“An Encounter With God”

See Me (v 5-7) Journey Inward. See Others (v 8-9) Journey Outward.

If it’s one man I love and respect, it’s our former President Barack Obama. And I’ve come to discover, that when the President of the United States comes to speak, it’s a rare opportunity. So if you desire to be physically present when he shows up to speak, you better get there hours early because of the mass of people that will be there as well! Think about it, it’s hard to find a place to park, to stand, to sit or to see and hear. Yet, if you should happen to be able to squeeze in and find a spot, you still then have to wait until he arrives! Finally, you can hear a ripple go through the crowd as they hang the presidential seal on the podium. Then comes the announcement: “Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States.” Everybody gives him a standing ovation that lasts quite a while, and when the applause dies down, he begins to speak. While he speaks, nobody leaves. In a nutshell, when you go to hear someone important, you don’t just applaud and leave. You stay after the applause to hear what they have to say.

You can find in Isaiah 6 perhaps the greatest worship scene in the Bible. The prophet Isaiah says the following in Isaiah 6:1-4: “In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw [in a vision] the Lord sitting on a throne, high and exalted, with the train of His royal robe filling the [most holy part of the] temple. Above Him seraphim (heavenly beings) stood; each one had six wings: with two wings he covered his face, with two wings he covered his feet, and with two wings he flew. And one called out to another, saying, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is filled with His glory.” And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, and the temple was filling with smoke” (AMP)

This is what you would call true worship! It is getting lost in who He is, and being overwhelmed by His very presence. It is the place where no flesh glories in His sight. It is the place where the true-worshiper dwells.

John 4:23-24, “But a time is coming and is already here when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit [from the heart, the inner self] and in truth; for the Father seeks such people to be His worshipers.  God is spirit [the Source of life, yet invisible to mankind], and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (AMP)

Here’s the KEY: “…the Father SEEKS such people to be His worshipers…”  

Can you imagine something being so important and vital to God that He actually comes looking for it? Well, that’s the power and attraction of true-worshipers. There is something so phenomenal about their worship, that God seeks for, looks for, goes after and pursues them. Which reminds me a lot of ‘new love’. We go so out of our way when it’s new love. The phone calls are never-ending, the flowers flow in constantly, the ‘I love you’s are dear, genuine, passionate and daily, the time together is precious and you never want it to come to an end. You rearrange your entire schedule just to spend a moment with the one you love. You gaze in their eyes, and smile for no reason. You can think of them and butterflies flutter on the inside. You give your everything to them, because you love them. It’s new, exciting, fun, and life-giving. It brings you joy, happiness, contentment, and you can’t stop telling everybody about the somebody that has stolen your heart and refuses to give it back. You want to hold hands all the time, your intimacy knows no limits or boundaries. You want to eat with them, go out with them, stay in with them. All because you love them. And often their response matches yours, because when someone knows just how special, valued, cherished and loved they are, they tend to give even more of themselves in return out of a heart full of gratitude. I wonder what would happen if we would dare to love God like that? What would it be like for our worship to resemble that kind of love in word, thought, and action? Could you imagine how relentless God would pursue us for rendering such worship on Him? If only we would give God even a tenth of what we give to people…Selah…

The God’s Word Translation says, “…The Father is looking for people like that to worship Him…” (GWT). Then the Good News Translation finishes like this, “…God is Spirit, and only by the power of His Spirit can people worship Him as He really is.” (GNT). Which makes me wonder, if we spend no time with God, no time talking to Him and hearing from Him; if we spend no time in prayer, no time in His Word, no time in His Presence, how will we ever be able to worship Him in spirit and in truth? How can we worship Him, by His Spirit, when our Spirit takes no time to learn who He really is? Which is hard to do in an era of the church that is “Praise” focused…ONLY. Now, is there anything wrong with praise? Absolutely not! From cover-to-cover of the Bible will you hear about the praises rendered to our God, and His response to them for He inhabits the praises of His people.

But I’m afraid that we’ve become so Praise-Centered, that we no longer know how to get to the Core of Worship anymore.

There’s a wonderful new emphasis in many places today on praise and worship. And I for one certainly recall it being called “devotion”. You see, it was the time in my former church where the Deacons and Deaconesses led in prayer, praise and worship and testimony service. It was a time when the people made the Lord the focus, when it’s so easy to forget Him, and we finally take time to forget ourselves instead and experience just how big God is. People from all over the sanctuary would share what the Lord had done for them and their loved ones, their health, their employment and marriage etc. It was wonderful, encouraging, empowering, motivating, faith-building, and inspiring. We would sing, and clap and dance, and holler. We would give God our best and noisiest praise! It was sort of our standing ovation for God! Much like the preparation for when the President is about to enter the room and speak.

Unfortunately, however, far too many of us leave after the standing ovation, not realizing that it’s only the beginning. Yes, Praise went forth and Worship went forth, but now God wants to say something; He wants to speak to us. But how can we hear Him if we leave, or tune out after the praise break stops? How can we hear Him over all the clapping, hollering, high-fiving, and ‘tap and tell your neighbor’? How can we hear Him while we’re so busy running, jumping, leaping, dancing, spinning, shouting and falling out? Is anything wrong with any of that? No, not in and of itself. And if that was the conclusion, it would be fine. However, it’s not, it’s only the beginning. Because after the ovation dies down, after the applause stops, His voice speaks, and that’s the most important part of it all. And when you realize that it is, you began to prepare yourself to hear the Lord speak.

Isaiah 6:5 says this, “Woe is me! For I am ruined, Because I am a man of [ceremonially] unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” (AMP). Worship is supposed to lead to Repentance. When you are in the Presence of the Lord, you should see His holiness and the sin that you have not dealt with. You need to make things right with this awesome and holy God. Worship that doesn’t lead to cleaning up your sin is just dead-end applause, and we should not leave until God has spoken. Worship should remind us that we’ve sinned, it should convict us of our unrighteousness when we realize just how righteous He is. It should uncover our unholiness when we realize just how holy He is. Worship should challenge us to change for the better. Worship should remind us that although we serve an awesome, loving and kind, and generous God, He is also Holy.

“because it is written, “You shall be holy (set apart), for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:16 AMP);

“Strive to live in peace with everybody and pursue that consecration and holiness without which no one will [ever] see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14 AMPC)

This is how vital holiness is! We are to be holy, because He Is Holy and Without Holiness, No One Will Ever See Him! So, when we worship God, it is a time of preparation to hear from God. We enter that place of holy worship where we acknowledge that we are unclean and need to be bathed in His presence. We need to be made right. We need to begin again. Start afresh, start anew. We need to reevaluate ourselves, our attitudes, our speech, our thoughts, our deeds, our motives and intentions, our desires, our longings, our heart. Because we need to hear Him, we have to come close to Him, and have Him cleanse us and position us. Praise is wonderful, it gets us to the door, thanksgiving opens it up, worship allows us to enter in, and holiness allows us to stay in preparation to hear God speak.

“Then flew one of the seraphim [heavenly beings] to me, having a live coal in his hand which he had taken with tongs from off the altar; and with it he touched my mouth and said, Behold, this has touched your lips; your iniquity and guilt are taken away, and your sin is completely atoned for and forgiven.” (Isaiah 6:6-7 AMPC).

A lot happens after the initial cries of “Holy, Holy, Holy”. Just as a lot happens prior to the President speaking. There’s a Process before the Proclamation. Isaiah didn’t get happy just because of who he was around (the angels, or for us it’s other church folks). He didn’t even get happy because of the ovation and applause (“Holy, Holy, Holy”, or for us it’s our Praise). But Isaiah declared his sin, I’m unclean and unholy. But since I’m in your presence and have the opportunity to hear you speak, I’m not stopping here, I’m not staying here, I’m leaving here changed and better. And the very thing he declared was unclean (‘I’m a man of unclean lips’), the angels touched him and gave a new declaration, “Behold, this has touched your lips; your iniquity and guilt are taken away, and your sin is completely atoned for and forgiven.” And what happens after he confesses and gets cleaned up?

Verse 8 says, “Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!” (AMP). When we see our sin and receive God’s forgiveness, then we should see the people who don’t have a Savior yet. Our heart should ache for those who haven’t seen the King. Worship is not just getting a good feeling because you got close to God. When you see the Lord, it will help you see the lost people who haven’t gotten close to Him yet. Worship that is really worship will lead to repentance and then to evangelism. Unfortunately, we get so lost in what we desire the Lord to Personally do for us, that we assume, when we’ve received what we asked for, then that’s it, I’m good, the day is done, we can go home now. Not so! We don’t get to God, get what we can get from God, then go home. We get in the presence of God, so we can repent, change and get something to give away to somebody else.

“Here am I, Lord. I will go for You into the lives of the people around me who have yet to see the King as I have.”

You don’t get clean just to brag about your cleanliness. You don’t get clean just to hang around other clean folks. You get clean so you can go to them that are still in the filth of their sin, and you tell them I know a Man that can clean your sin better than Tide can clean your laundry!

You don’t just go into God’s presence to applaud, to run, jump, leap, spin, dance, shout, and praise, though that’s a great place to start. But you go to worship and repent, to receive forgiveness, to be cleansed and changed and to hear Him speak and then to act on what He says!

Think about this: Can you imagine traveling hours to hear the President speak, stuck in traffic, struggling to find a place to park. Then getting on a long line to be security cleared. Then to hear all the chatter from everyone else speaking all at the same time. Then to find you a little spot to try and see and hear him. Then to hear that he’s about to enter in, he’s announced and introduced, you clap and scream and get so excited. And then he comes in, and all the cheering gets even louder. He’s at the podium, then the applause dies down, and finally you get to hear him speak, BUT he just walks away without a word spoken…how disappointed would you be?

Well, on the reverse side of that, that’s where a lot of us are. We go through all we go through to get to church. Find parking, find somewhere to sit, then there’s the music, the clapping, dancing, praising, and then the mouthpiece of God gets ready to speak and we’ve completely checked out of service! Imagine God’s heart break that you don’t mind applauding Him, you just don’t want to hear from Him! Well, that’s not the purpose. We have to find our way back to what’s important in our churches. And it’s not how awesome the choir is, how amazing the music is, how high the anointing is, how fancy the footwork is. None of that has value. We need to enter in with thanksgiving and praise. But we also have to find our place of worship and repentance. So that we can be honest before God, confess and be cleansed and changed before God. Then we can clearly hear from God. And then we can take what we’ve heard from God and share it with others. Don’t lose the core importance of the Presence of God. It is not to tickle your ears or your fancy, it’s not hearing what you want to hear, it’s not about houses, cars, land, money, promotions and new spouses. It’s about becoming a better believer and person as a whole. It’s about spending so much time with God that you finally start to sound like Him, walk and talk like Him, think and act like Him, ultimately to reflect Him.

Enjoy service, enjoy the praises rendered to our God. Give Him the standing ovation and applause you freely give to the President and more so. But remember, if people can stay after the applause to hear what a ‘mere man’ has to say, surely we should stay after the applause (physically, spiritually, emotionally and mentally) to hear what God has to say don’t you think? With that said, don’t become so entertained in church, that you leave unchanged! Don’t get so lost in the Noise of Praise that you can’t find the Quiet of Worship!

Example: 1 Kings 19:11-13, “So He said, “Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord was passing by, and a great and powerful wind was tearing out the mountains and breaking the rocks in pieces before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind, [there was] an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.  After the earthquake, [there was] a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire, [there was] the sound of a gentle blowing.  When Elijah heard the sound, he wrapped his face in his mantle (cloak) and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. And behold, a voice came to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (AMP)

The Contemporary English Bible says it like this, “…Finally, there was a gentle breeze, and when Elijah heard it, he covered his face with his coat. He went out and stood at the entrance to the cave. The Lord asked, “Elijah, why are you here?” (CEV)

There was a Powerful Wind that tore out the mountains and broke rocks in piece; There was an Earthquake; There was a Fire… In short, there was a lot of Noise and a lot of Action to Be Seen and Heard…but the Lord’s voice wasn’t in the verbal noise or the visible action! And truth is, our churches have become quite noisy and visibly active…Selah…However, the Lord’s voice was in “the sound of a gentle blowing…” if you weren’t quiet and still, you would never hear it or feel it. Makes me ponder if the church needs to quiet down and learn to be still just a little bit more? Maybe, just maybe, we could sense, hear, see and feel the actual presence of the Lord.

Church, praise is not the only order on the menu of the day. Now, I know praise is more like the steak, potatoes, chicken and rice on the menu. However, worship is more like the vegetables, something that’s so much better, and healthier for you. Does it mean steak is bad? Nope, but it will be better with the balance of broccoli. And with such a simple, childlike analogy, our praise is more well-balanced WITH our worship. Applaud the Lord, but when the applause dies down, worship and listen to what thus saith the Lord.

