“A Place Where Wounded Men Can Bleed and Heal”

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Matthew 26:38, “and He said to them, “I am so sad that I feel as if I am dying. Stay here and keep awake with Me.” (CEV)

One thing for sure, I grew up with a very “man’s man” type of father. My dad was a Louisiana born mechanic, and was always covered from head to toe in grease! It drove my mother absolutely insane! In fact, when she would do the laundry, she always made sure dad’s clothes had their very own machines, his stuff didn’t mix with anybody else’s! Dad had grease under his fingernails, on his skin, dripping from his hair, covering his face and drenched in his clothes. You would often find him with a cigarette in his mouth, one hand under the hood of a car while the other hand held an ice cold beer (no matter what the weather was). He loved to hang out with his boys, he loved westerns, boxing, football and baseball. And his absolute first love was fishing! He would have about 2-3 hours sleep (which is where I get my bad habit of not sleeping enough from), and yet he would make a cup of coffee (that was half wild irish rose – don’t ask), he would chop wood for the fireplace, start a fire, walk the dog, and sit on the front stoop, all by 4am, for no other reason than that he was wide awake! Dad had a pretty nice gun collection too, and would shoot at anything that moved in the trees! In other words, dad was indeed the epitome of a “man’s man”.

However, my dad passed away in 2008 at the tender age of 75 years old. I was 36 years old when my dad passed and yet in all those years I spent with him, I only remember seeing my dad cry once. And that was when his father (my granddad) passed away when I was 5. It is the only time I can recall seeing my dad cry. He didn’t even cry on my wedding day as they wheeled him down the aisle (his way of still being able to ‘walk’ me down the aisle.) Nope, instead dad smiled and laughed the entire day! So, even though he was a “man’s man”, looking back now, I wonder did he ever cry more than that one time? I know he battled many health issues, and loss of family, and struggles working 3 jobs to support us all. But still, I can’t seem to recall more tears than that one day. And surely with such a rough life of being born in 1933, in the South as a black man who had to drop out of school before he was 9 to pick cotton, he must have had some hurtful experiences, he must’ve been wounded enough to bleed and cry, but I wonder if he ever did.

Now, my dad isn’t the only man like that. I have a family who is largely military, and largely southern, therefore, all the men are “men’s men”! I don’t recall many of the men in my family as criers, or those who displayed their weaknesses or emotions. And I guess that’s somewhat to be expected when most men are largely reared to be brave, courageous, strong, hunters, go-getters, powerful, invincible! And those are wonderful traits, but when you’ve been counseling as long as I have, you come to find out, some of those ideal traits, are really entrapments for most men. For example, I had one couple that had been trying for 10 years to conceive and then they finally do. We get to the birth date, and mom is crying her eyes out (I’m sure from pain as well as great expectation); however, dad, was a blank face. She was angry that he didn’t gush and cry and get all soppy, and he said “I wasn’t raised that way. In my family, men don’t cry, no matter what.” She said he was like that on their wedding day and other important family events where you would expect someone to get all “blubbery” with joy! But like he said, most men, “aren’t raised that way. Men don’t cry, no matter what.

Which is what I want to address today.

Suicide. It usually stuns those close to it. In fact, Hollywood has seen several spikes in suicides in the past few years. A director that leaped from a bridge. Actors battling drugs and alcohol that had beaten the addiction. And others that were still battling until the addiction won. Families left crushed. Many people left asking that question that often defies an answer, “Why?” Well, truth is, we may never know. As for myself, I attempted suicide on 3 occasions, all between the ages of 15-25. I battled depression severely for many years. However, my parents didn’t know that until my first suicide attempt at age 15. And even to this day, when I do suicide counseling and share my own battle scars from depression and suicide, one of the questions I’m always asked is, “what made you want to end your life? What could’ve possibly been so bad?And again, to this day, I’m uncertain how to really answer that. Because the things that seemed so “tragic” then, looking back now, seem so unimportant. But when you’re in the moment, it’s amazing how big of a mountain a molehill can appear to be.

So, suicide has been running rampant, both in the world and in the church.

And then there was that prominent official in the White House some years ago who committed suicide. A national news magazine turned the spotlight on a disturbing fact about too many men. They are, (And I’ve never forgotten these words) “wounded men with no place to bleed.

I know from years of walking through crisis with many men through counseling, that men often “stuff it” rather than “share it”. They live with the lie that being strong means never showing weakness, never showing a soft or hurting heart, and always being in control.

So they bleed inside where there’s nothing to stop the bleeding or treat the wound. And what’s scary is, much like a person physically bleeding on the outside (where you can see it, and notice it, and bring it to their attention, and get them some help); however when someone is bleeding internally, you don’t see it, you don’t notice it, you can’t bring it to their attention and get them some help, until it starts to reveal itself in some form of sign from the inside…out. And most men spiritually, emotionally, socially, mentally, bleed internally. But that much pressure, continuously pressed down, builds like lava in a volcano. Or like a beach ball pushed farther and farther under the water. The farther down you push it, the higher it ultimately goes when it can’t be held down any longer. Then suddenly, often inexplicably, there’s an explosion of anger or violence or depression, or self-destruction.

BUT the strongest man who ever lived offers men a better way!

The shortest verse in the Bible – only two words, John 11:35, “Jesus wept” at a friend’s grave. The Bible says, when He saw a crowd of hurting people, “He was moved with compassion because they were…like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36).

I’ve come to find out that Jesus expressed quite a few emotions that men today need to learn to feel free in expressing:

“for days, being tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing during those days, and when they ended, HE WAS HUNGRY.” (Luke 4:2 AMP)

“But Jesus was in the stern, ASLEEP [with His head] on the [sailor’s leather] cushion…” (Mark 4:38 AMP)

“Looking at him, Jesus FELT A LOVE (HIGH REGARD, COMPASSION) FOR HIM…” (Mark 10:21 AMP)

“Now Jesus LOVED AND WAS CONCERNED about Martha and her sister and Lazarus [and considered them dear friends]” (John 11:5 AMP)

“In that very hour He was OVERJOYED AND REJOICED GREATLY…” (Luke 10:21 AMP)

“After looking around at them WITH ANGER, GRIEVED…” (Mark 3:5 AMP)

“Now when Jesus heard this, HE WAS AMAZED…” (Luke 7:9 AMP)

“…He began to be DEEPLY DISTRESSED AND TROUBLED [EXTREMELY ANGUISHED at the prospect of what was to come].” (Mark 14:33 AMP)

“As He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and WEPT OVER IT [and the spiritual ignorance of its people]” (Luke 19:41 AMP)

“and looking up to heaven, HE SIGHED DEEPLY…” (Mark 7:34 AMP)

“He GROANED AND SIGHED DEEPLY IN HIS SPIRIT…” (Mark 8:12 AMP)

“But when Jesus saw this, HE WAS INDIGNANT…” (Mark 10:14 AMP)

“Jesus STERNLY WARNED them…” (Mark 3:12 AMP)

“When Jesus saw her sobbing, and the Jews who had come with her also sobbing, HE WAS DEEPLY MOVED IN SPIRIT [TO THE POINT OF ANGER at the sorrow caused by death] AND WAS TROUBLED.” (John 11:33 AMP)

“But Jesus would often go to some place where HE COULD BE ALONE and pray.” (Luke 5:16 CEV)

Men of God, did you pay attention to all the varying emotions that Jesus Himself expressed? Not suppressed, not kept hidden, not masked, not covered, not lied about, not pretending, not making excuses for, but one He Unapologetically Expressed. And not in a secluded spot, but He did so in front of others! And if the Son of God can express His emotions, and we are to follow in His footsteps, for He is our example, then why would you deny yourself the relief of release? After all, Jesus Himself was: Hungry, Sleepy, Moved With Compassion, Felt Love, Was Concerned, Was Overjoyed and Rejoiced, Was Angry, Grieved, Amazed, Distressed, Troubled, Groaned and Sighed Deeply, Was Indignant, Gave Stern Warnings, Was Angry and Alone. So, why are YOU internally bleeding due to the lack of expressed emotions?

Jesus wasn’t afraid to let His friends know He was really hurting. Just before what He knew was going to be His awful torture and crucifixion, He asked His main guys to be with Him in the garden. He told them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with Me” (Matthew 26:38). Though He was God in the flesh – the Ultimate Man – He wasn’t afraid to say He needed people. Yet, you my brothers, are acting so fiercely brave, because you’re afraid someone will see the flaw in your character, that you aren’t always as tough as the role you play. But you need not hide anymore, pretend anymore, camouflage anymore. As Wounded As You Are, You Have a Place to Bleed, Heal, and Recover!

Your Safe Place to Bleed is With the One Who Bled For You!

Hebrews 4:15-16, “Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.” (MSG)

You got it! Wounded soldier, you have a place to bleed! It’s in the Presence of your Savior. It’s your safe place to unload, to be naked and not ashamed, to reveal, expose, and tell all. You don’t have to hide, cover, mask, pretend, find the right words, go at a particular hour, He’s always waiting, and always available. He wants you to come to Him and find your sheltered place for rest, relief and release. Therefore, obey the Scripture, “…walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.”

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) Did you catch that? Jesus Himself has extended a private invitation to you, for you to go away “and keep company with Him.” So, what are you waiting for? Are you waiting like the lava in a volcano to finally explode?! Because that’s the worst thing you can do, and here’s why. Have you ever paid attention to when a volcano erupts? The lava is no respect of person! Whoever comes into contact with it, perishes! And if you continue to suppress your emotions, you will erupt and your anger will come in contact with all those attached to you and burn up your friendships, covenants, relationships, family ties, businesses, churches, ministries, neighbors…everyone that comes in contact with you will burn to ashes! But why let that be your outcome, when you have access to a safe place to release?

Men of God, you are not so “manly” that you don’t have moments when you need to cry, to vent, to tell it, to share it, to ask for help, for advice, for direction, for wisdom, and yes even for a shoulder to cry and lean on. Unexpressed emotions are dangerous for you and everyone attached to you! Let today be the day you find relief and release by resting in the safe place of the presence of the Lord. He’s waiting to hear about the marriage that’s on life-support, about the children who have gone astray, about the finances that are drying up, about your private hurts, disappointments, and discouragements. He’s waiting to hear you tell Him what the doctor told you. He wants to hear what the lawyer said. He wants to share in your anguish over the loss of a job. He wants to hear about the dreams that have become nightmares. He wants to hear about your fears, your distrust, your doubts, unbelief and lack of faith. He wants to hear about the bills, the bankruptcy, and the burst plumbing line. He wants to hear what makes you feel insignificant, less than, and not enough. He wants you to hand over to Him your low self-esteem and damaged self-respect. He wants you to share with Him your weaknesses so He can share with you His strengths. Talk to Him, Tell Him, He Wants to Hear Your Voice, Even if it’s Shaky, Trembling and Filled With Fear!

Jeremiah 33:2-3, “This is God’s Message, the God who made earth, made it livable and lasting, known everywhere as God: ‘CALL TO ME AND I WILL ANSWER YOU. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own.’ (MSG)

Men of God, why are you struggling alone when God Himself wants to keep company with you? He’s asking you to call HIM, not Tony, Eric, Robert, Shawn, Darryl, Kevin….No, this time, Call Jesus! Does that mean you should never reach out to your boys? Absolutely not! Even Jesus reached out to His boys and told them He was sad and in anguish and needed them to stay awake with Him. So, if Jesus reached out to His boys, you are more than encouraged to reach out to yours. However, don’t make the mistake many women make, and that is to reach out to our Sisters BEFORE reaching out to our Savior. God alone, is the place where you are guaranteed to renew and regain strength after releasing to Him your weakness.

Do not suffer in silence and die. You are needed more than you’ll ever know. You’re needed in your family, among your friends and coworkers, you’re needed in the church, in the community and in the Kingdom. We need your gifts, your anointing, your skills, your talent. We need your presence. Which is why we need you to take your broken pieces to Jesus so that you can be made whole, because there is a host of other men, wounded with nowhere to bleed, that are waiting for someone just like you to help them put their fragmented emotions back together again. We need you to overcome, because we need your testimony. You are the product of what God’s power can do when you plug in to His source.

So, no more waiting for everyone to go to sleep so you can slip out unawares to breath and sigh in the car or in the backyard. No more tears trickling down in the shower where no one can hear or see. No more ‘I’m fine; I’m okay; Everything’s good.’ No More Internal Bleeding! God has already showed you in His Word that He’s there to help, but you do know that you also have a huge family of brothers and sisters in Christ that are here for you too? Galatians 6:1-2, “Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived.” (MSG) We’re here to help too! Whether its sin, hurt, pain, failure, disappointment, frustration, confusion, struggles, we’re here to help! Whether it was your fault or no fault of your own, we’re here to help too! Brothers you are never alone! So stop isolating yourself and reconnect with your family! We may not all be doctors, nurses, surgeons, therapists and the like, but as believers we do specialize in love! And if love is all we have to use as a bandage, you are still on your way to healing!

1 Peter 4:7-11, “Everything in the world is about to be wrapped up, so take nothing for granted. Stay wide-awake in prayer. Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything. Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless—cheerfully. Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God’s words; if help, let it be God’s hearty help. That way, God’s bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and he’ll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything—encores to the end of time. Oh, yes!” (MSG)

Brothers, You Have a Safe Place to Take Your Wounds to so They Can Bleed, Heal and Recover. His Name is Jesus, and He Has a Secured, Reserved Spot Just For You. Make Today the Day You Hide Under His Wings For Help!

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

See, men, you have the love and help of your brothers and sisters, but more importantly you have Jesus, where no matter how badly life has hurt you, He is your safe place, where you are “…PERFECTLY SAFE…”

Brothers, we need you alive and well! So no more silent internal bleeding. No matter what the feelings or emotions, no matter what the situation or circumstance, share it. You can still be a ‘man’s man’ and cry! Let no one else tell you differently. And please remember this, your wife and sisters and daughters are watching how you deal with your emotions. When you bottle them up, you teach them this is the way a man should handle his emotions. Your sons and brothers are watching how you deal with your emotions. When you hide them, cover them, mask them, pretend about them, you are showing them the example you want them to follow in how they deal with their emotions. And if you want everyone to be healthy, YOU first have to show them what healthy emotions look like. Jesus Did, and so can you. You are the head of our families, communities and churches, and the head tells the body how to function. Make sure as the head, you’re getting help, you’re healing, you’re becoming whole, so we can follow your lead and function in the same matter! Lead us well, by leading yourself first to the secret place of the Presence of God where you may be wounded, you may bleed, but you will recover!

Much Love, Dr. Shermaine #EnjoyTheRead #BeInspired #BeEncouraged #BeEmpowered #BeChallenged #ShareTheWord

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“Rest is NOT a Sin”

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Mark 6:30-32, “The apostles then rendezvoused with Jesus and reported on all that they had done and taught. Jesus said, “Come off by yourselves; LET’S TAKE A BREAK AND GET A LITTLE REST.” For there was constant coming and going. They didn’t even have time to eat. So they got in the boat and went off to a remote place by themselves…” (MSG).

The Bible speaks in a negative way about “IDLENESS”. After all, it’s defined as, “avoiding work; lazy; not in use; having no purpose or basis; doing nothing of relevance.” Its Old English origin literally means, ‘empty and useless.’

The Bible says this in Proverbs 6:6-11, “Go to the ant, you Sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, Which, having no captain, Overseer or ruler, Provides her supplies in the summer, And gathers her food in the harvest. How long will you slumber, O Sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber – So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, and your need like an armed man” (NKJV). The Message Bible says it like this: “You lazy fool, look at an ant. Watch it closely; let it teach you a thing or two. Nobody has to tell it what to do. All summer it stores up food; at harvest it stockpiles provisions. So how long are you going to laze around doing nothing? How long before you get out of bed? A nap here, a nap there, a day off here, a day off there, sit back, take it easy—do you know what comes next? Just this: You can look forward to a dirt-poor life, poverty your permanent houseguest!” (MSG)

This is not in reference to those who are working, but to those who are not! They haven’t even tried! Don’t even give a little bit of effort. Never making the slightest of attempts! This speaks of those who are idle, those who avoid work, those who are lazy, not in use, floating through life with no purpose or basis to their existence, accomplishing absolutely nothing that has any relevance. They’re called lazy, foolish sluggards who in the end can only look forward to a dirt-poor life with poverty being their permanent houseguest! Saints, make sure this is NOT descriptive of you! Do not attempt to use REST as your excuse for LAZINESS!  

Then 1 Timothy 5:13 goes on to say, “And besides they learn to be Idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only Idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not” (NKJV). Of all the things you can learn in life, make sure idleness is not the subject you pass with flying colors! You see those who are idle have nothing of value to share with anybody. All they have is gossip because they’ve learned to become busybodies, who are only busy running their mouths! And you have to be careful around people like that because the Bible says they go from house to house! Make sure they don’t visit you! These are the wrong guests to entertain!

The Bible Refers to those who are “LAZY” by such loathsome words as “Slothful,” “Sluggard,” and “Slack Hand”! We do not want our names listed in these categories! Therefore, before we talk about REST make sure you’re one who has earned it, and not one who uses it as an EXCUSE for Laziness and Idleness! God will not confuse the two when He hands out blessings and curses, so I suggest you likewise not confuse the two!

Now, the Bible Refers Very Positively about LABOR and WORK in the following Scriptures:

Luke 10:7, “Stay with the same family, eating and drinking whatever they give you, because WORKERS Are Worth What They Earn. Don’t move around from house to house” (CEV);

1 Corinthians 3:8-9, “The one who Plants is just as important as the one who Waters. And each one will be Paid For What They Do. Apollos and I WORK Together For God, and You are God’s Garden and God’s Building” (CEV);

Ephesians 4:28, “If you are a thief, quit stealing. Be honest and WORK Hard, so you will Have Something to Give to People In Need” (CEV);

1 Thessalonians 4:11, “Try your best to live quietly, to mind your own business, and to WORK Hard, Just As We Taught You To Do” (CEV). 

Given the Admonition that we are to WORK six days and rest one (Exodus 34:21, “Do your WORK in Six Days and REST On the Seventh Day…” CEV), we might conclude that the Bible is about all work and no fun. However, that is far from the truth!  

