings 4:38-40, “Elisha now returned to Gilgal, but there was a famine in the land. One day as he was teaching the young prophets…” (TLB); in addition, it was the place where the Tribe of Judah escorted King David and the very place Joshua conquered!

In other words, don’t get stuck in this temporary place! You are not going to stay here forever! But also, know that God has done some amazing things even in painful places! Don’t despise your place of Gilgal, it’s painful, but it’s purposeful! It won’t last forever, it’s the place of your healing, it’s the place of your resting, it’s the place where your past shame comes to an end, and most important, it’s the place that will lead you into your promised land and victorious battles! There are benefits and blessings to the process of circumcision, you just have to endure the painful waiting period of healing in order to get them! My suggestion? Endure Your Process of Circumcision!

Jeremiah 4:4, “Circumcise (dedicate, sanctify) yourselves to the Lord and remove the foreskin [sins] of your heart, Men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, Or else My wrath will go forth like fire [consuming all that gets in its way] And burn and there will be no one to quench it, Because of the evil of your acts.” (AMP)

Deuteronomy 30:6, “And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the hearts of your descendants [that is, He will remove the desire to sin from your heart], so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul, so that you may live [as a recipient of His blessing].” (AMP)

“Without this heart attitude it is exceedingly difficult for us to accept the circumcision of the flesh. Every affection, desire, thought, knowledge, intent, worship, and work of the flesh must go to the cross.” (Watchman Nee)

People of God, Do Not Despise Your Painful Process of Circumcision in the Place of Gilgal (the Place Where You Get Cut, You Wait, You Heal, and the Pain Comes to an End Before You Enter Your Promise Land!) Don’t Despise Gilgal, Embrace it, it’s the Place That Will Lead You to Your Promised Land!

Much Love, Dr. Shermaine #EnjoyTheRead #BeInspired #BeEncouraged #BeEmpowered #BeChallenged #ShareTheWordFeel free to also join us at: http://www.selfcarewithdrshermaine.blogspot.com Today’s Lesson: “Get Started With Exercise to Lower Blood Pressure”

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“Hold Onto Your Hope, Help is Coming!”

Lamentations 3:19-27, “I’ll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness, the taste of ashes, the poison I’ve swallowed. I remember it all—oh, how well I remember—the feeling of hitting the bottom. But there’s one other thing I remember, and remembering, I keep a grip on hope: 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. God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits, to the woman who diligently seeks. It’s a good thing to quietly hope, quietly HOPE FOR HELP FROM GOD. It’s a good thing when you’re young to stick it out through the hard times.” (MSG)

I have friends that literally live all of the world! No matter the state, country, or island, I am assured to have a friend with that as their residence. From Belize to Norway, from South Korea to Pakistan, from Russia to Sweden, from Switzerland to Botswana, from Roosevelt to New Jersey, I have a friend! If only I could finally start to make time for visiting!

Anyway, I have one particular pastor friend who lives in a beautiful spot in the country! Daily he sees things there that I would never see in New York CityThe bird life there is pretty much limited to sparrows, and there are a few rowdy crows, an occasional robin or blue jay. Oh, yeah, and then the parrot (kept in his kitchen). He’s able to see all of those beautiful birds daily, including one of the classiest birds around – the hummingbird. Now, I’m pretty sure at one time or another, you’ve seen them probably doing their amazing hovering thing and flying from one flower to the next. But what I love most about them, is their ability to always be attracted to the most beautiful things in the yard. My friend loves watching the hummingbird above all the others, for that one reason too, it’s always attracted to that which is beautifully scented. Now, as much as he loves to watch the classiest of birds (the hummingbird), he also, unfortunately, gets to see one of the un-classiest birds around too – the buzzard. I mean, what an amazing contrast. You’ve got the hummingbird (attracted to that which has the fragrance of life) and the buzzard (attracted to that which has the fragrance of death), flying over the same ground! The hummingbird looks for the beauty in life; the buzzard only looks for the ugliness of death!

Thinking of these two birds made me also think of the book of Lamentations, written by the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah, who wrote from a broken heart. You see, his country is devastated, and likewise, his personal life is devastated as well, and so he talks about his feelings in chapter 3, verses 19-20. He says, “I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.” (NIV). We’re talking about a depressed prophet here! And he’s thinking about all of the negatives and the pain and the failures. Listen to him in the following translations:

“Remember [O Lord] my affliction and my wandering, the wormwood and the gall (bitterness). My soul continually remembers them and is bowed down within me.” (AMP);

“The memory of my suffering and homelessness is bitterness and poison. I can’t help but remember and am depressed.” (CEB);

“Just thinking of my troubles and my lonely wandering makes me miserable. That’s all I ever think about, and I am depressed.” (CEV);

“Remember my suffering and my aimless wandering, the wormwood and poison. My soul continues to remember these things and is so discouraged.” (GWT);

“The thought of my pain, my homelessness, is bitter poison. I think of it constantly, and my spirit is depressed.” (GNT);

“Oh, remember the bitterness and suffering you have dealt to me! For I can never forget these awful years; always my soul will live in utter shame.” (TLB);

“The thought of my suffering and homelessness is bitter beyond words. I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss.” (NLT);

“I’ll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness, the taste of ashes, the poison I’ve swallowed. I remember it all – oh, how well I remember – the feeling of hitting the bottom.” (MSG)

Jeremiah is in deep pain! In this moment he has ‘buzzard vision’! He’s looking at the ugly, looking at what’s dying, or looking at what’s dead. He sees affliction, wandering, homelessness, bitterness, depression, troubles, loneliness, misery, discouragement, grief and loss. But before we judge him too harshly, can’t we all be honest and admit we’ve felt some of those things too? And some of us felt many of those emotions for a long time, and even at the same time, for a long time. We’ve all had those moments when we couldn’t walk by faith, because we were stumbling in fear. When the loved one died, when the marriage is looking at divorce, when the children are struggling with sin and peer pressure, when we were afraid we’d lose the house or the car, afraid that we might have to pull the aspiring student out of college because we couldn’t pay the tuition. Or the moment when the doctor gave the diagnosis. When our strong parents, have become so weak and frail with age and ailments that they’re now weaker than we were as babies. When business fails, the church declines, the job lays off. The long-time friendship/relationship ended in the blink of an eye. We’ve all had something, (whether it’s listed above or not), that dampened our spirit and deflated our faith. So, let’s not judge Jeremiah too harshly. After all, when you’ve sat where someone else is sitting, shouldn’t it bring out compassion, empathy, concern, patience and understanding?

So, Jeremiah the prophet is depressed and in pain. And before we move on from here, can I say this…Leaders Are Not Exempt From These Same Emotions! Jeremiah, THE PROPHET, the mouthpiece of God, proclaiming God’s word and directions to the masses, still battled pain and depression, loss and discouragement. Therefore, never let anyone tell you to just ‘get over it’ (no matter what your ‘it’ may be.) Believe it or not but Apostles deal with ailments; Bishops battle discouragement; Pastors press through pain; Elders have to endure suffering; Deacons go through bouts of depression; Ministers have countless miserable moments. In other words, we ALL, even LEADERS, have to deal with LIFE, and all that it brings. Which means you should never feel guilt, shame or embarrassment when hurting. Don’t masquerade, don’t hide, don’t pretend, don’t cover up. And despite what most will tell you, don’t make the fools mistake of ’faking it till you make it’. Please hear me, nowhere in all of Scripture does God tell any of His children to pretend to be okay! What He does say is this:

“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);

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God [set aside self-righteous pride], so that He may exalt you [to a place of honor in His service] at the appropriate time, casting all your cares [all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully].” (1 Peter 5:6-7 AMP);

“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)

Nothing about that says ‘fake it till you make it’! No, instead you’re admonished to be honest about how you’re feeling, what you’re feeling, and then to take it all to God. Aren’t you glad you don’t have to play a role and perform for God? He loves you, as is, and that’s a wonderful feeling! So leader, and laity, alike…don’t let anything or anyone shame you because of what you’re dealing with right now. Be honest about where your emotions are visiting right now, because that’s all they’re doing is Visiting! They will not, cannot, stay and Live here!

That’s the danger of ‘buzzard vision’, it doesn’t just look for something dead, it Always looks for something dead. Neither its vision or focus ever change. That cannot be you! It’s one thing to deal with hurt, pain, and discouragement, but it’s another thing to let that be all you see! And no one can better show us how to shift our vision and focus from ‘buzzard vision’ (only looking for ugly death) to ‘hummingbird vision’ (only looking for beautiful life)!

Read where Jeremiah’s vision shifts, it’s found in verse 21. He says this: “YET this I call to mind and therefore I have hope.” (NIV) Let’s look at this in more detail:

“Then I remember something that fills me with hope” (CEV);

“The reason I can still find hope is that I keep this one thing in mind” (GWT);

“Yet hope returns when I remember this one thing.” (GNT);

“Yet there is one ray of hope” (TLB);

“But there’s one other thing I remember, and remembering, I keep a grip on hope” (MSG);

“Yet I still DARE TO HOPE when I remember this.” (NLT)

You see, after all of that “affliction, wandering, homelessness, bitterness, depression, troubles, loneliness, misery, discouragement, pain, grief and loss”, Jeremiah says there’s ONE thing he remembers, and it’s that ONE thing that gives him hope! I must say, that ONE thing must be something absolutely awesome and powerful, to only be ONE thing, and yet when he remembers it, all the rest is irrelevant! I don’t know about you, but I definitely want to find out what that ONE thing is!

Jeremiah, goes from downcast to hope; from slumped shoulders to his chin held high! Reminds me of the Scripture, “But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, My glory [and my honor], and the ONE who lifts my head.” (Psalm 3:3 AMP).

But, what made the difference for Jeremiah? What lifted his downcast soul to an uplifted position? Let’s read and find out: “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. I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him. The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him.’” (NIV) The Message Bible says it like this: “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. God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits, to the woman who diligently seeks. It’s a good thing to quietly hope, quietly hope for help from God. It’s a good thing when you’re young to stick it out through the hard times.” (MSG)

What a change here! Jeremiah starts looking at the HOPE factors instead of the HURT factors! Can you believe it? As much pain as he was in, all it took was ONE thing, HOPE in God for HELP, to shift his entire perspective! And that’s all you need today as well! HOPE in God for HELP with what’s HURTING You!

NOW, before you get to running and praising…here’s a tough question to ask Jeremiah: Has the situation changed? And his answer? NO. But his focus is about to, because he talks first of all about the margin of difference when times are tough. He says, “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed.” He is suddenly deciding to focus on the Lord’s great love. When you realize just how much the Lord loves you, it deepens your hope in Him. Because when you think about it, when it comes to the people we love, what do we do? We guard them, treasure and cherish them, protect them, provide for them, help them, encourage and strengthen them. And likewise, God loves us so much that he doesn’t leave us in our helplessness, He steps in with a reminder of His love that brings back to our remembrance…HOPE! A hope that reminds you that you won’t always feel this way, you won’t always be in this place. A hope that reminds you that change is still possible. A hope that reminds you that no matter how long you’ve been driving down this dreary, miserable road, there is yet a TURN coming! “You have TURNED my mourning into dancing for me; You have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy” (Psalm 30:11 AMP) Your Turn is Coming! You’ve Endured, now get ready to Enjoy! “Weeping may ENDURE for a night, but a shout of JOY comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5 AMP) In a nutshell: GOOD MORNING SAINTS!

And not only does Jeremiah now focus on Hope and God’s Great Love, but then he talks about the Lord’s Compassions that are new every morning. Those compassions, I think, are like specific, customized actions of love from God that are in each 24-hour period of time. And you’ll see them if you’ll look for “God sightings” every day. They’re God’s little interventions and sometimes big interventions. And Jeremiah has decided to look at those instead. And because they’re new every morning, God never misses a day of making sure you have Hope, which is your reminder of His Great Love and Great Compassion! There’s always some to see, but you have to look for them!

God always supplies us with mercies for what this day will need. The Bible says it like this: “Give us THIS DAY our DAILY bread.” (Matthew 6:11) The New Living Version says it like this: “Give us the bread we need TODAY.” (NLV). How wonderful to know that God looks after us DAILY! He provides and protects us DAILY! He hears us DAILY! He grants us His Great Mercy, Great Compassion, Great Love DAILY! No matter what a day may bring, you are never in that day without God! Which is why you need not worry, fret, fear, or be discouraged. God is with you every-day! Don’t worry about yesterday or even today or even tomorrow, God has them all covered on your behalf!

Here’s Proof: “If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds. “Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them. “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. YOU’LL FIND ALL YOUR EVERYDAY HUMAN CONCERNS WILL BE MET. “Give your entire attention to what God is doing RIGHT NOW, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” (Matthew 6:25-34 MSG)

Yet another reminder of the Lord’s Great Love, Great Hope, Great Provision, Great Compassion and Great Faithfulness Towards YOU!