Remember, it is the true worshipers that God is seeking for, looking for and pursuing. Those whose worship continuously goes off on His radar. These are the ones God goes out on a man-hunt for. He tracks them down. He desires them; longs for them; is drawn to them. So, a good question to ask yourself is: “Does My Seeking God in Worship Move God to Come Seeking After Me?” That’s the kind of Worship you should be after, the kind that causes God to come after you! A Real Encounter With God! One Where You See God; You See Yourself as He Sees You; and Then You See Others in Outreach!

Therefore, today, let’s start fresh. Let’s set the stage for God’s entrance. Praise Him, Thank Him, Glorify Him, Exalt and Extol Him, Speak Well of Him, Applaud Him. But then ask Him to prepare you through confession, repentance, forgiveness and cleansing to enter His presence to Hear Him speak. And when He speaks, listen and obey.

Remembering that Isaiah SAT until he was SANCTIFIED and then SENT.

Your process will be the same. And when God sends you, it’s not for your glory, your name, your reputation, your self-promotion, the people’s applause and approval or exalting your gifts, skills, talents, or anointing. No, you’re sent on assignment to lead others into the same process as you’ve experienced. Your purpose is the discipleship of others. Bring people into the Kingdom, even if they don’t come into Your Church. Their Soul, Not Your Seating, is What’s Important to God and Should Be Just as Important to Us, His People, His Church, Given His Charge and Commission to Complete. Keep that in mind as you renew your mind regarding Praise and Worship and making sure that it’s not a performance or show but that it becomes your very lifestyle.

People of God, whatever you do, Don’t Miss What Happens After the Applause! Experience One Real Encounter With God and You’ll Want an Encore!

1 Samuel 3:10, “Then the Lord came and stood and called as at the previous times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel answered, “Speak, for Your servant is listening.”(AMP)

James 4:8, “Come close to God [with a contrite heart] and He will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; and purify your [unfaithful] hearts, you double-minded [people].” (AMP)

Psalm 24:4, “He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to what is false, Nor has sworn [oaths] deceitfully.” (AMP)

John 10:27, “The sheep that are My own hear My voice and listen to Me; I know them, and they follow Me.” (AMP)

Psalm 96:9, “Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness; Tremble [in submissive wonder] before Him, all the earth.” (AMP)

Psalm 29:2, “Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name; Worship the Lord in the beauty and majesty of His holiness [as the creator and source of holiness].” (AMP)

“True worship always brings you into a right relationship with God.” (Author Unknown)

“Worship that is pleasing to God, radiates throughout a person’s entire life.” (A.W. Tozer)

“Worship, it’s not about you, it’s all about Him being worthy and you being unworthy.” (Author Unknown)

“An encounter with God marks you, and makes you hungry for more of Him.” (Jenn Johnson)

“Worship is a lifestyle. What you do throughout the day is your act of worship to God.” (Patrick Mabilog)

“Worship is an act of war against the enemy of our hearts.” (Holley Gerth)

“Worship is so much more than the songs that we sing on Sunday morning. It is the life that we live the rest of the week.” (Author Unknown)

“In the case of Jesus, He is infinitely admirable, and our admiration rises to the most absolute worship.” (John Piper)

“True worshipers believe they are the Temple of God in which the Father dwells and from which they worship the Father. They are not just instruments in God’s hands, most importantly they have a relationship with God and so they are no waiting for that special time or place or call to do anything, worship is their lifestyle.” (Justice Kojo Bentil)

“Such true worship will stand the test of Christ’s great principle, ‘by their fruits you shall know them.’ It sanctifies the Christian’s life and makes them walk with God, lifting them above fear and love of the world. It enables a Christian to show God to other folks. Such worship comes from Heaven, and has the mark of God upon it.” (J.C. Ryle)

“God is looking for worshipers not professional musicians.” (Author Unknown)

“Work becomes worship when you dedicate it to God and perform it with an awareness of His Presence.” (Rick Warren)

“A man can no more diminish God’s Glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, ‘darkness’ an the walls of his cell.” (C.S. Lewis)

“In true worship the Father must be first.” (Andrew Murray)

“It is imperative that the Christian, at the beginning of his pursuit to understand what true worship is, gets it clear that the object of our worship is to be God and God alone.” (R.C. Sproul)

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

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

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“Misplaced Worship”

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Isaiah 40:12-26, “Who has scooped up the ocean in His two hands, or measured the sky between His thumb and little finger, Who has put all the earth’s dirt in one of His baskets, weighed each mountain and hill? Who could ever have told God what to do or taught Him His business? What expert would He have gone to for advice, what school would He attend to learn justice? What god do you suppose might have taught Him what He knows, showed Him how things work? Why, the nations are but a drop in a bucket, a mere smudge on a window. Watch Him sweep up the islands like so much dust off the floor! There aren’t enough trees in Lebanon nor enough animals in those vast forests to furnish adequate fuel and offerings for His worship. All the nations add up to simply nothing before Him—less than nothing is more like it. A minus. So who even comes close to being like God? To whom or what can you compare Him? Some no-god idol? Ridiculous! It’s made in a workshop, cast in bronze, Given a thin veneer of gold, and draped with silver filigree. Or, perhaps someone will select a fine wood—olive wood, say—that won’t rot, Then hire a woodcarver to make a no-god, giving special care to its base so it won’t tip over! Have you not been paying attention? Have you not been listening? Haven’t you heard these stories all your life? Don’t you understand the foundation of all things? God sits high above the round ball of earth. The people look like mere ants. He stretches out the skies like a canvas—yes, like a tent canvas to live under. He ignores what all the princes say and do. The rulers of the earth count for nothing. Princes and rulers don’t amount to much. Like seeds barely rooted, just sprouted, They shrivel when God blows on them. Like flecks of chaff, they’re gone with the wind. “So—who is like Me? Who holds a candle to Me?” says The Holy. Look at the night skies: Who do you think made all this? Who marches this army of stars out each night, counts them off, calls each by name—so magnificent! so powerful!—and never overlooks a single one?” (MSG)

If it’s one place my friend Lisa would have died to see, it was Niagara Falls! She use to drive us nuts about wanting to go to Niagara Falls! She even had several t-shirts with the picture of it right on the front! She was absolutely obsessed if you ask me. But then one day it happened (she was married with children by the time it did, but that didn’t bother her one bit)! You see, Lisa finally got to see Niagara Falls for real! And let her tell it, it’s one of the world’s greatest wonders!

As she talked to me about her trip, one of the things she shared was that there’s many miles before you ever get to see those roaring fallsbecause what you see first will be the power lines. It’s Niagara’s generated electricity of course, and then as you get near the falls, you see this big, ground-level cloud rising up! It’s this massive MIST that’s billowing up from the river below Niagara. Lisa said it’s impressive indeed!

However, as impressive as the MIST was, let me tell you what Lisa DIDN’T DO, after seeing the MIST. She didn’t stop Before she got to the falls and say, “Man, look at that MIST! Quick, get the camera! What incredible MIST! We can go home now, I’ve seen everything I came to see!” And then deeply impressed by that cloud of spray (MIST), turn around and head home, never going the rest of the way to see the FALLS that actually PRODUCED the MIST!

With that thought in mind, let’s read through our text again: Isaiah 40:12: “Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, or with the breadth of His hand marked off the heavens?” What a tribute to God’s awesome power! “Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance?Verse 15,Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they are regarded as dust on the scales; He weighs the islands as though they were fine dust.” Then it says, “He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in.” Finally, verse 26, “Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: WHO CREATED ALL THESE? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls forth each of them by name. Because of His great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.

When you look at creation, it should lead you to the Creator! I mean, if you think what He made is awesome, wait till you meet the One Who made it! But the Bible describes a tragic mistake that’s made in many cultures (and churches), over many years, and increasingly made by people in our sophisticated circles. Romans 1:25…highlights the mistake, “THEY EXCHANGED THE TRUTH OF GOD FOR A LIE, AND WORSHIPED AND SERVED CREATED THINGS RATHER THAN THE CREATOR – WHO IS FOREVER PRAISED.The Message Bible says it like this, “So God said, in effect, “If that’s what you want, that’s what you get.” It wasn’t long before they were living in a pigpen, smeared with filth, filthy inside and out. AND ALL THIS BECAUSE THEY TRADED THE TRUE GOD FOR A FAKE GOD, AND WORSHIPED THE GOD THEY MADE INSTEAD OF THE GOD WHO MADE THEM—the God we bless, the God who blesses us. Oh, yes!” (MSG)

Question: Have you been guilty of worshiping the CREATION rather than the CREATOR? Be honest now! Because the truth is, many of us have focused more time and energy on CREATION than we have on the CREATOR. We’ve become so focused on cars, houses, jewelry, land, businesses, buildings, churches, clothes, hair, nails, lashes (the list is endless…) But have we at all turned our attention to the CREATOR of all these things and so much more! There is absolutely nothing that God Himself has not created! AND YET, WE RATHER LOOK AT THE PRETTINESS OF THE CREATED THING, INSTEAD OF THE POWERFULNESS BEHIND THE ONE WHO CREATED IT ALL!

Colossians 1:16, “For BY HIM ALL THINGS WERE CREATED in heaven and on earth, [things] visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities; ALL THINGS WERE CREATED AND EXIST THROUGH HIM [THAT IS, BY HIS ACTIVITY] AND FOR HIM.” (AMP) The Message Bible says it like this: “We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God’s original purpose in EVERYTHING CREATED. For EVERYTHING, ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels—EVERYTHING got started IN HIM and finds its purpose IN HIM. He was there BEFORE any of it came into existence and holds it all together RIGHT UP TO THIS MOMENT. And when it comes to the church, He organizes and holds it together, like a head does a body.”(vss.15-18 MSG)

Which brings us back to Niagara Falls. It’s okay to be impressed by the great Niagara MIST, but the real marvel is the FALLS; the SOURCE that CREATES the MIST! The MIST is only a REFLECTION of the SOURCE that CREATES it! In a nutshell: Don’t miss Seeing the Source because you were Focused on the Mist (What the Source Produced)! Thank God you have a beautiful home, but don’t worship it; Thank God you have a beautiful wife, handsome husband and intelligent children, but don’t worship them; Thank God you have a top-of-the-line car, but don’t worship it; Thank God you have an awesome job/career/business/ministry/church, but don’t worship it! Don’t miss the Master focusing on the ‘Mist’ of His Creation!

However, sad to say, and as unfortunate as it may be, that’s what a lot of people are doing…FINDING FOCUS ON THE CREATION, YET LOSING SIGHT OF THE CREATOR!

There’s all kinds of talk today about Mother Earth and cosmic energy, and the information you get from the stars, all the spiritual energy you can tap into by getting in touch with the cosmos. People are on a very real spiritual search, looking to creation and looking to themselves to find peace and to find meaning. But those who focus on the power of creation miss the real power – the Creator! Focusing on tarot cards, when you can simply talk to the Creator; focusing on horoscopes, when you can talk the Creator; focusing on a higher being and higher self, when you can talk to the Creator; searching out mediums and the like, when you can simply talk to the Creator!

Listen: I know we live in an age now where everything is DIY – Do It Yourself, but that’s never the best road to travel. You’re limited, because you’re limited! So, why look to people, places and things (and even yourself) instead of talking with God? The actual Creator of all things? There’s nothing He doesn’t know. 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) Talk to HIM! After all, there’s absolutely nothing that will perplex Him! There’s nothing that can confuse Him! There’s nothing that He has to go and google and research to find out and get back to you about! So, why keep going in vicious circles and cycles, dependent on flawed and limited resources when you can simply talk to a Flawless, Limitless Creator?

Another friend Kevin was flying on a commercial airliner, and it so happened that they were flying right through a thunderstorm. There were billowing clouds out there blazing with lightening. The woman seated next to him said, “Doesn’t seeing all of this and how big it all is, frighten you, or at least make you feel a bit insignificant?” Kevin’s response however was one she didn’t expect. He said, “Actually it makes me feel safe, secure and important. My Father’s awesome! He made all this. And even in the midst of all of this, I’m so important that He’s making sure I land safely. Aren’t you glad you sat next to me?” Sounds comical, but truth is, she was focused on the creation and how it was responding. Kevin on the other hand, was focusing on the One who created it all, and therefore his response was that of security! There’s such peace, safety and awe to be discovered when you focus on the Creator…not the creation.

Jesus Christ, God’s Son, entered His creation to re-connect us human beings, His personal masterpieces and workmanship’s, back to Himself. Ephesians 2:7-10, “[and He did this] so that in the ages to come He might [clearly] show the immeasurable and unsurpassed riches of His grace in [His] kindness toward us in Christ Jesus [by providing for our redemption].  For it is by grace [God’s remarkable compassion and favor drawing you to Christ] that you have been saved [actually delivered from judgment and given eternal life] through faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [not through your own effort], but it is the [undeserved, gracious] gift of God;  not as a result of [your] works [nor your attempts to keep the Law], so that no one will [be able to] boast or take credit in any way [for his salvation]. FOR WE ARE HIS WORKMANSHIP [HIS OWN MASTER WORK, A WORK OF ART], CREATED IN CHRIST JESUS [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used] for good works, which God prepared [for us] beforehand [taking paths which He set], so that we would walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us].” (AMP) It took Jesus dying our death penalty for our sins, our ignoring of God. But He brought us back to God, so now we (His personal masterpiece and workmanship) can call God, Father (‘Abba’): Romans 8:15, “For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading again to fear [of God’s judgment], but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons [the Spirit producing sonship] by which we [joyfully] cry, “Abba! Father!” (AMP). This God that holds an endless ocean in the palm of His hand, weighs the Rocky Mountains on a little scale, who stretches out the heavens like I would set up a tent. He loves you and gave His Son so you could have a relationship with Him. What am I saying? Don’t miss God because of the ‘mist’! Don’t let anyone you care about miss Him by falling for the lie that creation is the end of our search for our Creator.