Jesus Expected His Disciples to “Come Aside” periodically for REST, and Scripture has repeated references to the Benefits of “Making Merry”:

Proverbs 15:13, 15, “A Merry Heart Maketh a Cheerful Countenance…but he that is of a Merry Heart Hath a Continual Feast”;

Proverbs 17:22, “A Merry Heart Doeth Good Like a Medicine…”;

Luke 15:32, “It was meet that we should Make Merry, and Be Glad…” 

The Bible speaks of More than Seventy Days a Year in which “No Customary Work” is to be done!

Leviticus 23:7-8, “In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do No Servile Work Therein. But ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD seven days: in the seventh day is an holy convocation: ye shall do No Servile Work Therein”. That word ‘servile’ is defined as, ‘excessively willing to serve or please others; of or characteristic of a slave or slaves.’ Its Latin origin ‘servilis’, from ‘servus’ literally means ‘slave.’ In other words, this rest break was speaking of those who actually did Work! And by its definition they worked hard, as hard as slaves, excessively willing to serve and please others. There’s been times when we’ve all worked our hearts out on projects, only to attempt to sit down, and before our behind could hit the cushion, another assignment was given! And yet, as hard as we are to work, God let’s us know that we are not to ALWAYS, ALL THE TIME, WORK! There are times when you are to take a break and get a little rest! Especially since rest is NOT a Sin!

The seven-day feasts that mark Passover, Tabernacles, and Weeks, as well as the Feast of Trumpets, and every Sabbath Day Are Included in this time of rest where no servile work is to be done!

In addition to Rest and Prayer, Leisure days in the Bible are associated with food, gift-giving, singing, and great joy: Revelation 11:10, “And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth”.  

A time of Rest from work is Advocated for those who are experiencing grief: Matthew 14:10-13, “So he sent and had John beheaded in prison. And his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother. Then his disciples came and took away the body and buried it, and went and told Jesus. When Jesus heard it, He Departed From There By Boat To a Deserted Place By Himself…” (NKJV).  

It is Advocated for those who are seeking Spiritual Empowerment to do God’s Will: Matthew 4:1, 11, “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him” (NKJV).  

It is Advocated for those who are entering into an intense period of Prayer: Matthew 14:23, “And when He had sent the multitudes away, He Went Up On the Mountain By Himself to Pray. Now When Evening Came, He Was Alone There” (NKJV).  

And it is Advocated for those who are Newly Married: Deuteronomy 24:5, “When a man has taken a New Wife, he shall Not go out to War or be Charged with Any Business; he shall be Free at Home One Year, and bring Happiness to his Wife whom he has taken” (NKJV). [That last one might’ve saved a lot of ministry marriages if we had simply applied it!]  

Listen, keep this in mind: The word “Leisure” means “Time Spent in or free for Relaxation or Enjoyment”. Its Origin is the Old French word “Leisir” from the Latin word “Licere” which means to “Be Allowed”. People of God, Allow Yourself Leisure Time! You’ve Earned It, You Deserve It, You Need It, and Most Importantly, the Bible Commands It! Yes, the Bible is indeed in favor of those who Labor and Work Hard! But Likewise the Word is Not Silent Regarding the Leisure Time of Rest and Play that is Needed to Balance Out the Believers Life! So keep your 50/50 Balance in Life, Work and Play, and Enjoy a Long, Healthy Life!

Understand this: You Will Never Renew Until You Rest! And what does the Bible say about Rest? “And He said to them, [As for you] come away by yourselves to a deserted place, and REST A WHILE – for many were [continually] coming and going, and they had not even leisure enough to eat” (Mark 6:31 AMP).

One of the hardest things to do for many of us, especially in leadership, is to “take a break” without feeling guilty and selfish; or worse, feeling like a failure because everything on your “to do” list didn’t get done. Here’s a news flash: There Will Always Be More To Do! There will always be more deadlines, meetings, appointments, assignments, etc. Which is why one of your biggest challenges will be learning the difference between setting high standards for yourself – and setting unrealistic, impossible ones! Think about it: It’s hard enough trying to make time to get done what you NEED to get done, but that doesn’t compare to the sheer exhaustion of attempting to do something you were never assigned to do in the first place! Therefore, in order to get a handle on your schedule, erase anything non-essential that you’ve penciled in yourself! Truth is, many of us are running around all over the place, completely exhausted and spent, ignoring our loved ones, burned out, miserable, and all because we’re doing more than God ever assigned to our hands! Therefore, here’s some homework for you. Sit down with a pen, pad and your schedule, and make sure you’re supposed to be doing all the stuff you’ve been doing! Remove your unnecessary agenda entries and rearrange your hectic schedule! And I’ll even take it further. Sit yourself down from the committees, auxiliaries, ministries, and leadership positions that God never told you to accept! Have enough maturity to go to your leaders and be honest that you added more to your plate than you can digest in a healthy manner. Learn to tell people ‘no’ without excuse or explanation! Stop over-committing yourself! Stop allowing people to guilt you into stuff! Take your hands off all the stuff God never entrusted you to hold! Sometimes success means knowing when to get somewhere and sit down!

Because to make matters worse, we often claw our way to our idea of success only to discover that we don’t like the pressures that go with it. So what should we do? Learn to Walk Away! Jesus Did! “The apostles then rendezvoused with Jesus and reported on all that they had done and taught. Jesus said, “Come off by yourselves; LET’S TAKE A BREAK AND GET A LITTLE REST.” For there was constant coming and going. They didn’t even have time to eat. So they got in the boat and went off to a remote place by themselves…” (Mark 6:30-32 MSG).

Jesus understood that if you don’t take a break – You’ll Break! And isn’t that the truth for many of us? We have such busy schedules and long to-do lists that we rarely get a chance to even eat. And even when we do eat, it’s late and definitely not what we should be eating! Which leads us to a whole new list of problems with bad dieting, over-weight, sickness, ailments and disease. Which only adds on to those problems by adding painful bodies, multiple medications and expensive doctor visits! And the vicious cycle goes on and on.

And what is Jesus Advice: “…LET’S TAKE A BREAK AND GET A LITTLE REST.” 

And what does the word “Rest” mean? “To cease work or movement in order to relax or recover strength; allowed to be inactive in order to regain or save strength or energy.” Do you notice the blessings in rest from this description? For one, you Recover and Regain Strength! You see, Exhaustion Wears You Out! It Drains You of Strength and Weakens You, Inside and Out! In fact, the word “Exhaust” means “to tire out completely.” Its Latin Origin “Exhaurire” literally means “Drain Out”. Now please explain to me how can you be of any good use to your family, friends, job, business, ministry or even to yourself if you’re Completely Tired and Drained Out?! You Can’t! Which is why it’s so important for you to know when to Take a Break! Remember, you can’t Give what you don’t Got! No one can Drink from you if you’re always Drained! The word ‘drain’ is defined as, ‘to cause to run out; to become dry; to deprive of strength and resources; to empty of content; to be used up.’ I reiterate, No One Can Drink From You If You’re Always Drained, Dry, Deprived, Weak, Empty and Used Up!

Saints, Rest is NOT a Sin, It’s a Necessity!

Another added blessing from the definition of ‘Rest’ is that you become Inactive! Many would consider that a negative, but actually it’s not all that bad. One of the definitions of “Inactive” is simply “Not currently being used.” And this can be for your own good! Truth is, sometimes you don’t know how much you do until you stop doing it! And that’s a truth for those around you too who are accustomed to you doing everything! Sometimes you need to stop, so someone else can start! You’ll never know what those around you are capable of if you don’t give them the opportunity to show you. You my friend, as gifted, anointed, blessed, and talent as you are, you are still NOT God. You are here to Represent Him, NOT Be Him! You can’t be everybody’s everything, and then wonder why you have nothing left for yourself! My pastor loves to say, “Stop Giving Away What You Need to Keep for Yourself!” And maybe it’s time you heed that advice. Maybe it’s time you spend an inactive season, where you’re not being used, and it’s okay!

Elijah thought he was the only one too, until God Himself let him know He had 7,000 additional servants! 1 Kings 19:13-18, “When Elijah heard the quiet voice, he muffled his face with his great cloak, went to the mouth of the cave, and stood there. A quiet voice asked, “So Elijah, now tell me, what are you doing here?” Elijah said it again, “I’VE BEEN WORKING MY HEART OUT FOR GOD, the God-of-the-Angel-Armies, because the people of Israel have abandoned your covenant, destroyed your places of worship, and murdered your prophets. I’M THE ONLY ONE LEFT, and now they’re trying to kill me.” GOD SAID, “Go back the way you came through the desert to Damascus. When you get there anoint Hazael; make him king over Aram. Then anoint Jehu son of Nimshi; make him king over Israel. Finally, anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. Anyone who escapes death by Hazael will be killed by Jehu; and anyone who escapes death by Jehu will be killed by Elisha. MEANWHILE, I’M PRESERVING FOR MYSELF SEVEN THOUSAND SOULS: the knees that haven’t bowed to the god Baal, the mouths that haven’t kissed his image.” (MSG) Like Elijah, I know you’re “working your heart out for God”, and it feels like since you’re doing Everything, you are the only servant God has, but I assure you, you are not all God has left! God has other servants that can do what you do, and several who can do it better. So, believe me when I tell you, taking an ‘inactive season’ off duty will not depress God, nor cause the heavens to go into chaos, it will not rob the angels of an assignment, it will not give advantage to hell, and it will not stop the spreading of the Gospel nor the building up of the Kingdom of God, nor will it kill the Body of Christ!

Saints, Rest is NOT a Sin! Trust me, you will not lose your Standing in God if you go somewhere for a season and Sit Down!  

Another blessing you reap from the definition of ‘Rest’ is that You also Regain Energy! Rest is like a Vitamin, You Should Take it Daily and Take a Supplement Too If Need be! The word “Energy” is defined as “The strength and vitality required for sustained activity.” It’s Greek Origin “Energeia”, from “Ergon” literally means “Work”. When you REST you become Re-Energized! So When You Go Back to Work, Your Strength is Sustained! And “Sustained” comes from the Latin Origin “Sustinere”, from “Tenere” which means “To Hold”. You see, once you get some REST, then you get back to work you’ll be able to hold yourself together because you took the simple time to re-energize! It’s hard to hold yourself together when you feel like you’re being torn in 20 different directions at the same time! That’s why it’s so easy for us to fall apart, because we’re too exhausted and weak to hold ourselves together. That’s why rest is so vital! In other words, REST is a Blessing! So, don’t under-estimate it, don’t devalue it, don’t disregard it, don’t over-look it! GET IT! And like medicine, take it in the right doses so you can recover!

The last blessing from the definition of ‘Rest’ is that you become Relaxed! And “Relax” means “to make or become less tense, anxious, or rigid; rest from work or engage in a recreational activity.” It’s Latin Origin “Relaxare”, from “Laxus” literally means “To Loose”. In other words, if you want to get a hold on things…Relax and Loosen Up! I know you’re gifted, talented, anointed, awesome, powerful and everyone loves you and wants you apart of everything they do, however if you don’t take a break…you will break! And in order for you NOT to break down, you have to break up your schedule! Balance it out! Have your meetings, but go out for a meal with the family too. Nail that presentation, but go get your nails done too. Coordinate that event, but get your 5 year old niece and enjoy a coloring book too. You have to have balance if you are going to avoid toppling over!

Which is why you should:

1…Make a list of the things that only YOU can do, then delegate the rest or let them go. Not every piece of mail that comes to the house has your name on it! So stop taking other people’s mail and stop acting like your middle name is “occupant” too! You can’t do it all no matter how awesome you are or think you are. And if you are in the company of those you can’t trust to delegate work to, you’re about to go out of business anyhow;

2…Learn to make small steps and celebrate small accomplishments for that’s what life is made of. If you only get 2 things done on your list of 20, eat a piece of chocolate and be happy! You at least accomplished something, there are many who didn’t even take the time to write a to-do list out, let alone do anything on it;

3…Don’t allow the stuff that’s still undone, to undo you. By God’s grace and mercy we see another tomorrow. And as long as He has work for you to do, you will continue to see another tomorrow. And when you don’t, you can still rejoice because your work here is done. Remember Jeremiah 29:11, God’s plan is not for you to have a plan, a back-up plan or a plan B! Simply do what needs to be done, and what’s left undone leave for tomorrow. God knows what needs to be accomplished in each day. And He certainly knows your future, so stop letting today stress you, you have a promising future ahead, it will get done, trust God day by day, He has a great, unstoppable plan for your life. No More Worrying! Matthew 6:30-34, “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers – most of which are never 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 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 how 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.” (MSG);

4…Strive for balance; don’t even become addicted to what you enjoy. For instance, some of us have a tendency to even turn good things into disasters. It’s great that you love your job, but you can’t have a wife and three kids at home and get home at midnight 7 days a week! Balance is always the order of the day. And the word “Balance” is defined as “an even distribution of weight ensuring stability”. To have a stable life, keep your scales between work and play even;

5…Don’t allow overachievers to put you into overdrive. You’re in it for the long haul. You win when you pace yourself. Competition kills! So stop peeking over at the agendas of others. You have no idea what they HAVE to do. To Have Great Insight, Simply Keep Your Eyes On Your Own Vision;

6…Take time for the people who matter most, otherwise you’ll lose them. Busyness is a destroyer of relationships/friendships. And truth is, all the success in the world won’t compensate for the joy and treasure of your family and loved ones! Always keep the main thing the main thing, and the main thing will always be your loved ones First!

People of God, It’s Vital That You Learn How to Walk Away, Take a Break and Rest! Believe it or not, but there’s a Blessing in REST! However, You Don’t Want Rest In Peace to Be the Only Blessing You Get! Remember, JESUS is an Advocate of REST! Therefore, Your Challenge is Simple: Take a Break and Get a Little REST!

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)

“Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for. Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.” (Dr. Maya Angelou)

“Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer.” (William S. Burroughs)

“Life is all about balance. You don’t always need to be getting stuff done. Sometimes it’s perfectly okay, and absolutely necessary, to shut down, kick back, and do nothing.” (Lori Deschene)

“There is virtue in work and there is virtue in rest. Use both and overlook neither.” (Alan Cohen)

“If you get tired, learn to rest, not quit.” (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 six best doctors: sunshine, water, rest, air, exercise, and diet.” (Wayne Fields)

“When you rest in His presence, you rest in the knowledge that He is in control.” (Dr. Michelle Bengtson)

“Rest when you’re weary. Refresh and renew yourself, your body, your mind, your spirit. Then get back to work.” (Ralph Marston)

“It is very important that we re-learn the art of resting and relaxing. Not only does it prevent the onset of many illnesses that develop through chronic tension and worrying, it allows us to clear our minds, focus and find creative solutions to problems.” (Thich Nhat Hanh)

“You’re killing yourself for a job that would replace you within a week if you dropped dead. Take care of yourself.” (Author Unknown)

“Rest and your energy will be restored.” (Lailah Gifty Akita)

“You can’t pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself first.” (Author Unknown)

“If you don’t take care of your body, where are you going to live?” (Author Unknown)

“When you start taking care of yourself you start feeling better, you start looking better and you start to attract better. Everything starts with you.” (Author Unknown)

“Taking care of yourself doesn’t mean me first, it means me too.” (L.R. Knost)

“It’s not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself, and to make your happiness a priority. It’s necessary.” (Mandy Hale)

“Taking care of yourself is the most powerful way to begin to take care of others.” (Bryant McGill)

“Beautiful girl, take care of yourself. No one else knows what your soul needs.” (AstonG)

“Make your happiness and personal growth a priority in your life. The more you take care of yourself, the more you can take care of others.” (Author Unknown)

“The best cure for the body is a quiet mind.” (Napoleon Bonaparte)

“Your mental health is more important than the test, the interview, the lunch date, the meeting, the family dinner, and the grocery run. Take care of yourself.” (Author Unknown)

“Remember to take care of yourself. Sometimes you get so busy taking care of others that you forget that you are important too.” (Author Unknown)

“Take care of yourself, you never know when the world will need you.” (Rabbi Hillel)

“Today, do something for You; relax, clear your mind, take a break, go for a jog, watch the sunset. Enjoy the simple things. Enjoy You!” (Brooke Griffin)

“Three steps to a Happy Life: 1) Don’t stress yourself with useless people who don’t even deserve to be an issue in your life; 2) Never invest too much emotion at one thing because if you do, you will end up hurting yourself; 3) Learn to live life without worries because God will take care of everything, trust and just have faith.” (Author Unknown)

“Self-care is a deliberate choice to gift ourself with people, places, things, events and opportunities that recharge our personal battery and promote whole health – body, mind, and spirit.” (Laurie Buchanan)

Much Love, Dr. Shermaine #EnjoyTheRead #BeInspired #BeEncouraged #BeEmpowered #BeChallenged #ShareTheWord

Feel free to also join us at: http://www.selfcarewithdrshermaine.blogspot.com Today’s Lesson: “5 Things to Know About Your Metabolism”

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LETS STAY CONNECTED!

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“Don’t Let a Dark Past Dim Your Bright Future!”

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1 John 1:5-7, “This, in essence, is the message we heard from Christ and are passing on to you: God is light, pure light; there’s not a trace of darkness in Him. If we claim that we experience a shared life with Him and continue to stumble around in the dark, we’re obviously lying through our teeth – we’re not living what we claim. But if we walk in the light, God Himself being the light, we also experience a shared life with one another, as the sacrificed blood of Jesus, God’s Son, purges all our sin.” (MSG)

So, anyone that really knows me knows, I Hate Scary Movies! It’s just not my thing! And truth is, the reason I hate them, is my own fault! You see, there were some pretty scary (in my opinion) movies when I was younger (there was, Friday the 13th; the Exorcist; Carrie; the Shining; Halloween; the Lost Boys, the Omen, the Texas Chainsaw Massacre; Child’s Play; Nightmare on Elm Street; Hellraiser, to name a few). But what got me in trouble was the first scary movie I watched (that I was told by my parents specifically NOT to watch, and that was Cujo!) Now, in my little head, I didn’t get the big deal, after all, it was just a crazy movie about dog, right? I mean how bad could it be?! Well, can I tell you, I swore off all dogs after that movie! In fact, I watched it and refused to go anywhere near my own dog anymore! In the end, I was grounded and sent to bed. Oh sure, Mom and Dad thought I could watch that kind of movie and drift right off to sleep in la la land. But that was NOT my sweet, peaceful night at all! The problem is, adults don’t believe what kids know to be the awful truth – that there are monsters in your closet at night! And in my case, the monster was on four legs, named Cujo and was waiting in my closet for me to go to sleep! But my parents expected me to close my eyes and just start having sweet dreams? Come on!