Maybe you’ve been dwelling on the pain, you’ve been kind of falling into the identity of being a life-long victim. Maybe the monster of self-pity is consuming you. You’ve been focusing on your failures and building this wave of self-doubt and paralysis of faith. Well, if that’s you, know this: It’s only Satan who focuses on the past, because it can’t be changed. A portion of John 10:10 says, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy…” Satan focuses on the past (and tries to get you to do the same), that which is done and over with. Those issues that are dead and not to be revived. He has ‘buzzard vision’, all he looks for is the bad and the unchangeable. He focuses on dead things, but You Don’t Have To! Why? Because the rest of that Scripture reads, “…I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” Satan and his ‘buzzard vision’ only focuses on the dead, but God in His ‘hummingbird vision’ only focuses on life! God points to the future that has yet to be written, and so should you. After all, aren’t you tired of just seeing the carnage, the ugly, the hurting, the negative? Why don’t you choose to focus on what you can thank God for each morning? Look for His love. Review His interventions and His blessings and you’ll feel wind start to rise under your wings instead of weights growing on them pulling you down! It’s a daily, hourly, minute-by-minute, second-by-second deliberate choice! And Only You decide what you want to focus on as you fly over today’s ground!

Don’t be a buzzard! Go for hummingbird vision! Look for the beauty. After all, when you can wake up in the morning knowing that Last Night wasn’t your LAST Night, why would you want to dwell on anything negative? You made it over into a new day, leave the old behind!

“Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, BE PRESENT. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands. Wild animals will say ‘THANK YOU!’ —the coyotes and the BUZZARDS—Because I provided water in the desert, rivers through the sun-baked earth, Drinking water for the people I chose, the people I made especially for myself, a people custom-made to praise me.” (Isaiah 43:16-21 MSG) How funny that you get to enjoy forgetting about old history…but even the ‘buzzards’ will have to tell God ‘Thank you!’ And surely if God can cause ‘buzzards’ to tell Him Thank You, so can you! Today, make a deliberate decision to be happy and joyful and content. Today, remember the Lord’s Help, Hope, Compassion and Care. Today, remember the Lord’s Great Love and Great Faithfulness that are yours for the taking! Today, Dare to Hope Because God is There to Help!

“I’ll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness, the taste of ashes, the poison I’ve swallowed. I remember it all—oh, how well I remember—the feeling of hitting the bottom…”

Yes, like it or not, but we will ALL have moments just like the prophet of utter hopelessness because of varying life struggles. However, we must do as the prophet did, keep moving forward as you remember:

“…there’s one other thing I remember, and remembering, I keep a grip on hope: 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. God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits, to the woman who diligently seeks. It’s a good thing to quietly hope, quietly HOPE FOR HELP FROM GOD. It’s a good thing when you’re young to stick it out through the hard times.” (MSG)

Saints, stick it out through the hard times knowing that you have God’s loyal love, His mercy, His faithfulness, His goodness! And all you have to do is passionately wait and diligently seek God knowing that your quiet hope is bringing some loud help from God that all will hear! Keep trusting and relying on God; keep pressing through the pain; keep releasing all your hurt in prayer, your turn around will come right on God’s schedule, and He is never late!

Dare to Hope, God is There to Help!

Romans 5:5, “Such hope [in God’s promises] never disappoints us, because God’s love has been abundantly poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (AMP)

Psalm 62:5, “For God alone my soul waits in silence and quietly submits to Him,
For my hope is from Him.” (AMP)

“Though our faith may waver, God’s faithfulness will not.” (Alicia Bruxvoort)

“Disappointments are just God’s way of saying, ‘I’ve got something better.’ So be patient, have faith and live your life.” (Author Unknown)

“God has a purpose for your pain, a reason for your struggle, and a reward for your faithfulness. Don’t give up.” (Dave Willis)

“Your most effective ministry will come out of your deepest hurts.” (Author Unknown)

“Never let a bad situation bring out the worst in you. Choose to stay positive and be the strong person that God created you to be.”  (Author Unknown)

Much Love, Dr. Shermaine #EnjoyTheRead #BeInspired #BeEncouraged #BeEmpowered #BeChallenged #ShareTheWordFeel free to also join us at: http://www.selfcarewithdrshermaine.blogspot.com Today’s Lesson: “Are There Health Benefits in Turkey Bacon?”

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“The Danger of Seeking Validation”

I know for a fact that I’m really going to date myself when I share this, but oh well! You see, when I was a teenager, you could often tell a girl was going “steady” with a boy by the jacket she wore. And when my cousin started going “steady” with a girl, she couldn’t wait to get into his jacket; his football jacket that is – the one he earned with blood, sweat, tears, and my aunt’s hard earned money. You could tell this girl was “going with” my cousin. How? The jacket she wore had his name on it. I have to tell you though, it was slightly amusing to me to watch her wear it. You see, my cousin was a big lineman! He was over 6 feet tall and over 300 pounds! His girlfriend on the other hand, was lucky to ever break a hundred on the scale! In other words, she swam in that coat! It completely drowned her! And she wasn’t the only one. We had a lot of girls in our school who were dating athletes, (including myself) and we all wore their jackets as a symbol that stated, “Hey, I belong to him. He’s mine.” But the truth is, most of us didn’t look that great in those guy’s jackets. You see, I discovered that wearing what a man gives you for security may not be the best fit for you after all! Keep that in mind as we journey forward!

We’re going to take a look at Genesis chapter 29. But first let me give you a brief background. Jacob has worked seven years to earn Rachel’s hand. However, he didn’t realize until he lifted the veil on his wedding night that he had been deceived. He had married the sister, Leah, who was not Miss America or Miss Israel for that matter. So he had to work seven more years to get Rachel, the one he really wanted. Now he’s got two wives. The Bible says, “Rachel he loved. Leah was unloved by him.” 

Leah, like many women, had a very deep love hunger that was slowly starving to death.

Genesis 29:31-32, “When God realized that Leah was unloved, he opened her womb. But Rachel was barren. Leah became pregnant and had a son. She named him Reuben (Look-It’s-a-Boy!). “This is a sign,” she said, “that God has seen my misery; and a sign that now my husband will love me.” (MSG) Interesting isn’t it? She’s looking to this man for the love and the identity she needs and she’s coming up empty.

Well, then, she finally has another baby…and another… It says in Genesis 29:33-34, “She became pregnant again and had another son. “God heard,” she said, “that I was unloved and so he gave me this son also.” She named this one Simeon (God-Heard). She became pregnant yet again—another son. She said, “Now maybe my husband will connect with me—I’ve given him three sons!” That’s why she named him Levi (Connect)” (MSG)Again the man does not give her what she needs. 

I’ve always found this story absolutely amazing because it opens up with Leah knowing that this man doesn’t love her, and never has. He has always wanted and loved her sister Rachel. Can you imagine a woman knowing full well that a man does not love her, from the very beginning, and even after he sleeps with her, his only response is, how do I get Rachel your sister instead? And her response to that? I’ll get pregnant and give him sons. You see, it was a big deal in their culture to have the firstborn be a son. So to Leah, it was a sign that Jacob would indeed finally love her (even though he’s given her absolutely no reason to believe he’d changed his mind, or that he ever would). After all, Rachel (no matter how much you love her), is barren. I, on the other hand have given you your firstborn son. Surely, “…my husband will love me…” (MSG). And when that doesn’t happen, Leah continues on her love-deprived search and quest. She gives him 2 more sons, Simeon and Levi. Now she believes God has heard of her unloved misery and that now her husband will connect with her. However, Leah is in for more discouragement and disappointment.

Leah, wanted the love of her husband, she wanted God to hear of her misery and intervene and then she wanted to connect with her husband. Son after son after son…Leah is let down over and over again. She keeps trying to give a man what she thinks he wants so she can finally get what she needs. However, Leah remains unloved and let down.

In truth, Leah reminds me a lot of the young girls/women that I counsel. I just recently had a teenager in my office who just turned 17 and she’s currently pregnant with her third child! (Yes, I said third!) All of them are by the same boy. The same boy in fact, who has told her repetitively that he does not love her or want her. Yet, she’s under the impression that if he didn’t love or want her he wouldn’t keep sleeping with her. One of her last statements to me was: “we have 3 children together so we’ll always be together.” I must admit, I sat in total amazement. But that wasn’t what pushed me over the edge. It was her next statement that did that. She said: “I just pray this baby is finally a boy, he’s always wanted a son, and I just know if I can give him his junior, he’ll love me too much to ever leave me again.” Sadly, this is the mindset of many teenagers, young adult and even adult women. If I just give him what he wants, he’ll give me what I need. This my sisters is a grave mistake! Reminds me a lot of my cousin’s girlfriend wearing his football jacket. The jacket was leather and heavy! Then to add on its size due to his size made her look ridiculous. She couldn’t even walk right wearing that thing. Not to mention she had her own book bag, pocketbook etc…she was weighted down with something she thought gave her validation, identity and a since of security, entitlement and belonging. No matter how foolish it made her look!

The word “Validation” is defined as “to check or prove the validity of; to make or declare legally valid; to confirm; to grant official sanction; to recognize; to establish; to illustrate the worthiness or legitimacy of.”

The word “Value” is defined as “the regard that something is held to deserve; importance or worth; to consider with respect to worth, excellence, usefulness or importance; considered beneficial; assigned worth; to regard or esteem highly; to calculate, assess or appraise”

Women, looking for a man to give you what only God can will always leave you empty, deprived and longing. No man, no matter who he is, where he comes from, what he has, what he does, what he looks like, can validate your value! Your worth and worthiness come from God alone. The sooner women grasp this, the better! I don’t care how fine you look, how shapely your figure, how wonderful you may be in the kitchen and in the bedroom, no man can validate your value. You are the sole property of God alone. Therefore, it is He alone that proves your worthiness, importance, significance, and usefulness. No man has the right to do this. You can wear all the name-brands in the world, wear the most stylish of hairstyles, have flawless skin (or flawless makeup), and still your worth cannot be validated by a man. So, stop attempting to prove your worth to a man. Stop giving him what you need to keep for yourself. Stop lowering your standards, self-respect and self-esteem. Stop compromising your convictions. Stop waiting by the phone for it to ring. Stop sitting on the sofa staring at the door hoping he comes knocking. Stop jumping and running every time he opens his mouth. Stop crying, begging, pleading, and degrading yourself in hopes that he will love you, want you, need you, or value you. Stop getting in that bed over and over again, only to leave with sex, not love. Stop depleting your bank account in hopes of making him happy. Stop buying him stuff. Stop trying to prove your worth so he deems you worthy. No man can validate your value! Giving him what he wants sexually, giving him children, giving him stuff, will never prove your worth! 

Leah had son after son after son, and each time it had nothing to do with her, she did it all for a man. Grant it, it was her husband, but a husband she knew never loved her. She kept trying to prove she was worthy of his love, and yet he continued to overlook her because his sight was on Rachel alone. She didn’t have children because she wanted to be a mother, she had them because she wanted the love of a man. And before you judge her too harshly, might I ask you to self-exam and see what have you done down through years for the love and attention of a man? What bed did you enter for a man? How much money did you waste for a man? How much of your self-respect went out the window for a man? How much of your future have you lost focus on for a man? How many of your gifts, talents and abilities are still lying dormant, because you’re still laying like a doormat for a man? 

If women could only see their worth and value, the fashion, hair and makeup industry would literally dry up. We wouldn’t have so many Barbie dolls trying to look “ideal” for a man that’s not “ideal” himself. No matter how sexy you look or how sexual you are, your value and worth have nothing to do with either. I’ve never seen an age with so many “sex symbols” at such young and tender ages. Cleavage is hanging out of everywhere. Panty-lines are visible. Skirts are the width of belts. Clothes are being worn 3 times too small. Boots are coming up to the thighs. Lace used to be considered an undergarment, and now it’s the only garment. Now, I know the world believes that sex sells, but as women of God that has absolutely nothing to do with us! We are indeed more than lips, hips and fingertips. We are more than eye-candy, a trophy wife or notch on a man’s belt. As women, our Significance isn’t founded on Sex!

1 Corinthians 6:16-20: There’s more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact. As written in Scripture, “The two become one.” Since we want to become spiritually one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever—the kind of sex that can never “become one.” There is a sense in which sexual sins are different from all others. In sexual sin we violate the sacredness of our own bodies, these bodies that were made for God-given and God-modeled love, for “becoming one” with another. Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body.” (MSG)

Daughters, you are of high value and worth. Neither sex, or looking sexy is validation of value. You don’t “look” valuable, you simply are!

1 Peter 3:1-4, “The same goes for you wives: Be good wives to your husbands, responsive to their needs. There are husbands who, indifferent as they are to any words about God, will be captivated by your life of holy beauty. What matters is not your outer appearance—the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear, the cut of your clothes—but your inner disposition.” (MSG)

1 Timothy 2:8-10, “Since prayer is at the bottom of all this, what I want mostly is for men to pray—not shaking angry fists at enemies but raising holy hands to God. And I want women to get in there with the men in humility before God, not primping before a mirror or chasing the latest fashions but doing something beautiful for God and becoming beautiful doing it.” (MSG)

Titus 2:1-6, “Your job is to speak out on the things that make for solid doctrine…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…” (MSG)

Women, are you getting this? It’s not about your hair, clothes, style, looks, or sexiness. It’s about the beautiful woman you are on the inside that knows her value and worth are established by God, and none other. It’s about maintaining your character, integrity, dignity, elegance, and class. It’s about letting a man know your worth, not proving your worthiness to a man.