There was something far more powerful to experience than the Mist when Lisa visited Niagara Falls. Which is why she didn’t get hooked on the Mist. Listen, if you’re impressed with the Mist of creation, you will be overwhelmed with the power of the One who created it!

And what I find so amazing is that we have free access to continual contact and communication with Him at any given moment, in any place, at any time, and yet, we would rather seek outthings/creationto give all of our attention to and get all of our supposed answers from. Grant it, the Mist of Niagara Falls was beautiful, what a sight for them to see. But it didn’t cause them to lose focus on the Falls! They didn’t come to see the Mist, they came to see What created it…the Falls. Likewise, don’t spend your life chasing the Mist of (stuff, things, people…) and miss the valuable investment of spending time with the Creator Himself. Lisa and her family enjoyed the Mist, but in order to see the Source behind it, they had to lose sight of the awe of the Mist, and keep going until they got to the Source! You have to do the same thing!

Which makes me think of our “church services” today. There’s so much dancing, shouting, spinning, clapping, running, leaping, jumping, screaming, high-fiving, ‘tell your neighbor’, praise breaks, preaching clichés, hoops and hollars, that I wonder if when it’s all said and done, people can leave service and honestly say,I heard God, I met God, I saw God, I encountered God”? Or, have we become so engrossed in being entertained my His creation that we’re ignorant of His presence…or absence? Have we as a church become so engaged with music, performing, shows, acrobats, that we’ve missed engaging God? Have we become so enamored by His blessings, miracles, overflow, abundance…that we’ve missed Him? Have we become so focused on His hand that we no longer seek His face? Have we, His church, misplaced His worship?

The word “Misplace” is defined as “to put in the wrong place; incorrectly placed; unwise or inappropriate.Which makes me question if we’re guilty of this very thing? Have we put our worship in the wrong place? Have we placed our worship in the wrong person? Have we incorrectly placed our worship? Have we unwisely and inappropriately placed our worship?

One of the things that I’ve done for many years, and I don’t think I’ll ever really stop doing, is being an armor-bearer. It comes second nature to me. Servanthood is as natural to me as motherhood. I’ve never struggled with loving or giving my entire being to either. And as an armor-bearer I’ve had the responsibility of looking after my leadership and serving them in any capacity possible that makes their leadership easier and more effective. I’ve wiped sweat, changed clothes, served food and drink, carried bibles and bags. And it has never been a struggle for me to do so. But at one point during one of my spiritual growth spurts, it did make me question myself by asking, “do you serve God to the same degree that you serve man?” Do you carry what He needs you to carry? Do you serve Him with the same Spirit of Excellence and Consistency? Do you labor for Him that long and hard? Do you aide Him in being His hands and feet in the world? Do you give Him your undivided attention? Do you pick up on the first ring when He calls you? Are you willing to travel wherever He needs you to at a moment’s notice? And I had to be brutally honest, because truth was, I was so empty from giving my all to “creation”, that I had nothing left to offer my Creator. Which meant my life and service were greatly imbalanced.

In a nutshell, I was so focused on the Mist that I Missed the Falls!

This caused me to restructure my life and service. I had to make necessary changes so that people I placed on a pedestal weren’t in competition with my God that was on the throne! It required me to make sure I was never impressed with titles, initials, seating, garments, following, crowds and the like. I had to shift my focus from people to One Person, God. Maybe you need to start doing the very same thing too.

Maybe today is a good day to reposition your worship back to where it should be. Not on people, but on the Person of Jesus. Being more focused in prayer, in His Word, in personal devotion, fasting and consecrating. Separating yourself from people, places and things, and dwelling undisturbed in quiet time with God. Jesus did: Mark 1:35, “While it was still night, way before dawn, he got up and went out to a SECLUDED SPOT AND PRAYED…” (MSG)

Sometimes you have to seclude yourself from the ‘Mist’ so you can ‘Fall’ back in love with the Source!

Listen, going to church is wonderful, but if all you have to talk about after the benediction is the hoop, the praise break, and the choir, you may be guilty of misplaced worship! We need to develop a fresh appetite, hunger and thirst for God, His Word, and His Presence. We should be hearing sermons and lessons that bend our ear to the heart of God. We should leave charged, challenged, encouraged and changed. The Word should come forth as a mirror to show us what we look like, and what we should look like. It should prick our hearts, disturb our flesh, fill our Spirit, renew and transform our minds. Not entertain us to look like the Universal Soul Circus of Churches! We need to refocus as never before on what and more importantly Who is eternally vital to our very existence, and that alone is God.

Today is a great day to rid yourself of distractions. See God, hear God, spend time with God. Don’t become so excited about His creation and created things that you miss the Creator Himself.

Know this: The word “Mist” is defined as “a cloud of tiny water droplets in the atmosphere, limiting visibility to a lesser extent than fog.” What caught my attention about the definition is this: “limiting visibility.” And that’s exactly what happens to us when we focus on the mist. We get so lost in the mist, so excited, so distracted, so emotionally entertained, that it limits our ability to see that there’s so much more beyond the mist! If we would just get past the mist, we could get to the source of its beauty. Likewise, don’t get so caught up in the music, and theatrics, the dancing, shouting, and hooping, that you miss God. Whether in church, or at home, at work, or just walking along the streets, remember that absolutely everything and everyone is God’s Creation. Beautiful to look at, but not to Worship! Reserve your worship for the Creator alone!

Which reminds me of a quote I love, “If you can’t find God, start worshiping Him and He will find you” (Author Unknown) But that can’t happen if you’re so busy worshiping people, places and things! John 4:23-24, “But a time is coming and is already here when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit [from the heart, the inner self] and in truth; FOR THE FATHER SEEKS SUCH PEOPLE TO BE HIS WORSHIPERS. God is spirit [the SOURCE of life, yet invisible to mankind], and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (AMP)

Another quote I love says, “Worship is so much more than the songs that we sing on Sunday morning. It is the life that we live the rest of the week.” (Author Unknown) People of God, WHO we worship should be as EVIDENT on Sunday in Church, as it is on Monday at Work, Tuesday at School, Wednesday at the Nail Salon, Thursday in Traffic, Friday at the Movies, and Saturday at the Laundromat and Supermarket! Worship of our Creator should be EVIDENT every day and everywhere among everyone! Remember, don’t find the mist and miss the falls! Likewise, don’t focus on creation to the degree you lose sight of the Creator!

Exodus 20:11, “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it [set it apart for His purposes].” (AMPC)

Isaiah 45:18, “This is what the Lord Who made the heavens, the God Who planned and made the earth, and everything in it and did not make it a waste place, but made it a place for people to live in, says, “I am the Lord, and there is no other.” (NLV)

John 1:3, “All things were made and came into existence through Him; and without Him not even one thing was made that has come into being.” (AMP)

Romans 11:36, “For from Him [all things originate] and through Him [all things live and exist] and to Him are all things [directed]. To Him be glory and honor forever! Amen.” (AMP)

Hebrews 1:2, “[But] in the last of these days He has spoken to us in [the person of a] Son, Whom He appointed Heir and lawful Owner of all things, also by and through Whom He created the worlds and the reaches of space and the ages of time [He made, produced, built, operated, and arranged them in order].” (AMPC)

Lastly, let’s look at Exodus 20:3 in a few translations:

“No other gods, only Me.” (MSG)

“You shall have no other gods before Me.” (AMP)

“You shall have no other gods before or besides Me.” (AMPC)

“Never have any other god.” (GWT)

“Do not worship any god except Me.” (CEV)

If You’ve Misplaced Your Worship, Reposition and Get it Back On WHO it Should Be On…God, the Only God, Alone! “DO NOT WORSHIP ANY GOD EXCEPT ME.” (CEV)

“Any man or woman on this earth who is bored and turned off by worship is not ready for heaven.” (A.W. Tozer)

“We belittle God when we go through the outward motions of worship and take no pleasure in His Person.” (John Piper)

“Worship is no longer worship when it reflects the culture around us more than the Christ within us.” (A.W. Tozer)

“We are not celebrating to entertain ourselves – we are celebrating to declare the worth of our God. He is the focus and we dare not lose sight of that. Worship calls for celebration, but always keeps us focused on Him and should lead us to a sense of wonder and awe.” (Jeff Syverson)

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

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“The Reason We Worship”

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If it’s one man I love and respect, it’s our former President Barack Obama. And I’ve come to discover, that when the President of the United States comes to speak, it’s a rare opportunity. So if you desire to be physically present when he shows up to speak, you better get there hours early because of the mass of people that will be there as well! Think about it, it’s hard to find a place to park, to stand, to sit or to see and hear. Yet, if you should happen to be able to squeeze in and find a spot, you still then have to wait until he arrives! Finally, you can hear a ripple go through the crowd as they hang the presidential seal on the podium. Then comes the announcement: “Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States.” Everybody gives him an ovation that lasts quite a while, and when the applause dies down, he begins to speak. While he speaks, nobody else speaks, nobody leaves, but everybody listens. In a nutshell, when you go to hear someone important, you don’t just applaud and leave. You stay after the applause to hear what they have to say.

You can find in Isaiah 6 perhaps the greatest worship scene in the Bible. The prophet Isaiah says the following in Isaiah 6:1-4 “In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw [in a vision] the Lord sitting on a throne, high and exalted, with the train of His royal robe filling the [most holy part of the] temple. Above Him seraphim (heavenly beings) stood; each one had six wings: with two wings he covered his face, with two wings he covered his feet, and with two wings he flew. And one called out to another, saying, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is filled with His glory.” And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, and the temple was filling with smoke” (AMP)

This is what you would call true worship! It is getting lost in the worth of who He is, and being overwhelmed by His very presence. It is the place where no flesh glories in His sight. It is the place where the true-worshiper dwells.

John 4:23-24, “But a time is coming and is already here when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit [from the heart, the inner self] and in truth; for the Father seeks such people to be His worshipers.  God is spirit [the Source of life, yet invisible to mankind], and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (AMP)

KEY: “…the Father SEEKS such people to be His worshipers…”  

Can you imagine something being so important and vital to God that He actually comes looking for it? He actually pursues it? He seeks after it? Well, that’s the power and attraction of true-worshipers. There is something so phenomenal about their worship, that God seeks for, looks for, goes after and relentlessly pursues them. Reminds me a lot of ‘new love’. We go so out of our way when it’s ‘new love’. The phone calls are never-ending, the flowers flow in constantly, the ‘I love you’s’ are dear, genuine, passionate and daily, the time together is precious and you never want it to come to an end. You rearrange your entire schedule (and life) just to spend a moment with the one you love. You gaze deeply into their eyes, and smile for no apparent reason at all. You can think of them and butterflies flutter on the inside. You give your everything to them, because you love them. It’s new, exciting, fun, and life-giving. It brings you joy, happiness, contentment, and you can’t stop telling everybody about the somebody that has stolen your precious heart and refuses to give it back. You want to hold hands all the time, your intimacy knows no limits or boundaries. You’re sharing sips of juice and bites of one another’s food in public. You want to eat with them, go out with them, stay in with them. You want to call and leave them a voicemail while they’re sitting right next to you. You text them that you miss them, when all they did was go down the hall to the restroom. All because you love them. And often their response matches yours, because when someone knows just how special, valued, cherished, treasured, important and loved they are, they tend to give even more of themselves in return out of gratitude.

I wonder what would happen if we would dare to love God like that?!

What would it be like for our worship to resemble that kind of ‘new love’ in word, thought, and action? Instead of that old stale familiar ‘I still care about you, God’, kinda ‘love’. Which sounds a lot like Revelation 2:4-5, “But you walked away from your first love—why? What’s going on with you, anyway? Do you have any idea how far you’ve fallen? A Lucifer fall! “Turn back! Recover your dear early love. No time to waste, for I’m well on my way to removing your light from the golden circle.” (MSG) I don’t know about you, but that encouraged me to love on God afresh, with a NEW love! I want to be one of those true worshipers who God pursues!