Actually, I really had nothing to fear from those monsters that lived in my overactive imagination. But then there are real monsters that a lot of us have locked in a closet somewhere in our heart: the secret pain, the secret sin, the secret darkness of that unforgiving heart. They’re like vampires. They live in the darkness. But as I came of age, I discovered that they start to lose their power when you drag them into the light.

My parents were indeed upset that I disobeyed them and watched a movie they forbade me to see. But they also loved me too much to let me have nightmares. And so, they took a flashlight from the garage and turned it on (in my closet). Believe it or not, but knowing that as long as that light was on, the dark monsters couldn’t get me, gave me a pretty good night’s rest!

However, when it comes to life’s experiences with pain, I’ve found that getting rid of my ‘monsters’ wasn’t as easy or as simple as turning on a flashlight. The monsters of molestation, rape, domestic violence, health battles, homelessness, and the like didn’t exactly go away as quickly as the flip of a light switch for me. Nor did they for my friend Tynelle.

Tynelle, was abandoned, often physically abused by a drunken father, and cocaine addicted mother. Then she was horribly betrayed by her sister’s boyfriend. She trusted him so much as the brother she never had, and yet he sexually violated her. It was the final chapter in a story that told her a cruel lie, “Tynelle, you are worthless.” A story line that brought her to the brink of suicide not once, but three times. She took pills the first time, slit her wrists the second, and the third time she held a gun to her own head literally.

Thank God, Tynelle came across some wonderful people who led her to Jesus who did what no one and nothing else could do, He saved her! However, there was a few ‘monsters’ left living in her closet; bitterness, anger, mistrust, fear of rejection, not to mention, hatred that she harbored in her heart. Now, all of her feelings and emotions were understandable. But unforgiveness never hurts the person we refuse to forgive. No, instead it eats us alive and, strangely, it ties us to the very person we can’t stand!

Like so many of us who have had to endure mistreatment in whatever form, many of us did like Tynelle and stuffed it in the closet. But there is where it grows into a monster of ungrieved grief, unrepented sin, and unforgiven hurt; a monster that morphs into all kinds of anger, rage, depression and self-loathing.

SIDEBAR: I love plants as much as my mom did (okay, maybe not quite as much as she did), but I do love them. I have one in my office that my boss gave me years ago. At that time, it was the only plant I had in my office. I would water it, and make sure it was placed in a safe location where no one could cause any damage to it. It was absolutely a beautiful plant. But as the weeks went by I noticed it started to look as if it were dying, and it was. I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong and so I asked my boss to take a look at it. I told him I was doing everything you’re supposed to do to keep a plant alive. What he said still helps me today, he said: “If you want it to grow, you have to move it from that dark corner and bring it into the light.” Sounds simple enough. But the way it helped me besides helping my plant, was I’ve learned that if I’m going to heal from hurt, I can’t keep hurt tucked away in a dark corner somewhere. I have to physically bring it out of a dark place and bring it into the light. When I brought my plant into the light it began to heal and grow. When I brought my hurt, pain, discouragement, disappointment, and past into the light it healed and I grew. But it took me to physically move my plant, and to physically move my pain. And it’s going to require you to likewise physically move what’s hurting you to a place where it can heal. Those monsters of yours need to be brought out of the dark and into the light, it’s the only way to get rid of them. Now, before you think my plant was an easy task, let me be the first to tell you, it was not. From the floor to about my shoulder was its height (and I’m only 5 foot 2 inches by the way) so that gives you an idea of how big my ‘little’ potted plant was! Moving it took hard work, and moving my hurt was even harder work. But it needed light, and so did I, so a move had to take place!

Remember This: “Nothing Happens Until Something Moves!” (Albert Einstein)

Listen to our text again:

1 John 1:5-7, “This, in essence, is the message we heard from Christ and are passing on to you: God is light, pure light; there’s not a trace of darkness in Him. If we claim that we experience a shared life with Him and continue to stumble around in the dark, we’re obviously lying through our teeth – we’re not living what we claim. But if we walk in the light, God Himself being the light, we also experience a shared life with one another, as the sacrificed blood of Jesus, God’s Son, purges all our sin.” (MSG)

Once you’ve made the decision to make Jesus Lord of your life, you have LIGHT! And in Him there’s not a trace of darkness! But in us, oh yes indeed there is. That’s why it’s so important to take our darkness to Him. After all, why should we keep stumbling around in the darkness of hurt, heartache, let-downs and disappointments when we can simply come to Him so that His light can outshine our darkness? Why dwell in the darkness of sin, when we can dwell in the light of our Savior?

And just as moving my plant required work, so does walking in the light of God requires work. The Scripture says, “…But if we WALK in the light…”Walk” is present tense. Meaning, this is a daily requirement! In order for this to work, I have to walk, every day. I have to make a deliberate decision to come out of darkness and into His marvelous light. Be warned, this will not be easy, and you’re not going to feel like doing it all the time. But if you are to grow and heal, it is a necessity. When you look at 1 John, it reveals to us that walking in the light brings us out of darkness; brings us into admittance and acceptance; it brings us into a wonderful shared bright light of life with other believers not to mention it grants us a clean slate by purging all our sins. And all we have to do is bring our darkness to His light.

John 8:12, “Jesus once again addressed them: “I am the world’s Light. No one who follows Me stumbles around in the darkness. I provide plenty of light to live in.” (MSG) Therefore, I must ask, why are you living in darkness when you can live in perpetual light? That word “perpetual” is defined as “never ending or changing; occurring repeatedly; seemingly continual.” Its’ Latin Origin ‘perpetualis’, from ‘perpetuus’ literally means “continuing throughout.That’s what you could have if you’d simply bring your darkness to His Light! He Himself is LIGHT! And therefore He promises that if you follow Him, you won’t stumble around any longer in the darkness. And aren’t you finally tired of stumbling around in the darkness? Every time you hear a particular song; see a specific scene in a movie; or hear someone’s voice that sounds like theirs, you return to that dark place, when you could live in the perpetual, never ending, light of the Lord!

NOTE: Once You Start Living in the Light, You’ll Stop Letting Darkness Visit!

Jesus provides plenty of light to live in, what better motivation than that to move out of darkness?

My pastor said something one Sunday that blessed me tremendously. He said, “if the dark cloud you’re under doesn’t move, then YOU move.” And that’s something I’m encouraging you to do today. YOU MOVE! Remember: “Nothing Happens Until Something Moves” (Albert Einstein). And oftentimes that ‘something’ is YOU! So, why live in that darkness a moment longer than you have to? Remember the hard truth is, sometimes you can move IT, and sometimes you simply have to move YOU! Which may require a great deal of separation! Like, moving from those contacts, connections, phone calls, text messages, pictures and emails. Move from that place, from that thing, from that person. Move from re-imagining memories in a prettier light than they actually were. Move from those feelings, that conversation, move from repetitive bad decisions and choices. Move your dark into His light.

Today: Take all of your Monsters out of your Past Closet, and put them in your Prayer Closet instead! Take the regret, the remorse, the bitterness, the anger, the hatred, the revenge, the unforgiveness. Take the broken heart and the broken spirit. Take the fractured mind and the bruised ego. Take what they said and what they did. Even take the part you played in your own self-inflicted pain. Take it all to Him. There is no greater Light than the Lord!

1 Peter 2:9-10, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation, a [special] people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies [the wonderful deeds and virtues and perfections] of Him WHO CALLED YOU OUT OF DARKNESS INTO HIS MARVELOUS LIGHT. Once you were not a people [at all], but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” (AMP). God Himself Called You Out of Darkness, So Why Are You Still Trying to Live There?

Don’t you see that inspite of where you’ve been, what you’ve done and what was done to you, He yet calls you Chosen; a Royal Priesthood; a Consecrated Nation; a Special People; His Own Possession. As dark as you were, He still called you out of darkness!

People of God, He Called You OUT…So Why Are You Allowing Your Past to Keep You IN?!

Despite the Mess, you have since received Mercy, so why not live in it?

That same text in the Message Bible reads like this: “But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do His work and speak out for Him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference He made for you – from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.” (MSG) That’s talking about YOU! The night-and-day difference that God desires to make in your life if only you’ll simply move your feet! Walk out of darkness and into His marvelous light…and all of this awaits YOU! No More Rejection, Just Acceptance. And All You Have to Do is WALK!

And just in case you need DIRECTIONS for your walk, here they are: “BY YOUR WORDS I CAN SEE WHERE I’M GOING; THEY THROW A BEAM OF LIGHT ON MY DARK PATH. I’ve committed myself and I’ll never turn back from living by Your righteous order. Everything’s falling apart on me, God; put me together again WITH YOUR WORD. Festoon me with Your FINEST SAYINGS, God; teach me YOUR HOLY RULES. My life as close as my own hands, but I don’t forget what you have REVEALED. The wicked do their best to throw me off track, BUT I DON’T SWERVE AN INCH FROM YOUR COURSE. I inherited YOUR BOOK ON LIVING; it’s mine forever – what a gift! And how happy it makes me! I concentrate on doing EXACTLY WHAT YOU SAY – I always have and always will.” (Psalm 119:105-112 MSG) That’s how you govern your walk in the light, you use the Word of God as your lamp! It’s your map, your GPS to guide you out of darkness and into light!

Listen, you’ve been under that dark cloud long enough! You’ve been scared of those monsters in that dark closet long enough! Today is a new day, and one in which you need not give old days the opportunity to rob you of. Whatever happened, happened. You can’t undo it; you can’t change it; you can’t go back and alter some of the details of it. But you can decide today, that I’m not going to give another moment to those monsters. My body, soul, spirit, heart, mind and emotions deserve to live in light. I deserve peace, joy, laughter, unconditional love and complete healing and wholeness, and I’ve decided it will start today!

Now, remember, sometimes that will require you to delete the photos, messages and contact information. It may require you to stop talking to that person, or going back to that place. Because you can’t ask God to bring you into the light while you bring darkness with you, still clutched tightly in your hands! No, you have to make the deliberate decision to loose your grip on darkness and let it go! 2 Corinthians 6:14-18, “…How can you make a partnership out of right and wrong? That’s not partnership; that’s war. Is light best friends with dark? Does Christ go strolling with the Devil? Do trust and mistrust hold hands?…” (MSG) The answer, NO! So you cannot ask God to bring you out of darkness, when you refuse to let darkness go! Know today that you can’t take that dark past with you into a bright future!

Whatever your ‘monsters’ are, bring them out of your past closet of darkness and into your present prayer closet of light. You’ve dealt with enough torment, torture, self-doubt and self-pity. You’ve been under that dark cloud far too long. You’ve cried long enough; been depressed and discouraged long enough; you’ve been lonely, angry and bitter long enough; you’ve replayed their role in your drama long enough; you’ve renewed the issues to your past publications long enough. You’ve complained and talked about it long enough. Do some spring cleaning during this summer season! Clean all that old junk out of your closet! Stop allowing hurt to hang around in your closet! Those skeletons in your closet don’t pay rent, and yet you’ve been paying a great price for them to live there, free of cost to them, hefty cost for you! Today serve them their eviction notice, pack them up and put them out!

Bigger, better and greater are waiting for you, just around the bend! Today, determine to make it your turn to change direction! Stop going backwards and start moving forward! Don’t allow that dark past to dim your bright future! Shine His Light on Your Dark Monsters and Finally Be Free From What’s Hiding in the Closet!

John 8:32, “And you will know the truth [regarding salvation], and the truth will set you free [from the penalty of sin].” (AMP)

1 John 1:9-10, “If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just [true to His own nature and promises], and will forgive our sins and cleanse us continually from all unrighteousness [our wrongdoing, everything not in conformity with His Will and purpose]. If we say that we have not sinned [refusing to admit acts of sin], we make Him [out to be] a liar [by contradicting Him] and His Word is not in us.” (AMP)

“Don’t get stuck in your past, use it to fuel your future.” (Pinterest)

“The only way to get over the past is to leave it behind. If you spend your time re-living moments that are gone forever, you might miss out on the special moments that are yet to come.” (Pinterest)

“Don’t let past relationships and old mistakes ruin your future. Don’t let someone or something that didn’t make it in your life continue to hurt you. If you do, you’re still giving a portion of your life to something that no longer exists – it’s like letting your happiness slip into a black hole. Learn the lesson, release the pain, and move on. Scars remind us of where we have been, not where we are headed.” (LessonsLearnedInLife)

“Being stuck in the past is like walking forward with your back facing the front. You’ll always miss out on what’s in front of you.” (Pinterest)

“You can get over a broken past if you decide to believe that there’s nothing in your past that can keep you from having a great future.” (Joyce Meyer)

“Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could’ve been any different.” (Oprah)

“If you want to get over a problem, stop thinking about it. Your mind affects your mouth and your mouth affects your mind. It’s difficult to stop talking about a situation until you stop thinking about it.” (Joyce Meyer)

“Sometimes you have to make peace with your past in order to keep your future from becoming a constant battle.” (Susan Gale)

“Sometimes we get so addicted to murmuring about the past and blaming the past for everything that we miss our whole future. You’re not going to enjoy your future, and you’re not going to enjoy your right now, if all you can do is be guilty and ashamed and afraid of your past.” (Joyce Meyer)

Much Love, Dr. Shermaine #EnjoyTheRead #BeInspired #BeEncouraged #BeEmpowered #BeChallenged #ShareTheWord

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“The Marriage Triangle”

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Most men would call it a ‘chick flick’, but I’m definitely a sucker for a good romantic comedy! They are my absolute favorites! But then so are some of the crazy dramas too, which almost always have the same theme proving the old cliché true, “two’s company, three’s a crowd.” But that’s really true, especially when it comes to romance. Example: Guy meets girl, guy falls in love with girl, guy falls in love with another girl in addition to the first girl. Which ultimately is like putting a match in gasoline! That is a centuries-old formula for an explosion! It’s the infamous love triangle! Soap operas thrive on them; marriages are destroyed by them!

A love triangle is usually a prescription for broken hearts unless you have the kind of love triangle that keeps hearts from being broken.

Now, there’s a formula in Ecclesiastes 4. It’s a formula for lasting bonds between people. You could very well call it the arithmetic of love. Here’s what it says beginning at verse 9, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work. If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up. If two lie down together they will keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

That passage is a powerful statement about relationships, especially if you apply it to the ultimate relationship of marriage. It says two work together better than one, two walk together better than one, two stand together better than one, and then suddenly the number changes. Suddenly it’s talking about three strands. Wait…I thought we were talking about two…So enter the love triangle: a husband, a wife, and God. That’s the kind of love triangle that avoids broken hearts. Ephesians 5:21 alludes to it when it says; speaking to husbands and wives, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (NIV). It’s the Jesus factor in a marriage that always makes the difference. Now, the triangle is the strongest geometric figure there is, and a love triangle with Christ at the top is virtually indestructible! In other words, you’ve got the man and woman joined together by that line along the bottom, but they both have a line going up to Jesus at the top. That bond between the man and the woman will fray sometimes. There’s interference, there’s disappointment, there’s disillusionment, there’s hurt. But if both the man and woman are connected to Christ at the top of the triangle, that bond will hold them together when the bond of human compatibility is unraveling.

The problem with many of us as spouses is, we don’t always keep Christ at the top of the triangle. Often we fight to be in the top slot that we push Him down, or take Him out of the equation altogether. But the only way for the love triangle with Jesus to work effectively, is to always be certain that He maintains His top priority position. While we’re fighting to be heard, fighting to be right, fighting to prove the other wrong, fighting to get the upper-hand, we undermine His hand on our Covenant. Which makes you wonder: As soon as we think divorce is the answer, isn’t it amazing when you share that theory with others, most will always ask, “have you prayed about it first?” Why do they ask that? Well, genius, you can’t call yourself a Christian then make a decision to Crucify your Covenant, and think people aren’t going to ask if you consulted Christ! Even other people are under the impression that you have Christ in your marriage! And so they ask the obvious question of “have you prayed about it first?” And more often than not, we haven’t, we just want a quick fix for what we’ve allowed to slowly break down over the years. We want Jesus, in the beginning, to bless our covenant, but as soon as conflict and crisis hits along the journey, we pull the marriage over, kick Jesus out from behind the wheel, and then drive our marriages right over the cliff! After all, how can you possibly think you can reach your marital destination without the only One who has the directions? And remember, we kicked Him out! But when you take over the Wheel, you lose your Way from His Will!

So, the question is, “How much is Jesus Christ a real Person and Presence in your marriage?” Do you pray together about real life issues as if Jesus is right there with you? “Lord, we’ve got to talk to You about this together.” In fact, when was the last time you prayed With your spouse? And not for houses, cars, land, business, ministry, money, promotion, elevation, or personal gain. But prayed With your spouse: “Lord, teach us to be loving, faithful, supportive, encouraging, kind, generous, patient, forgiving. Teach us to acknowledge one another’s strength’s and be patient and understanding in one another’s weaknesses. Teach us to be a better man and woman; better husband and wife; better father and mother; better son and daughter; better disciples; better believers, better friends, better spouses, better lovers, better teammates. Teach us to walk by faith and not by sight. Teach us to trust You when our finances or health is failing. Teach us to be Your mirror to the world of what unconditional love really looks like.” When is the last time you prayed With your spouse, not for personal gain, but for personal growth?

Do you often ask together, “What would Jesus do?” Are you cultivating the habit of sharing what Christ has said to you from His Word that day with each other? Are you at church together? Do you sit together? Do you labor in ministry together? Do you get on your knees together and fight for your family and children?