Which reminds me of the following poem: “Women are like apples on trees. The best ones are at the top of the tree. The men don’t want to reach for the good ones because they are afraid of falling and getting hurt. Instead, they just get the rotten apples from the ground that aren’t as good, but easy. So the apples at the top think something is wrong with them, when in reality, THEY’RE amazing. They just have to wait for the right man to come along, the one who’s brave enough to climb all the way to the top of the tree.” 

 Sisters, stay at the top of the tree! Make him climb, exert effort, pursue you (not the other way around!) Take the signs off your back that read: “for sale; bargain; discount; great deal; thrift; inexpensive; used; hand me down; negotiable; disposable; clearance” Daughter, you are worthy, valuable and priceless! Walk like it, talk like it, think like it, dress like it, act like itlive like it!

Back to Leah…yes, she indeed wanted the love of Jacob. She had 3 sons to prove that’s what her heart’s desire was. She wanted to be loved, she wanted to be heard, she wanted to be connected to. But all of those things were to a mere man. However, that is not the ending of Leah’s story. Iverse 35, “She became pregnant a final time and had a fourth son. She said, “This time I’ll praise God.” So she named him Judah (Praise-God). Then she stopped having children’” (MSG). 

Leah had hoped to find her identity in Jacob’s love. She didn’t get it. But finally, after three times of counting on a baby to secure her man’s attention, she refocuses her love hunger from Jacob to Jehovah; from her husband to her Heavenly Father. There’s many of women who have been disappointed by a man; hurt by a man. There’s frustration, there’s bitterness. There’s a distorted view of real love. There’s been hurt by the lack of love or approval that you could never seem to win, or maybe a boyfriend or a husband has let you down like Jacob did Leah. You feel betrayed, abandoned, unloved, unnoticed and unworthy. Leah, like so many women, was looking in the wrong place for identity. No woman was ever meant to derive her identity and worth from the approval of a man. And so, Leah said, “I’m going to turn to the Lord.” Maybe it’s time you do the same. 

The jacket that reflected some of my cousin’s identity didn’t fit the woman in his life. She was never meant to find her identity in being his girl. Every woman is headed for disappointment and chronic insecurity if she’s trying to define herself by some man in her world. It’s a liberating day when you discover that no man could do for your worth what the Lord can do. He loved Leah; even when her man didn’t. He gave her His divine blessing when her man wouldn’t give his. Don’t waste time trying to find your identity in the fickle, fragile love or approval of a man. Look beyond them to the Lord. Start drawing on Him for all you need. Remember, the Scripture does not say, “A man is my Shepherd. I shall not want.”…NO! It states, “The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want.” Remember That!

Your identity is that you are a unique, masterpiece creation of a loving God: Ephesians 2:10, For we are His workmanship [His own master work, a work of art], created in Christ Jesus [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used] for good works, which God prepared [for us] beforehand [taking paths which He set], so that we would walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us].” (AMP). You are the Masterpiece of the Master, not that of a mere man! You were created to be Used By God…Not Used By a Man! You are a Daughter of the King! He thought you were worth dying for! And loved you too much to even stay dead! Then loved you even greater, because He refuses to leave you here…He’s coming back just for YOU! What man can possibly love you like that?

Women, be sure that you bring your love hunger to the only One who will never disappoint you – your Savior, your Shepherd, Jesus Christ. 

Now, in closing, I would love to end this on a good note, however, let’s read a little further into the Life of Leah: Genesis 30:16-21, “When Jacob came home that evening from the fields, Leah was there to meet him: “Sleep with me tonight; I’ve bartered my son’s mandrakes for a night with you.” So he slept with her that night. God listened to Leah; she became pregnant and gave Jacob a fifth son. She said, “God rewarded me for giving my maid to my husband.” She named him Issachar (Bartered). Leah became pregnant yet again and gave Jacob a sixth son, saying, “God has given me a great gift. This time my husband will honor me with gifts—I’ve given him six sons!” She named him Zebulun (Honor). Last of all she had a daughter and named her Dinah.” (MSG)

Leah unfortunately continues her journey of unrequited love. She’s still looking for validation of value from Jacob. Two more sons and a daughter, and still she’s in the same place of saying, “…This time my husband will honor me with gifts—I’ve given him six sons!”  

Women, please do not make Leah’s mistake of spending an entire lifetime seeking for a man to give you what he has no right to give you. Your value is never validated by a man, only by your Master.

As a last “Selah”…remember this, Leah had 6 sons, and then lastly a daughter. Daughters were supposed to stick close to their mothers and learn from them. They were taught by their mothers how to be wives. They were to emulate their mothers teaching, behavior and conduct. Makes you wonder, what could Leah possibly teach Dinah about a healthy relationship with a man or a husband? Our children often imitate us to, especially our daughters. And the last thing this world needs, is more young girls watching older women chase after desperate and deprived love, approval, acceptance and validation from a man.

Sadly enough, Leah desperately, but willfully and legally,  gave herself to Jacob (a man she knew from the very beginning never loved her). However, Dinah, you’ll discover in Genesis 34, was raped, and then had her rapist ask for her hand in marriage. And people think watching reality shows is something! Read Genesis 34!

“Now Dinah the daughter of Leah, whom she had borne to Jacob, went out [unescorted] to visit the girls of the land. When Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince (sheik) of the land, saw her, he kidnapped her and lay [intimately] with her by force [humbling and offending her]. But his soul longed for and clung to Dinah daughter of Jacob, and he loved the girl and spoke comfortingly to her young heart’s wishes. So Shechem said to his father Hamor, “Get me this young woman as a wife.” Now Jacob heard that Shechem had defiled (violated) Dinah his daughter; but his sons were in the field with his livestock, so Jacob said nothing until they came in. But Shechem’s father Hamor went to Jacob to talk with him. Now when Jacob’s sons heard of it they came in from the field; they were deeply grieved, and they were very angry, for Shechem had done a disgraceful thing to Israel by lying with Jacob’s daughter, for such a thing is not to be done. But Hamor conferred with them, saying, “The soul of my son Shechem [deeply] longs for your daughter [and sister]. Please give her to him as his wife. And [beyond that] intermarry with us; give your daughters to us [as wives] and take our daughters for yourselves. 10 In this way you shall live with us; the country will be open to you; live and do business in it and acquire property and possessions in it.” 11 Shechem also said to Dinah’s father and to her brothers, “Let me find favor in your sight, and I will give you whatever you ask of me. 12 Demand of me a very large bridal payment and gift [as compensation for giving up your daughter and sister], and I will give you whatever you tell me; only give me the girl to be my wife.” 13 Jacob’s sons answered Shechem and Hamor his father deceitfully, because Shechem had defiled and disgraced their sister Dinah. 14 They said to them, “We cannot do this thing and give our sister [in marriage] to one who is not circumcised, because that would be a disgrace to us. 15 But we will consent to you only on this condition: if you will become like us, in that every male among you consents to be circumcised, 16 then we will give our daughters to you [in marriage], and we will take your daughters for ourselves, and we will live with you and become one people. 17 But if you do not listen to us and refuse to be circumcised, then we will take our daughter [Dinah] and go.” 18 Their words seemed reasonable to Hamor and his son Shechem, 19 and the young man did not hesitate to do the [required] thing, for he was delighted with Jacob’s daughter. Now he was more respected and honored than all [others] in the household of his father. 20 Then Hamor and Shechem his son came to the gate of their [walled] city [where the leading men would meet] and spoke with the men of the city, saying, 21 “These men are peaceful and friendly with us; so let them live in the land and do business in it, for the land is large enough [for us and] for them; let us take their daughters for wives and let us give them our daughters [in marriage]. 22 But only on this condition will the men consent to our request that they live among us and become one people: that every male among us become circumcised just as they are circumcised. 23 Will not their cattle and their possessions and all their animals be ours [if we do this]? Let us consent [to do as they ask], and they will live here with us.” 24 And every [Canaanite] man who went out of the city gate listened and considered what Hamor and Shechem said; and every male who was a resident of that city was circumcised. 25 Now on the third day [after the circumcision], when all the men were [terribly] sore and in pain, two of Jacob’s sons, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s [full] brothers, took their swords, boldly entered the city [without anyone suspecting them of evil intent], and they killed every male. 26 They killed Hamor and his son Shechem with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah out of Shechem’s house [where she was staying], and left. 27 Then Jacob’s [other] sons came upon those who were killed and looted the town, because their sister had been defiled and disgraced. 28 They took the Canaanites’ flocks and their herds and their donkeys, and whatever was in the city and in the field; 29 they looted all their wealth, and [took captive] all their children and their wives, even everything that was in the houses. 30 Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have ruined me, making me a stench to the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites and the Perizzites! My men are few in number, and the men of the land will band together against me and attack me; I shall be destroyed, I and my household.” 31 But they said, “Should he [be permitted to] treat our sister as a prostitute?” (AMP)

Leah made a deliberate desperate decision regarding her body, Dinah unfortunately was made subject to a man that made a decision on behalf of her body. Women, we cannot debase ourselves any longer over the flawed desire for having a flawed man’s validation, which proves and approves nothing. Dinah couldn’t stop what happened to her, but the whole ugly story line that involves two families, neighboring communities and even death are harsh realities that come with choices and consequences relating to sex. Sisters, let’s make better decisions for ourselves, our bodies and our lives and be better examples for our daughters as well. Ladies, remember, they’re watching us. So, let’s make sure we set good examples for them to model.

“The only permission, the only validation, and the only opinion that matters in our quest for greatness is our own.” (Dr. Steve Maraboli)

“Self-esteem comes from within. No amount of validation or approval ‘out there’ will ever give it to you.” (Pinterest)

“The woman who does not require validation from anyone is the most feared individual on the planet.” (Mohadesa Najumi)

“A vibrant and independent woman is much more beautiful than a woman who waits for people to validate her existence.” (Kelly McNelis Senegor)

“It takes a strong person to do their own thing and not wait for anybody else to validate their existence.” (Steven Aitchison)

“Live life in such a way that someone else’s validation means absolutely nothing to you.” (Pinterest)

“An amazing thing happens when you stop seeking approval and validation: You find it. People are naturally drawn like magnets to those who know who they are and cannot be shaken!” (Mandy Hale)

“The more you begin to love yourself, the less you’ll look to others to validate, approve of, or complete you.” (Mandy Hale)

“The dream is yours…why are you asking others to validate or nourish it? Your journey must be self-propelled. It must be fueled from within.” (Dr. Steve Maraboli)

“If you persistently seek validation from others you will inadvertently invalidate your own self-worth.” (Dodinsky)

“Stop allowing other people to dilute or poison your day with their words or opinions. Stand strong in the truth of your beauty and journey through your day without attachment to the validation of others.” (Dr. Steve Maraboli)

“Your self-worth is determined by YOU. You don’t have to depend on someone telling you who you are.” (Beyonce)

“There’s a difference between caring about what others think and worrying about it. When you care about what other people think, you respect and value their opinion. When you worry about it, you depend on their validation for your worth. So keep caring. Keep treating people like they matter. Just know that you matter too, whether they confirm it or not.” (Lori Deschene)

“Stop validating your victim mentality. Shake off your self-defeating drama and embrace your innate ability to recover and achieve.” (Dr. Steve Maraboli)

“Women have to learn where their true source of validation is.” (Maureen Murdock)

“If you live for people’s acceptance, you will die from their rejection.” (Lecrae)

“When you depend on people to build you up, they’ll have the same power to break you down. You don’t need their validation to know your worth.” (Pinterest)

“I’m secure in who I am. I don’t need the validation of those that would say, you have to be a certain way in order to be accepted. I’m comfortable going against the grain. I’m walking my path and I will always walk the direction my heart tells me to go, even if I must walk alone…all fired up!” (Collective Evolution)

“No effective guidance will ever be achieved by seeking approval of others.” (Pinterest)

“It doesn’t matter what other people think. If you make the choice to create positive changes for yourself, that is all that matters. You don’t need anyone’s approval, validation or support…and a lot of the time, you really should avoid it.” (Stephanie Zamora)

“Happiness is discovering that the most worthwhile and powerful validation is the one you give to yourself.” (Dodinsky)

“When I accept myself, I am freed from the burden of needing you to accept me.” (Dr. Steve Maraboli)

“In a relationship, one must not seek validation from the other, it should come naturally. If it’s not there, the worst thing you can do is beg for it.” (Dodinsky)

“Never get your sense of worth from outside yourself. Don’t let other people tell you how much you’re worth, decide for yourself. It’s called SELF-Worth not other’s worth.” (Pinterest)

“True confidence is knowing who you are in Christ, and that your validation, approval and acceptance comes from Him.” (Kim Brooks)

“I want to be in a relationship where you telling me you love me is just a ceremonious validation of what you already show me.” (Dr. Steve Maraboli)

“The more I fill myself with God’s Truth, the less I need validation from others.” (Lysa Terkeurst)

“You don’t need anyone’s affection or approval in order to be good enough. When someone rejects or abandons or judges you, it isn’t actually about you. It’s about them and their own insecurities, limitations, and needs, and you don’t have to internalize that. Your worth isn’t contingent upon other people’s acceptance of you – it’s something inherent. You exist, and therefore, you matter. You’re allowed to voice your thoughts and feelings. You’re allowed to assert your needs and take up space. You’re allowed to hold onto the truth that who you are is exactly enough. And you’re allowed to remove anyone from your life who makes you feel otherwise.” (Daniell Koepke)

“Your value doesn’t decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth.” (Pinterest)

“Stress, anxiety, and depression are caused when we are living to please others.” (Paulo Coelho)

“Once you know your worth, you’ll never feel compelled to give another discount again.” (Pinterest)

“Never allow someone to be your priority while allowing yourself to be their option.” (Mark Twain)

Much Love, Dr. Shermaine #EnjoyTheRead #BeInspired #BeEncouraged #BeEmpowered #BeChallenged #ShareTheWordFeel free to also join us at: http://www.selfcarewithdrshermaine.blogspot.com Today’s Lesson: “Why Are Men Less Likely to See a Doctor?”