Could you imagine how relentless God would pursue us for rendering such worship on Him? If only we would give God even a tenth of what we give to people…Selah…

The God’s Word Translation says, “…The Father is looking for people like that to worship Him…” (GWT). Then the Good News Translation finishes like this, “…God is Spirit, and only by the power of His Spirit can people worship Him as He really is.” (GNT). Which makes me wonder, if we spend no time with God, no time talking to Him and hearing from Him; if we spend no time in prayer, no time in His Word, no time in His Presence, how will we ever be able to worship Him in spirit and in truth? You can’t worship Him when you spend no worthwhile time with Him. How can we worship Him, by His Spirit, when our Spirit takes no time to learn who He really is? Which is hard to do in an era of the church that is “Praise” focused…ONLY. Now, is there anything wrong with praise? Absolutely not! From cover-to-cover of the Bible will you hear about the praises rendered to our God, and His favorable responses to them.

HOWEVER, I’m afraid that we’ve become so Praise-Centered, that we no longer know how to get to the Core of Worship anymore.

There’s a wonderful new emphasis in many places today on praise and worship. And I for one certainly recall it being called “devotion”. You see, it was the time in my former church where the Deacons and Deaconesses led in prayer, praise and worship and testimony service. It was a time when the people remembered to make the Lord the focus, and finally took time to forget themselves instead and experience just how big God is. People from all over the sanctuary would share what the Lord had done for them and their loved ones, their health, their employment and marriage etc. It was wonderful, encouraging, empowering, motivating, faith-building, inspiring. We would sing, and clap and dance, and holler. We would give God our best and noisiest praise! It was sort of our standing ovation for God! Much like the preparation for when the President is about to enter the room and speak.

UNFORTUNATELY though, far too many of us leave after the standing ovation, not realizing that it’s only the beginning. Yes, Praise went forth and Worship went forth, but now God wants to say something; He wants to speak to us. But how can we hear Him if we leave, or start to tune out after the praise break stops? How can we hear Him over all the clapping, hollering, high-fiving,  and ‘tell your neighbor’? How can we hear Him while we’re so busy running, jumping, leaping, dancing, and shouting? Now, is anything wrong with any of that? No, not in and of itself. And if that was the conclusion, it would be fine. HOWEVER, it’s not, it’s only the beginning. Because after the ovation dies down, after the applause stops, His voice speaks, and that’s the most important part of it all. And when you realize that it is, you began to prepare yourself to hear the Lord speak.

Isaiah 6:5 says this, “Woe is me! For I am ruined, Because I am a man of [ceremonially] unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” (AMP). Worship is supposed to lead to repentance. When you are in the presence of the Lord, you should see His holiness and the sin that you have not dealt with. You need to make things right with this awesome God. Worship that doesn’t lead to cleaning up your sin is just dead-end applause, and we should not leave until God has spoken. Worship should remind us that we’ve sinned, it should convict us of our unrighteousness when we realize just how righteous He is. It should uncover our unholiness when we realize just how holy He is. Worship should challenge us to change for the better. Worship should remind us that although we serve an awesome, loving and kind, and generous God, He is also HOLY.

“because it is written, “You shall be holy (set apart), for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:16 AMP);

“Strive to live in peace with everybody and pursue that consecration and holiness without which no one will [ever] see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14 AMPC)

This is how vital holiness is. We are to be holy, because He Is Holy and without Holiness, No One Will Ever See Him. So, when we worship God, it is a time of preparation to hear from God. We enter that place of holy worship where we acknowledge that we are unclean and need to be bathed in His presence. We need to be made right. We need to begin again. Start afresh, start anew. We need to reevaluate ourselves, our attitudes, our speech, our thoughts, our deeds, our motives and intentions, our desires, our longings, our heart. Because we need to hear Him, we have to come close to Him, and have Him cleanse us and position us. Praise is wonderful, it gets us to the door, thanksgiving opens it up, worship allows us to enter in, and holiness allows preparation to hear God speak.

Isaiah 6:6-7, “Then flew one of the seraphim [heavenly beings] to me, having a live coal in his hand which he had taken with tongs from off the altar; and with it he touched my mouth and said, Behold, this has touched your lips; your iniquity and guilt are taken away, and your sin is completely atoned for and forgiven.” (AMPC).

A lot happens after the initial cries of “Holy, Holy, Holy”. Just as a lot happens prior to the President speaking. There’s a process before the proclamation. Isaiah didn’t get happy just because of who he was around (the angels, or for us it’s other church folks). He didn’t even get happy because of the ovation and applause (“Holy, Holy, Holy”, or for us it’s our Praise Breaks). But Isaiah declared his sin, I’m unclean and unholy. And since I’m in your presence and have the opportunity to hear you speak, I’m not stopping here, I’m not staying here, I’m leaving here changed and better. And the very thing he declared was unclean (‘I’m a man of unclean lips’), the angels touched him and gave a new declaration, “Behold, this has touched your lips; your iniquity and guilt are taken away, and your sin is completely atoned for and forgiven.” And what happens after he confesses and gets cleaned up?

Verse 8 says, “THEN I HEARD THE VOICE OF THE LORD SAYING, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!” (AMP). When we see our sin and receive God’s forgiveness, then we should see the people who don’t have a Savior yet. Our heart should ache for those who haven’t seen the King. Worship is not just getting a good feeling because you got close to God. When you see the Lord, it will help you see the lost people who haven’t gotten close to Him yet. Worship that is really worship will lead to repentance and then to evangelism.

Unfortunately, we get so lost in what we desire the Lord to personally do for us, that we assume, when we’ve received what we asked for, then that’s it, I’m good, the day is done, we can go home now. Not so! We don’t get to God, get what we can get from God, then go home. We get in the presence of God, so we can repent, change and get something to give away to somebody else.

“Here am I, Lord. I will go for You into the lives of the people around me who have yet to see the King as I have.”

You don’t get clean just to brag about your cleanliness. You don’t get clean just to hang around other clean folks. You get clean so you can go to them that are still in the filth of their sin, and you tell them I know a Man that can clean your sin better than Tide can clean your laundry! John 4:39-42, “Many of the Samaritans from that village committed themselves to him BECAUSE OF THE WOMAN’S WITNESS: “He knew all about the things I did. He knows me inside and out!” They asked him to stay on, so Jesus stayed two days. A LOT MORE PEOPLE ENTRUSTED THEIR LIVES TO HIM WHEN THEY HEARD WHAT HE HAD TO SAY. They said to the woman, “We’re no longer taking this on your say-so. We’ve heard it for ourselves and know it for sure. He’s the Savior of the world!” (MSG) That’s what we’re supposed to do church. Leave worship with the witness that I know a man that can save you, help you, heal you, deliver you, redeem you, forgive you! And that passionate witness will lead them to listen to Him for themselves. See, the people entrusted their lives to Him when they heard what He had to say. We stick around when the President speaks because we want to hear what he has to say. Well, we need to learn to stick around Jesus to hear what He has to say! Why? Because there are far too many lives at stake without Him! And all they need is our witness after worship to lead them to the one who is still the truth, the way and the light! Church, There is So Much More to the Reason We Worship!

You don’t just go to God’s presence to applaud, to run, jump, leap, spin, dance, shout, and praise, though that’s a great place to start. But you go to worship and repent, to receive forgiveness, to be cleansed and changed and to hear Him speak and then to act on what He says! There is so much more to Worship than the water-down version of it that we see in churches today.

Think about this: Can you imagine traveling hours to hear the President speak, stuck in traffic, struggling to find a place to park. Then getting on a long line, and more often than not, having to be security cleared. Then to hear all the chatter from everyone else speaking all at the same time. Then to find you a little spot to try and see and hear him. Then to hear that he’s about to enter in, he’s announced and introduced, you clap and scream and get so excited. And then he comes in, and all the cheering gets even louder. He’s at the podium, then the applause dies down, and you finally get to hear him speak, but he just walks away without a word spoken…how disappointed would you be?

Well, on the reverse side of that, that’s where a lot of us are. We go through all we go through to get to church. Find parking, find somewhere to sit, then there’s the music, the clapping, dancing, praising, and then the mouthpiece of God gets ready to speak and we’ve completely checked out of service. Imagine God’s heart break that you don’t mind applauding Him, you just don’t want to hear from Him. Well, that’s not the purpose. We have to find our way back to what’s important in our churches. And it’s not how awesome the choir is, how amazing the music is, how high the anointing is, how fancy the footwork. None of that has value. We need to enter in with thanksgiving and praise. But we also have to find our place of worship and repentance. So that we can be honest before God, confess and be cleansed and changed before God. Then we can clearly hear from God. And then we can take what we’ve heard from God and share it with others. Don’t lose the core importance of the Presence of God. It is not to tickle your ears or your fancy, it’s not hearing what you want to hear, it’s not about houses, cars, land, business opportunities, checks in the mail, job promotions, ministry elevations and new spouses. It’s about becoming better. It’s about spending so much time with God that you finally start to sound like Him, walk and talk like Him, think and act like Him, reflect Him.

Acts 4:13, “They couldn’t take their eyes off them—Peter and John standing there so confident, so sure of themselves! Their fascination deepened when they realized these two were laymen with no training in Scripture or formal education. THEY RECOGNIZED THEM AS COMPANIONS OF JESUS, but with the man right before them, seeing him standing there so upright—so healed!—what could they say against that?” (MSG)

Can you imagine spending so much time with Jesus that even when you’re not with Him, people can look at your life and lifestyle and see the evidence that you’re definitely one of His companions? Look at a few other versions of how this text reads:

“…they were astounded, and began to recognize that they had been with Jesus…” (AMP)

“…They also recognized that they had been followers of Jesus…” (CEB)

“…The officials were certain that these men had been with Jesus…” (CEV)

“…But they knew they had been with Jesus…” (NLV)

“…they were amazed and realized what being with Jesus had done for them!…” (TLB)

Now this is what you can call a great witnessing tool! When you’ve been around Jesus so much so, that even unsaved folks will have no other choice but to say even they can see what being with Jesus has done for you!

So, can people be able to look at you and see, recognize, be certain, know and realize that you’ve spent time with Jesus?! Can they look at you and your lifestyle and be amazed and realize what being with Jesus has done for you? Because that’s the profound product of worship. You walk away reflecting His image and likeness, representing well His characteristics and glory.

Can you imagine spending so much time with Jesus that even your speech betrays you?! Matthew 26:73, “A short time later those standing there came and said to Peter, “You must be one of them. The way you talk gives you away.” (CEB) Listen to these translations:

“…“We know you are one of them. It’s clear from the way you talk.” (ERV)

“…“Of course you are one of them,” they said. “After all, the way you speak gives you away!” (GNT)

“…Peter, “Surely you too are one of them; for even the way you talk gives you away.” (NASB)

“…“Surely you are one of those who followed Jesus. The way you talk shows it.” (NCV)

Peter couldn’t hide his Galilean accent, it came out naturally because it was apart of who he was and where he came from and who he’d been around. Do you spend enough time in worship in God’s presence, that you sound like God? Do you sound like you’ve been among believers and worshipers, praiser’s and faith walkers? Can people see the evidence of your Sunday worship still on you when you’re stuck in Monday traffic; Tuesday conflict; Wednesday stress; Thursday health decline; Friday failures; and Saturday temptations? Can they still hear you speaking faith and not fear; can they still hear your worship and not your worry? Do you still sound like you’ve been with the Savior, even when you’re in the presence of sinners? Or do you lie like Peter and say you don’t even know the man? Or worse yet, are you living so beneath the code of conduct lifestyle of a believer that you don’t even have to open your mouth and say the words, but your lifestyle speaks on your behalf that clearly you don’t know the man? Don’t just talk about God, you ought to spend so much time with Him that you even talk LIKE God!

And then, what happens when your worship experience is written all over your face?! Exodus 34:29-35, “When Moses came down from Mount Sinai carrying the two Tablets of The Testimony, HE DIDN’T KNOW THAT THE SKIN OF HIS FACE GLOWED BECAUSE HE HAD BEEN SPEAKING WITH GOD. Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, saw his RADIANT FACE, and held back, afraid to get close to him. Moses called out to them. Aaron and the leaders in the community came back and Moses talked with them. Later all the Israelites came up to him and he passed on the commands, everything that God had told him on Mount Sinai. When Moses finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face, BUT WHEN HE WENT INTO THE PRESENCE OF GOD TO SPEAK WITH HIM, HE REMOVED THE VEIL UNTIL HE CAME OUT. When he came out and told the Israelites what he had been commanded, THEY WOULD SEE MOSES’ FACE, ITS SKIN GLOWING, AND THEN HE WOULD AGAIN PUT THE VEIL ON HIS FACE UNTIL HE WENT BACK IN TO SPEAK WITH GOD.” (MSG)

Is your time in God’s presence this evident on your life from day-to-day? Can people look in your face and see the Glow of God’s Glory? If not, get back to worship until it does!

Saints, enjoy service, enjoy the praises rendered to our God. Give Him the standing ovation and applause you freely give to the President. But remember, if people can stay after the applause to hear what a mere man has to say, surely we should stay after the applause (physically, spiritually, emotionally and mentally) to hear what God has to say. Don’t become so entertained in church, that you leave unchanged. Don’t get so lost in the Noise of Praise that you can’t find the Quiet of Worship.