And though most ‘super-saved Christian’s’ may call it ‘carnal’, but do you also laugh together, watch television together, travel together, go to the movies, out to dinner, go shopping, do you still date and court your spouse? Do you call and text your spouse as much as you do everybody else? Are you in your spouses’ face more than you’re on Facebook? Do you share as many pictures with your spouse as you do with Instagram? Do you text your spouse as much as you tweet? Do you send flowers? Do you enjoy engaging conversation from talking about Jesus, to the weather, to the government, to what you ate for lunch? Do you take walks? Do you still share dreams, or have you only become each other’s nightmares? Do you sit down to dinner, in your own home, at your own dinner table, without the intruding guest of your cellphone, internet or social media? Do you go for a long drive? Picnic in the park? Weekend get-a-way to no-where in particular? Have you planned your vacation? Have you passionately made love to your spouse or do you simply settle for watching such scenes on movies screens with actors portraying the roles of marital bliss? I know, sounds ‘carnal’ to some, but for those who know that it takes your body, soul and spirit to make a marriage work, you get it! We don’t spend all of our time in church, in the Word or in prayer! Those things are wonderful, those things are needful, especially when they’re done as couples, however, going to the beach won’t send you to hell either! If you’re finding it difficult to laugh with your spouse over something silly, then something is wrong! Even Jesus, slept, ate, prayed, and wept…in other words, Jesus expressed His natural as well as His spiritual. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with you doing the very same! As a couple you can preach the walls of Jericho down, but when you’re done, go to Olive Garden and eat some pasta! Are you getting this?! You cannot expect to have an Enjoyable marriage that has no Joy!

Maybe the marriage is rotting because you’ve both stopped eating the fruit of the Spirit! Imagine if you digested daily more love for your spouse, more joy and peace with your spouse, more forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and gentleness towards your spouse, and more self-control to keep yourself only for your spouse, you’d see a tremendous difference take place in your marriage. That’s the beauty of having Jesus not only in your marriage, or a part of your marriage, but having Him (His Spirit) as Head Over your marriage! Then, even on bad days, you could still be good to your spouse!

So, are you attempting to make marriage work with just the two of you, or have you considered a love triangle with Jesus? After all, who better to have in the midst of your marriage, and even in the midst of its’ problems then Jesus? Jesus saves, heals, delivers, forgives, understands, is patient, kind, loving, and generous. Who better to teach a couple such characteristics but the One who has exemplified such characteristics with the Godhead? Isn’t it amazing how they work together? And as a believer, you have the opportunity and privilege to invite them into your marriage to show you how to work together just like Them.

I’ve always said it, and always will, most often the issue in marriage isn’t ‘we’ve grown apart’, the issue is ‘we haven’t grown up.’ Marriage takes Maturity. It takes two people that will stop screaming ‘mine’ and start screaming ‘ours’. It takes two people that will stop trying to have their own way, and instead go in the way of God. It takes two people who learn to talk to each other and with each other not against each other and at each other. It takes two people who learn to attentively listen, even when they have so much they want to say. It takes sacrifice, and sacrifice is painful and bloody! No one has ever made a sacrifice and thought it was good or even felt good! It’s hard, it’s tough, it can be absolutely grueling, but when you remember the purpose and payoff of the sacrifice you’ll know it was worth it! But you have to ‘adult’ to get there! You can’t play the bully; you can’t be the whiner; you can’t pick the fight; you can’t run to your corner and call it quits; you can’t drag in reinforcements of the flesh, and think it will better anything! No! For this, you’ve got to grow up, mature, adult and fight to maintain the marriage you willfully made!

The good news? You don’t have to do it alone! If only we’d stop inviting and involving Jesus in the Wedding only…and start inviting and involving Jesus in the Marriage also, we’d be so much better! However, if truth be told, we have a bad tendency to invite everyone else into our marriages, Except Jesus. Oh, we’ll talk to family, friends, coworkers, and just people of interest that will lend an ear (some with pure motives and intentions, many without). But the One person we committed our vows before is the One person we overlook in marital trouble. We seek outside sources, when He’s waiting on the sidelines, ever so patient, for us to include Him back in the triangle. I mean, if it started with Him, shouldn’t we carry it all the way through with Him?

But sadly, we as a church live in a day and age where anyone, anything, everyone, everything is easily discarded. Can you imagine if we had to be perfect in order for Jesus to come? He would never have come because none of us are perfect. Instead, He came because our imperfections needed Him. He didn’t throw our sins in our face; He didn’t get joy out of our sorrows, pain or failures; He didn’t say that we weren’t good enough; He didn’t give us a laundry list of perfection to live up to before He came. And yet, we as believers, look for others, especially our spouses, to live up to an ideal that’s not ideal. We want them to cross every ‘T’ and dot every ‘I’, even though we don’t and we can’t. And so when we don’t get what we expected, imagined or wanted, we discard. Aren’t you grateful Jesus doesn’t work like that? Not even Judas’ betrayal; Peter’s denial; or Thomas’ doubts could make Him replace them. He loved them, embraced them, and accepted them as the flawed individuals they were. However, as spouses, we don’t always treat one another with the same unconditional love. We don’t extend the same grace, mercy, and forgiveness. We aren’t as patient, dedicated, or determined. No, we simply and quickly discard.

Which makes me wonder about many of us and our employment. So many of us work on jobs that we hate or with people we would much rather not even walk on the same sidewalk with. And yet, we never up and quit our jobs; we don’t leave; we don’t walk away; we don’t throw our hands up and throw the towel in. We can be frustrated, taken advantage of, misused, disrespected, treated unfairly and even poorly, and still, 30 years later, we’re on the same job. If only we treated marriages with the same commitment.

Oh, there will be days when you’ll want to file for divorce; days you’ll have no idea why you got married in the first place; days when you think ‘who is this person?’ There will be conflict, arguments and even misunderstandings. There will be days that are hard and nights that are long. But if you wouldn’t throw in the towel on a job with people you hate; how can you throw in the towel with the person you said you love? Know this: Eventually that job will have no need of you and will discard you (retirement). But you’re married to a person who’s in it ‘till death do we part’, and yet that’s the person you choose to resign from? Listen, marriage is hard, it’s work and there will be days when you feel like it’s more work than going to work! But is it still worth it? Absolutely. God still hates divorce; adultery is still a sin; and a vow made, should still be a vow maintained.

Let today be the day you re-exam your own marriage. Is Jesus still a part of it, or have the two of you given Him the boot? Is He still the first person you consult, or does He come in after you’ve called Tyrone; texted Sheila; emailed Leslie; or inboxed David? The Man who has given sight to the blind; speech to the mute; walking to the lame; and life to the dead can surely help your marriage, don’t you think?

As a kid, I remember playing all kinds of sports, I was a tom-boy after all. But one of the things everyone hated was to be picked last to be on a team. Is that what you’ve done to your spouse? Is that what you’ve done to your Jesus? Are they the last people you pick to play on your team? No one wants to feel as though they are in ‘add-on’. No one wants to feel like ‘I’ll get to you on my to-do-list when I can’. No one wants to feel unappreciated, undervalued, unwanted, unloved. So, make sure neither your spouse nor your Savior is feeling this way.

Lastly, when God is Love, how do you think you can manage a marriage without Him who is Love? The Father so full of love sent His very own Son to die just for us; Jesus so full of love laid down His own life, voluntarily, just for us; the Holy Spirit so full of love, has moved in and made His home in us, His temple. Now, just imagine if you invited and involved the Godhead into your marriage the level of love you both would be filled with?

Love triangles with people will destroy your marriage, but one with the Godhead ensures that it’s indestructible! Which will you choose today?

Before you get married, wait for someone who is joined to Jesus as you are, because it is worth the wait. And after you marry, practice His presence daily in your home. A love triangle with Jesus as that real third person is the strongest bond on earth!

“Determine to pray more words over your marriage than you speak about your marriage.” (Lysa TerKeurst)

“A husband and wife must function like two wings on the same bird. They must work together or the marriage will never get off the ground.” (Dave Willis)

“When you face a struggle in your marriage, remind yourself that the struggle will become a story someday. It will either be a story about why you divorced or a story about how you worked together to build a stronger marriage. You get to decide which story becomes true.” (Dave Willis)

“Marriage is not 50-50; divorce is 50-50. Marriage has to be 100-100. It’s not splitting everything in half, but giving everything you’ve got.” (Dave Willis)

“Love your spouse more than you love your career, hobbies and money. That other stuff can’t love you back.” (Dave Willis)

“Your children are learning about marriage by watching you. Treat your spouse the way you want your children’s future spouses to treat them someday.” (Dave Willis)

“When we get married, it is always helpful to remember that we are both sinners. Neither of us is perfect. We will mess up. We will at times hurt each other. And we will need to practice forgiveness.” (Simply One in Marriage)

“I want my life and my marriage to look less like the world and more like Christ.” (Marquis Clarke)

“Always strive to give your spouse the very best of yourself; not what’s left over after you have given your best to everyone else.” (Dave Willis)

“Great marriages don’t happen by luck or by accident. They are the result of a consistent investment of time, thoughtfulness, forgiveness, affection, prayer, mutual respect and a rock-solid commitment between a husband and wife.” (Dave Willis)

“Real Love is when you are completely committed to someone even when they are being completely unlovable.” (Dave Willis)

“In every disagreement with your spouse, remember that there is not a winner and a loser. You are united in everything, so you will either win together or lose together. Work together to find a solution where you both win.” (Dave Willis)

“Be the person you want to be married to.” (Author Unknown)

“Marriage is less about Perfection and more about Perseverance.” (Fierce Marriage)

“The more you Invest in your marriage, the more Valuable it becomes.” (Author Unknown)

“How to fight in a Christian Marriage: Shut Up; Back Up; Pray Up; Make Up.” (Matthew Jacobson)

“More marriages might survive if the partners realized that sometimes the Better comes after the Worse.” (Doug Larson)

“A strong marriage rarely has two strong people at the same time. It is a husband and wife who take turns being strong for each other in the moments when the other feels weak.” (Author Unknown)

“A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.” (Author Unknown)

“There is no challenge strong enough to destroy your marriage as long as you are both willing to stop fighting against each other and start fighting for each other.” (Dave Willis)

“Your marriage will not be defined by the size of your struggles, but by the size of your commitment to overcome the struggles together.” (Dave Willis)

“Your marriage vows are most important in those moments when they are most difficult to keep.” (Dave Willis)

“We charge our cellphones daily but let our marriages die. If your smartphone receives more daily charging than your spouse, then you’re spending way too much time talking to the wrong people.” (Marriage365)

“Couples who make it aren’t the ones who never had a reason to divorce; they are simply the ones who decided early on that their commitment to each other was always going to be bigger than their differences and flaws.” (Dave Willis)

“When forced to choose between your career and your spouse, your friends and your spouse, or even your family and your spouse, you must always choose to put your spouse ahead of the rest. If your first loyalty isn’t to your spouse, then you don’t really understand the meaning of marriage.” (Dave Willis)

“The problem with marriage today isn’t marriage. The problem is the people going into it have no idea what they’re committing to. Marriage is more than two rings, and a pretty dress. It’s a covenant to be kept.” (Meaningful Marriages)

“Your spouse is the one person who has seen you at your worst; smelled your morning breath, put up with your crazy relatives; endured your quirky habits and still loves you more than anyone on earth.” (Dave Willis)

“Your spouse should never have to face any struggle without your full partnership, encouragement, and support.” (Dave Willis)

“If every couple quit when marriage got difficult, 100% of couples would be divorced. Challenges in your marriage are an opportunity to work together, not an excuse to give up on each other.” (Dave Willis)

“Lifelong love isn’t the result of Compatibility. It’s the result of Commitment.” (Dave Willis)

“In most cases, the only person who ‘wins’ in a divorce is the attorney. The husband and wife both suffer heavy losses financially, relationally, and emotionally.” (Dave Willis)

“Secrecy is the enemy of intimacy. Every healthy relationship is built on a foundation of honesty and trust.” (Dave Willis)

“Don’t just be physically monogamous; be mentally monogamous as well. True intimacy begins in the heart and the mind; not in the bedroom.” (Dave Willis)

“Never trade temporary pleasure for permanent regret.” (Dave Willis)

“Instead of nagging about your spouse, try bragging about your spouse. Build them up, don’t tear them down. Focus on what they are doing right instead of always pointing out what they are doing wrong.” (Dave Willis)

“Fight less, cuddle more. Demand less, serve more. Text less, talk more. Criticize less, compliment more. Stress less, laugh more. Worry less, pray more. With each new day, find new ways to love each other even more.” (Dave Willis)

Much Love, Dr. Shermaine #EnjoyTheRead #BeInspired #BeEncouraged #BeEmpowered #BeChallenged #ShareTheWord

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“Your HURT is HELPING Someone HEAL”

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2 Corinthians 1:3-4, “What a wonderful God we have—He is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the source of every mercy, and the one who so wonderfully comforts and strengthens us in our hardships and trials. And why does He do this? So that when others are troubled, needing our sympathy and encouragement, we can pass on to them this same help and comfort God has given us.” (TLB)

Working with youth ministry is probably one of the most unpredictable ministries to work with. You just never know what you’re going to encounter with young people. Sometimes they want to be bothered, and sometimes they don’t want to be bothered at all. But nothing was worst for my youth pastor friend who decided to take a bus load of youth on their first ever mission trip! Now, to be honest, sometimes a bus ride full of kids can be fun, but then there are also those times when it can be as boring for them as watching paint dry! Hence, you will begin to hear the famous “are we there yet?” line. But this group of young people were excited because it was their first mission trip to a Navajo Reservation from Michigan! However, I don’t think they’ll remember their trip as boring at all! You see, unfortunate for them, the carelessness of another driver, forced their bus to swerve sharply at one point, causing the bus to go off the road and roll all the way over into a ditch! Well, as you can imagine, they were absolutely horrified! But, one by one they emerged from the bus. Some of them were injured and they had to be treated at a local hospital, but thankfully no one died.

By the time they finally arrived at that reservation they were a pretty sorry looking bunch. They didn’t exactly come running into that Native community. They came limping in and hurting. They weren’t able to bring all their luggage with them, and some of the kids were on crutches, in braces, patched up, and bandaged up.

BUT, that became the very reason why those Navajo young people listened to those white kids from Michigan. The comments of the Native young people made it pretty clear. If those Michigan young people had arrived looking like they had no idea what pain felt like, the Native youth who live in so much hurt probably would have never listened to a single word they had to say. But as one teenage leader from the youth group said, “Our wounds became our credentials.

Which brought to mind for me 2 Corinthians 1:3-4. It’s about finding meaning in your pain; maybe even the pain you’re going through right now. Here’s what the text says, “What a wonderful God we have—He is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the source of every mercy, and the one who so wonderfully comforts and strengthens us in our hardships and trials. And why does He do this? So that when others are troubled, needing our sympathy and encouragement, we can pass on to them this same help and comfort God has given us.” (TLB)

So you go through a hurting time. You know how the pain feels. You reach out to God for whatever resources He can give you to get through it and you start to experience God’s greatness, God’s grace, God’s kindness. And now you’re qualified by those experiences to help other hurting people. You can tell them in a very personal way the difference Jesus makes in a hurting time. And just like those Native American young people with those banged-up white kids, they’ll listen. You know why? Because you’ve been there.

It’s almost ironic. The worst things that happen to you in your life teach you the most about your God, and they give you the best chance you’ll ever have to tell people about Jesus Christ. Day after day you’re with people who, just under the surface, are carrying so much pain, a lot of scars, and unimaginable wounds. And they won’t listen to just anyone. But they will listen to someone who’s been through a deep valley too; maybe someone like you.

Truth is, no one wants to share their pain with someone who they don’t believe can relate. It’s like leaving your 3 bedroom house, and going to the shelter and telling a woman with 2 kids on a cot that “you understand”. When in fact, at home, you’re 2 girls are tucked away nice, cozy, comfortable and safe in their own separate bedrooms. It’s hard to share with someone the pain of a marriage heading for divorce, when every time you see them with their spouse, they are as happy as ever. Who wants to tell someone they don’t have enough change to get on the bus, while that person hops in a brand new car saying, “it’ll get better”. You want to talk to someone who can understand, who can relate, some who can personally identify, someone who gets where you’re coming from, because they just left there themselves. Which is why we have to be so careful about trying to avoid every pain, ache, moment of suffering and affliction. Because at the end of the day, someone, somewhere, needs something you have to offer, and they will more readily receive it through your pain than through your joy.

Which is why for me I love ministering in shelters (I can relate); I love ministering to those suffering through domestic violence (I can relate); those eating dinner at the soup kitchen with their children (I can relate); those trying to heal from the scars of rape, abortion, and addiction (I can relate); those feeling abandoned, rejected, left out, overlooked, under-estimated (I can relate); those suicidal and depressed (I can relate).

If you ever want to find out where your strengths are in ministering to others, just locate the places of pain where you can relate.

Your pain can become your credentials to answer hurting lives with the love of Jesus Christ that you’ve experienced in your darkest hour. And they’ll listen to you, someone whose bus has rolled over and who carries some of the scars and the damage from the crash. Those are pretty hard earned credentials, ones you’d have never chosen to have. But they are credentials God can use mightily in a hurting world. He uses wounded messengers to become agents of His healing. Which is why you should stop trying to get out of every painful event. Believe it or not, but God can bless you and use you to bless others, even while you’re still in the midst of personal pain yourself!

Romans 8:37 says, “Nay, IN ALL THESE THINGS we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.” Did you catch that? We’re not more than conquerors because we conquered our pain and now we’re out of it. But we’re more than conquerors “…IN ALL THESE THINGS…” We can help someone OUT, even while we’re still IN! That’s what I call a powerful testimony! I love the way The Living Bible states it, “BUT DESPITE ALL THIS, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ who loved us enough to die for us.” (TLB). In other words, it doesn’t even matter what I’m dealing with, because despite it all, I have overwhelming victory, even in the midst of it! And someone around you today needs you to know that, so when it’s rooted and engrained in you, you can share the same mustard seed faith with them!

Even the greatest pain, serves an even greater purpose! Genesis 50:19-21 reads, “Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid. Do I act for God? Don’t you see, YOU PLANNED EVIL AGAINST ME BUT GOD USED THOSE SAME PLANS FOR MY GOOD, as you see all around you right now—LIFE FOR MANY PEOPLE…” (MSG) God can use the same thing that hurt you, to help someone else! I love the way the translation puts it, God used the SAME plans! The evil his brothers meant for him, turned out for his good, and life for many! Never doubt that your pain has a purpose! Our Father is a loving parent to us His children. He does not cause us pain that serves no purpose. Which is why Psalm 119:71 is one of my absolute favorite Scriptures, because those things that helped me most, hurt me most first! But I’ve learned from God’s Word, that the bad, worked for my good.