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“The Importance of Foundation”

Isaiah 28:16-17, “But the Master, God, has something to say to this: “Watch closely. I’m laying a foundation in Zion, a SOLID granite FOUNDATION, squared and true. And this is the meaning of the stone: a trusting life won’t topple…” (MSG)

It’s said that when Michael Eisner, head of the Disney Corporation, had plans drawn up for a house, one wall was so thin it almost buckled under its OWN weight.

Likewise, another software billionaire’s house had pine siding that rotted BEFORE the house was even completed.

So, were they just too busy to notice the inferior materials being used? Or were they careless in who they hired for the construction and faulty in overseeing the laying of a proper foundation? 

Architects say that people find construction details boring; they’d rather spend their money on glitzy stuff instead. They focus on the light fixtures, the desired wallpaper, the carpeting, and what colors to use in each room as opposed to if a storm hits, is the foundation fortified enough to keep this house from floating away like Noah’s Arc?!

The problem is that people fail to understand that it’s the foundation that determines the strength, stability, and ultimately the longevity and value of the house. A ceiling fan in the bedroom, central A/C, and a patio to barbecue on are irrelevant if the house collapses because you cut corners in its construction! Well, as it goes for a house, so it goes for your Character. Which is why you should take the time to ask and answer the following for yourself: Am I putting all of my efforts into maintaining an inferior ‘image’ while I neglect putting into place the foundational blocks that will fortify my character such as my attitude, integrity and responsibility to fulfilling my God-given purpose?

Listen: We have enough people giving the appearance of a leader and the appearance of character, and the appearance of a lifestyle that exemplifies that of Christ-Likeness. But what happens when the act has to end and you have to step out of the character you’ve been portraying and now you have to face the reality of life with all of its real challenges, not the Hollywood scenes you’ve rehearsed for the audienceWill the REAL YOU be able to remaining standing, or will the façade (defined as: ‘a deceptive outward appearance’) fall?

Listen to Jesus’ words: “These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are FOUNDATIONAL words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit—but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock.” (Matthew 7:24-25 MSG).

Houses built on sand are quick, cheap and easy; they provide temporary comfort and instant gratification. And sadly, this has become the norm for believers lives today. We want everything quick, cheap and easy! We want a marriage without prayer, preparation or pre-martial counseling (not to mention you don’t clean and can’t cook); we want children when we have no savings put aside to ensure they will have milk, pampers, a crib, and an actual room to call a nursery (not grandma’s old sewing room, because you can’t afford anything else); we want a brand new car when we can’t keep a metro-card filled from week-to-week, we want a house with bad credit, 20 year old debt, and a credit score that’s too low to rate! We want a promotion and have yet to proven to excel at the current job level, we want a building with no blueprints, a business with no plan, a ministry with no calling and an anointing with no adversity or affliction. We want online degrees, credits, and credentials, because that’s easier than having to physically sit under someone and have them adequately critique us by what they See not just what we Say and Write. We want everything quick, cheap and easy, but we forget how the sandcastle crumbles: “But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach. When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards.” (Matthew 7:26-27 MSG).  That’s the price you pay for quick, cheap and easy, are you sure it’s worth it?!

HOWEVER, building on rock is hard; it takes time, effort, foresight and perseverance – but the results are worth it because they’re lasting! Whether it’s a marriage, mother/fatherhood, a business, ministry, church or friendship, when you take the time and build it accordingly, it will outlast the storms of life! Which is why most marriages, yes even Christian ones, don’t last! We can be so desperate to change our “status” from single to married; barren to mother; high-school drop-out to Doctor of “Anything”, that we will literally settle for Anything! As long as I can have a quick turn-around, overnight it will be worth it. Well, I beg to differ for many reasons, but for one in particular, I’m a Witness That This NEVER Works!

For me, PERSONALLY, it wasn’t about marrying the wrong man, but it was about marrying at the wrong time! When me and my husband wed, we both had so much baggage from our previous relationships that it was just about impossible to build a new life with old, damaged materials. We had health challenges, financial restraints, and 6 children to figure out how to raise in one 2 bedroom attic apartment. Not to mention living in Queens, but having work and church in Long Island, and all with no car! We entered into something permanent without properly handling the temporal challenges that weren’t easy but possible to change for the better. So a good part of marriage was miserable because we didn’t do as the Scripture says:

“One day when large groups of people were walking along with him, Jesus turned and told them, “Anyone who comes to me but refuses to let go of father, mother, spouse, children, brothers, sisters—yes, even one’s own self!—can’t be my disciple. Anyone who won’t shoulder his own cross and follow behind me can’t be my disciple. “IS THERE ANYONE HERE WHO, PLANNING TO BUILD A NEW HOUSE, DOESN’T FIRST SIT DOWN AND FIGURE THE COST SO YOU’LL KNOW IF YOU CAN COMPLETE IT? IF YOU ONLY GET THE FOUNDATION LAID AND THEN RUN OUT OF MONEY, YOU’RE GOING TO LOOK PRETTY FOOLISH. Everyone passing by will poke fun at you: ‘HE STARTED SOMETHING HE COULDN’T FINISH.’ (Luke 14:25-30 MSG)

In other words, we never sat down to figure the cost of building a new life! We didn’t figure in where to live; what we could afford; how were we going to get around; where would the children go to school; will we be able to feed 8 mouths; what happens if one of us loses our job (which did in fact happen to both of us at the same time, from the same job); what happens if one of us is disabled due to one of our health challenges? What will we do to send 6 children, who are all back-to-back in age) to college just about at the same time? Will we be able to afford health coverage for a family of 8?!

We did not count the cost, we did not plan, we did not prepare, we did not try to figure anything out.  And we “ran out” of many things, many times, because we did not lay a proper foundation. Are we still married? Yes, almost 21 years and running. How are our children? Great, educated and employed. Do we have any regrets? Absolutely! Because we still face challenges today, because of all we didn’t properly prepare for yesterday!

I share all of this with you because so many are unfortunately looking for an easy way out of just about everything! And like it or not, but a new spouse, church, clothes, hairstyle, affair, substance abuses, job promotion etc… can’t fill the void of gaps in a cracked foundation. Quick, cheap and easy, doesn’t last, but pacing yourself, taking your time, persevering, putting in hard work and counting up the cost, in advance, gives you a better return on your future investments.

So, don’t try to buy the house and car tomorrow, don’t try to drive off the parking lot today, don’t try to get a 10 year degree in 10 months, don’t try to get pregnant just yet, don’t quit the job prematurely, don’t change churches…again! Wait, sit down, take your time, be patient, draw up a plan, have a back-up plan in place, get the right construction workers to work with you, make sure you have proper backing, and all of your papers in order, then proceed wisely and cautiously. You don’t want a 2 year marriage to end up in divorce court; you don’t want children that you have to depend on the state to feed, you don’t want to go to the wrong school and get the wrong degree, that doesn’t get you into the right job. You don’t want to leave the church that feeds you for a church that eventually causes you to become spiritually malnourished.

Now, if you’re not sure what kind of house you’re building it’s really easy to find out, all you’ve got to do is just watch what happens when the storms of life hit! Because evidence that you built on sand is when you can easily walk out of the marriage, children, church, job and school because of a few drops of rain on a cloudy day! You see, a house built on rock will withstand the same storm that levels those built on sand! The marriage may not be smiles every-day, but it will last; the children may not be perfect, but they’re progressing; the church may push you to want to switch religions some days, but stick it out, growth often comes in the midst of struggles; the job may not give you the promotion you desire or even deserve, but it yet provides a paycheck that keeps you from standing in line waiting for a cot and a cup of soup at the homeless shelter and soup kitchen; school can oftentimes make you wonder if your brain even works, but remember even if what it took them 2 years to get, takes you 10, it will be worth it, because you didn’t throw in the towel. You stuck it out and made it work, and that’s what rock builders do, they work hard, they sweat hard, and many days they cry hard; but they eventually enjoy the spoils of victory from surviving life’s hardest battles!

Simply stated, there are no shortcuts! And the word “short-cut” is defined as “an alternative route that is shorter than the one usually taken”; or the secondary definition I prefer calls it, “an accelerated but somewhat irregular way of doing something.” And the word “irregular” is defined as “contrary to a rule and standard.” And what’s our rule and standard? “These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are FOUNDATIONAL words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit—BUT NOTHING MOVED THAT HOUSE. It was fixed to the rock.” (Matthew 7:24-25 MSG). Our standard is that of excellence! We do not go the way that is quick, cheap and easy, but we plan, prepare, work hard, and build what is solid and lasting. We’re like the athlete that trains hard and wins! The Bible says it like this, “You’ve all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally.” (1 Corinthians 9:25 MSG). We do nothing for momentary gratification, but we live lives that will leave durable legacies built on strong, solid, fortified foundations fixed to the Rock!

Remember this: Character is the result of Commitment, Consistency, and Building According to the Principles of God’s Word. When you make these the Foundation of Your Life you’ll make it through Any Storm in Life!

Build a solid life that will outlast your life! That’s what legacies are all about!

However, in order to attain this, you have to make sure you’re building with the right materials on the right foundation. And what are the right materials? Prayer, the Word of God, fasting, patience, faith, trust, hope, humility, wisdom, obedience, perseverance, the Voice of God, the indwelling of the Holy Ghost and the like. And we use all of this to build on what foundation? Jesus, the cornerstone that can never be moved! If you want a life, family, ministry, church, business, marriage that doesn’t topple over, use these materials and build only on the foundation Jesus has laid! Then, when the storms of life hit, you’ll remain standing! Be the Smart Builder not the Stupid One; Be Wise and Not Foolish; Build On What is Solid Not Sandy; and Then You’ll Have What Stands and Never Falls!

But you, dear friends, must build up your lives ever more strongly upon the foundation of our holy faith, learning to pray in the power and strength of the Holy Spirit.” (Jude 1:20 TLB)

“Or, to put it another way, you are God’s house. Using the gift God gave me as a good architect, I designed blueprints; Apollos is putting up the walls. Let each carpenter who comes on the job take care to build on the foundation! Remember, there is only one foundation, the one already laid: Jesus Christ. Take particular care in picking out your building materials. Eventually there is going to be an inspection. If you use cheap or inferior materials, you’ll be found out. The inspection will be thorough and rigorous. You won’t get by with a thing. If your work passes inspection, fine; if it doesn’t, your part of the building will be torn out and started over. But you won’t be torn out; you’ll survive—but just barely.” (1 Corinthians 3:9-15 MSG)

“Afflicted city, storm-battered, unpitied: I’m about to rebuild you with stones of turquoise, Lay your foundations with sapphires, construct your towers with rubies, Your gates with jewels, and all your walls with precious stones. All your children will have God for their teacher— what a mentor for your children! You’ll be built solid, grounded in righteousness, far from any trouble—nothing to fear! far from terror—it won’t even come close! If anyone attacks you, don’t for a moment suppose that I sent them, And if any should attack, nothing will come of it. I create the blacksmith who fires up his forge and makes a weapon designed to kill. I also create the destroyer— but no weapon that can hurt you has ever been forged. Any accuser who takes you to court will be dismissed as a liar. This is what God’s servants can expect. I’ll see to it that everything works out for the best.” God’s Decree.” (Isaiah 54:11-17 MSG)

“That’s plain enough, isn’t it? You’re no longer wandering exiles. This kingdom of faith is now your home country. You’re no longer strangers or outsiders. You belong here, with as much right to the name Christian as anyone. God is building a home. He’s using us all—irrespective of how we got here—in what he is building. He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation. Now he’s using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together. We see it taking shape day after day—a holy temple built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God is quite at home.” (Ephesians 2:19-22 MSG)

“Meanwhile, God’s firm foundation is as firm as ever, these sentences engraved on the stones: God knows who belongs to him…” (2 Timothy 2:19 MSG)

“Welcome to the living Stone, the source of life. The workmen took one look and threw it out; God set it in the place of honor. Present yourselves as building stones for the construction of a sanctuary vibrant with life, in which you’ll serve as holy priests offering Christ-approved lives up to God. The Scriptures provide precedent: Look! I’m setting a stone in Zion, a cornerstone in the place of honor. Whoever trusts in this stone as a foundation will never have cause to regret it. To you who trust him, he’s a Stone to be proud of, but to those who refuse to trust him, The stone the workmen threw out is now the chief foundation stone. For the untrusting it’s…a stone to trip over, a boulder blocking the way. They trip and fall because they refuse to obey, just as predicted.” (1 Peter 2:4-8 MSG)

And I tell you, you are Peter [Greek, Petros—a large piece of rock], and on this rock [Greek, petra—a huge rock like Gibraltar] I will build My church, and the gates of Hades (the powers of the infernal region) shall not overpower it [or be strong to its detriment or hold out against it].” (Matthew 16:18 AMP)

PEOPLE OF GOD, WHETHER IT’S YOUR LIFE, MARRIAGE, FAMILY, MINISTRY, CHURCH, BUSINESS, OR CHILDREN, THE FOUNDATION MATTERS, THE FOUNDATION IS IMPORTANT, THE FOUNDATION IS ESSENTIAL, THE FOUNDATION IS VITAL, LET NO ONE TELL YOU DIFFERENT!