1 Kings 19:11-13, “So He said, “Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord was passing by, and a great and powerful wind was tearing out the mountains and breaking the rocks in pieces before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind, [there was] an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.  After the earthquake, [there was] a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire, [there was] the sound of a gentle blowing.  When Elijah heard the sound, he wrapped his face in his mantle (cloak) and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. And behold, A VOICE CAME TO HIM AND SAID, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (AMP)

The Contemporary English Bible says, “…Finally, there was a gentle breeze, and when Elijah heard it, he covered his face with his coat. He went out and stood at the entrance to the cave. THE LORD ASKED, “Elijah, why are you here?” (CEV)

There was a Powerful Wind that tore out the mountains and broke rocks in pieces; There was an Earthquake; There was a Fire… In short, there was a lot of Noise and a lot of Action to Be Seen…but the Lord’s voice wasn’t in the noise or the visible action! And truth is, our churches have become quite noisy and visibly active…Selah…

However, the Lord’s voice was in “the sound of a gentle blowing…” if you weren’t quiet and still, you would never hear it or feel it. Makes me ponder if the church needs to quiet down and learn to be still a bit? Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know (recognize, understand) that I am God…” (AMP) Then, maybe, just maybe, we could sense, hear, see and feel the actual presence of the Lord again.

Church, praise is not the only order on the menu of the day. Now, I know praise is more like the steak, potatoes, chicken and rice on the menu. However, worship is more like the vegetables, something that’s so much better, and healthier for you. Does it mean steak is bad? Nope, but it will be better with the balance of broccoli. And with such a simple analogy, our praise is more well-balanced with our worship. Applaud the Lord, but when the applause dies down, worship and listen to what thus saith the Lord, and then act on His Word.

“Just as worship begins in holy expectancy, it ends in holy obedience. If worship does not propel us into greater obedience, it has not been worship.” (Richard J. Foster)

“Anything you do that brings pleasure to God is an act of worship.” (Author Unknown)

“When I worship, I would rather my heart be without words, than my words be without heart.” (Lamar Boschman)

“Worship is so much more than the songs that we sing on Sunday morning. It is the life that we live the rest of the week.” (Daughter By Design)

“Worship: Where God isn’t moved by the quality of our voice but by the condition of our hearts.” (Chris Tomlin)

“We belittle God when we go through the outward motions of worship and take no pleasure in His person.” (John Piper)

“Worship is the Door to God’s Presence.” (Author Unknown)

“Any man or woman on this earth who is bored and turned off by worship, is not ready for heaven.” (A.W. Tozer)

“It is the pleasing of God that is at the heart of worship.” (R.C. Sproul)

“Worship is no longer worship when it reflects the culture around us more than the Christ within us.” (A.W. Tozer)

“Worship is the act of the abandoned heart adoring its God.” (John Eldredge)

“If God were small enough for us to understand, He wouldn’t be big enough for us to worship.” (Author Unknown)

“The purpose of this Christian society called the ‘Church’ is, first: to glorify God by our worship. We do not go to church just to hear a sermon. We go to church to worship God.” (Billy Graham)

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

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“A Dirty Deliverance!”

dose2

…I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.(Jonah 2:2).

Jonah chapter 2 is another one of my favorite Scriptures! You See, Right in the Midst of Trouble, Jonah Still Prayed Unto the Lord! He Forgot about his Situation and Fully Turned His Attention to God! Can you imagine what would happen if today the church did the very same thing? If we sought God no matter our situation? If we still fell on bended knee no matter how many times the rug has been pulled out from beneath us? If we still talked to God no matter how badly others are talking about us? If we still went to church even if we had to walk there? If we would still read the Bible even when we’ve lost the job? Can you imagine if we still sought God regardless of our current circumstances!?

Just think what would become of our lives if we prayed as the Bible admonishes us to: “Pray At All Times” (1 Thessalonians 5:17 GNT) Just imagine how strong our relationship with God would become if we indeed prayed at all times. And that includes praying when the car breaks down; the kids are failing in school; the marriage is holding on by its last string; the job just laid you off; the doctor just gave you a cancerous diagnosis; your parent passes away; your sibling is strung out on drugs; your church is emptying out; your bank accounts can’t even keep the bare minimum anymore; Medicaid said no; Medicare won’t cover; there’s dust in the cupboards and only Arm and Hammer in the fridge! Would you still be able to pray to God, even in these times?! Would you still trust Him? Would you still lean on Him? Would you still believe Him? Would you still praise and worship Him? Would you still have Faith in Him? Would you still thank Him?

When you study the content of Jonah’s prayer in Jonah 2:2-9, you’ll discover that he wasn’t praying the ‘give me or get me out of this prayer, but a Prayer of Worship and Thanksgiving (“…But I’m Worshiping you, God, calling out in Thanksgiving!…” (Jonah 2:9 MSG) However, what happens next is Absolutely Dynamic; the Bible says, “And the LORD Commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.” (Jonah 2:10 NIV). What a Mighty Deliverance! BUT, if you look at what Jonah Worshiped in the Midst Of to Get It, you’ll have to ask yourself, ‘do I really want it that bad?Because to get This Kind of Deliverance, You’ve Got to Possess the Ability to Worship In the Worst Of It! Yes, that means to pray, worship and thank God while the eviction notice is on the front door; the pink slip after 20 years was just handed to you; the doctor has nothing else he can do for your disease; your teenage son tells you he has a baby on the way; your daughter comes home with a tattoo across her forehead; there’s nothing in the fridge but the light-bulb; the toilet water won’t go down, the heat won’t come up, the car won’t start and the bills won’t stop! YES, You Have To Still Pray, Praise, Worship and Thank God In the Midst of It All! So How Bad Do You Really Want It?!

First off, it was due to Jonah’s Disobedience that he was in Trouble in the first place! So Jonah was where he Deserved to be, and God Put Him There, the Bible says,Now the Lord had Prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah…”(Jonah 1:17). Like Jonah, many of us are where we are due to our OWN disobedience! BUT the very next verse says, “Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God Out Of the Fish’s Belly.” (Jonah 2:1). Truth be told, sometimes Deliverance Looks Downright Disgusting! I know you thought God was going to bring you out driving a 2019 so and so…NOPE…with a brand new house…NOPE…with a 7 figure income…NOPE…with the spouse dipped in honey…NOPE…with a world-wide ministry…NOPE…totally debt free…NOPE…a size 36-24-36…NOPE! Your Deliverance Is NOT Going To Look Pretty! After all, did you really think Jonah would spend 3 days and 3 nights in the belly of a fish and come up smelling like roses? Truth is, I hate to even walk past the scent of a fish market, let alone have to be in the belly of a great fish for 3 days and 3 nights! So, no, Jonah wasn’t coming out fresh and clean! And neither are you going to come out of all you’ve been in smelling like Febreeze!

Just look at Mark 7:33-35, the Bible reads: “And taking him aside from the crowd [privately], He thrust His fingers into the man’s ears and spat and touched his tongue; And looking up to heaven, He sighed as He said, Ephphatha, which means, Be opened! And his ears were opened, his tongue was loosed, and he began to speak distinctly and as he should.” (AMP). Sweetheart, your deliverance is Not going to come with the latest fad-prophet sprinkling fairy dust over you and waving a pearly white magic wand! NOPE! Ear Wax and Spit Baby! So Do You Still Want To Be Delivered?! Listen for the two important truths here: One, the man’s ears were opened! “So faith comes from HEARING…” (Romans 10:17 AMP) Now, you may not like the method God uses to deliver you, but you will love hearing by faith what He has to say to you! The deliverance may be downright disgusting, but won’t it be worth it to hear God say: “…All these blessings will come down on you and spread out beyond you because you have responded to the Voice of God, your God: God’s blessing inside the city, God’s blessing in the country; God’s blessing on your children, the crops of your land, the young of your livestock, the calves of your herds, the lambs of your flocks. God’s blessing on your basket and bread bowl; God’s blessing in your coming in, God’s blessing in your going out. God will defeat your enemies who attack you. They’ll come at you on one road and run away on seven roads. God will order a blessing on your barns and workplaces; he’ll bless you in the land that God, your God, is giving you. God will form you as a people holy to him, just as he promised you, if you keep the commandments of God, your God, and live the way he has shown you. All the peoples on Earth will see you living under the Name of God and hold you in respectful awe. God will lavish you with good things: children from your womb, offspring from your animals, and crops from your land, the land that God promised your ancestors that he would give you. God will throw open the doors of his sky vaults and pour rain on your land on schedule and bless the work you take in hand. You will lend to many nations but you yourself won’t have to take out a loan. God will make you the head, not the tail; you’ll always be the top dog, never the bottom dog, as you obediently listen to and diligently keep the commands of God, your God, that I am commanding you today…” (Deuteronomy 28:1-14, MSG)

Wouldn’t a Dirty Deliverance Be Worth Hearing All of That?!

Secondly, his tongue was loosed! The Bible says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” (Proverbs 18:21 AMP); It further shares, “You will also decide and decree a thing, and it will be established for you; and the light [of God’s favor] will shine upon your ways.” (Job 22:28 AMP) Having your tongue loosed, means you get to decree life over your life and change it with the creative power your God has given you in your ability to open your mouth and speak it! The Bible says, “…and speaks of the nonexistent things that [He has foretold and promised] as if they [already] existed.” (Romans 4:17 AMPC) Once your deliverance takes place and your lips are loosed, regardless to what your situation may still look like, you open your mouth and declare the nonexistent things God foretold and promised you and you speak them as if they already exist! “I’m healed; I’m whole; I’m debt-free; my marriage is repaired; my children are returning from straying; my bank accounts look like phone numbers with the 1 and area code attached! I’m cancer free; the mortgage company said yes; the grant was approved; I’m driving the car off the lot; God is sending me the mate He custom designed just for me; the business proposal has been approved; the tuition is free; the church is full; my household is saved; my family is delivered; the addiction has been arrested by the Holy Ghost; the anointing is fresh; the gifts are stirred; closed doors of opportunity are unlocking as I speak; the promotion is mine; the elevation is mine; the doctors diagnosis is being reversed; the blood-work is coming back in my favor; the x-rays are clear; the chemo, radiation and dialysis are stopping; I’m graduating!”

You see that’s the beauty of deliverance, no matter how dirty it is, you get to receive the restoration of your hearing and speech! It may be dirty, but thank God for deliverance anyhow!

Need another Dirty Deliverance Example? Just Look at Mark 8:23-25, the Bible reads: “And He caught the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village; and when He had spit on his eyes and put His hands upon him, He asked him, Do you [possibly] see anything? And he looked up and said, I see people, but [they look] like trees, walking. Then He put His hands on his eyes again; and the man looked intently [that is, fixed his eyes on definite objects], and he was Restored and saw Everything Distinctly [even what was at a distance].” (AMP). There’s That Spit Anointing Again! Who Knew Jesus Was Such A Dirty Deliverer?! But this deliverance comes with the blessing of restored vision! Not just physical, but spiritual! All those dreams that you had that were so big and clear before life happened and you stuffed them on the shelf, are coming off the shelf! You will be like Joseph, have one dream that’s big, then dream again and it gets even bigger! You may not like the dirty deliverance, but you will love the results! Things that were so foggy and unclear are going to be 20/20 before 2020 even gets here! You were blind to God’s favor; blind to ways being made on your behalf; blind to the miracles coming down your street and to your house, but oh what happens when God delivers your vision! Another thing I love about this text is that it says, “…he was Restored and saw Everything Distinctly [even what was at a DISTANCE].” Once you’re delivered and your vision is restored you will not only see the blessings and favor of the Lord on your life, but you’ll be able to see the blessings on multiple generations to come! Your deliverance and restoration are not just for you, but for your posterity that hasn’t even been born yet!

You see, deliverance comes when you can Worship God in the Midst of the Worst of your Troubles! Understand that there’s No Doubt About Your Deliverance Coming, You Just Need to Accept the Fact, In Advance, That Your Deliverance Will Come, But It Won’t Come Clean! You’ll often have to get Dirty Before You Get Delivered! Can I Prove It? The Bible says, Elisha sent out a servant to meet him with this message: “Go to the River Jordan and immerse yourself seven times. Your skin will be healed and you’ll be as good as new.” Naaman lost his temper. He turned on his heel saying, “I thought he’d personally come out and meet me, call on the name of GOD, wave his hand over the diseased spot, and get rid of the disease. The Damascus rivers, Abana and Pharpar, are Cleaner by far than any of the rivers in Israel. Why not Bathe in them? I’d at least get Clean.” He stomped off, mad as a hornet. But his servants caught up with him and said, “Father, if the prophet had asked you to do something hard and heroic, wouldn’t you have done it? So why not this simple ‘wash and be clean’?” So he did it. He went down and immersed himself in the Jordan seven times, following the orders of the Holy Man. His skin was healed; it was like the skin of a little baby. He was as good as new.” (2 Kings 5:10-14 MSG). Are You Willing To Get Delivered Even When You Don’t Get To Choose The Method of Your Deliverance? Are You Willing To Get Delivered Even When You Don’t Get to Choose the Prophet? Are you willing to be delivered where no one can see it and talk about? Are you willing to be delivered when God uses a nobody to declare the Word of healing to you? Are you willing to get delivered even if you have to do something “beneath” your title, office or position in order to get it? How Bad Do You Really Want To Be Delivered!? Because Naaman dipped seven times in the dirty Jordan River, will you quit at 2 because it’s just asking too much of you? But at least Naaman was above ground, dipped seven dirty times and came up clean, Jonah lie in the belly of a great fish for 3 days and 3 nights! Listen, if you can’t handle 7 dips, you’ll lose your natural mind over 3 days and 3 nights! So, how bad do you really want to be delivered?!