“MY SUFFERING was GOOD FOR ME, because through it I learned Your statutes.” (CEB);

“It was GOOD THAT I HAD TO SUFFER in order to learn Your laws.” (GWT);

“It is GOOD FOR ME THAT I WAS TROUBLED, so that I might learn Your Law.” (NLV);

“The punishment You gave me WAS THE BEST THING THAT COULD HAVE HAPPENED TO ME, for it taught me to pay attention to Your laws. They are more valuable to me than millions in silver and gold!” (TLB);

“It is GOOD FOR ME that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.” (KJV)

How amazing to know that my suffering was good for me; it was good that I had to suffer; my punishment was the best thing that could have happened to me; and it was good that I was afflicted. Sounds ironic, but my bad was for my good! Why? Because it was only then that I learned to pay attention to His statutes and laws. My affliction was my best teacher. After all, I didn’t learn until it began to teach. And it is likewise for someone near you today. They need you to share your mess ups, screw ups, missteps, mistakes, flaws, imperfections, bad decisions. They need you to share and show the vulnerability of unmasking your wounds and scars. They need someone just like you who can identify, so they can finally stop allowing their pain to keep them in hiding.

Some people will only get free when you share the blessing from your bondage! Which is why you need to be like Lazarus. When Jesus called him, he came out of the grave, still wrapped in his dead man garments. And as bad as he must have looked and smelt, when Jesus called him to come out, he came out! Jesus could have had him come out right out of the garments, but no, He then spoke to those around Lazarus to loose him. There are people around you that will watch as your dead man clothes are being unraveled, and they will be encouraged to know that it’s more important for them to be a part of the miracle, than for you to come out looking like you never needed a miracle to begin with. It’s okay for people to know that you don’t cross every ‘t’ and dot every ‘i’. It’s okay for people to know you don’t always feel strong, powerful, anointed, and gifted. It’s okay for people to know that you don’t always smile and laugh and feel upbeat. It let’s them know you’re real. It let’s them know you’re human. You hurt; you experience disappointment, let downs and pain…just like them. After all, it’s what Christ did.

John 1:14, “The Word became FLESH AND BLOOD, AND MOVED INTO THE NEIGHBORHOOD. We saw the glory with our own eyes…” (MSG);

“And the Word (CHRIST) BECAME FLESH, AND LIVED AMONG US; and we [actually] saw His glory…” (AMP);

“The Word BECAME FLESH AND MADE HIS HOME AMONG US. We have seen His glory…” (CEB);

“The Word BECAME A HUMAN BEING AND LIVED HERE WITH US. We saw His true glory…” (CEV);

“CHRIST BECAME HUMAN FLESH AND LIVED AMONG US. We saw His shining-greatness…” (NLV)

Christ lived among us, made His home among us, became flesh and blood, and moved right into the neighborhood, so why are we avoiding people and their pain?! He didn’t. He spoke to hurting people, touched them, encouraged them, healed them, defended them, ate with them, and if all of that wasn’t enough, He let them touch Him in return! He loved us enough to be just as human as divine. He wasn’t so concerned with being Royal, as He was with being Relatable!

Hebrews 4:14-16 reads, “Inasmuch then as we [believers] have a great High Priest who has [already ascended and] passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession [of faith and cling tenaciously to our absolute trust in Him as Savior].  For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize and understand our weaknesses and temptations, but One who has been tempted [knowing exactly how it feels to be human] in every respect as we are, yet without [committing any] sin.  Therefore let us [with privilege] approach the throne of grace [that is, the throne of God’s gracious favor] with confidence and without fear, so that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find [His amazing] grace to help in time of need [an appropriate blessing, coming just at the right moment].” (MSG)

He understands, He sympathizes, He knows, He can relate. Now it’s our turn to do the same! Understand, sympathize, know and relate. Truth is, if we are to finally be effective witnesses, we need to touch more than we talk! Stop saying what you think they need or want to hear; stop throwing clichés at them; stop drowning them in Scripture showers. Sometimes a simple hug, shoulder or smile, can say more than any word in the dictionary. Today, determine to touch, and be touchable!

Remember, Doubting Thomas didn’t believe until he saw the wounds. You know some people are like that. The pain you’ve been through may never make much sense to you until you see Jesus and He shows you the grand design of which that pain is a part. But until then, offer that pain to Him as credentials to make a difference for Him to other wounded people. To actually, maybe, even help them change their eternity by finding your Jesus. His wounded rescuer – that’s you! Thomas needed to put his hands in His side, and there are some people out there that need to put their hand in yours! They need to know your pain, they need to know you understand and can relate. They need to know you’re real. They need to know that as bad as it is right now, you are their living proof that it doesn’t get perfect, but it does get better.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18, “So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.” (MSG); The Amplified Bible says it like this, “For our momentary, light distress [this passing trouble] is producing for us an eternal weight of glory [a fullness] beyond all measure [surpassing all comparisons, a transcendent splendor and an endless blessedness]!” (AMP).

They need to know it won’t be like this always. They need to know this trouble will pass; they need to know it’s just a momentary, light distress; they need to know that this is really just small potatoes! And you my friend, are the one to tell them that! Let them know, that you personally know, God can do some awesome things in the midst of pain!

Psalm 30:5, 11, “…The nights of crying your eyes out give way to days of laughter…You did it: You changed wild lament into whirling dance; You ripped off my black mourning band and decked me with wildflowers. I’m about to burst with song; I can’t keep quiet about You. God, my God, I can’t thank You enough.” (MSG)

You are the one to inform them that they will not cry always, and that their mourning clothes are not permanent. God has a time limit on all things, and therefore, their pain is not indefinite. They will laugh again, they will dance again, they will sing again. You are their proof. Remember, your wounds are your credentials that qualify you to help others heal.

Allow the proclamation of Isaiah 61:1-5 to be on your lips today, as you minister healing through your wounds to those who are hurting, and need you! You’ll show up like those kids from Michigan with bruises, scars, bandages, crutches, wheelchairs, walkers, canes, and of course pain. But you are also showing up and showing them that none of it stopped you from sharing it with them!

“The Spirit of the Lord God is on me, because the Lord has chosen me to bring good news to poor people. He has sent me to heal those with a sad heart. He has sent me to tell those who are being held and those in prison that they can go free.  He has sent me to tell about the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day our God will bring punishment. He has sent me to comfort all who are filled with sorrow.  To those who have sorrow in Zion I will give them a crown of beauty instead of ashes. I will give them the oil of joy instead of sorrow, and a spirit of praise instead of a spirit of no hope. Then they will be called oaks that are right with God, planted by the Lord, that He may be honored.” (NLV)

Today, Allow Your Hurt to Help Someone Else Heal!

“Your greatest ministry will most likely come out of your greatest hurt.” (Rick Warren)

“Remember that even in the midst of suffering, God’s Will is being done.” (Paul Chappell)

“God has a purpose for your pain; a reason for your struggle; and a reward for your faithfulness. Trust Him and don’t give up.” (Author Unknown)

“Everything that God allows to come our way is always with a purpose. He uses even the greatest error and deepest pain to mold us into a better person.” (Author Unknown)

“God will give you the power to have peace in the midst of the storm.” (Joyce Meyer)

“What if the thing that produces your pain, is the very thing that God will use to release His power?” (Steven Furtick)

“Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.” (Helen Keller)

“Sometimes God will use our deepest pain to launch our greatest calling.” (Author Unknown)

“Your purpose is greater than your pain.” (Bishop T.D. Jakes)

“You were afflicted so that you can help deliver other people from what you escaped from.” (Bishop T.D. Jakes)

“Your brokenness is not useless. God can always use your pain to rebuild a stronger you.” (Trent Shelton)

“Don’t waste your pain; use it to help others.” (Rick Warren)

Much Love, Dr. Shermaine #EnjoyTheRead #BeInspired #BeEncouraged #BeEmpowered #BeChallenged #ShareTheWord

Feel free to also join us at: http://www.selfcarewithdrshermaine.blogspot.com Today’s Lesson: “Condiments: Where to Store, When to Toss”

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“7 Practical Life-Application Lessons From the Cross”

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Jesus prayed, Father, Forgive Them; They Don’t Know What They’re Doing…” (Luke 23:34 MSG)

LESSON 1: FORGIVE THOSE WHO HURT YOU! Two kids were playing when one accidentally hit the other with a stick. That night the injured boy’s Mom said, “Son, you must forgive Harry before you go to sleep.” Grudgingly he replied, “Okay, but unless I die before I wake up, he’d better watch out tomorrow morning!” Hello! When people hurt us it’s hard to believe it could’ve been unintentional or done in ignorance. Yet amazingly, after being flogged, humiliated and nailed to the cross, Jesus said, “Father, Forgive Them; They Don’t Know What They’re Doing”. Forgiving means Refusing to Remain a Victim. By not holding grudges or retaliating you free yourself from the control of those who offend you. Remember: Jesus said, “…love your enemies and pray for anyone who mistreats you” (CEV). Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was persecuted by the Nazis, said, “God doesn’t promise that when we bless our enemies they’ll not despitefully use us. They Will. But that can’t hurt or overcome us, so long as we pray for them. By praying for them, we are doing for them what they can’t do for themselves.Professor Tony Campolo routinely asks his secular college students what they know about the teachings of Jesus. The response is always the same: “Love your enemies”. More than anything else this command stands out as the thing that differentiates Christians from non-Christians. Jesus said, “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons. Give as freely as you have received!” (Matthew 10:8 NLT). Practicing forgiveness stems from a deep gratitude to God for wiping out a debt so great, we could Never have repaid it! Therefore, when forgiving, remember: “…Give As Freely As You Have Received!

And Jesus Said To Him, “Assuredly, I Say to You, Today You Will Be With Me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43 NKJV).

LESSON 2: REACH OUT TO OTHERS! When Jesus was hanging on the cross the Bible says, “One of the criminals hanging alongside cursed him: “Some Messiah you are! Save yourself! Save us!” But the other one made him shut up: “Have you no fear of God? You’re getting the same as him. We deserve this, but not him—he did nothing to deserve this.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you enter your kingdom.” He said, “Don’t worry, I will. Today you will join me in paradise.” (Luke 23:39-43 MSG) While one man mocked, the other acknowledged his sins and received mercy. The truth is, as much as it galls judgmental people, God said, “If you hide your sins, you will not succeed. If you confess and reject them, you will receive mercy” (Proverbs 28:13 NCV). And that Promise is for the Lost, the Least, and the Lowest among us! Think about it: Jesus could have been so focused on His OWN pain that He failed to see the suffering of those around Him. But instead He Reached Out in love as a fellow-sufferer. In the depth of His own agony He not only Promised the thief on the cross Eternal Life, He Comforted him with these Amazing Words: “…Today you will be with Me in Paradise!” There’s a Lesson here for you – one that Job the patriarch learned. Job lost all his children and his fortune in a single day – how did he stay sane? How did he go on to greater things? How? “After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before.” “After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation” (Job 42:10, 16 NIV). It’s in Reaching Out to others, that we ourselves become restored and whole!

Woman, Here Is Your Son.” (John 19:26 MSG)

LESSON 3: TAKE CARE OF THE PEOPLE WHO DEPEND ON YOU!  In addition to losing her son, Mary was also losing His protective “Covering” in a society where women were often treated as second-class citizens after the family males died. So as well as coping with her grief as a mother, Mary may have been wondering what the future held for her. Certainly that would be in our thoughts. Jesus recognized that. And in the midst of the chaos, when He saw her and “the disciple he loved standing near…He said to his mother, ‘Woman, here is your son.’ Then to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’” When the other disciples fled in fear, John followed Jesus all the way to Calvary. Then he went even further. The Bible tells us (and history confirms it) that once Jesus committed Mary to his care, John fulfilled that charge, and “From that moment…accepted her as his own mother” (John  19:26-27 MSG). Here’s what we learn from this: Never Let Your Own Suffering Blind You To the Needs of Those Who Depend On You! When you’re enmeshed in your own problems it’s easy to assume that your loved ones automatically understand where you’re coming from. Not Necessarily! While it’s okay to let them help, never “dump your stuff” on them, or expect them to suffer because you’re suffering. The Bible says, “When you do things, do not let selfishness or pride be your guide. Instead, be humble and give more honor to others than to yourselves. Do not be interested only in your own life, but be interested in the lives of others.” (Philippians 2:3-4 NCV). Jesus was always more concerned with other people’s needs than His own – and we should take our cue from Him!

And About the Ninth Hour Jesus Cried Out With a Loud Voice, Saying, “Eli, Eli, Lama Sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46 NKJV).

LESSON 4: DIRECT THE HARD QUESTIONS TO GOD! At Calvary Jesus asks one of the most heart-wrenching questions ever recorded, “God, why have you forsaken Me?” These words are also found in Psalm 22:1-3 where David poured out his soul in despair, asking God, “God, God . . . my God! Why did you dump me miles from nowhere? Doubled up with pain, I call to God all the day long. No answer. Nothing. I keep at it all night, tossing and turning…Are you indifferent” (MSG). Did you hear David? “Why did you dump me…are you indifferent?…” Ever felt like that? I have! The Bible says that at Calvary God made Jesus “…who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21 NASB). In order to break sin’s hold on us and make salvation possible, Jesus underwent a pain, so great with His Father that it made Him cry out “…My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?” Some of us have at some point in time used the phrase “God-Forsaken”, but can you imagine actually feeling “God-Forsaken”? Or have you ever felt “God-Forsaken”? I have! If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed and abandoned, you know from experience that there’s not another living soul who has a satisfactory answer to your “WHY?” With the best of intentions our loved ones can only go but so far in giving an answer. However, God Alone can pour His Healing Balm Into Your Breaking Heart and Help You Make Sense of (or at least accept His Will) for what’s happening. That’s why you need to go to HIM ALONE for your answers! But here’s the flip side to directing the tough questions to God – You Must Also Be Willing to ACCEPT His Answer and Do What He Says! The Bible says: “So God has given both His promise and His oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to Him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us.” (Hebrews 6:18 AMP). Did you catch that? “…God has given both His PROMISE AND His OATH…”, so even if you don’t get the answer you want, you can rest assured that if nothing else, He Hears You! You have His Promise and Oath that He will be Your Refuge and in that You Can Have Great Confidence! That’s Comforting Even When the Answer Isn’t! You can also be Certain of something else: The One Who Makes “Everything…Work Together For…Good” (Romans 8:28 NLT) Always Sends the Answer That’s In Your Best Interest! So You Can Trust Him! Therefore, No Matter How Painful the Hurt or How Heart-Wrenching the Loss, Take Your “My God…WHY???…” to HIM!

Jesus…Then Said, “I’m Thirsty” (John 19:28 MSG)

LESSON 5: ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR HUMANITY!  Combine the torment of being Crucified in the Intense Judean Heat, with the Loss of Bodily Fluids, and You Can Vaguely Understand Why Jesus Was Thirsty! However, the Bible says that when they offered Him water containing “…a mild painkiller (wine mixed with myrrh)…He wouldn’t take it” (Mark 15:23 MSG). Why? Because it would have dulled His senses and He wanted to stay alert! Make no mistake about it, Jesus could have summoned a host of angels to deliver Him at any second! But instead He CHOSE to die for our sins…fully alert! HE SAID, “No one takes my life from Me. I give it up willingly! I have the power to give it up and the power to receive it back again, just as My Father commanded Me to do” (John 10:18 CEV). This also explains why John wrote: “Jesus, seeing…everything had been completed” (He fulfilled every Old Testament prophesy concerning His crucifixion) said “I’m thirsty!” And yet, not taking anything to drink, He boldly proclaims in a parched voice, the words that every believer holds dear…”It Is Finished!” Listen: When you’re in a dark valley like Jesus was that day it can cloud your thinking and make you lose perspective, unless you voice your needs to those around you. By acknowledging His Physical Thirst, Jesus reminded each of us that there are times when we’re not self-sufficient, when we need help from others. Why else would Paul write: “Bear one another’s burdens, and …fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2 NASB). I understand you’re gifted, anointed, powerful, holy-ghost filled, fire baptized…etc…I get all the “church lingo”. But sooner or later you will be confronted with something that makes you cry out “I’m thirsty”. Or the translation for us, “Something I’m battling with is physically and painfully assaulting my body (be it sickness, depression, stress, worry, fear etc…)” Understand this: You my friend are no less Spiritually anointed because you cry out Physically! As Hard As It Is For You To Grasp, You Are Still Human With Your Anointed Self! Never Be So Afraid of Being Human that You Masquerade Being Super-Human! Those around Jesus may not have meant Him well, but surely you’re surrounded by some folks that are holding out to you…a mild painkiller…” be it through a prayer, comfort, a hug, a word of encouragement…But you’ll never receive it if you don’t open your mouth and be honest and sayI’m Thirsty”. Saints, Be Human…It’s Okay! David writes: “As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him; for He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:13-14 NIV). GOD Remembers We Are Just Human – WE Are the Ones Who Forget! The bottom line is, Jesus was humble enough to acknowledge His humanity, and we need to learn to do the very same.

…Jesus…said…”It Is Finished!…” (John 19:30 NKJV)

LESSON 6: YOU CAN ADD NOTHING TO A FINISHED WORK! In the Old Testament tabernacle there were different items of furniture such as the table of showbread representing our need for fellowship, the lamp stand representing our need for light and understanding, etc. But there were no chairs! Why? The Priest’s Work Was Never Finished! He Couldn’t Sit Down! But after Jesus cried, “It Is Finished!He Returned to Heaven and SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF HIS FATHER – THE WORK OF REDEMPTION WAS COMPLETE! The Greek words for “It Is Finished” Literally means “PAID IN FULL!” It’s what folks in those days wrote across a receipt when the bill was PAID IN FULL! Christ’s death covers your EVERY SIN – FROM THE CRADLE TO THE GRAVE! And to offer your “good works” as partial payment, INSULTS GOD! You Can’t Add To a Finished Work! Look at it this way: Imagine seeing a finely crafted coffee table sitting in a carpentry shop ready for delivery. You reach for a wood plane and say, “It’s good, but not good enough, let me show you how it should look since I’ve taken a few classes.” The master carpenter immediately steps in and says, “No, you’ll ruin it!” Likewise, imagine receiving a very expensive gift from a loved one. Immediately you pull out a $5 bill and say, “Here, let me help you with the cost”! It’s an Offense, an Insult! You’re robbing the giver of his joy and the sacrifice of its worth! Listen: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV). The Amplified Bible says it like this: “For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through [your] faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but it is the gift of God;  Not because of works [not the fulfillment of the Law’s demands], lest any man should boast. [It is not the result of what anyone can possibly do, so no one can pride himself in it or take glory to himself.]” Lastly, The Message Bible says it like this: “Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and ALL HIS WORK. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift FROM START TO FINISH! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him IN THE WORK HE DOES, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.” Saints, saving faith requires – trusting only in a Finished Work of Christ! And You Can’t Add To A Finished Work!