John Ruskin said, “The highest reward for man’s toil is not what he GETS for it, but what he BECOMES by it.

And when you take the proper time to use the right materials and build on the right foundation, the highest reward for your toil is not pats on the back, awards and special announcements. No, your reward is becoming a believer who knows how to build on a foundation that stands! And that’s the greatest reward this side of heaven!

Much Love, Dr. Shermaine #EnjoyTheRead #BeInspired #BeEncouraged #BeEmpowered #BeChallenged #ShareTheWordFeel free to also join us at: http://www.selfcarewithdrshermaine.blogspot.com Today’s Lesson: “Staying Safe During a Heat Wave”

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“It’s Time to Clean House”

John 2:13-17, “When the Passover Feast, celebrated each spring by the Jews, was about to take place, Jesus traveled up to Jerusalem. He found the Temple teeming with people selling cattle and sheep and doves. The loan sharks were also there in full strength. Jesus put together a whip out of strips of leather and chased them out the Temple, stampeding the sheep and cattle, upending the tables of the loan sharks, spilling coins left and right. He told the dove merchants, “Get your things out of here! STOP TURNING MY FATHER’S HOUSE INTO A SHOPPING MALL!” That’s when His disciples remembered the Scripture, “ZEAL FOR YOUR HOUSE CONSUMES ME.” (MSG)

Growing up, one of the most disorganized rooms in the entire house was the garage. You see, that was my dad’s domain. Truly the original man cave. Everywhere you turned, there was evidence, without a shadow of a doubt that proved this garage belongs solely to the man of the house. It was filled (or better yet cluttered and congested) with tools (after all he was a mechanic); wood (since we had a fireplace in the living-room) so dad chopped wood at 4am and stacked them (in no particular order) in the garage. There were oil cans, gas cans, beer cans, soaked rags with who knows what that should have caused the house to explode at any given moment. There was dad’s work boots and work clothes. A raggedy black and white little television, and a beat up little radio that I believe only had 3 stations. In other words, the garage was a nightmare! Now, if it stayed just dad’s nightmare that would have been fine. However, the day I got in trouble at school, dad’s nightmare…became mine.

You see, me and some friends had the bright idea that each of us would stand at a different fire drill alarm post in school and at a certain time, we would all pull the alarms at the same time (no idea why we thought having all of us pulling a different alarm was supposed to do something completely different than setting off the same alarm system…guess you could call it the stupidity of youth – sounds like a pretty good diagnosis!). But needless to say, I didn’t think through where I chose to stand to pull my alarm. Why do I say that? Because I picked the alarm right next to detention! A tad-bit prophetic don’t you think? You see, that’s what you call pure brilliance at its best! So, as if I have to tell you how this ended, the dean caught me, brought me to the principal’s office and called dad! Detention would’ve been a blessing compared to dad’s genius idea of a punishment. Allow me to explain: Mom was driving dad nuts about straightening up the garage before the holidays when family and friends would be visiting, and finally (due to my mental disorder called stupidity of youth), he had just the person to get her off his back. You guessed it, ME!

Now, I must admit, it took me a good while to get up the courage to clean up dad’s garage. But, it might have taken you time to do it too, if you had seen what shape it was in! I mean, there was the general accumulated “mess” that hadn’t been touched for a while. And then there was the mess left from his friends that asked him if they could store their stuff there. On top of that, different members of our family had been going, and borrowing and returning, and borrowing and returning, and oh my goodness the mess was everywhere from everyone! Rakes, garbage bags, lawnmowers (broken and fixed alike), radiators, wires, dog chains (and a few dogs), chairs with 3 legs, tables with 1, it was a wreck!

If I had to give it a name it would be “Mount Mess”! And there it was right in front of me (and only me). So, since, unlike my dad, I had no one I could delegate this assignment to, I go and get on my “work” clothes, go downstairs, take a deep breath and I almost turned around and gave up at the first sight of it. Truthfully, my first thought was, “How about I just torch it?” But no, I figured that would indeed get me into more trouble. So, the only solution was to suck it up and clean it up. But the question that depressed me even more was one that you’ve probably asked while facing a “Mount Mess” of your own, “Where Do I Start?

That’s usually the first question that comes to mind. And if we would dare look at the Mount Mess that the House of God has become, we would have to ask ourselves that very same question. I mean, how did we allow so much of the world to get into our worship? What happened to our pure motives and intentions? What happened to living right, clean, godly and holy? What happened to sacred garments and sacred music? When did pollution enter our praise and repentance exit our prayers? When did it become acceptable to dress any kind of way, talk any kind of way, act any kind of way and live any kind of way? When did it become okay to curse, steal and lie in the House of God? When did we start justifying fornication and adultery as “strongholds and struggles”? When did pride, arrogance, conceit, comparisons and competition become the order of the day? When did slander, mockery, rumors, gossip, belittling, and backbiting get approved in the House? When did taking money out of the House become more important than sowing tithe and offering in it? Who gave the green light for the preachers to be posted and propped up on pedestals, with cushioned strategically placed seating? When did God become a visitor in His own House, while pomp and circumstance moved permanently in? When did the House of God become so filthy? And who will be the ones to clean it up?

Since we learn by repetition, let’s take a look at our text again shall we? John 2:13-17, “When the Passover Feast, celebrated each spring by the Jews, was about to take place, Jesus traveled up to Jerusalem. He found the Temple teeming with people selling cattle and sheep and doves. The loan sharks were also there in full strength. Jesus put together a whip out of strips of leather and chased them out the Temple, stampeding the sheep and cattle, upending the tables of the loan sharks, spilling coins left and right. He told the dove merchants, “Get your things out of here! STOP TURNING MY FATHER’S HOUSE INTO A SHOPPING MALL!” That’s when His disciples remembered the Scripture, “ZEAL FOR YOUR HOUSE CONSUMES ME.” (MSG)

I’ll tell you what’s incredible about this text. This is Jesus’ first appearance in Jerusalem. And yet, people love to say first impressions say a lot. Well, Jesus made a pretty good first impression, didn’t He? He’s going to the big city. So, you’d think He’d want to make a nice, positive impact there when He arrives, right? Come on, you know how we do, we love to be impressive. We don’t want to ruffle any feathers. We want to look good, show off our good side with our good clothes and good looks. We want to put our best foot forward. We want to say the right things, do the right things, and act the right way. But notice what Jesus first act is. It’s not a miracle, it’s not a healing, and it’s not a sermon. It’s an indignity – an attack – against sin in God’s House!

Now, you and I are living in a world that morally resembles my dad’s un-cleaned garage – it’s a spiritual mess. Sex has been divorced from love and commitment. Speaking of divorce, it’s the most common “answer” for marital problems today. Lying is so common you pretty much expect people not to be telling the truth. There’s the garbage permeating our media input, and it just goes on and on. So, when do we start cleaning, and where are we going to start cleaning?

Well, being that Jesus’ reaction was so extreme, might I suggest we START BY CLEANING UP OUR FATHER’S HOUSE FIRST? After all, that’s where Jesus started! And according to the Word of God, that’s where it will always start!

Listen to 1 Peter 4:17“For the time has come for judgment to BEGIN at THE HOUSE OF GOD…” (NKJV)

Listen: I didn’t go to my neighbor’s house to clean their garage. No, I was assigned to clean the garage IN MY FATHER’S HOUSE! Now, does that mean I couldn’t help my neighbor with his/her garage? Absolutely not. However, it must BEGIN WITH MY FATHER’S HOUSE.

Now, I know there’s a great deal we as believers can do to help to improve this world and make it a better place. But we can’t clean the outside of the cup and leave the inside dirty; nor can we clean up the world while the House of God is filthy! Our God has Set the Standard, and the Standard is ORDER! 1 Corinthians 14:33, “For…God is NOT a God of confusion and disorder but of peace and ORDER. AS [IS THE PRACTICE] IN ALL THE CHURCHES OF THE SAINTS (GOD’S PEOPLE)” (AMPC) His Standard is Order, Therefore, Our Standard is Order! And Cleaning House Begins With His House! We Need to Clean From the INSIDE…Out! Matthew 23:25-26, “You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You burnish the surface of your cups and bowls so they sparkle in the sun, while the INSIDES are maggoty with your greed and gluttony. Stupid Pharisee! Scour the INSIDES, and then the gleaming surface will mean something.” (MSG)

People of God, it’s not enough to “look good”, or “look clean; look holy; look righteous; look godly.” After All, Looks and Appearance Mean Nothing! 2 Timothy 3:5, “holding to a FORM of [OUTWARD] godliness (religion), although they have denied its power [for their conduct nullifies their claim of faith]. Avoid such people and keep far away from them.” (AMP) Haven’t we been holding on to this “form” long enough? Looking regal on the outside while rotting on the inside. Trying to build up the world while the House of God is demolished by our own hands. Propping up the world, while the Standards of the House of God fall down. Saints, we need to begin with us! Cleaning Our Father’s House! Cleaning from the INSIDE…Out! And brothers, Jesus is your example, because HE Started Cleaning the Father’s House First!

See, we’ve become amazingly casual about sin. Oh, we’re against it, but we flirt with it and we see how close we can get to it. We read about it, we watch it being portrayed, we laugh about it, and we allow creeping compromise to erode what was once a much higher standard in our lives just a short time ago. But Jesus however, takes a whip to sin when it’s tolerated in His Father’s House, and guess what? Just as the physical building we go to, to attend church; WE are also the Temple of God! We are also His House! So while we’re cleaning up the building, let us not forget to also clean our temple! 1 Corinthians 6:16-20, “There’s more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact. As written in Scripture, “The two become one.” Since we want to become spiritually one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever—the kind of sex that can never “become one.” There is a sense in which sexual sins are different from all others. In sexual sin we violate the sacredness of our own bodies, these bodies that were made for God-given and God-modeled love, for “becoming one” with another. OR DIDN’T YOU REALIZE THAT YOUR BODY IS A SACRED PLACE, THE PLACE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT? DON’T YOU SEE THAT YOU CAN’T LIVE HOWEVER YOU PLEASE, SQUANDERING WHAT GOD PAID SUCH A HIGH PRICE FOR? THE PHYSICAL PART OF YOU IS NOT SOME PIECE OF PROPERTY BELONGING TO THE SPIRITUAL PART OF YOU. GOD OWNS THE WHOLE WORKS. SO LET PEOPLE SEE GOD IN AND THROUGH YOUR BODY.” (MSG)

Sounds like we’ve got a lot of cleaning to do! The House of God (the building) and the Temple of God (us) both need some serious cleaning up and out!

The performance needs to be whipped out of the House of God and the perverseness needs to be whipped out of the Temple of God! Bad attitudes; poor communication; vengefulness; spitefulness; anger; deceit; bitterness; resentment and the like all need to be whipped out of the House of God! Bad decisions; unholiness; addictions; habits; unhealthy thoughts; disrespectful speech; dishonoring conduct; wrongful emotions; unforgiveness; illicit sexual behavior all need to be whipped out of the Temple of God…Us!

See, the Bible says we’re the temple of the Holy Spirit; He lives in us. Now, you may look righteous compared to the rest of the people around you, but your standard isn’t them. It’s the personal holiness standard of Jesus Christ Himself. Oh, sure, we should fight the decay in our lost world, but we should turn most of our guns on our own sin – our own compromise. Truth be told, many people are not considering Christ because they’ve never seen an alternative in someone who is really living for Christ demonstrating the difference.

And how does this tie in to Men cleaning house? Well, Jesus, Fully Man, was the one who started cleaning up and out our Father’s House, and therefore, I believe it’s high-time that Men take their rightful place and do the same. Oh, we’ll call on the men to fix something, move something, lift something, open something, but what about having men reset the Order of the House? Does that mean women have nothing to do? Absolutely not. However, I believe in our Father’s Order, and Men should still sit at the Head of the Table in the House. I believe a great movement in the House would take place should men start moving. And know this, Jesus didn’t gather the disciples, no, He went in and cleaned house Himself. And likewise brothers, you don’t need a crew, squad or team. Just make your commitment to Christ personal and refuse to allow anyone to trash your Father’s House. Clean up the ugly and untrue image that men are just sagging and hanging on corners slinging drugs and shooting guns. That they’re all dead beat dads, unfaithful husbands, and trifling boyfriends. Some say not all men are dogs, but I say no man is one. Dogs are animals on four legs, men are imperfect humans on two. It’s behavior that needs changing and standards that need raising.