Honestly, Do You have Enough Guts to get Dirty Before You get Delivered?! Can you Worship and Give Thanksgiving right in the Belly of the Fish, Before you get set Free on Dry Ground?! Truth is, Anybody can Worship and Give Thanks AFTERWARDS, But the Beginning of Deliverance is Doing It DURING?! And since we’re talking about Worship, how about we visit Jonah’s Church, enter into his Sanctuary, and take a good look around at What Jonah Worshiped in the Midst Of! Jonah 2:2-6, Describes Jonah’s Fish Temple of Worship: The Bible says, “In trouble, deep trouble, I prayed to God. He answered me. From the belly of the grave I cried, ’Help!’ You heard my cry. You threw me into ocean’s depths, into a watery grave, With ocean waves, ocean breakers crashing over me. I said, ’I’ve been thrown away, thrown out, out of your sight. I’ll never again lay eyes on your Holy Temple.’ Ocean gripped me by the throat. The ancient Abyss grabbed me and held tight. My head was all tangled in seaweed at the bottom of the sea where the mountains take root. I was as far down as a body can go, and the gates were slamming shut behind me forever…” (MSG).

And you think you’ve got problems??!! You have the audacity to complain about your church?! In the winter you can’t worship because it’s too cold; in the summer you can’t worship because it’s too hot; in the spring you can’t worship because of your allergies; in the fall you can’t worship because it’s holiday season! The ushers push you in a pew; the trustees pull you and all your money apart; the choir never sings your song; the musicians are too loud; service is too long; the kids are too busy! Everything in the church hinders your worship, but nothing you face at your church can compare to what Jonah had to worship through in his! Jonah worshiped in the midst of fish guts and seaweed, and you get an attitude because the church has 2 services instead of 1?! Are you kidding me?!

Look at what Jonah worshiped in the midst of! But yet in still, you cancel your worship due to rolling eyes and attitudes; over what someone said or didn’t say; because they didn’t sing your song or preach you happy; because it’s raining outside; because they sat in your seat; because of what the doctors said. Tell yourself from this day forward, the devil is a liar! I’ll let nothing and no one cancel my worship again! Not their words, facial expressions, opinions, criticisms, discouragement, or bitterness! Why do I refuse to let it cancel my worship? Because I can say with Jonah, “…Yet you pulled me up from that grave alive, O God, my God! When my life was slipping away, I remembered God, And my prayer got through to you, made it all the way to your Holy Temple. Those who worship hollow gods, god-frauds, walk away from their only true love. But I’m worshiping you, God, calling out in thanksgiving! And I’ll do what I promised I’d do! Salvation belongs to God!” (vss. 1-9 MSG)

If Jonah can worship God in the midst of all of this, surely you can worship God in the midst of your mess! God does not stop being Sovereign because of your Situation! He can do anything, anywhere for any one of His children! That’s why you need to understand the power of your worship. It summons all of Heaven to meet you in Hell, Just ask Jonah,…I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.(vs. 2). If Jonah Can Cry Out to God In the Midst of a Belly of Hell, Surely You Can Walk Into Your Pretty Sanctuary and Worship God? Surely! He lay in fish guts while you sit on cushioned seats and you still can’t worship God? His music was the indigestion of a fish, while you have a whole minstrel section and yet you still can’t worship God? He was at the bottom of the ocean and you sit elevated in your prestigious pulpit seating and yet you still can’t worship God? How is it that Jonah can give God his all right where he was, and yet you haven’t given God anything and you’re in a better position than Jonah?!

And an added bonus: You don’t have to look for God in worship, if you worship, He’ll come looking for you!…true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the FATHER SEEKS.John 4:23 (NIV).

People of God, Learn How to Worship Your Way Through, And Before You Know It, You’ll Worship Your Way Out!

It May Be a Dirty Deliverance, But It’s Guaranteed To Give You a Clean Slate!

“God will lead you into a deliverance where the means that delivers you will be those who would destroy you.” (Edwin Louis Cole)

“…unless you long for deliverance you shall not have it.” (John Owen)

“Before you ever get a problem, God has already got your deliverance planned.” (Joyce Meyer)

“The wise man in the storm prays to God, not for safety from danger, but for deliverance from fear. It is the storm within which endangers him, not the storm without.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

“God hears and He sees, and you are not alone in your struggles. Remain firm and stable, for God has your deliverance planned.” (Joyce Meyer)

“God is in control and therefore in EVERYTHING I can give thanks not because of the situation but because of the One who directs and rules over it.” (Kay Arthur)

“God wants you to be delivered from what you have done and from what has been done to you. Both are equally important to Him.” (Joyce Meyer)

“When the Power of God is Present, Healing and Deliverance are Just Like Breathing.” (T.B. Joshua)

“The nature of the enemy’s warfare in your life is to cause you to become discouraged and to cast away your confidence. Not that you would necessarily discard your salvation, but you could give up your hope of God’s deliverance. The enemy wants to numb you into a coping kind of Christianity that has given up hope of seeing God’s resurrection power. Don’t give up!” (Bob Sorge)

“Faith does not operate in the realm of the possible. There is no glory for God in that which is humanly possible. Faith begins where man’s power ends.” (George Muller)

“Don’t worry. God is never blind to your tears, never deaf to your prayers, and never silent to your pain. He sees, He hears, and He will deliver.”

“Sometimes God will deliver you from the fire, and other times God will make you fireproof.” (Joel Osteen)

“I’m determined to stand whether God will deliver me or not.” (Bob Dylan)

“We all know the disappointments that come when we base anticipation on what we and other humans can deliver. God will never have a problem delivering.” (James MacDonald)

“God Who delivers us from the guilt of sin through faith in Jesus Christ, is able to deliver the believer from the power of sin as well.” (J. Edwin Orr)

“What’s damaged you as a child does not have to destroy you as an adult. God can deliver you from all your hurt and pain. Enter into God’s delivery room!” (Jasmine Harris)

“Don’t rush the time of God. He knows what is best for us and when it is best for us. Continue to wait, but know that He is faithful and He will deliver.” (Lisa Osteen Comes)

Psalm 50:15, “And call on Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall honor and glorify Me.” (AMPC)

Psalm 59:1, “Deliver me from my enemies, O my God; defend and protect me from those who rise up against me.” (AMPC)

Psalm 32:7, “You are a hiding place for me; You, Lord, preserve me from trouble, You surround me with songs and shouts of deliverance. Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!” (AMPC)

Psalm 70:1, “Make haste, O God, to deliver me; make haste to help me, O Lord!” (AMPC)

Jeremiah 15:21, “And I will deliver you out of the hands of the wicked, and I will redeem you out of the palms of the terrible and ruthless tyrants.” (AMPC)

Job 5:17-18, “So, what a blessing when God steps in and corrects you! Mind you, don’t despise the discipline of Almighty God! True, He wounds, but He also dresses the wound; the same hand that hurts you, heals you. From one disaster after another He delivers you; no matter what the calamity, the evil can’t touch you.” (MSG)

Galatians 1:3-5, “Grace and spiritual blessing be to you and [soul] peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah), Who gave (yielded) Himself up [to atone] for our sins [and to save and sanctify us], in order to rescue and deliver us from this present wicked age and world order, in accordance with the will and purpose and plan of our God and Father – To Him [be ascribed all] the glory through all the ages of the ages and the eternities of the eternities! Amen (so be it).” (AMPC)

Daniel 3:17, “If our God Whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, He will deliver us out of your hand, O king.” (AMPC)

Genesis 45:7, “And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.” (KJV)

Psalm 107: “Oh, thank God—He’s so good! His love never runs out. All of you set free by God, tell the world! Tell how He freed you from oppression, Then rounded you up from all over the place, from the four winds, from the seven seas. Some of you wandered for years in the desert, looking but not finding a good place to live,
Half-starved and parched with thirst, staggering and stumbling, on the brink of exhaustion. Then, in your desperate condition, you called out to God. He got you out in the nick of time; He put your feet on a wonderful road that took you straight to a good place to live. So thank God for His marvelous love, for His miracle mercy to the children He loves. He poured great draughts of water down parched throats; the starved and hungry got plenty to eat. Some of you were locked in a dark cell,  cruelly confined behind bars, Punished for defying God’s Word, for turning your back on the High God’s counsel—A hard sentence, and your hearts so heavy, and not a soul in sight to help. Then you called out to God in your desperate condition; He got you out in the nick of time. He led you out of your dark, dark cell, broke open the jail and led you out. So thank God for His marvelous love, for His miracle mercy to the children He loves; He shattered the heavy jailhouse doors, He snapped the prison bars like matchsticks! Some of you were sick because you’d lived a bad life, your bodies feeling the effects of your sin; You couldn’t stand the sight of food, so miserable you thought you’d be better off dead. Then you called out to God in your desperate condition; He got you out in the nick of time. He spoke the word that healed you, that pulled you back from the brink of death. So thank God for His marvelous love, for His miracle mercy to the children He loves; Offer thanksgiving sacrifices, tell the world what He’s done—sing it out! Some of you set sail in big ships; you put to sea to do business in faraway ports. Out at sea you saw God in action, saw His breathtaking ways with the ocean: With a word He called up the wind—an ocean storm, towering waves! You shot high in the sky, then the bottom dropped out; your hearts were stuck in your throats. You were spun like a top, you reeled like a drunk, you didn’t know which end was up. Then you called out to God in your desperate condition; He got you out in the nick of time. He quieted the wind down to a whisper, put a muzzle on all the big waves. And you were so glad when the storm died down, and He led you safely back to harbor. So thank God for His marvelous love, for His miracle mercy to the children He loves. Lift high your praises when the people assemble, shout Hallelujah when the elders meet! God turned rivers into wasteland, springs of water into sunbaked mud; Luscious orchards became alkali flats because of the evil of the people who lived there. Then He changed wasteland into fresh pools of water, arid earth into springs of water, Brought in the hungry and settled them there; they moved in—what a great place to live! They sowed the fields, they planted vineyards, they reaped a bountiful harvest. He blessed them and they prospered greatly; their herds of cattle never decreased. But abuse and evil and trouble declined as He heaped scorn on princes and sent them away. He gave the poor a safe place to live, treated their clans like well-cared-for sheep. Good people see this and are glad; bad people are speechless, stopped in their tracks. If you are really wise, you’ll think this over—it’s time you appreciated God’s deep love.” (MSG)

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

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“Prayer is the Cure for Healing the Land”

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2 Chronicles 7:14, “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, THEN will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (NIV)

Solomon’s temple was finally complete. The work of 70,000 laborers, 80,000 stone cutters, and 3,600 foremen—finished. Pure gold covered parts of the interior. Precious inlaid stones sparkled. The Ark of the Covenant inhabited the Holy of Holies. Only the presence of God was missing. So Solomon prays, “…Arise, O LORD God, to Your resting place…” (2 Chronicles 6:41 NKJV). And how did God respond? “When Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the LORD filled the temple.” (2 Chronicles 7:1 NKJV). The people fell on their faces declaring, “…For He is good, For His mercy endures forever.” (2 Chronicles 7:3 NKJV). Then, after 15 days of celebration Solomon retreated to his palace.           

BUT GOD WASN’T FINISHED SPEAKING!

God knows our tendency to forget His blessings and go our own way. And often times we get so caught up in what God did that we act as though He can’t and won’t do anything else. But God had so much more in store! But in order for Him to release it, there were some conditions that had to be met. And these conditions still remain today. And that word “Condition” is defined as “to set prior requirements on (something) BEFORE it can occur.” Its Latin Origin “Condicion” which means “Agreement”, comes from its root “Condicere” which means “To Agree Upon.” In other words, God was ready to do some great things for His people, HOWEVER, they had to agree with Him on the set requirements He put in place BEFORE they could attain the greater blessings! And what was His Set Requirements?               

God said:

1.. “If MY PEOPLE, who are called by MY NAME.” – We must turn from Self-Promotion to God-Promotion. God makes it clear from the start, you are “…MY PEOPLE…” and you are called by “…MY NAME.However, somehow we’ve managed to high-jack God’s Church From Him! We’ve made all the programs, protocols, banquets, anniversaries, services, and the like about US…NOT HIM! But the 2 very important requirements for us to always remember is that it’s not about us, nor is it about our names! The Bible makes it clear: “If you look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us. As it is, there’s not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we’re not much to look at.” (2 Corinthians 4:7-12 MSG) And that’s the hard pill to swallow that the church keeps choking on: IT’S NOT ABOUT US OR OUR NAME! The first thing we need to get back to is FOCUS! And not on US, but on HIM!