“…Jesus…Cried Out With A Loud Voice…”Father, ‘Into Your Hands I Commit My Spirit…” (Luke 23:46 NKJV).

LESSON 7: RELEASE IT TO GOD! Some of the issues we struggle with seem to be never-ending, like money worries, family problems and health concerns. Even when we get a break and should be resting, we sit up anticipating the worst, wondering, “How long, Lord?Well, the only way to have Real Peace is to Commit the Outcome to God! When Jesus cried, “…Father, Into Your Hands I Commit My Spirit…It Was a Cry of Release! It was an Act of Trust that meant Surrendering Control to the Father (something we’ve Yet to learn to do!) The atoning blood had been shed, salvation’s work was finally complete! But before Jesus could pray That Prayer, He FIRST had to pray,Father, If You Are Willing, Take This Cup From Me; Yet Not My Will, But Yours Be Done” (Luke 22:42 NIV) And that’s a prayer we must each learn to pray! In Philippians 3:10-11 Paul wrote: “All I want is to know Christ and the power that raised Him to life. I want to suffer and die as He did, so that somehow I also may be raised to life” (CEV). We all want to rule and reign with Christ Someday, we just don’t want to submit our will to His Today! But it doesn’t work like that! Jack Hayford writes: “The charted course…always has been…the way of the cross.’ The cross not only calls us to Jesus, it also calls us to a life, to the wisdom of God’s ways in all our relationships and pursuits…to the pattern of Jesus…in the face of our deepest struggles.” So whatever you’re wrestling with today, Release it to God once and for all! When you do, you’ll experience His peace, and you won’t be disappointed with the outcome!

Practical Life Applications:

  1. FORGIVE THOSE WHO’VE HURT YOU;
  2. REACH OUT TO OTHERS;
  3. TAKE CARE OF THE PEOPLE WHO DEPEND ON YOU;
  4. DIRECT THE HARD QUESTIONS TO GOD;
  5. ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR HUMANITY;
  6. YOU CAN ADD NOTHING TO A FINISHED WORK; AND
  7. RELEASE IT TO GOD!

I know many, especially around this time and season, look for “Deep” messages with thought provoking insight that has never been heard of this side of Heaven. But it is in injustice to the Message of Christ not to make the Word of God Practical and Applicable to the People. A Word that can help us in church, but hurt us at home because it lacks clear, simplistic understanding and application is of no value. Therefore, throughout the remainder of the week/weekend, when listening to varying messages, make sure you do not seek to be impressed or entertained, but that you seek to be enlightened, encouraged, inspired and challenged to change your life (your whole life “body, soul and spirit”) for the better.

In a Nutshell: Never Applaud a Message You Can’t Apply!

Much Love, Dr. Shermaine #EnjoyTheRead #BeInspired #BeEncouraged #BeEmpowered #BeChallenged #ShareTheWord #HappyGoodFriday

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“Marriage RIGHTS For When Things Go WRONG”

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“Live joyfully with the wife whom you love…”  Ecclesiastes 9:9 (NKJV)

Sonja Ely writes, ‘I was watching my seven-year-old granddaughter play with her toys. At one point she staged a wedding, first playing the role of the mother who assigned specific duties, then suddenly becoming the bride with her “teddy bear” groom. She picked him up and said to the “minister” presiding, “Now you can read us our rights.” Without missing a beat, she became the minister who said, “You have the right to remain silent, anything you say may be held against you, you have the right to have an attorney present, you may now kiss the bride.”As comical as that is, you need to know what your marriage rights are! And to start you must know that, first and foremost, marriage is God’s idea!  

In Eden He said, ‘…It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him”‘ (Genesis 2:18 NKJV). The word ‘comparable’ means ‘compatible with his (or her) needs‘. In other words, the person you choose to marry will be Comparable, Not Perfect! They can be Perfect FOR You, but they are in no ways Perfect. That’s why it’s foolish for Imperfect YOU, to get so divorce-driven frustrated every time they don’t meet your cross every ‘t’ and dot every ‘i’ imaginary ideals that you also fall very short of attaining! So, before we start anything please know that it is vital to your marriage that you embrace the fact that your spouse will never be perfect this side of heaven and neither will you. Which means, we have two imperfect people who need to come up with marital frustration strategies that are comparable for them to keep their covenant intact.

Listen, when you marry someone, you marry everything they’ve been through! Each of you brings your own baggage. And unless you sort out what to keep and what to discard, things can quickly erode. You must also understand that when you leave God out, you create bigger problems for your marriage than who forgot to take out the garbage or wash the dishes! Keep in mind, Satan has made marriage one of his prime targets! He loves to promote strife.  

Which is why when it comes to marriage we must learn to quickly and completely forgive: The Bible says it like this: Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive One Another As QUICKLY And Thoroughly As God In Christ Forgave You.” (Ephesians 4:31-32 MSG). Why is this so important? Because unforgiveness gives Satan an advantage to tear your marriage apart which is why we are further admonished: ‘If you forgive anyone anything, I too forgive that one; and what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sakes in the presence [and with the approval] of Christ (the Messiah), TO KEEP SATAN FROM GETTING THE ADVANTAGE OVER US; FOR WE ARE NOT IGNORANT OF HIS WILES AND INTENTIONS‘ (2 Corinthians 2:10-11 AMP). You see, the whole purpose of forgiveness is: “…To Keep Satan From Getting The Advantage Over Us…So forgive your Imperfect Spouse, with Your Imperfect Self, and Keep Satan at bay! God’s plan for your relationship is strength and harmony, not strife and confusion. He wants to help you build a strong, loving union that glorifies Him. To do that, you must show grace, forgiveness and resolve to make Jesus Lord of your relationship! Remember, your marriage was God’s Idea, therefore, let Him Control it and it won’t Veer off the Divorce Cliff!              

In discussing marriage on his TV sitcom, Jerry Seinfeld tells his friend why he’s not married: ‘No healthy person would want the neglect I have to offer.Let’s face it, even the ‘best’ marriages are made up of two imperfect people who sometimes neglect each other. And when you’ve been hurt it’s easy to react in the flesh instead of responding in the Spirit. Because truthfully, some hurts go really deep and grow really strong roots over time. At this point we must remember that regardless, forgiveness is a decision, however, trust is a process and when it’s been torn down, it takes time to rebuild it. Men and women often perceive trust differently. When a spouse has been hurt, her husband or his wife may think an apology should immediately enable them to trust them again, move on, and not talk about it again. That’s not so; because there are two things that need to happen. First, the offending partner needs to acknowledge what they’ve done. Don’t just tell your partner to get over it‘. Validate their feelings, even if they act like they don’t want you to. Acknowledge their pain. You see, when others rationalize or trivialize what’s hurting us, it only makes us angrier. Only when we feel validated do our wounds begin to heal. Second, the offended partner needs to make sure that bitterness doesn’t creep in.How can I do that?you ask. By refusing to stay hurt any longer than is absolutely necessary, and by allowing God to heal your heart and restore your love. The Bible says, ‘… “If you hear his voice today, don’t be STUBBORN!”‘ (Hebrews 4:7 CEV). When God gives you the grace to forgive and release the hurt, you need to seize it not be stubborn about it! Holding your spouse in unforgiveness prison, means you’re locked up in bondage right along with them! You do remember the Scripture says:  “And the two shall become ONE Flesh, so that they are No Longer TWO, BUT ONE FLESH.” (Mark 10:8 AMP). If you don’t free them, you don’t free you either! Selah…              

After the death of the child David fathered with Bathsheba, we read, ‘Then David got up… washed himself… changed his clothes… went to the Tabernacle and worshipped the Lord. After that, he returned to the palace and… ate. His advisers were amazed. “We don’t understand you,” they told him. “While the child was still living, you wept and refused to eat. But now that the child is dead, you have stopped your mourning and are eating again”‘ (2 Samuel 12:20-21 NLT). Why did David mourn more intensely before the baby died than he did after? Because according to many research studies across the countries, men grieve hard, but not necessarily as long. Once something’s over, they’ve a tendency to move on. However, in marriage, this can cause problems. You see, according to the studies, men often genuinely don’t understand why their wives can’t accept that ‘what’s done is done’, and move on too. But listen to David’s logic: ‘… I fasted and wept while the child was alive, for I said, “Perhaps the Lord will be gracious to me and let the child live.” But why should I fast when he is dead? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him one day, but he cannot return to me‘ (2 Samuel 12:22-23 NLT). Stay with me, the Bible says that God ‘… comforts us… so that… When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort… ‘ (2 Corinthians 1:4 NLT). Therefore, David’s next move was crucial. And what was it you ask? He ‘… Comforted Bathsheba, his wife… ‘ (2 Samuel 12:24 NLT). Notice, David didn’t ask, ‘What’s wrong with you? When are you going to get over this? I’ve moved on what’s taking you so long?No, he recognized that even though he was beginning to heal, his wife was still hurting. The healing process accelerates once you begin to empathize with, and comfort your mate. And this is advised for both husband and wife, no matter who caused the hurt. Healing always takes time and that timing is different for both parties. Therefore, you need to learn to heal, and whichever gets to the healing finish line first, don’t leave the finish line until your spouse has crossed over it, no matter how long it takes them to get there. It’s important that you both finish, what’s unimportant is who finishes first.              

Sometimes the loss won’t even be a person, but a thing. For instance, when your mate loses their job and you find yourself suddenly going through a season of financial uncertainty, here are three things you need to keep in mind. First, remember it’s just a season. The important thing is to guard your attitude while you’re waiting for things to turn around. For example: Unless he’s lazy or an outright freeloader, your husband already feels bad because he can’t provide. He knows the children need shoes, the bills are piling up and that you’re tired of eating noodles or beans on toast, so don’t keep reminding him! Second, now is the time to get behind him and strengthen his ego, not deflate it. How?‘ you ask. By asking yourself, ‘Am I always complaining? Do I highlight the things we don’t have? Do I covet stuff that’s beyond our budget right now? Am I doing my part to cut back and make ends meet, or am I splurging on non-essentials, going shopping every day and wanting to eat out every night?Remember, responsibility and accountability for your marriage survival falls on Both of your shoulders! Finally, never forget, ‘this too shall pass’. Now is not a good time to remind your husband (or your wife if she’s the breadwinner) about the new car your brother bought or the great house your friend just exchanged on. Now is the time to practice saying with Paul, ‘... I have learned to be satisfied with the things I have and with everything that happens. I know how to live when I am poor, and I know how to live when I have plenty. I have learned the secret of being happy at any time in everything that happens, when I have enough to eat and when I go hungry, when I have more than I need and when I do not have enough. I can do all things through Christ, because he gives me strength.‘ (Philippians 4:11-13 NCV). Has God ever failed you? No, and He won’t now, so make up your mind to trust Him. How you handle this season may well determine whether your relationship emerges weaker or stronger.              

So know your Marital Rights! You have the right to Forgive;  when you are offensive you have the right to Acknowledge What You’ve Done; when you’ve been offended you have the right to Keep Bitterness at Bay, Forgive and Release the Hurt; You have the right to Comfort, You have the right to remember that Financial Droughts Are Seasonal, they do not last; you have the right to Build Your Mates Ego, Not Break It; you have the right to remember that no matter how bad it may seem now, This Too Shall Pass! Remember Your Marital Rights and You’ll Both Be Able to Properly Handle When Things Go Wrong! 

“…you have left (abandoned) the love that you had at first [you have deserted…your first love.]”  (Revelation 2:4 AMP)

Nobody plans it, it just seems to happen. Romance runs headlong into Reality! Something gives, and it’s usually romance! At first it’s just two love-birds with no higher earthly priority than each other’s happiness. Then comes the patter of tiny feet, and our well-ordered world gets turned upside down. Children don’t fit neatly into our schedules and agendas. They can’t and won’t wait. Three kids, two jobs, one mortgage later, and romance seems to be a distant memory. Two overworked people wonder where they lost that romantic feeling and whether it will ever return. I agree with G.K. Chesterton, “The way to love anything is to realize that it might be lost.” 

Unfortunately, some settle for marriage without the sizzle; some stay till the kids are older, then look for greener, more romantic pastures. But God offers a third, more exciting alternative: God’s alternative – Do What It Takes to Restore Your ‘…FIRST LOVE…(This Scripture was written to the church at Ephesus, but the principle also applies to building a good marriage). Therefore: 

  • RE-EXAMINE YOUR PERCEPTIONS: We think our current sizzle-free status is proof that romantic love is dead and the dream forever lost. That’s because we confuse romance with love. Romance brings people together, but love keeps them together. People who love each other can make romance live again – at any age or stage. “Sexiness wears thin after a while and beauty fades, but to be married to a man who makes you laugh every day, ah, now that’s a real treat.” (Joanne Woodward). Romance can come and go, but Love has a Stability that Remains Standing even when all else is Falling Apart! Therefore, water your marriage’s seeds of love and fresh romance will sprout forth!
  • REALIZE THAT THE SIZZLE WASN’T LOST, IT WAS ‘LEFT’:’ You have LEFT [behind] your first love.It didn’t leave you. It didn’t die. And a new partner is not the solution! You Left It and Only You Can Make It Right Again By Your Return To It! Remember this: “Warm hugs are better than cold shoulders.” (Author Unknown)
  • RETRACE YOUR STEPS: You’ll find romance where you left it: Undernourished, Crowded Out, Over-Looked and Seriously Oxygen-Deprived, But Not Dead! God created marriage! Talk to Him! Follow His instructions and your romance can live again! REMEMBER: And here’s a second offense: You fill the place of worship with your whining and sniveling because you don’t get what you want from God. Do you know why? Simple. Because God was there as a witness when you spoke your marriage vows to your young bride, and now you’ve broken those vows, broken the faith-bond with your vowed companion, your covenant wife. God, Not You, Made Marriage. His Spirit inhabits even the Smallest Details of Marriage…So Guard the Spirit of Marriage Within You…” (Malachi 2:13-15 MSG). If Only We’d Protect and Guard Our Marriages to the Same Degree We Do Our Cellphones! Selah…

Here are three ‘R’s’ that work in our walk with God – and in our marriages:            

First: REMEMBER. REMEMBER the height from which you have fallen!…” (Revelation 2:5 NIV). Not the depth, but the height. Not how bad it’s become, but how great it once was! Not the worst of times, but the best! Recall when just being together was the highlight of your whole day! What were you doing then that you’re not doing now? Do you remember when you phoned just to hear his voice? The gifts you couldn’t afford, but bought her anyway? The love notes you slipped into his pocket? Remember opening doors for her, pulling out chairs, holding her coat for her while she puts her arms through the sleeves or flowers on Tuesday, just because it was Tuesday? Remember cooking his favorite dish although you were exhausted from working late, or reading ‘1001 Ways to be Romantic’ and trying them all…twice? Remember quiet candlelit dinners when you shaved again and wore her favorite cologne, you know the one you hated? Remember when intimacy wasn’t all about me? Remember the special places, times, smells, looks, songs, poems? Remember a rose on her tray with breakfast in bed because she had cried when she heard the song, ‘You don’t bring me flowers anymore,’ and you vowed you’d never forget the flowers again?REMEMBER!Remember what you did for love! The magic may seem to have appeared by accident, but it actually grew by action! You were the magic! What you did fueled the romance, then you stopped doing it and the flame subsided! But the pilot light still burns, and remembering the heightsreleases positive, faith-inspiring chemistry that can move you to actions that will fan the flame into a fire again! “To keep the fire burning brightly there’s one easy rule: Keep the Two Logs Together, near enough to keep each other warm and far enough apart—about a finger’s breadth—for breathing room. Good fire, good marriage, same rule.” (Marnie Reed Crowell).            

The second ‘R’ for renewing your first love is REPENT; which in its simplistic form means, to change your mind, direction, and actions. You can’t solve a problem with the same thinking and behaviors that created it; new thinking and actions are required. If your relationship once sizzled, you still have what’s needed to make it sizzle again. You’ve been remembering what you were doing at ‘the height’ of the relationship. You’ve acknowledged that those actions made the relationship exciting and fulfilling, than you stopped doing them, and that youleft [behind] your first love.” Now you’re ready to repent (which means to turn around) and go in a different and better direction so you can once again cause the flame of love to burn brightly in your marriage. “More marriages might survive if the partners realized that sometimes the better comes after the worse.” (Doug Larson). “A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.” (Mignon McLaughlin).              

The third ‘R’ of renewal is RE-ENACT; Do the things you did at first” (Revelation 2:5 NIV). List the things you used to do when the relationship was great. Each of you should prayerfully and privately commit to doing a couple of the listed items, without telling your partner which ones you chose. Try to ‘catch’ your partner re-enacting the things you did at firstand let them know how much it means to you that they cared enough to do it. You’ll get more of what you reinforce by gratitude! “In every marriage more than a week old, there are grounds for divorce. The trick is to find, and continue to find, grounds for marriage.” (Robert Anderson). But a word to the wise: at first it may feel strange, even unreal, when you begin to re-enact those early behaviors. So be patient, that will change. Just keep doing it. And don’t wait till you feel like it. You can act your way into new ways of feeling, even when you can’t feel your way into new ways of acting. Do it till you feel it, till the joy of your first love reignites!              

You further have the marital right to remember the good times of your marriage instead of ruminating over the bad; you have the marital right to repent of any wrongs you have committed against your spouse; you have the marital right to retrace your steps and find the romance that your neglect caused you to loss; you have the marital right to reenact every good memory of your marriage and if you’re real smart, you’ll create some new memories too!

Now to help you ease your way back into ‘the heights of your first love”, I’ve learned that laughter is a Huge and Valuable Asset! With that said, share some of these funny marriage quotes with your spouse tonight and have a good laugh! Especially if you can identify with any of them! 

“I love being married. It’s so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.” (Rita Rudner). 

“Never go to bed mad. Stay up and fight.” (Phyllis Diller). 

“Valentine’s Day is when a lot of married men are reminded what a poor shot Cupid really is.” (Author Unknown). 

“Any intelligent woman who reads the marriage contract, and then goes into it, deserves all the consequences.” (Isadora Duncan). 