Men of God, you are needed in the House of God to Reset its Order. To show our daughters what to look for and look up to; to show women that there are men who protect their women; to show the community that you care about its well-being; to show laity you know how to be humble as leader and show leadership that you know how to follow. Be the example of a praiser and worshiper. Lead out prayer. Expose sin; shut down gossip; kill jealousy; and prove that there are some Men in the House of God that will not allow the House to become Dirty!

And this will require work on your behalf. Read the text: “…Jesus put together a whip out of strips of leather and CHASED them out the Temple, STAMPEDING the sheep and cattle, UPENDING the tables of the loan sharks, SPILLING coins left and right…” Jesus did not take this lightly! He “…CHASED…CAUSED A STAMPEDE, UPENDED TABLES AND SPILLED COINS LEFT AND RIGHT…” In other words, this is not a polite, “please stop doing these things in my father’s house, thank you.” Uh, nope! He had a whip and a mission to clean up and clean out His Father’s House! Men, you need to be on the same Mission! It’s not going to be easy to do, but it still needs to be done and done by you. The House of God needs to look like the House of God, and not one that Rents out Rooms to the World to live in! No, Be Men Who Clean House!

Jesus didn’t tell them to just stop what they were doing, but listen: “…He told the dove merchants, “Get your things out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a shopping mall!” They Were Put Out the House! And men, you need to be just as diligent about your Father’s House. Don’t let anyone come in the House of God and think they can do anything they please. Let them know as soon as they cross over the threshold, you can come as you are, but you can’t stay that way! Lift the standards in the House that compromise will not be tolerated; disrespect will not be tolerated; dressing any kind of way will not be tolerated; talking and acting any kind of way will not be tolerated.

But at the same time, you can’t set a standard that you’re not living up to yourself! Therefore, you have to be the example on display of what Men of God look, sound, and act like. You lead the way. Give them something to emulate. Show them how it’s done in the House, then show them how to carry that outside of the House and into their own. When you lead them well in the House, it will be a double blessing that teaches them how order ought to be set in their own.

Jesus did not sit on the sidelines murmuring and complaining and pointing fingers about what was going on in His Father’s House. No, He took action and did something about it and you are charged and challenged today to do the very same. As the disciples discovered, “…Zeal for Your house consumes me” (MSG), that needs to be the passion of the Men of God in the House of God today.

We have enough men desiring to be Ordained in the House of God, but not enough desiring to set and maintain the Order of the House!

Will you take on the responsibility for raising the standards in the House of God, and making sure that no one comes in to lower them? Will you be the one to set the example of proper leadership in the House (even if you don’t receive a title)? Will you be the one to call sin, sin? Will you be the one to address those who are out of order in the House? Will you be bold enough to confront, correct, and chastise? Will you be the Body of Christ that lends its Members to the Housework of Cleaning Up the House of God?

Remember, He’s coming back for ONE Body, ONE House, ONE Church, and anything or anyone Unclean and Unholy Will Not Be in the Number!

Before I close, there’s one other thing that caught my attention, and that’s where the Scripture says, “…Stop turning my Father’s house into a shopping mall!” Sadly, that is quite descriptive of the House of God today. Some of everything is on Display…except the Glory of God. Which is why Jesus Himself stepped in. Think about it, the Scripture says, “…When the Passover Feast, celebrated each spring by the Jews, was about to take place, Jesus traveled up to Jerusalem. He found the Temple TEEMING with people…” The word “teeming” is defined as, “to be full of or swarming with; to be of great numbers or amounts of something.” Its synonyms are: “abounding, abundant, bursting, crowded, filled, full, jam-packed, loaded, saturated, stuffed, clogged, congested, overcrowded, and over-flowing.” My question then becomes, how could there be this many people in the temple, during the Passover Feast, and no one but Jesus noticed, cared or addressed the filth in the Father’s House? And many of us go to churches with a good number of seats filled, and yet no one is addressing the filth in the Father’s House. We no longer have any more room to even contain the elevated, promoted, entitled, weekly ordained to some new position preachers, teachers and leaders, and yet, the house is still unclean. Vestments are Spotless While the Vestibule is Sinful! No one is bothered, no one is upset, no one thinks anything needs to be done? Have we become so comfortable and content, even in sin, that it doesn’t prick our heart or conscious any longer? Have we become so hard-hearted (and hard-headed) that anything goes in the Father’s House? We’re supposed to render to God a Sweet Smelling Sacrifice of Praise, and yet we’ve allowed both Pulpit and Pew to become  Putrid instead! And what does that mean? ‘Putrid’ is defined as ‘decaying or rotting and emitting a fetid smell; very unpleasant.’ Its Latin Origin ‘putridus’, from ‘putrere’ literally means ‘to rot.’ That’s what the House of God smells like when disobedience, sin, compromise, unholiness, and uncleanliness are allowed to sit week after week in the Sanctuary.

Men of God, let today be the day that you throw on your overalls and your work-boots and get to work in cleaning up and out the House of God. Jesus did, and certainly you are men after God’s own heart aren’t you? Find your zeal for the House of God, and let it consume you to the point you have no room left for compromise (not from yourself or anyone else)!

Let today be the day that Men Clean House, and watch what happens when Order becomes the Order of the Day again!

Much Love, Dr. Shermaine #EnjoyTheRead #BeInspired #BeEncouraged #BeEmpowered #BeChallenged #ShareTheWordFeel free to also join us at: http://www.selfcarewithdrshermaine.blogspot.com Today’s Lesson: “It’s Time to Clean House”

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“Don’t Forget to Meet With God”

Psalm 42:2, “My soul thirsts for the living God. When can I go to meet with Him?”  (ERV).

I’m definitely one of those people who’s always trying to cram one more thing in before I leave for an appointment. And if I can’t, then I make the fools attempt to make it up while I’m on the road! And to be honest, that’s OK, when the weather’s on my side! But on those days when it’s as they say, ‘raining cats and dogs’, that doesn’t exactly work out in my favor! You see, I’ve actually attempted to travel in one of those types of rain storms, while I was already running late mind you, and still trying to squeeze in another project, on my way to a project! I ended up zipping down the highway at top speed, and suddenly I felt myself losing control of the rear wheels! Now, if you’d like a fancy word for that experience, it’s called “hydroplaning”! What happens is, water builds up under your tires so you’re skimming along on water rather than pavement! In case you are unaware, THIS IS NOT GOOD! The rear of your car starts to go somewhere you don’t want it to go and never intended for it to go! If that’s ever happened to you, you know it’s a scary feeling to start hydroplaning – because you’re going too fast, your losing control, and then you end up in a place you didn’t schedule on your agenda! For many foolish drivers like myself (many years ago, lol), you could end up where I ended up once, driving my first car, a Buick in 1993. Want to know where I ended up? In a ditch! That may be part of the reason I don’t drive today! LOL!

For my sake the Chinese Proverb proved to be true: “A fall into a ditch makes you wiser.

With that memory in mind, I thought of King David. King David was ‘hydroplaning’ when he wrote Psalm 42:1-5You see, things were moving really fast and he was losing control, especially of his emotions. David says, “A white-tailed deer drinks from the creek; I want to drink God, deep draughts of God. I’m thirsty for God-alive. I wonder, ‘Will I ever make it – arrive and drink in God’s presence?’ I’m on a diet of tears—tears for breakfast, tears for supper. All day long people knock at my door, Pestering, ‘Where is this God of yours?’ These are the things I go over and over, emptying out the pockets of my life. I was always at the head of the worshiping crowd, right out in front, Leading them all, eager to arrive and worship, Shouting praises, singing thanksgiving – celebrating, all of us, God’s feast! Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul? Why are you crying the blues?…” (MSG).

David’s hurting, David’s crying – morning, noon and night, David is an emotional wreck, David has people looking at him and his situation and so they began pestering him: ‘where is this God of yours?’ Which is how some people may view you and what you’re struggling with: ‘Where is this God of his?’ ‘Where is this God of hers?’ They say things like, ‘I thought you said God was all-powerful; all-knowing; ever-present; almighty; awesome; powerful; your provider; your healer; your protector; your deliverer; your way-maker; your loving and altogether wonderful Heavenly Father. But, if He is in fact all those things, and He’s your God, where is He in your situation? Where is His help in your time of need?’ And David was clearly so friendless while battling this ordeal that he in fact started talking to his own soul: ‘why are you down in the dumps, dear soul? Why are you crying the blues…?’ David’s slipping, David’s overwhelmed, David’s emotions are hydroplaning out of control! Are Yours Too? It’s okay to be honest. After all, only the truth sets you free. Masking, masquerading, pretending, faking it till you make it, are all nothing but chains of bondage. Don’t allow them to keep you bound any longer.

If the truth be told, I was there not too long ago. My challenges were a lot bigger than my resources. I felt like my faith was like a twin-sized fitted sheet on a king-sized mattress; it just couldn’t stretch far enough to cover! I was overwhelmed and anxious. I felt like I’d never catch up on anything. I was falling behind in school work, devotionals, proper scheduling of engagements, etc…Everything just seemed too much! It felt like having 2 body parts being stretched into 20 different directions! The stress of it all had me losing weight, gaining weight, breaking out in acne, losing hair and sleep, and if I kept at it, I could’ve lost my sanity!

But, I must say, I’ve been there before, and if truth be told, I can’t honestly say that I will absolutely never be there again. But that day I wandered into this psalm, Psalm 42where I was hit with a probing question which turned out to be the answer for me. Now, if you’re feeling yourself hydroplaning right now, maybe it’s an answer for you, too. In Psalm 42:2, David asks an extremely important question, that I had to learn to ask likewise, he asked: “When can I go and meet with God?” (NIV).

Like David, I needed to stop my spinning world and simply get away with God. So I got away with just my Bible and my notepad, and I met with God. That may be your Lord’s prescription for all that’s ailing you right now as well. Although many of you may respond, “No way! There’s just too much for me to do to just stop everything!” Well, that’s exactly why you need to! Whether you know it or not, you’re losing control. You have to slow down to listen to your Lord for an extended, uninterrupted, unhurried period of time if you’re ever going to get back on track! Trust me, I’m the Queen of, ‘I don’t have time!’ But that’s why you have to be proactive. Purposely Schedule Time With God! That word ‘schedule’ is defined as, ‘a set plan for carrying out a process or procedure; arranging a timetable.’ And what’s the first thing you need to do in order to start scheduling anything? You have to figure out what your priorities are! A ‘priority’ is defined as, ‘something that is regarded as more important than others; something that is superiority in rank, position, or privilege; preferential; something given or meriting attention before competing alternatives; something that is deemed urgent; supreme and most valued.’ And shouldn’t that be descriptive of our God as our priority before any other person, place or thing? Isn’t He more important than the hair and nail appointment you scheduled? More preferred than your brunch date? Higher in rank and position than going to the laundry, movies, supermarket, or even a church or ministry event? Shouldn’t God be the first person we give preference and privilege to? After all He’s done for us, and means to us, doesn’t that merit giving Him our attention instead of all the other competing alternatives in life? And certainly in these end times, wouldn’t you say that meeting with God consistently is urgent?!

You see, my former pastor used to say, ‘people do what they want to do.’ And it’s true. A lot of the things we say are out of our control, and out of our hands, are not. We’ve simply chosen them as higher on the priority chain than God. How insulting is that to one who laid down His life that we might live?!

Truth is, I understand. Life can become overwhelmingly busy. But nothing in life should become so busy that we have no time to spend with God. And that means outside of Sunday morning services; Wednesday night prayer and bible study; Sunday school or other ‘church/ministry’ activities. But this spills over into purposely getting up at 5am just to sit in quiet time with God. Not to repent; not to ask for stuff; not to seek His favor; but to sit and listen to the heart of God. I’m persuaded we can no longer hear God because we talk too much! We can sit in prayer for a whole hour, and we’re the only ones talking. Then we say ‘amen’, and off to the races. But God has things He wants to say too. How much of God’s directions, wisdom and guidance are you missing out on simply because you can’t be quiet and listen? But no, we can’t sit and wait for God to speak, because we have to beat the clock coming and going every day!

But here’s a quote that has come to be one of my favorites: “Nature does not hurry, yet Everything is accomplished.” (Lao Tzu). If you think about it, Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall, all come year after year, and neither ever rushes to get here, yet they come faithfully and consistently! “For as long as Earth lasts, planting and harvest, cold and heat, Summer and winter, day and night will never stop.” (Genesis 8:22 MSG).