2.. “Will HUMBLE THEMSELVES and pray.” – We must turn from Self-Reliance to God-Reliance. I love the fact that Humility comes BEFORE Prayer! In fact, I believe we would pray much differently, and effectively if we entered prayer in Humility first! Unfortunately, however, as a church, we’ve become very pompous, entitled, prideful, egotistical, and arrogant. We have 5-layer embroidered robes, rings the size of our fists, crosses bigger than the one Jesus hung on, and pulpit chairs that look like they belong in the throne room of God. Jesus had an inner circle of 3, yet we have an entourage of 30. Our hidden agenda and personal itinerary (masked as our motto and vision) is engraved on the building, our picture is in the vestibule, our names are always called, applauded and receive standing ovations that God doesn’t even get on Communion Sunday when it is His very blood and body in which we partake of that saved our lives. When did the church lose her humility? The Bible says: “Living as becomes you] with complete lowliness of mind (HUMILITY) and meekness (unselfishness, gentleness, mildness), with patience, bearing with one another and making allowances because you love one another.” (Ephesians 4:2 AMP); “Do nothing from factional motives [through contentiousness, strife, selfishness, or for unworthy ends] or prompted by conceit and empty arrogance. Instead, in the true spirit of HUMILITY (lowliness of mind) let each regard the others as better than and superior to himself [thinking more highly of one another than you do of yourselves].” (Philippians 2:3 AMP); “…What matters is not your outer appearance – the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear, the cut of your clothes – but your inner disposition. Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in…” (1 Peter 3:1-6 MSG). Church, before we get back to Prayer, let us first get back to Humility!

3.. “And seek MY FACE.” – We must turn from Self-Direction to God-Direction. Which makes me wonder, when exactly did we start to treat God like a genie in a bottle? We like to rub Him with phony praise, and eloquent prayers so He pops out the bottle and performs just for us. But when did we get so caught up in His Hand that we forgot about His Face, in the first place? The Bible says: “The Lord bless you and watch, guard, and keep you; The Lord make His FACE to shine upon and enlighten you and be gracious (kind, merciful, and giving favor) to you; The Lord lift up His [approving] COUNTENANCE upon you and give you peace (tranquility of heart and life continually)” (Numbers 6:24-26 AMP). The Message Bible says it like this: “God bless you and keep you, God smile on you and gift you, God look you full in the FACE and make you prosper.” (MSG). I’m amazed that this blessing speaks of the Lords FACE: “…shining…enlightening…being gracious, kind, merciful, favorable…approving countenance…peace…tranquility…smiling…gifting…and prosperity…” and all of it focuses on HIS FACE…NOT HIS HAND, yet His Children only seek…His Hand! Before you enter prayer with your long to-do-list for God, all of the blessings you need bestowed, the miracles you need performed, the debts you need cancelled, the sickness you need healed, the monies you need deposited in your bank account within the next 15 minutes, how about you try instead to enter in prayer with Worship?! NOT entering in hoping that God makes it Worth Your While! No, just enter in with Worship. The word “Worship” is defined as “the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity; great admiration or devotion.” Its Old English Origin literally means “worthiness or acknowledgement of worth.” But the BIBLE defines it better! Revelation 4:10, reads, “At the same time the twenty-four elders knelt down before the One sitting on the throne. And as they WORSHIPED the One Who lives forever, they placed their crowns in front of the throne…” (CEV). That word “Worship” is “Proskuneo” (pros-koo-neh-oh) and it’s from the words “Pros” meaning “Toward” and “Kuneo” meaning “To Kiss.” And unlike the Pope, the Lord has not asked us to kiss the ring on his hand…but to kiss His Face…IN WORSHIP! Our worship is how we show the value of the Lords worth to us! Listen, while so many are waiting for the Lord to hand them Prosperity from His Hand, the Blessing of Numbers 6 informs us that Prosperity comes from His Face! Remember: Seek HIS FACE!

4.. “And TURN from their wicked ways.” We must turn from Self-Indulgence to Self-Examination. I love the word “Turn” because it’s defined as “to move into a different position, especially so as to face or move in the opposite direction.” And that word “Opposite” has its Latin Origin “Oppositus”, from the root “Opponere”, and means “To Be Set Against.” Now, regardless to popular belief, saying you’ve turned from the old to the new, and actually showing evidence of it are two totally different things! Because to “Turn” requires Action! It’s to move into a different position and face the direct opposite direction and to set yourself against, or to become an enemy of your former standing. In essence, if you were used to going South, you now go North, if you were used to going West, you now go East! When you become a new creature, you don’t return to your old crap! You turn, you change direction! The Bible says: “Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17 AMP); “We were buried therefore with Him by the baptism into death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious [power] of the Father, so we too might [habitually] live and behave in newness of life.” (Romans 6:4 AMP); “Bring forth fruit that is consistent with repentance [let your lives prove your change of heart.” (Matthew 3:8 AMP). Church, we’ve talked about changing and turning long enough, now is the time to actually do it! Why? Because the Bible warns: “So any person who knows what is right to do but does not do it, to him it is sin.” (James 4:17 AMP); “But be doers of the Word [obey the message], and not merely listeners to it, betraying yourselves [into deception by reasoning contrary to the Truth].” (James 1:22 AMP). In a nutshell: Today is your day to make a Turn for the better!               

And after all of that what happens next? Well, the Bible says: “THEN”!

…THEN will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land!” I love the word “Then” because it’s defined as “After This or After That“! So after WE, THE CHURCH, fulfill the pre-conditions of God……”THEN” Happens!              

People of God, the turn-around this country needs, is dependent on if and when WE make the decision to turn back to God! The change doesn’t happen when unbelievers turn to God, but GOD said, “IF MY PEOPLE…CALLED BY MY NAME.” Birthing a significant, effective, change for the better has always begun with GOD’S PEOPLE.

When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. THEN there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:1-4 NKJV) And things were NEVER the same!

If there is going to be a National turn around, it has to begin with “MY PEOPLE…CALLED BY MY NAME.

And when you look at the 3-fold blessing that God will bestow it makes you wonder, what are we waiting for?!

  1. …THEN will I hear from heaven…”;
  2. …and will forgive their sin…”;
  3. “… and will heal their land!

And all we have to do, as God’s people, called by His name, is to obey the Set Requirements:

  1. Humble Ourselves;
  2. Pray;
  3. Seek His Face; and
  4. Turn From Our Wicked Ways

‘THEN’…AFTER THAT…God Promises to Hear From Heaven; Forgive Sin and Heal the Land! I reiterate, CHURCH, what are we waiting for?

Other translations of the text read like this:

“If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, pray, seek, crave, and require of necessity My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.” (AMP);

“if My people who are called by My name put away their pride and pray, and look for My face, and turn from their sinful ways, then I will hear from heaven. I will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (NLV);

“Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.” (NLT).

But I think the one I love most is this version: “If my own people will humbly pray and turn back to me and stop sinning, then I will answer them from heaven. I will forgive them and make their land fertile once again.” (CEV).

It amazes me that we often think of the “The World” and “Unbelievers” as the problem to why there’s sin, no forgiveness and no healing. But GOD says, “…IF MY OWN PEOPLE…TURN BACK TO ME AND STOP SINNING…”

CHURCH, HE’S TALKING TO US! THE WORLD AND UNBELIEVERS ARE NOT THE PROBLEM, WE ARE! IF WE DARE TO GET BACK TO GOD AND THE WAYS OF GODLINESS, AND STOP ABUSING GRACE WHILE WE CONTINUE TO SIN, GOD WILL HEAR, FORGIVE AND HEAL! AND THE ONLY THING HOLDING UP THE PROCESS IS A PRAYERLESS CHURCH! WE ARE HIS PEOPLE, WE ARE HIS CHILDREN, WE HAVE THE ADDITIONAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR BEING SALT AND LIGHT AS WELL!

“You are the SALT of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste (its strength, its quality), how can its saltiness be restored? It is not good for anything any longer but to be thrown out and trodden underfoot by men. You are the LIGHT of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a peck measure, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your moral excellence and your praiseworthy, noble, and good deeds and recognize and honor and praise and glorify your Father Who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:13-16 AMP).

We Have to Start Impacting the World, Instead of Letting the World Impart Into Us! Remember: Their Change Depends On Our Change! So Let’s Determine Today to Change and Get Back to Being a Nation of God’s People, Who PRAY! Why? Because…

“God appeared to Solomon that very night and said, “I ACCEPT YOUR PRAYER; yes, I have chosen this place as a temple for sacrifice, a house of worship. If I ever shut off the supply of rain from the skies or order the locusts to eat the crops or send a plague on my people, and my people, my God-defined people, respond by humbling themselves, PRAYING, seeking my presence, and turning their backs on their wicked lives, I’ll be there ready for you: I’ll listen from heaven, forgive their sins, and restore their land to health. From now on I’m alert day and night to the PRAYERS offered at this place. Believe me, I’ve chosen and sanctified this Temple that you have built: My Name is stamped on it forever; my eyes are on it and my heart in it always. As for you, if you live in my presence as your father David lived, pure in heart and action, living the life I’ve set out for you, attentively obedient to my guidance and judgments, then I’ll back your kingly rule over Israel—make it a sure thing on a sure foundation. The same covenant guarantee I gave to David your father I’m giving to you, namely, ‘You can count on always having a descendant on Israel’s throne.’” (7:12-18 MSG)

Isn’t it Absolutely Amazing the Things God Will Do, If Only His People Would Simply PRAY?

“Desperate and soul-stirring prayers result in answers. When God is sought in desperation, He responds.” (Jim Cymbala)

“I think Christians fail so often to get answers to their prayers because they do not wait long enough on God.” (E.M. Bounds)

“Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the One who hears it and not in the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference.” (Max Lucado)

“When you pray, your prayers are heard by the same God who answered Moses’ prayer for water in the desert; the God who gave Abraham and His barren wife a son; and the God who made the slave Joseph second in power only to Pharaoh. Nothing is impossible for God when you pray and believe for His answer to come.” (Francis Chan)

“We tend to use prayer as a last resort, but God wants it to be our first line of defense.” (Oswald Chambers)

“Prayer is not a ‘spare wheel’ that you pull out when in trouble, but it is a ‘steering wheel’ that directs the right path throughout.”

“Prayer: The most powerful weapon against trials. The most effective medicine against sickness. The most valuable gift to someone you love.”

“It’s not the body’s posture but the heart’s attitude that counts when we pray.” (Billy Graham)

“Sometimes the answer to prayer is not that it changes life, but that it changes you.” (James Dillet Freeman)

“Time spent in prayer is never wasted.” (Francis Fenelon)

“Prayer is simply a two-way conversation between you and God.” (Billy Graham)

“Prayer should be the key of the day and the lock of the night.” (George Herbert)

“We have to pray with our eyes on God, not on the difficulties.” (Oswald Chambers)

“To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.” (Martin Luther)

“Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God.” (Mother Teresa)

“Prayer is not just for times of trouble.” (Thomas S. Monson)

“Prayer is a shield to the soul.” (John Bunyan)

“The value of consistent prayer is not that He will hear us, but that we will hear Him.” (William McGill)

“The greatest tragedy of life is not unanswered prayer but unoffered prayer.” (F.B. Meyer)

“If the only prayer you ever say is ‘thank you’, that will be enough.” (Eckhart Tolle)

“Any concern too small to be turned into a prayer is too small to be made into a burden.” (Corrie Ten Boom)

“The Word of God is the food by which prayer is nourished and made strong.” (E.M. Bounds)

“God doesn’t move in your life when you struggle, He moves when you pray.”(Author Unknown)

“The more praying there is in the world, the better the world will be.” (E.M. Bounds)

“Prayer is a strong wall and fortress of the church.” (Martin Luther)

“We can do nothing without prayer.” (E.M. Bounds)

“We cannot properly understand Scripture without prayer, and we cannot know how to pray without studying Scripture.” (Becka Goings)

“When you’ve scheduled a time to pray remember this: You have a real appointment with the King of the Universe.” (Author Unknown)

“Prayers outlive the lives of those who uttered them; outlive a generation, outlive an age, outlive a world.” (E.M. Bounds)

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

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“How to Establish Quiet Time With God?”

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“O GOD, YOU ARE MY GOD, EARNESTLY I SEEK YOU.” PSALM 63:1 NIV

When you come to meet with God you should have an Attitude of:

1…EXPECTANCY: Expect to ‘give and get’ from your time together. And make it a time of Intimacy. Now, intimacy wasn’t designed to be found in a crowd or a public place; intimacy calls for being alone with the one you love. The Bible speaks about Christ as the groom and us (the church) as His bride. Therefore, the groom has an Expectancy when it comes to His bride. He Expects us to go out of our way to be with Him, to spend valuable time with Him, to talk with Him, to share with Him, to love Him. He Expects us to show and prove our love for Him. He Expects words of appreciation, adoration and admiration from His bride. Without a doubt, He as our groom, has already given us this and much more, so don’t you think by now He deserves to really be loved by us in return?And, behold, a woman…brought an alabaster box of ointment, And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.” (Luke 7:36-38) Intimacy with God is Important!