“Three rings of marriage are the engagement ring, the wedding ring, and the suffering.” (Author Unknown). 

“Marriage means commitment. Of course, so does insanity.” (Author Unknown). 

“I never knew what real happiness was until I got married. And by then it was too late.” (Max Kauffman). 

“Wedding rings: the world’s smallest handcuffs for those who are sentenced to do life! I suggest you choose your cellmate wisely.” (Author Unknown). 

“There is so little difference between husbands you might as well keep the first.” (Adela Rogers St. Johns). 

“Once a woman has forgiven her man, she must not reheat his sins for breakfast.” (Marlene Dietrich). 

“It’s easy to understand love at first sight, but how do we explain love after two people have been looking at each other for years?” (Author Unknown) 

“Women hope men will change after marriage but they don’t; men hope women won’t change but they do.” (Bettina Arndt). 

“I have learned that only two things are necessary to keep one’s wife happy. First, let her think she’s having her own way. And second, let her have it.” (Lyndon B. Johnson). 

“My husband and I divorced over religious differences He thought he was God, and I didn’t.” (Author Unknown). 

“The reason they’re called the opposite sex is because every time you think you have your wife fooled—it’s just the opposite.” (Walter Winchell) 

“The best way to remember your wife’s birthday is to forget it once.” (H.V. Prochnow). 

Have a good laugh as you Rekindle Romance and Exceed New Levels of Love By Remembering, Repenting and Re-Enacting! 

YOU NOW HAVE THE RIGHT TO REMAIN HAPPILY MARRIED TIL DEATH DO YOU PART!

Much Love, Dr. Shermaine #EnjoyTheRead #BeInspired #BeEncouraged #BeEmpowered #BeChallenged #ShareTheWord

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“Make Your Request Specific!”

what do you want question

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

I am definitely one of those people who can aggravate your very last nerve when it comes to buying me gifts. I usually get the question, “What do you want for your birthday, or anniversary, or graduation, or Mother’s Day, or Christmas?” And the least appreciated answer goes something like this, “I don’t know. Anything is fine. Whatever you want to get me.” That’s usually what I say. However, for my family that can be quite stressful. You see, what they’re hoping for is something a little more specific. Something that will give them some guidance in getting something special just for me. But what can I say, I’ve always been that way. I rather not give any specifics and just wait and see if my gifts will say ‘Me’? Will they say you thought this through? Will it be something I would get for me?

Now, one of my best friends Keisha is a different story altogether! She is always very helpful when it comes to receiving Christmas gifts (in particular). And to prove to you just how crazy she can make some of us when we do our ‘girlfriends gift exchange’, I want you to envision a full page list (typed out and double-spaced), with model numbers, colors, sizes, page numbers, brand names, stores (and even their specific one day only sale dates), and all of this is received at least 3 months in advance! Yeah, it was pretty specific, pretty direct, but at least we always knew exactly what she wanted! No guess work needed or required!

Which brings us to Matthew 20, and I’ll begin reading verses 29-34, “And as they were going out of Jericho, a great throng accompanied Him. And behold, two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was passing by, they cried out, Lord, have pity and mercy on us, [You] Son of David! The crowds reproved them and told them to keep still; but they cried out all the more, Lord, have pity and mercy on us, [You] Son of David! And Jesus stopped and called them, and asked, What do you want Me to do for you? They answered Him, Lord, we want our eyes to be opened! And Jesus, in pity, touched their eyes; and instantly they received their sight and followed Him.” (AMPC)

I love this! The first face they would see would be Jesus and they followed Him from then on!

As we hear this story, we are actually looking at three secrets of prayer that get a miracle response! You might be able to use that, right?

First of all, when you make a request to the Lord and you want to get a miracle it needs to be PERSISTENT. Notice, they said, “Lord have pity and mercy on us,” and when they were told to be quiet they just kept at it: “Lord, have pity and mercy on us,” for the second time. The word “Persistent”, is defined as “continuing or recurring; prolonged; longer than usual time; beyond the normal period of time; continuing without change in function or structure; continuing beyond the usual, expected or normal time; not stopping or going away.” And my favorite definition reads: “continuing to do something or to try to do something even though it is difficult or other people want to stop you.” Its synonyms are “insistent; persevering; certain; dedicated; determined; resolute; resolved; unyielding; willful; unfaltering; unhesitating; unwavering; resistant; devoted; faithful; constant; steadfast; unconquerable; relentless; and unbending.” And doesn’t that describe these blind men perfectly?

They’re stubborn in their request. Which reminds me of children (which I better understand why we need child-like faith). They are the epitome of Persistent! If they dare tell you (in full detail) what they want for Christmas, you better believe they will keep asking about it all the way up to Christmas morning! “Did you get it; did you find it; remember the color is; the size is; it’s at this store only.” They want to make sure you don’t mess this up and get it wrong! After all, your full credibility as a parent with direct connections to Santa are riding on this! Children do not play with Christmas gifts, if only we as adults were this persistent when approaching God in prayer with our requests! Look at these men, even after being told to be quiet, they repeat their request! They could care less about what people say, think or feel about them. They could care less of the opinions of others. They could care less how desperate they sound. They need to receive something from Jesus, and they intend to get it, even if they have to face enemies as they entreat. I mean listen to these people in varying translations:

“Now the crowd SCOLDED THEM and told them to be quiet. But they shouted even louder…” (CEB);

“The people there CRITICIZED the blind men and told them to be quiet. But they shouted more and more…” (ERV);

“The crowd REBUKED them, telling them to be silent; but they cried out all the more…” (ESV);

“The crowd tried to HUSH THEM UP, but they got all the louder…” (MSG);

“The crowd STERNLY told them to be quiet, but they cried out all the more…” (NASB);

“The people WARNED the blind men to be quiet, but they shouted even more…” (NCV);

“Many people spoke SHARP WORDS to them. They told the blind men not to call out. But they called all the more…” (NLV);

“Be quiet! The crowd YELLED at them. But they only shouted louder…” (NLT)

The crowd scolded them; criticized them; rebuked them; hushed them; spoke sternly to them; warned them; used sharp words to them and yelled at them!

Let’s be honest, this is an intimidating scene! First of all there’s a crowd (some translations say a multitude or many people), however, these were only 2 men (and blind ones at that!) This may sound a little harsh, but these people could’ve beat these men to death! They were a vulnerable part of society. Not to mention they were clearly not taken care of by family since they were sitting there by themselves, by the road, having to plead for their own mercy and miracles! But did that stop them…intimidate them…cause them to fear for their lives? Absolutely Not! And clearly it didn’t stop them from crying out either! And not just crying out, but doing it repetitively, and getting “louder more and more”! They had to get to Jesus to get their sight and if that required some naysayers, they would persevere through and get their request granted! And these people weren’t just “mean”, but remember, they “scolded; criticized; rebuked; hushed; were stern; spoke sharply and even yelled” at these men. But did it hinder them? NOPE! They cried all the louder! People of God, don’t let anything or anyone silence your cry to God! No one really knows the depth of what you’re going through but you and God, so their opinions are irrelevant! The more they try to silence you, the louder you shout! You have a need that has absolutely nothing to do with them, so don’t let them stop you! Be Persistent! Persistent prayer brings miracles! You need this too bad, and for too long, to get to this point (of being this close to getting it) to allow critics to stifle your cry! When you go in prayer (public or private petition) you throw everything you have in you on the line! Snot, cry, yell, but don’t you dare sit quietly by and get passed by!

Verse 33 gives us a second secret because they were very BOLD. When the Lord said, “What do you want Me to do,” they said, “WE WANT OUR SIGHT.” This is something so big only God could do it! I wonder, when’s the last time you asked God for something huge; trusting God for something so big only He could do it? You see, they weren’t asking for someone to help them along; someone to help them eat and get dressed, and go from one place to another. No, they weren’t looking for something that any mere man could do. They were requesting what only God could do! Which brings to mind a question that came up in one of my bible school classes, “Is Jesus the only One to ever restore sight to the blind?” And one professor responded like this: “As far as I can tell, there is no record or any instance of anyone other than Jesus restoring sight to the blind (and this He apparently did quite a bit in fulfillment of the prophecies about Him as the Messiah: Luke 7:21, “At that very time, Jesus cured many people of their diseases, illnesses, and evil spirits, and He restored sight to many who were blind.” (NLT); Isaiah 42:7, “You will open the eyes of the blind. You will free the captives from prison, releasing those who sit in dark dungeons.” (NLT); Matthew 11:5, “the blind see, the lame walk, those with leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor.” (NLT); Matthew 12:22, “Then a demon-possessed man, who was blind and couldn’t speak, was brought to Jesus. He healed the man so that he could both speak and see.” (NLT). Matthew 10:1 does say regarding the twelve: “Jesus summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority and power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness” (AMP)that may or may not have included restoration of sight. We do have instances of the dead being raised by men other than the Lord (Example: Elijah, Elisha, Peter, and Paul), so this is indeed an interesting point. It may be that such instances just were not recorded (as indeed most instances of healing were not put down in scripture for obvious reasons of space: John 21:25, “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were recorded one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” AMP).

But there is also the fact that it is only in Jesus that our spiritual blindness is removed: 2 Corinthians 3:12-18,Since we have such a [glorious] hope and confident expectation, we speak with great courage,  and we are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the Israelites would not gaze at the end of the glory which was fading away.  But [in fact] their minds were hardened [for they had lost the ability to understand]; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, BECAUSE IT IS REMOVED [ONLY] IN CHRIST.  But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil [of blindness] lies over their heart;  but whenever a person turns [in repentance and faith] to the Lord, the veil is taken away.  Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty [emancipation from bondage, true freedom].  And we all, with unveiled face, continually seeing as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are progressively being transformed into His image from [one degree of] glory to [even more] glory, which comes from the Lord, [who is] the Spirit.” AMP).

Jesus made a definite point of contrasting the restoration of physical sight to those who believe, with the spiritual blindness of those who possessed physical sight: (Read John 9:1-41). As the One who is the Light by which we see (Read: John 1:4-9), the restoration of human vision is a very powerful symbol of accepting the truth which, once accepted, not only removes our spiritual blindness but brings us to eternal life (Psalm 146:8, “The Lord opens the eyes of the blind; The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; The Lord loves the righteous [the upright in heart]” (AMP); Isaiah 29:18, “On that day the deaf will hear the words of a book, And out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind will see [the words of the book]” (AMP);  Isaiah 35:5, “Then the eyes of the blind will be opened And the ears of the deaf will be unstopped.” (AMP).

If there were any others who restored sight, it seems likely to me that the Spirit has chosen for this reason to preserve in scripture only the instances performed by Him who is the Light of life, through whom, though we were blind, we now see.

I’ll never forget that class or that professor! But it makes me wonder if in prayer we’re bold enough to be like these blind men and take what the world may see as “hard and impossible” to our God who asks: “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is there anything too hard for Me?” (Jeremiah 32:27 AMPC); “But Jesus looked at them and said, With men this is impossible, but all things are possible with God.” (Matthew 19:26 AMPC); “For with God nothing is ever impossible and no word from God shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment.” (Luke 1:37 AMPC).

So, just how persistent, big and bold will you pray from now on? Especially knowing that you can take the hard and impossible to a God for whom nothing is hard or impossible! Therefore, starting today, pray Persistent, Big and Bold! Ask the hard thing! And be Specific! Don’t be afraid! Ask God to heal the adultery in your marriage; the substance abuse in your children; your fear of tithing because of your bills and debt. Take to Him specifically what the doctors diagnosed! Jesus is not afraid of Cancer; Heart Failure; Diabetes; Arthritis; Hypertension; Sickle Cell Anemia; HIV or Aids! He Can Heal Anything, So Take Everything to Him! He has no fear in regards to your mistakes and even your deliberate sin. He can handle the divorce; the unemployment; the church transition; the foreclosure; the bankruptcy; the child support (and even lack thereof). Why struggle with fear, fret, panic, anxiety worry, stress; anguish and the like, when you could simply enter your prayer closet (the one that you make anywhere, including a bathroom stall at work!) Block out people who try to discourage you with such statements as “nobody has ever survived that; or my dad died from that same exact thing; or boy you must be out of your mind to think God will do that; or girl you may as well throw in the towel because not even Jesus can clean this mess up!”

Be like the blind men, when you can’t see Jesus, listen for Him, and when you hear Him, make sure He hears you! Open Your Mouth, Therein Lies Your Miracle!

Jesus loves these kind of prayers: Persistent, Big and Bold!

And lastly, let’s focus on the one secret of prayer that we miss all too often. In verse 32 Jesus says, “What do you want Me to do for you?” It seems like such an obvious answer though, don’t you think? I mean after all, here’s two BLIND men! And Jesus heals BLIND people! However, the blind men say instead, “Lord, have mercy on us.” And there’s nothing wrong with that, but Jesus says, “Well, tell Me exactly what you want Me to do?” Which brings us to our third characteristic of prayer that gets miracles and that’s praying SPECIFICALLY! See, these guys had already made a GENERAL request, “Lord, have mercy,” but Jesus insists that they narrow down their request and tell Him EXACTLY what they want, SPECIFICALLY. And when they do, Jesus responds with a miracle!

The word “Specific” is defined as: “clearly defined or identified; precise or clear; relating to a particular individual or situation; a definite reference; limited to one particular thing; exact; detailed; intended; distinctive; unique; designated; explicit.” People of God, this is what your prayers need to sound like!

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

I learned not to just ask God to bless my marriage, but I’ve learned to take specifics about my marriage to Him. I no longer just say “Lord, keep my children safe.” But I’ve learned to pray “Lord, keep my children safe not just from others, but from their own imaginations; desires; wants; lusts; insecurities; immaturity”, and the like. I don’t just say “Lord bless my finances.” But “Lord, bless me to be a good steward over the finances that you have provided for me. Help me to disciplined in my spending and saving…” I don’t want to be like the blind men sitting by the road yelling Lord have pity and mercy on me, when my specific request is, “I WANT YOU TO GIVE ME MY SIGHT!”

Now it isn’t that He doesn’t know what the need is. He just wants us to know what we’re believing Him for! Listen to Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [SPECIFIC] REQUESTS known to God.” (AMP) God honors specific faith! Not demands, but requests that are always under the umbrella under which even Jesus Himself prayed, “Not My will but Yours, Lord.” Coming to God persistently, daring to believe Him for big, bold, specific requests touches His heart!

As a sidebar: That Scripture says, “…CONTINUE TO MAKE YOUR [SPECIFIC] REQUESTS KNOWN TO GOD” Not to the psychic; not to the horoscopes; not to your friends and family; not even to your little prayer circle. Make Your Specific Requests Know to GOD! Which means, you may need to stop talking to people so much, and start talking to God more!

Listen to our text in the Message Bible: “As they were leaving Jericho, a huge crowd followed. Suddenly they came upon two blind men sitting alongside the road. When they heard it was Jesus passing, they cried out, “Master, have mercy on us! Mercy, Son of David!” The crowd tried to hush them up, but they got all the louder, crying, “Master, have mercy on us! Mercy, Son of David!” Jesus stopped and called over, “What do you want from Me?” They said, “Master, we want our eyes opened. We want to see!” Deeply moved, Jesus touched their eyes. They had their sight back that very instant, and joined the procession.” (MSG)

Jesus was “…Deeply Moved…” by their request, and He is just as “…Deeply Moved…” by yours…especially when it’s Specific!

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

Saints, let today be the day your prayer life takes on a new dynamic. One that is specific in its nature. One that goes to God KNOWING He hears and He answers! SEE to it today that you Make Your Prayer Request Specific! You Have NOTHING to Lose And EVERYTHING to Gain!

Psalm 28:2, “Hear the voice of my supplication (SPECIFIC REQUESTS, humble entreaties) as I cry to You for help, As I lift up my hands and heart toward Your innermost sanctuary (Holy of Holies).” (AMP);

Psalm 30:8, “I called to You, O Lord, And to the Lord I made supplication (SPECIFIC REQUEST).” (AMP);

Psalm 31:22, “As for me, I said in my alarm, “I am cut off from Your eyes.” Nevertheless You heard the voice of my supplications (SPECIFIC REQUESTS) When I cried to You [for help].” (AMP);

Psalm 86:6, “Hear, O Lord, my prayer; And listen attentively to the voice of my supplications (SPECIFIC REQUESTS)!” (AMP);

Psalm 116:1, “[Thanksgiving for Rescue from Death.] I love the Lord, because He hears [and continues to hear] My voice and my supplications (my pleas, my cries, MY SPECIFIC NEEDS)” (AMP);

Ephesians 6:18, “With all prayer and petition pray [WITH SPECIFIC REQUESTS] at all times [on every occasion and in every season] in the Spirit, and with this in view, stay alert with all perseverance and petition [interceding in prayer] for all God’s people.” (AMP);

Philippians 1:4, “always offering every prayer of mine with joy [AND WITH SPECIFIC REQUESTS] for all of you.” (AMP);

Colossians 1:9, “For this reason, since the day we heard about it, we have not stopped praying for you, asking [SPECIFICALLY] that you may be filled with the knowledge of His Will in all spiritual wisdom [with insight into His purposes], and in understanding [of spiritual things].” (AMP);

1 Timothy 2:1, “[A Call to Prayer] First of all, then, I urge that petitions (SPECIFIC REQUESTS), prayers, intercessions (prayers for others) and thanksgiving be offered on behalf of all people.” (AMP);

Hebrews 5:7, “In the days of His earthly life, Jesus offered up both [SPECIFIC] petitions and [urgent] supplications [for that which He needed] with fervent crying and tears to the One who was [always] able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverent submission toward God [His sinlessness and His unfailing determination to do the Father’s Will].” (AMP);

1 Peter 4:7, “The end and culmination of all things is near. Therefore, be sound-minded and self-controlled for the purpose of prayer [staying balanced and focused on the things of God so that your communication will be clear, reasonable, SPECIFIC and pleasing to Him].” (AMP)

Much Love, Dr. Shermaine #EnjoyTheRead #BeInspired #BeEncouraged #BeEmpowered #BeChallenged #ShareTheWord

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“Hurt…Honest…Healed!”

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Psalm 69:29, “I’m hurt and in pain; Give me space for healing…” (MSG)

They often give you one of these when you check into some sprawling hotel, huge mall, a big theme park, or even a large convention facility center. It’s a map of the place. And for the directionally challenged, like myself, there’s one important and specific thing I look for first on that map. It’s that big red “X” and those three very helpful words, “YOU ARE HERE!” 