In other words, all the things that God has set or better yet “pre-ordained” in life and for your life, Will Occur, in their Proper Season! 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); Ecclesiastes 3:1, “There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth: (MSG) That word ‘opportune’ is defined as, ‘done or occurring at an especially appropriate time.’ Its’ Latin Origin ‘opportunus’, comes from the combination of: ‘ob’ (meaning ‘in the direction of’) and ‘portus’ (meaning ‘harbor’). Which is descriptive of the wind driving towards the harbor, hence the idea ‘seasonable.’ It’s when something happens at the right time and season, so it’s effortless, even a simple blow of the wind can send it off in the right direction. It’s timely and well-timed. It’s appropriate; fitting, proper, suitable, fortunate and seasonable. And ‘seasonable’ is defined as, ‘something appropriate for a particular season.’ That’s why you have to stop running around trying to make everything happen for yourself overnight! What God deems necessary to happen in your life will happen when it’s the right season for it to happen! Isaiah 60:22, “…I am God. At the right time I’ll make it happen.” (MSG) You don’t have to be so busy trying force what is going to fail because you’re attempting to make it come to pass, out of season! What God has ordained for your life, will have to happen by His hands, not yours. And when you leave it in His hands, you can be assured that it’s already Handled With Care! You Just Have to Wait For Your ‘Due-Season’, which means, ‘a good and appropriate time.’ Saints, God has something Good in store for you, you just need to wait for the right, appropriate, good time for it to come to pass! Remember, God knows seasons, which is why you don’t have 90 degree weather in winter; nor do you have snow in summer! God has ordained the seasons in the earth and in your life! Trust Him, and Trust His Timing.

Therefore, you need not hurry, rush, or attempt to bring forth fruit in the wrong season! If it is to happen, it will! Don’t make the mistake that many, especially those in ministry, are making…and that’s driving so fast up the mountain to reach the top, that they’ve missed the breathtaking scenery along the journey! In their hurry to reach the top of the mountain, to mount a flag of victory, to make a name for themselves, they missed all the “little miracles” along the way! They missed the clouds and the silver lining, they missed the calming powder-blue sky, they missed earth’s most beautiful sunrises and sunsets, they missed the flowers that determined to push their way through the dirt and sprout forth anyhow, they missed all of the creatures, the creation and the Creator rushing to “create” something themselves!

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).

People of God, slow down! Reprioritize your schedule and pen down more time with God. You need His guidance and direction. You need His instruction and wisdom. You need to hear His voice. And you cannot get any of that rushing into prayer and rushing out. You can’t get that while having a to-do-list longer than your time spent with God.

I came to a startling revelation in my quiet time with God recently. He reminded me of all the doctor and specialist appointments, all the ‘abnormal’ reports, the pseudo tumor, all the migraines, the heart murmur, the ectopic pregnancy, the breast surgery, and other surgeries etc…and then He reminded me that TODAY not a one of those things is a problem for me. Why? Because He healed and delivered me and granted me wholeness! And for what purpose? That I run around the earth, under the disguise of “ministry” or “kingdom” work? No, so that I would be mindful of His promise to me: “I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).” (John 10:10 AMP).

Now, does that mean ministry/kingdom work is unimportant? Not at all! But the Scripture gives us the best advice: “Blessed and fortunate and happy and spiritually prosperous (in that state in which the born-again child of God enjoys His favor and salvation) are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (uprightness and right standing with God), for they shall be completely satisfied!” (Matthew 5:6 AMP).

And to add gravy to your mashed potatoes: “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think He’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do His best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way He works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how He works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.” (Matthew 6:30-33 MSG).

SAINTS, STOP HYDROPLANING, GET IN HIS PRESENCE AND HUSH!

Stop running around, in my father’s words, “like a chicken with his head cut off”! Life goes by fast enough, don’t rush and hurry through it, and don’t busy yourself so much that you have no idea where 10 years went! God will provide for you naturally and spiritually, so stop hydroplaning in all the wrong directions, stop wasting your time and your life!  Both of which you cannot get back once they are gone!

Take the time this week to write down what you’re feeling and thinking as you make it your most important business to meet with God and listen to Him. Ask Him for a fresh look at the people in your life, at the pressures, and at your priorities. Ask Him to help you see the forest as a whole again; because if the truth be told, you’ve been overwhelmed by focusing on all the individual trees!

In His presence, set some priorities. Make some plans and weed some things out. You can trust what you’re sensing in an extended time with God. Which needs to be on a more regular basis. Matthew 11:28-30, “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.” (MSG) If you want to learn how to live freely and lightly without being tired, worn out, burned out and weighted down with a life that is heavy and ill-fitting, then do what Jesus invited you to do: “COME TO ME; GET AWAY WITH ME; WALK WITH ME; WORK WITH ME; WATCH ME; KEEP COMPANY WITH ME!” That a lot of ‘ME’! Which tells us just how important Jesus feels about our relationship with Him. He desires to spend time with us and He makes it a priority because He wakes us up every morning without fail; keeps us safe throughout the day; and blesses us with sweet sleep every night. How can we NOT desire to spend time with Him…On Purpose?!

And I’m not talking about spending time with God when the doctor gives you a bad report; or you’ve lost a loved one; or the job laid you off; or the kids are acting up; or the marriage is about over; or the bank accounts have a whole lot of zero’s but with no other number in the front! No, that’s the times when we always go running to God. Then, He’s a Priority, Because for Us Our Problem is a Priority. But that’s not how you build a solid relationship. Spending time with God has to be purposeful and consistent. Spend time with God when everything in your world for a change seems to be going ‘right and good.’ Since those are the times when God is greatly ignored. God has already promised to meet our every need, but that doesn’t mean we treat Him like that’s all we need Him for. He desires a relationship, and a relationship requires time. Make sure you’re not short changing God on your end!

If you’re traveling at a high speed right now and you feel yourself losing control, first of all, SLOW DOWN! You need to carve out time away where your Lord can show you what He wants, what He sees when He looks at the people in your life, when He looks at the situations in your life, and when He looks at the needs in your life. Remember, you have to be still to know that He is God. (Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.”). Here’s some instructions for you everyday from the varying translations of that Scripture: “Be still…” (AMP); “Let be and be still…”; (AMPC); “Our God says, ‘Calm Down’…” (CEV); “Let go of your concerns…” (GWT); “Stop your fighting…” (CSB); “Stand silent!…” (TLB); “Cease striving…” (NASB); “Be quiet…” (NLV). And lastly the Message Bible says, “…“Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at Me, your High God, above politics, above everything.” (MSG) That’s what you need to do today: Be still, calm down, let go, stop fighting, be silent, cease striving, be quiet and step out of the traffic, take a long, look at God, your High God, and know that He alone is Above Everything! Even Your Schedule!

There is more to life than increasing its speed.” (Gandhi).

Stop allowing your entire life to be arranged around trying to get something done, outside of God’s Will, God’s Plan, God’s Purpose, and God’s Timing. It’s all futile, and you’re missing out on life and more importantly, you’re missing out on a relationship with God! Therefore, today, I challenge you to slow down long enough to ask a simple question: “When can I go and meet with God? Then, if you’re smart, you’ll also take time to answer it by saying, ‘Right Now’!

Psalm 42:2, “My soul thirsts for the living God. When can I go to meet with Him?”  (ERV). The word ‘thirst’ is defined as, ‘a sensation of dryness; parched; deficient of moisture; eager; hunger; restless; breathless; longing; pining; dehydrated.’ And ‘dehydrated’ is defined as, ‘burned out; drained; exhausted; fatigued; sapped; weakened; worn out; discouraged; disheartened; dispirited.’ That’s how David described his soul. Maybe that’s how you can describe yours too. And if that is the case, all you need to do to quench your soul’s thirst is meet with the Living Water. When your well is empty, you need to know where to go: John 4:14, “But whoever drinks the water that I give him will never be thirsty again. But the water that I give him will become in him a spring of water [satisfying his thirst for God] welling up [continually flowing, bubbling within him] to eternal life.” (AMP)

David experienced a crazy emotional roller coaster ride throughout Psalm 42:1-5. But the last part of Psalm 42:5 says this, “…Fix my eyes on God – soon I’ll be praising again. He puts a smile on my face. He’s my God.” (MSG) This is how you bounce back like David did. You meet with God and fix your eyes on Him alone. You purposely remove all the distractions and see and hear only Him. You Get In His Presence and You Stay Present. And if you do, the conclusion of your meeting with God will be, “…I’ll be praising again. He puts a smile on my face. He’s my God.” Check your calendar, this is One meeting you can’t afford to miss, rain-check, reschedule, or cancel!

Saints, Schedule Time With God, Your Soul (And Your Life) Needs a Drink of His Living Water!

“If you find yourself a bit irritated or overwhelmed, it’s a sign that you’re spending less time with God and more time with the world.” (Author Unknown)

“Spending time with God is the key to our strength and success in all areas of life. Be sure that you never try to work God into your schedule, but always work your schedule around Him.” (Joyce Meyer)

“Look at your ministry as a marathon not a sprint – build deep foundations of intimacy with God and never let your public schedule get fuller than your time alone with God.” (Vicky Beeching)

“We schedule meetings to keep our business going in the right direction – we need to schedule meetings with God to help keep our lives going in the right direction.” (DeVon Franklin)

“Christian, your time is not your own. You were bought with a price. So glorify God in your schedule.” (David Mathis)

“The biggest battle you will face in life is your daily appointment with God; keep it, or every other battle will become bigger.” (Ravi Zacharias)

“It is not easy to shut out the world, set aside a few minutes by yourself, and spend time in God’s Word and prayer. But it is essential if we are to grow in our relationship with God and be strengthened for the battles ahead. Don’t delay. Begin now to spend time alone with God every day.” (Billy Graham)

“It is impossible for a believer, no matter what his experience, to keep right with God if he will not take the trouble to spend time with God. Spend plenty of time with Him; let other things go, but don’t neglect Him.” (J. Oswald Sanders)

“To hear the whisper of God you must turn down the volume of the world. Find time to disconnect from everything around you and be still in His presence today. He is waiting for you to draw near.” (Author Unknown)

“We can be tired, weary and emotionally distraught, but after spending time alone with God, we find that He injects into our bodies energy, power and strength.” (Charles Stanley)

“We simplify, not just to be less busy…rather, we simplify to remove distractions from our pursuit of Christ.” (Donald S. Whitney)

“Perhaps we should stop talking about being faithful to have a quiet time with God each day, as if we were doing something to earn a reward. It would be better to talk about the privilege of spending time with the God of the Universe and the importance for our own sake of being consistent in that practice.” (Jerry Bridges)

“When you spend time with God and open your heart, your mind and your spirit, He will unfold dreams and images before you. He wants you to see what will happen on the inside before you see it happen on the outside.” (Terri Savelle Foy)

“The time you spend alone with God will transform your character and increase your devotion. Then your integrity and godly behavior in an unbelieving world will make others long to know the Lord.” (Charles Stanley)

“More is accomplished by spending time in God’s presence than by doing anything else.” (Heidi Baker)

“Spending time with God isn’t a magic formula for a perfect life; it’s a rock-solid foundation that will hold you up when everything around you is shifting sand.” (Author Unknown)

“Reduce your stress level by taking time to unplug from the world, open your Bible, and listen to what God has to tell you.” (Author Unknown)

“God wants more than five minutes of your day. He wants to be part of your every moment. Your highs and lows, and everything in between.” (Author Unknown)

“Trust in God’s timing. It’s better to wait a while and have things fall into place than to rush and have things fall apart.” (Author Unknown)

“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” (Stephen Covey)

“Every one of your Disappointments is Your Appointment with God.” (Author Unknown)

“Time spent with God is never wasted.” (Author Unknown)

“Spending time with God, puts everything else in perspective.” (Author Unknown)

“God is never too busy to listen. Never be too busy to talk to Him.” (Author Unknown)

“Prayer is the time you spend alone with God.” (Art Hochberg)

“Nothing will help us grow spiritually more than spending time alone with God every day, reading His Word and praying. Time alone with God is essential to our spiritual welfare.” (Billy Graham)

“When we choose to consistently spend time with God, we will bit by bit begin to find Him present in every area of our lives.” (Sally Clarkson)

“The reason we spend time with God is not so that we will feel invigorated and ready to face the day and get through our agenda; the reason we spend time with God is so that He can set the agenda.” (Author Unknown)

“You don’t need a diploma to preach about Jesus, you just need to spend time with Him.” (Author Unknown)

“There is also a third blessing that comes from spending time alone with God. When we spend time alone with Him, this releases all God’s potential, His power, grace and anointing, all of which are so essential for doing work for the Kingdom of God.” (Sunday Adelaja)

“Stop spending quality time with unqualified people.” (P.L. Wilson)

“You may think you do not have time to feed yourself spiritually, but I assure you that you cannot afford not to.” (Crystal Paine)

“Spend your time in nothing which you know must be repented of; in nothing on which you might not pray for the blessing of God; in nothing which you could not review with a quiet conscience on your dying bed; in nothing which you might not safely and properly be found doing if death should surprise you in the act.” (Richard Baxter)

“Folk spend so much time trying to be connected to people because of who they are; what that relationship represents to them or what they think that person can do for them. Just give me people who I know in my heart know God personally. That’s the greatest human connection I can have. That’s real networking.” (Jason M. Lee)

“If God has called you, do not spend time looking over your shoulder to see who is following you.” (Corrie Ten Boom)

“As you read or listen to God’s Word and spend time talking to Him in prayer, your spirit will eventually become stronger than your flesh.” (Joyce Meyer)

“Do you spend more time focusing on the circumstances of your life instead of on the Almighty God who has chosen every path for you?” (Marci Ferrell)

Much Love, Dr. Shermaine #EnjoyTheRead #BeInspired #BeEncouraged #BeEmpowered #BeChallenged #ShareTheWordFeel free to also join us at: http://www.selfcarewithdrshermaine.blogspot.com Today’s Lesson: “Can You Learn to Breathe Better?”

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“Overcome Overload”

“The minute I said, “I’m slipping, I’m falling,” Your love, God, took hold and held me fast. When I was upset and beside myself, You calmed me down and cheered me up.” (Psalm 94:18-19 MSG)

Before a violin can produce music, STRESS must be put on the stringsBut pull the strings too tightly and they’ll SNAP! The same is true of you! Enough stress gets the juices flowing and helps you do what needs to be done, but beyond that, YOU SNAP! And everyone around you knows when it happens because your attitude gets funky, your temper gets short, your mouth gets reckless, your moods are swinging in every direction, you become sarcastic and belittling, you become combative and pit-bull attackingly miserable and painful to be around! This is what happens when too much STRESS causes you to SNAP!

Someone quipped, “You know you’re on overload when you have no time to cook a tv dinner, the cat’s on tranquilizers, and family reunions have to be mediated by law enforcement!” Seriously, before it gets to that point, do these 2 things first:

(1)   ASK FOR HELP: During Hurricane Katrina, 8 dolphins were swept out of their aquarium into the sea, but because they Stuck Together they were rescued! If One had tried to go it Alone, he’d have perished! That’s why you have to remember when you’re Alone too much you lose perspective. If the enemy can Isolate you, he can Influence you! Which is why God designed His Family to Stay Connected! Or as Paul says, “That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care for another” (1 Corinthians 12:25).  Lena Horne said it best: “It’s not the load that breaks you down; it’s the way you carry it” Maybe you need to stop trying to use 2 hands to carry a 4 hands load! In a Nutshell: ASK FOR HELP! It takes nothing away from your ability, calling, gifts, talents, skill-set or anointing. It’s simply being honest and real that what I’m carrying is heavy and I need help! Anything beyond that is pure arrogance, pride and self-conceit at its best. And believe it or not, but some people see you have too much and wait and watch to see if you’re going to be humble enough to ask for help. And sadly enough, most people don’t! Which is why I will never understand how they get so bent out of shape, when their load levels them! All you had to do was Ask For Help! Truth is many of our mountains are really just several molehills piled up! Therefore, if you want to avoid building mountains start delegating some of your molehills! “Sometimes asking for help is the bravest move you can make. You don’t have to go it alone.” (Author Unknown); “Be strong enough to stand alone, smart enough to know when you need help, and brave enough to ask for it.” (Author Unknown); “Don’t be shy about asking for help. It doesn’t mean you’re weak, it only means you’re wise.” (Author Unknown); “Everyone no matter how big and strong, could use a little help sometimes. Never be afraid to ask for help when you need it. What are we here for, if not for each other?” (Author Unknown); “Ask for help, not because you’re weak, but because you want to remain strong.” (Les Brown); “I’m courageous enough to know I can accomplish great things. I’m humble enough to know when to ask for help.” (Katrina Mayer)

(2)  GET REAL WITH GOD: Under stress a surge of negative emotions can be overwhelming, and unless you unburden your soul before God you’ll explode at the wrong people! The Psalmist suggests: “Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall” (Psalm 55:22 NIV ); “Trust God, my friends, and always tell him each one of your concerns. God is our place of safety” (Psalm 62:8 CEV). It’s no coincidence that many of the Psalms start out with the Psalmist crying out to God for help, and end with him rejoicing because he vented his pent-up frustrations! Maybe you should follow his example! “I am so weak that I can hardly write, I cannot read my Bible, I cannot even pray, I can only lie still in God’s arms like a little child, and trust” (Hudson Taylor). Sometimes that alone, Is Enough! In other words, stop trying to act like Bionic Woman, 6 Million Dollar Man, Superwoman, Superman, and the like. Truth is, you are flesh and blood and a lot more like the Hulk than any other (because one stresser too many and you’re going to turn into a green explosion)! I know you are Spirit and that Spirit has power, but it never diminishes the fact that you are still 100% human, with human limitations! Think about it: Even Jesus had to deal with human emotions! He was compassionate; angry; greatly distressed; sleepy; in anguish; in pain; sorrowful; grieved; thirsty. He asked others to pray with Him and for Him. He wept. He had to deal with difficult family members, friends, disciples, and enemies. Daily He was confronted with the sick, those with ailments and disease; those in need of sight, hearing, speech; forgiveness. Jesus had a full Human plate just as many of us have today. And yet He was still humble enough and honest enough to get away by Himself for alone time with God. The Bible shares, “…Soon a large crowd of people had gathered to listen and be healed of their ailments. As often as possible Jesus withdrew to out-of-the-way places for prayer.” (Luke 5:16 MSG). And this is the all-powerful, all-knowing, all-seeing Jesus the Son of the Living God! And yet, He needed time away, because He never allowed His deity to mask his humanity. He shows us how to deal with varying daily struggles and yet be smart enough, human enough, to pull away and say enough. And if He can do it, surely He desires the very same of us. In fact, in His own words: “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) Sounds to me that God Himself doesn’t mind you getting a little rest in! “I do the best that I can do, and leave the rest to God.” (Danny Dummitt); “When we rest, we trust that God holds everything together.” (Margaret Feinberg); “When we do not allow time to rest, cracks in our spirit can leave us emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually fragile.” (Karen Ehman); “Rest in the security of your Heavenly Father’s arms until you see His power transform your circumstances.” (Stormie Omartian); “Throw yourself upon God’s faithfulness as you do upon your bed, bringing all your weariness to His dear rest.” (C.H. Spurgeon); “Rest is a weapon given to us by God. The enemy hates it because he wants us to always be stressed and pre-occupied.” (Author Unknown); “You have permission to rest. You are not responsible for fixing everything that is broken. You do not have to try and make everyone happy. For now, take time for you. It’s time to replenish.” (Author Unknown)

The Psalmist cried out: “I’m awake all night.” (Psalm 77:4) In another translation the Psalmist REALLY lets you know how he feels: “I found myself in trouble and went looking for my Lord; my life was an open wound that wouldn’t heal. When friends said, “Everything will turn out all right,” I didn’t believe a word they said. I remember God—and shake my head. I bow my head—then wring my hands. I’m awake all night—not a wink of sleep; I can’t even say what’s bothering me. I go over the days one by one, I ponder the years gone by. I strum my lute all through the night, wondering how to get my life together” (Psalm 77:2-6 MSG).  

The truth is, You Can’t Escape All Stress, but you can learn to cope with it by taking control of your life in small but important ways:

(1)  THINK ABOUT SOMEONE OTHER THAN YOURSELFDavid was so frazzled he was awake all night. Ever been thereThat’s when you need to remember: 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). Elijah was depressed and suicidal when God showed him how to help himself. How you ask? BY LEAVING THE CAVE HE WAS HIDING IN, AND GOING OUT AND MINISTERING TO OTHERS! FOCUSING ON SOMETHING OTHER THAN YOURSELF GIVES YOU BETTER PERSPECTIVE! All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too” (2 Corinthians 1:3-5 MSG). Need help? THEN REACH OUT AND HELP OTHERS! However, this does not mean adding someone else’s load to the one you’re already struggling with yourself! It means something a little more simplistic: Tutor a teen with a subject they’re struggling with; drop off a hot plate of food to a senior who lives alone or someone sick and shut in; send someone an encouraging quote who’s dealing with a burden; sit next to someone in service you know is hurting and hold their hand. You’ll be amazed how much of a break your brain will get from constantly being drained by your own struggles. And as an added bonus, when you began to help someone who is worse off than you, it helps to put things into perspective for yourself. Just maybe something or someone you’re struggling with is not as bad as you think…remember as bad as things are they can always become worse. So learn to appreciate where you are and what you have, and the best way to do that is helping someone else! “A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal.” (Dr. Steve Maraboli); “Helping one person might not change the world, but it could change the world for one person.” (Author Unknown); “We rise by lifting others.” (Robert Ingersoll); “We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.” (Ronald Reagan); “The strongest people make time to help others, even if they are struggling with their own problems.” (Simple Reminders); “As you grow older you discover you have two hands: one for helping yourself, one for helping others.” (Audrey Hepburn)

(2)  DON’T GET BITTERLife is 10 percent what happens to you, and 90 percent how you respond to it. When somebody you trust betrays or disappoints you, or you’re struggling financially after tithing faithfully for years, it’s easy to feel let down. But “…Don’t…become bitter” (Hebrews 12:15 CEV); it destroys relationships and cuts you off from God’s presence. The answer is learning to Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will]” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 AMP)Don’t Become Bitter, Become Thankful, and Watch Things Become Better“Things don’t go wrong and break your heart so you can become bitter and give up. They happen to break you down and build you up so you can be all that you were intended to be.” (Charlie Jones); “If I thought about it, I could be bitter, but I don’t feel like being bitter. Being bitter makes you immobile, and there’s too much that I still want to do.” (Richard Pryor); “You either get bitter or you get better. It’s that simple. You either take what has been dealt to you and allow it to make you a better person, or you allow it to tear you down. The choice does not belong to fate, it belongs to you.” (Josh Shipp); “Life is flying by. You don’t have time to waste another minute being negative, offended or bitter. If someone did you wrong, get over it and move forward.” (Joel Osteen); “Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness.” (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.)

Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” (Matthew 6:34 MSGI know today many of you have the testimony that Everything that could go wrong, has gone wrong! Your son tattooed his forehead, your daughter pierced her tongue, your husband’s paycheck went down, your wife’s blood pressure went up, the dog chewed your work shoes, the job wants overtime while you have no vacation time, the toilet’s overflowing, the roof is leaking, the washer sounds like the car and the car sounds like the train and dare we discus it’s day one of PMS?! And naturally today is the last day to send in the check, sign the permission slip, drop that off and pick that up! No Wonder You’re Stressed! Well, let’s see if we can find just a little help! When life gets overwhelming remember these 4 simple things:

(1)  GOD’S STILL LOOKING OUT FOR YOU: I know what it feels like, I know what it looks like, I know what it sounds like, I know what it seems like, and still I say God is Still Looking Out for You! When things look bad, remind yourself that God’s bigger than your problem: “…Don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. GOD WILL HELP YOU DEAL WITH WHATEVER HARD THINGS COME UP WHEN THE TIME COMES”(Matthew 6:34 MSG) God has not and will not ever leave you or forsake you! Hebrews 13:5, “…for He has said, “I will never [under any circumstances] desert you [nor give you up nor leave you without support, nor will I in any degree leave you helpless], nor will I forsake or let you down or relax My hold on you [assuredly not]!” (AMP) You my friend are never alone! You are never without His presence, His protection, His provision. Handle what you can handle then leave the rest in the hands of God. Remember: YOU said you trust Him…now’s the time to prove it! After all, His hands loved you enough to be pierced, nailed, bloodied and disfigured surely they love you enough to hold you in the midnight hour…don’t you think?

(2)  DON’T QUITEvery time you reach the breaking point it’s a test! You have before you a series of choices that will add up to either quitting, or persevering through to victory. Paul was flogged, thrown in jail, shipwrecked and run out of town, but he refused to give in to circumstances and in the end he was able to say, “I have fought the good fight, I have FINISHED the race, and I have REMAINED FAITHFUL” (2 Timothy 4:7 NLT).  DON’T QUIT! Don’t change jobs, change churches, or change spouses! Stick it out and wait for the Lord! He has promised you He has a guaranteed plan for your future: Jeremiah 29:11, “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) and last I checked He Still Cannot Lie and His Word Still Cannot Fail! (“…God is not man, one given to lies, and not a son of man changing His mind. Does He speak and not do what He says? Does He promise and not come through?” (Numbers 23:19 MSG); “…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 I reiterate, Don’t Quit! No matter how many things are going Wrong…God will come through at just the Right time on your behalf!

(3)  IF IT’S NOT YOURS…DON’T TOUCH ITStress comes from micro-managing others and assuming responsibilities that aren’t yours! Establish healthy boundariesIf you’re not sure what’s appropriate, ask God to show you. In other words, adhere to His Word: “…mind your own business; do your own job. You’ve heard all this from us before, but a reminder never hurts..” (1 Thessalonians 4:11 MSG) MAKE SURE YOU’RE NOT CARRYING SOMETHING GOD NEVER HANDED YOU! Selah!

(4)  YOUR BREAKING POINT CAN BE YOUR BREAKTHROUGHEver heard the expression hitting the wall?” Well, Runners use it when they’re exhausted and feel like giving up. But seasoned athletes know if they push through the pain they’ll get their second wind and experience a runner’s high” that’ll carry them over the finish line! So, Don’t let the Overload Overwhelm you, you have a finish line to cross, so get your second wind, finish your assignment, then relax! Remember: You are called to Overcome not to become Overwhelmed! So today, Unload!

“Learn how to say ‘no’. Don’t let your mouth overload your back.” (Jim Rohn)

“Saying ‘yes’ to happiness means learning to say ‘no’ to things and people that stress you out.” (Thema Davis)

“It’s not information overload. It’s filter failure.” (Clay Shirky)

Much Love, Dr. Shermaine #EnjoyTheRead #BeInspired #BeEncouraged #BeEmpowered #BeChallenged #ShareTheWordFeel free to also join us at: http://www.selfcarewithdrshermaine.blogspot.com Today’s Lesson: “Foods to Boost Male Health”

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