It doesn’t help me very much by just giving me a drawing of where EVERYTHING is! In order for me to use that to get to where I need to go, I NEED THAT ONE FUNDAMENTAL PIECE OF INFORMATION – AND THAT’S LOCATING EXACTLY WHERE I AM RIGHT NOW! IT’S IMPORTANT TO KNOW EXACTLY WHERE YOU ARE WHEN YOU’RE TRYING TO GET TO A SPECIFIC DESTINATION, ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU’RE TRYING TO GET TO GOD! In fact, the failure to talk to God about where you REALLY ARE may explain why He seems a little farther away than He once did – and a little less real than He once appeared!   

Fanny Brice put it like this: “Let the world know you as you are, not as you think you should be, because sooner or later, if you are posing, you will forget the pose, and then where are you?And isn’t that like many of us today? Regardless to how we feel, or where we really are in life financially, emotionally, physically, spiritually, mentally and the like, we learn how to master the art of façade! You see the word ‘façade’ is defined as ‘a deceptive outward appearance.’ Its French Origin, ‘face’, literally means just that, ‘face’. It’s to put a mask or disguise over your face to hide what reality is and how it’s truthfully affecting you. And many of us do that daily. We go to church smiling on the outside, and crying on the inside; we go to work trying to be happy little team players, but we’re stressed trying to get our own home team of spouse and kids to work from the same play book; we go to school with the intent of making an A, but our brain is so fried from all the closet demons we silently battle with that no one knows about, that we can barely string two sentences together that make sense; we go to family functions and we’re on auto-pilot, because we can’t let on to anyone that the dream couple they see, has actually become one another’s worst nightmare! We’ve learned to master the art of façade! Sadly, we do this with our precious and real lives, and yet even actors know when the scene has ended, to drop the role, the character, and the script and pick up their normal, every day, imperfectly real, lives. Saints, living behind a deceptive appearance is dangerous to your overall health and well-being. At some point if you are to be completely healthy, healed and whole, you’ll have to first begin by being honest!

Hebrews 4:16 is God’s powerful invitation to come boldly to His “…throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. 

However, the verses that precede this promise of God’s total availability, HAVE TO DO WITH OUR TOTAL HONESTY!   

Hebrews 4 beginning at verse 12, states that God’s Word “…is sharper than any double-edged sword…In other words it opens up our soul surgically and it exposes WHAT’S REALLY INSIDE! That brings to mind when the doctor has come up with your diagnosis, and lets you know where we’re going from here to get you back to optimal health. And for some, that requires surgery, whether you like it or not. Yet, the surgeon even with all of his/her skill, talent and knowledge, will most often still tell you a truth you may not want to hear. That truth is, I can tell you what I see from the blood work, from the x-rays, from the MRI and the like, and I have a plan for surgery and I’m prepped, capable and confident, and yet I still have to inform you that anything can happen once I go in! Why? Because there are some things that aren’t clearly visible until the surgeon begins cutting and removing layers, before he/she sees what’s hiding behind it all. And sometimes they’ll go in for one thing, and end up having to do 3-5 things, depending on what they discover! Likewise, God does the same with us when we go to Him in honesty. He goes in surgically and removes all the layers and then He sees what’s truly the problem and resolves it. But that first requires us going to Him openly and honestly and trusting Him with the scalpel, the layers and the discoveries! 

Verse 13 goes on to say, “NOTHING in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. EVERYTHING is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.Therefore saints, you might as well come to God TOTALLY UNMASKED, BECAUSE THERE’S NOTHING HE DOESN’T KNOW ABOUT YOU ALREADY! Like Adam and Eve hiding behind their fig leaves, and God calls out to Adam, ‘where are you?’ It’s not like God had amnesia, he wants His children to be honest with Him, as our earthly parents want honestly from their children. God is looking for us to tell Him the truth, after all, He is truth! Therefore, since everything is uncovered, nothing being hidden (no matter how masterful we become with the art of façade) all is laid bare before His eyes and we must be honest with Him because we owe him an account!

If you talk to Him about how you’re honestly feeling, He’s not going to say, “Oh, you’re kidding Me! Wow! I’m surprised! That caught Me completely off guard! I didn’t see that one coming! What in the world will be the back-up plan I have to come up with to solve that? 

Now it’s understandable why you may not tell other folks about how you’re REALLY feeling; since most of the time it positions them to think less of you. BUT GOD ALREADY KNOWS, AND THERE’S NOTHING YOU CAN DO TO MAKE HIM LOVE YOU MORE OR LOVE YOU LESS! In fact, these words go on to remind us that “we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence.” Why? BECAUSE GOD ALREADY KNOWS ALL ABOUT US, AND BECAUSE WE ARE COMING TO THE FATHER THROUGH A SAVIOR, HIS SON, WHO HAS FELT ALL THE FEELINGS OF BEING HUMAN! This my friends gives us license and right to come to God, as is!

Think about it: What better counselor is there, than The Wonderful Counselor Himself? (Isaiah 9:6, “For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called WONDERFUL COUNSELOR, Mighty God, Everlasting Father [of Eternity], Prince of Peace” AMP). Listen, you can stretch out on the sofa’s of earthly counselors all you want; you can see the therapist, the psychiatrist, the psychologist, the social worker, none of them can do for you what your Wonderful Counselor can! Is that to say they are of no use and not helpful? Absolutely not, but we have to stop running to man every time something goes wrong in our lives thinking they alone can make it all right! God alone is the one who sees all, hears all, knows all and can save, heal and deliver all! You need to make Him your first choice not your last resort!

So, the next time you decide to give God a watered down version OF WHERE YOU ACTUALLY ARE, recall the following Scriptures:

  1. The eyes of the Lord are IN EVERY PLACE, keeping watch upon the evil AND the good.” (Proverbs 15:3 AMP).
  1. The LORD is CONSTANTLY WATCHING EVERYONE…” (2 Chronicles 16:9 CEV).
  1. And he keeps a CLOSE WATCH ON EVERYTHING I DO.” “God WATCHES EVERYTHING WE DO.” (Job 31:4 & 34:21 CEV).
  1. …He WATCHES EVERYONE CLOSELY, EXAMINING EVERY PERSON ON EARTH.” (Psalm 11:4 NLT).
  1. For MY EYES ARE ON ALL THEIR WAY; THEY ARE NOT HIDDEN FROM MY FACE, NEITHER IS THEIR INIQUITY CONCEALED FROM MY EYES.” (Jeremiah 16:17 AMP).
  1. CAN ANYONE HIDE HIMSELF IN SECRET PLACES SO THAT I CANNOT SEE HIM? Says the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? Says the Lord.” (Jeremiah 23:24 AMP).
  1. …YOU SEE EVERYTHING THAT MEN AND WOMEN DO AND RESPOND APPROPRIATELY TO THE WAY THEY LIVE, TO THE THINGS THEY DO.” (Jeremiah 32:19 MSG).
  1. …people don’t realize that I AM WATCHING THEM. Their sinful deeds are all around them, and I SEE THEM ALL.” (Hosea 7:2 NLT).
  1. GOD said, “I’ve taken a GOOD, LONG LOOK at the affliction of my people in Egypt. I’ve heard their cries for deliverance from their slave masters; I know all about their pain. And now I have come down to help them…” (Exodus 3:7-8 MSG).
  1. So she called the name of the Lord Who spoke to her, YOU ARE A GOD OF SEEING, for she said, Have I [not] even here [in the wilderness] looked upon Him WHO SEES ME [and lived]? Or have I here also seen [the future purposes or designs of] Him WHO SEES ME? Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi [A well to the LIVING ONE WHO SEES ME]…” (Genesis 16:13-14 AMP).

Never forget: El-Roi SEES EVERYTHING! Yes, he saw the cigarettes, the alcohol, the drugs, the hotel/motel stay, the divorce papers, the disconnect notice, the foreclosure sign, the pink slip, the diagnosis, the cut paycheck, the denied mortgage loan, the defaulted tuition payments, the car dealership refusal, the scholarship that fell through, the business plans that never left the blueprint stage, the demotion, the miscarriage, the betrayal, the tears, the hurt, the pain, the struggle! Yes, God SEES it all! He SEES everything so today is a good day to stop faking with the façade! Today is a good day to be real with God about where you really are!

Yet, there are some of you who may still say, “Well, if God already sees, if God already knows, why do I need to tell Him?IT’S SO YOU CAN OPEN UP THAT PART OF YOUR HEART AND YOUR LIFE, WILLINGLY, TO HIS CLEANSING, HIS RESTORING, HIS HEALING AND HIS WHOLENESS! ALWAYS REMEMBER: GOD IS A GENTLEMAN, AND ONLY GOES WHERE HE’S INVITED!

Maybe you’ve been saying, “God doesn’t seem all that real to me right now.But look at it from His perspective, He just may be saying the very same thing about you! You’re coming to Him super religious, all together, dressed up, and eloquently quoting scriptures. So, if God doesn’t seem real to you, maybe it’s because you aren’t being real with Him! Simply put, you aren’t stating where you really are! You’re making the same, common mistakes most church folks make, and that’s coming to God not as you really are, but as you think you’re supposed to be! Keep in mind though, when you come in this manner, you never receive from God all that He has to give you! God isn’t trying to help the future you, or the fake you, He’s trying to help the hurting you, that you are right now, at this very moment! He’s trying to meet you where you really are! Stop lying, and stop hiding, if you want Him to help you! Because He can’t heal who you pretend to be!

Listen: I shared this analogy with a Ministers-in-training class, and hopefully it will help you just the same: Sister Taylor needs $100, and I have the $100 to give her. I ask Sister Taylor to tell me where she’s at so I can bring her what she so desperately needs. Now, if Sister Taylor says she’s in New York, that may well be true. But if she tells me she’s in Roosevelt, New York when in actuality she’s in Freeport, New York, although the state is true, she wasn’t honest about the town she’s actually located in! So because she didn’t tell me ‘EXACTLY’ where she really was, what she needs, I have, but she’ll never receive it until she can honestly say “I’M RIGHT HERE.

Far too many of us do not go to God honestly about where we really are! Yes, He already knows. But that’s not the point. The point is when you really have a relationship with God, and you trust Him you’ll take all the stuff you can’t trust people with, to Him! You’ll comfortably and confidently go to your Holy God and expose all of your Unholy Self, knowing that when the encounter with the honest to God truth is over, He loves you no less!  

Another Example: My husband knows I’m at work from 9-5. But just because he knows WHERE I am, he doesn’t know HOW I am unless he calls me or I call him to share that. God likewise, knows where you are, but He wants you to share with Him HOW you’re really doing where you really are! He knows about the troubled marriage, the wayward children, the depleting bank account, the strife amongst siblings, the plotting coworkers, the stress of the ministry. He knows about your depression, your loneliness, your despair, your confusion, your tears, your heartache, your frustrations. And He’s still sitting by waiting for you not to just tell Him where you are, but how you’re really doing where you are. Remember you’re in a Relationship with Him, you’re not a part of a Religion with Him. For Him, this is not about a list of principles, it’s about a personal relationship. He wants to hear your voice, he wants you to share your emotions, pour all that’s in you out to Him, before you take it to others as usual who can do you no good.  It’s about your Relationship not Rules, Regulations and Religion.

And a real relationship with God is honestly telling Him when you’re hurting, when you’re afraid, when you feel like giving up, when you’re angry, when you’re tired, when you’re frustrated, when you’re lonely, when you’re suicidal, when you’re confused, when you can’t forgive, when your jealous, when your envious, when your discontent, when you can’t fight anymore, when you don’t understand, when you’re desperate for love, when you’re spiritually deflated, and the list could simply go on forever! Because you’ll never reach a point in a real relationship with God where you run out of things to share with Him, good, bad, ugly and beautiful alike!  

Can you imagine how many marriages could’ve been saved had the couples went to God to tell Him exactly where they were? How many children would not have run away from home, joined gangs, or lost their virginity, had they known to go to God with all they’re feeling and talk to Him? How many lives could’ve been saved had they went to God with their deepest hurts, disappointments, anger, and feelings of despair and loss instead of to drugs, sex and alcohol? How many businesses that would not have went bankrupt if the owners went to God before they went to the attorneys? How many church splits that didn’t need to occur had the pastor and church went to the God they say, sing, and preach is the Head of the church?

People of God, if you only knew how badly your God desires for you to let it all out so He can finally let in His mercy (that is new every morning); His grace (that is sufficient for whatever you’re going through); His lovingkindness (that will always be better than life); and His unconditional love (that will always cover the multitude of your every sin)! All He’s waiting for is a meeting with the Real You, at the place You’re Really At! Just tell Him! Don’t walk out on the marriage, don’t give up on the kids, don’t quit the job, don’t leave the church, don’t drop out of school, don’t end the friendship/relationship, don’t take your own life, don’t throw in the towel, just Talk to God, He’s waiting to hear from you! “Call to me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own.” (Jeremiah 33:3 MSG); “I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking to me about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers!” (Isaiah 65:24 TLB) God is waiting to hear from you, why are you still so silent?

Your spiritual drifting, your distance from God, or your unnecessary pain may be because you’ve been coming to God without the real you! But He said: “I know the plans I have for YOU…” (Jeremiah 29:11). Not the plans for the person you’re attempting to be, not the figment of your imagination, not the covered up Cover Girl, not the masked man! But plans for the real you! Flawed you, rejected you, abandoned you, failed you, imperfect you, addicted you, diseased you, God is waiting to hear from YOU, the real YOU, because He has Plans for YOU that neither pain nor problems can stop!  

Today, I challenge you to get your life map out and mark the “X” of where you Really are right now. Why? Because, it’s then, and only then, that God will take you from there to where He’s destined you to be! Which is why you should be encouraged to tell God where the real you is today, right now, in this moment. Because where you are doesn’t distract God from where He’s taking you. Your current location does not in any way intimate God, no matter how bad it is! God specializes in using shattered people in broken places! Noah was a drunk; Abraham was old; Jacob was a liar; Leah wasn’t the most attractive; Joseph was abused; Moses stuttered; Gideon was afraid; Sampson was a womanizer; Rahab was a prostitute; Jeremiah was young; David had an affair and was a murderer; Elijah was suicidal; Isaiah preached naked; Jonah ran from God and his assignment; Naomi loss her husband and both her sons; Job loss his family, went bankrupt, and had a wife who wanted him to curse God; John the Baptist dressed a little funny and ate bugs; Peter had a temper and denied Jesus Christ by saying he never even knew Him; The Disciples fell asleep while praying; Thomas had doubts; Miriam talked about her own brother; Aaron helped the people make up their own god out of a golden calf; Sarai was impatient; Hagar was a single mother wandering around the desert waiting for her and her son to die; Martha worried about everything; the Samaritan Woman had a few too many men (none of which were actually her own); Saul was tall; Abigail was married to a fool; Zaccheus was short; Paul was beaten and shipwrecked; Timothy had ulcers; and Lazarus was dead! So do you really think that God is intimated by you and where you really are in life?!  I promise you, God can still use, Even YOU!

Hear Jesus’ heartfelt plea to us, “Listen! I am standing and knocking at your door. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in and we will eat together.” (Revelation 3:20 CEV).  Today, He wants to come in and share with you substance “…we will eat together“. He wants to share with you something that will feed you, nourish you, and strengthen you! And He wants to do it With You!  

Saints, He’s at your door knocking, will you open the door of your heart to Him and finally say “Lord, I’m Right Here”? “Lord, I’m Hurting, But Here is the Real Me!” Because once you do, you and your life will never be the same again!

Psalm 69:29 says, “I’m hurt and in pain; Give me space for healing…” (MSG) Brothers and Sisters, our Father already knows your hurting and in pain, and He so desperately wants to heal you. In fact, He already has that “space for your healing” set aside just for you, He’s just waiting for you to show up! That space is found in Psalm 91, “You who sit down in the High God’s presence, spend the night in Shaddai’s shadow, Say this: “God, you’re my refuge. I trust in You and I’m safe!” That’s right—He rescues you from hidden traps, shields you from deadly hazards. His huge outstretched arms protect you— under them you’re perfectly safe; His arms fend off all harm. Fear nothing—not wild wolves in the night, not flying arrows in the day, Not disease that prowls through the darkness, not disaster that erupts at high noon. Even though others succumb all around, drop like flies right and left, no harm will even graze you. You’ll stand untouched, watch it all from a distance, watch the wicked turn into corpses. Yes, because God’s your refuge, the High God your very own home, Evil can’t get close to you, harm can’t get through the door. He ordered His angels  to guard you wherever you go. If you stumble, they’ll catch you; their job is to keep you from falling. You’ll walk unharmed among lions and snakes, and kick young lions and serpents from the path. “If you’ll hold on to Me for dear life,” says God, “I’ll get you out of any trouble. I’ll give you the best of care if you’ll only get to know and trust Me. Call Me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times; I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party. I’ll give you a long life, give you a long drink of salvation!” (MSG)

Saints, here’s God’s “space for your healing” (Psalm 91), so are you going to make the wise decision today to bring the real you there so you can finally be healed, or are you going to make the foolish decision to remain hiding in pain behind your diseased facade?

 

It is My Sincere Prayer That Today You’ll Take Your Hurt to God, Be Honest With God, and Be Healed By God!

“Be honest with God and ask Him to give you a willingness to do the work of prayer.” (David Jeremiah)

“I’m honest in my conversations with Him because I know He can handle it.” (Lysa TerKeurst)

“God blesses people who are real. When you’re honest, you open the door for God to come in and change things.” (Joel Osteen)

“God’s grace is sufficient. You’ll never face a hill you don’t have the strength to climb.” (Joel Osteen)

“The beauty of grace is that God already knows about our sin. He just wants us to be honest with Him.” (Author Unknown)

“To be God’s friend, you must be honest to God, sharing your true feelings, not what you think you ought to feel or say.” (Author Unknown)

“You might as well tell God what you think, He already knows it anyway.” (Todd Burpo)

Much Love, Dr. Shermaine #EnjoyTheRead #BeInspired #BeEncouraged #BeEmpowered #BeChallenged #ShareTheWord

Feel free to also join us at: http://www.selfcarewithdrshermaine.blogspot.com Today’s Lesson: “18 Habits of the Happiest and Healthiest Families”

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“The Benefit and Blessing of Circumcision!”

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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 #ShareTheWord

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