2…REVERENCE: Don’t clumsily rush into God’s presence! Prepare your heart by being Still before Him and letting the Quietness clear away the thoughts of the world. Remind yourself Who it is you’re meeting with – GOD! Once me and my husband took an evening and went out to dinner, for no other reason than just to spend some quiet, quality time together. You would’ve thought we were going to a 5-star restaurant by how we were carrying on trying to make sure we picked out just the right outfits and shoes. We almost choked our children to death with cologne and perfume spraying all over the place. And we only went to BBQ’s! In other words, this wasn’t a “Special Event”, but it was Special. We loved each other enough to take the time to look especially nice, for no-one else but one another. And likewise, when you enter the presence of God, that set aside time for just you and Him, take the time to Prepare Yourself.You are Worthy…to receive Glory and Honor” (Revelation 4:11 NIV). Make sure you have enough praise and worship; enough thank you Jesus’; enough I love you Lord. Remember, He’s Worthy! Take the time to present Him with a clean and a pure heart. Present Him with a mind that is focused on Him alone. Truth is, we’ve been giving God a lot of Entertainment, but not enough true, heartfelt Endearment. “Worship the Lord in Holy Clothing. May all the earth shake in fear before Him” (Psalm 96:9 NLV). “Bravo, GOD, bravo! Gods and all angels shout, “Encore!” In awe before the glory, in awe before God’s visible power. Stand at attention! Dress your best to honor Him!” (Psalm 29:1-2 MSG). If He means what you say He means to you, love Him enough to enter His presence at your Best! You can’t Rush Reverence!

3…ALERTNESS: Get to bed early so you’ll be in good shape to meet God in the morning! He deserves your Full Attention. Give God the Best part of your Day – when you are the Freshest. Follow the example of Christ:VERY EARLY IN THE MORNING…Jesus…went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” (Mark 1:35 NIV). Hudson Taylor said, “You don’t tune up the instruments after the concert is over…you tune them up before you start.I don’t know about you, but when I was single and dating, I made sure my make-up was flawless, no bags under my eyes, breathmints in my bag, changing my outfit ten times to get just the right look. I wanted my date to see me at my Peak, at my Best. I made sure, when I enter and when I leave your presence, You Will Remember Me! Well, I’ve learned to give God even Better than that! I’ve learned to be Alert to His presence. When I know I’m going to meet Him in morning prayer I get to the bathroom and get myself together! Why? Because if I gave flesh that much, surely I should give Spirit that and much more! If you really think about it, we cost God too much to short-change Him now!Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be Alert servants of the Master, cheerfully Expectant…” (Romans 12:11) Don’t give God your Aloofness when He deserves your Alertness.

4…WILLINGNESS: This Attitude is Crucial: Because you don’t come to your quiet time to choose what you will or won’t do, but with the purpose of doing anything and everything God wants you to do. So come to meet with the Lord, possessing a mindset to do His will—no matter what! Determine that I’m not just going to enter His presence and laugh, and jump, and shout, but He has something Vital to tell me. Therefore, I’ve got to be ready to receive and willing to fulfill whatever the day’s assignment might be.Going a little ahead, he fell on his face, praying, “My Father, if there is any way, get me out of this. BUT PLEASE, NOT WHAT I WANT. YOU, WHAT DO YOU WANT?” (Matthew 26:39 MSG). One of the questions that should always be on your lips when you enter your quiet time with God is, “What Do You Want From Me God?

Take special time to increase your Expectancy, Reverence, Alertness and Willingness to God. Go out of your way for Him, like you’ve never done before. Make a sacrifice to spend quality time with Him. Seek Him with all you’ve got. Pursue Him as if it’s your last time to grasp Him. Love Him enough to be quiet before Him and hear what He has to say.

Remember: There is no greater Return, than Investing in Quiet Time With God.

Stephen Olford said, “I want to hear God’s voice before anyone else’s in the morning. And His is the last voice I want to hear at night.

David and Daniel met with the Lord three times daily: EVENING, and MORNING, and at NOON, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.” [Psalm 55:17] “Now… Daniel… kneeled upon his knees THREE TIMES A DAY, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aftoretime.” [Daniel 6:10].

So does that mean the rule of thumb is to meet with God three times daily? No. What it does mean is whatever time you set, Simply Be Consistent! Put it on your calendar if need be! In honesty, we put far less important stuff on our calendars (hair, nail and feet appointments, lunch dates, sales at Macy’s etc.) Therefore, it shouldn’t be all that difficult to make an appointment with God, certainly our Daily Protector is more important than a Perm! And just like you’ll rearrange your schedule to keep all your other appointments, do what you need to, to keep this one! You didn’t stand up Tyrone or Tasha, so whatever you do, Don’t Stand God Up!

As women, we keep better hair and nail appointments than we keep God appointments. As men, you keep better barber and basketball appointments than God appointments. As youth, you keep better girlfriend/boyfriend appointments than God appointments. In other words, we’ve ALL messed up our appointments with God, whether it be through cancellations, lateness, fatigue, change in plans etc… But if the truth be told, even if you are the President and CEO, you will Never have a more important appointment than the one you schedule with God! 

Make a firm commitment like the Psalmist. He said,My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.” [Psalm 5:3]. That word “shalt” is the same as “shall” and the word “shall” means “expressing a strong assertion or intention” more importantly its Origin is Old English meaning “Owe“. The word “Owe” means to “Be Required to Pay (money or goods) to (someone) in Return for Something Received“. And the word “Required” means “To Expect Someone to Do SomethingAnd all of that sums up to mean the Psalmist Expressed a Strong Intention to Give God What He Owes Him (His Time), Because He is Required To Pay God In Return For all the Goodness, Blessings, Miracles, Provision, Protection…He Has Received. And Most Important God is Expecting Him to do It! And the Psalmist Has Vowed that it Shall be Done! My Voice SHALT Thou Hear In the Morning, O LORD; In the Morning Will I Direct My Prayer Unto Thee, And Will Look Up” Does meeting with God in Quiet Prayer Time Mean that Much to You?!  Do you realize you OWE God? Do you realize just how much you OWE God? Do you realize that God is REQUIRING this of you? Do you realize that God EXPECTS this from you? The Amplified Bible reads that same verse like this, “In the morning You hear my voice, O Lord; in the morning I prepare [a prayer, a sacrifice] for You and watch and wait [for You to speak to my heart.]There’s a few things I want to point out here:

(a) The Psalmist makes an Appointment with God:My voice SHALT thou hear In The Morning, O LORD…

(b) The Psalmist takes the time to Prepare Himself and what he wants to Offer God: …I PREPARE [a Prayer, a Sacrifice]…

(c) The Psalmist makes it clear that it’s not about himself: …For YOU…

(d) The Psalmist knows that his Appointment with God is not just about what he has to give to God, But What God Has to Give to Him Also: …watch and wait [For You to SPEAK to My Heart.]

I cannot stress enough the Importance of making and keeping your Quiet Time Appointments With God! If David could do this, certainly you can do the very same! Remember You OWE God That Much! You Are REQUIRED to Pay Up and He’s Waiting In EXPECTATION!

Now, let’s look at a few ‘time’ tips for our Quality Time With God:

1…DON’T START WITH A TWO-HOUR QUIET TIME: You’ll quickly get discouraged. You’ll create memories of failure rather than memories of success. You must grow in this relationship as you do in any other. So begin with a few minutes and let it grow. You don’t plant your seed Monday and look for a harvest on Tuesday. It takes time. So be patient and pace yourself. The more faithful you are in keeping your Quiet Time Appointments With God the more appointments you’ll want to make and the longer you’ll want to stay.

2…DON’T CLOCK-WATCH: That’ll ruin your quiet time faster than anything else. Decide what you can do in God’s Word and prayer during the time you’ve selected; then do just that! Sometimes it’ll take more time than you have set aside, sometimes less. But don’t clock-watch! When on a date with that special somebody that you’re enjoying spending time with, you don’t watch the clock waiting for it to be over. No, you enjoy every minute. In fact, if it’s really good, the first things you say are: ‘Where did the time go?’ ‘And I wish this night didn’t have to end.’ God is simply looking for the same attention. The more quiet, intimate time you spend with God, the more in love with Him you’ll become. Therefore, you’ll automatically want to increase that time. It’s a process. So enjoy each stage.

3…EMPHASIZE QUALITY, NOT QUANTITY: It’s what you do during your quiet time – whether 15 minutes or 2 hours – that’s important. Whatever time frame you set, simply give your full attention to Him. My husband knows not to talk to me while I’m watching TV. I’ll nod my head the whole conversation through, but I guarantee you when I’m asked later about it, I have no idea what he’s talking about. Why? Because I Wasn’t Paying Attention! So don’t try to be super-deep and lay in prayer for 4 hours when you don’t do 4 minutes consistently. It’s unrealistic, and what’s unrealistic goes unmet. So whatever time frame you set, just give God your full attention and when it’s done, it’s done, until the next time. There’s nothing worse than to read ten chapters and not even retain ten verses. Why not commit to one chapter and let it minister to you? Remember, QUALITY will always over-ride QUANTITY when it comes to spending time with God.

4…CHOOSE A SPECIAL PLACE: Early the next morning Abraham got up and returned to THE PLACE where he had stood before the Lord.” [Genesis 19:27 NIV]. Your special place ought to be a place where: (a) You can pray aloud without embarrassment; (b) You’re comfortable. But for some of us I must stress the point: Don’t have your quiet time in bed – that’s far too comfortable! Trust me, I’ve tried it! Now, as for me, my special place is in my livingroom at 5am. I anoint myself and walk the floor of my livingroom in prayer while the house is asleep. And even when the house wakes up, no one disturbs my special place of prayer until I’m done. As the days go by your special place will come to mean everything to you, because it will become your meeting place with God. It will become your sacred, set aside, consecrated, personal holy ground. Now, don’t think this place has to be perfect, it just has to be a place where you can enjoy your Quiet Time in the Presence of the Lord.

All of that sounds wonderful preacher, but what happens When Noise Interrupts Your Quiet Time With God?!

“O GOD, You Are My GOD, Earnestly I Seek YOU.” PSALM 63:1 NIV

Let’s address some “Quiet Time Problems/Interruptions.”

The Problem of Discipline is a Major one! This is better known as “The Battle of the Blankets.” It faces you the moment you wake up! The devil will Exaggerate just how tired you really are. And when he and your flesh team up, it’s a battle to just get out of bed! So here are some tips on Overcoming this problem:

(1) GO TO BED ON TIME! Too many of us stay up late watching TV, therefore we have a hard time getting up in the morning. (I confess, Law & Order at 11pm has gotten me in a lot of prayer time trouble). But Dawson Trotman lived by the Scripture,Early will I seek thee.You see, even if he had company the night before, he would excuse himself and go to bed because his top priority was meeting with God each morning.  Ask yourself, is meeting with God that important to me?

(2) GET UP IMMEDIATELY UPON WAKING! If you wait to think about it, you’ve already lost the days battle! Furthermore, when you wake up in the morning it’s not the time to pray that you’ll have willpower to do it. In other words, Plan It! Be Intentional! Resolve like the Psalmist,In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice.” (Psalm 5:3 NIV). Make it a Mandatory Meeting!

(3) GO TO BED WITH THOUGHTS OF SCRIPTURE! Fall asleep with the attitude of, ‘See you in the morning, Lord.’ Ask Him to wake you up with thoughts of Him. One of the best ways to do that is to go to sleep with a Scripture verse on your mind. Remember You’ve Been Commanded:Do not let this Book…depart from your mouth; meditate on it DAY AND NIGHT.” (Joshua 1:8 NIV).

You say you’re not getting much out of your quiet time? Well, Rick Warren refers to this as “The Battle of the Blahs.” He writes: “You can never judge your quiet time by your emotions. Emotions may lie; feelings may come and go. If you only have a quiet time when you ‘feel’ like it, the devil will make sure you never feel like it. Some days will seem bland. On other days you’ll think heaven has opened up to you. So don’t expect a glorious ‘experience’ every morning. Not having goose-bumps doesn’t mean God is not present.

However, dry spells can be caused by a few things:

(a) DISOBEDIENCE:  Because God won’t bless you beyond your last act of disobedience. And He won’t reveal step two until you’ve effectively climbed past step one. So repent and get it right.

(b) BEING IN A HURRY: Samuel Chadwick said, “Hurry is the death of prayer.So go for meaningfulness, not mileage!

(c) BEING IN A RUT: When your quiet time becomes a Ritual instead of a Relationship, it dies! So be flexible; change your routine, keep it interesting. Now men you would do it for your woman; and women you know you would do it for your man. So learn how to do it for your God. Besides, you’ll never have a better or more lasting relationship than that you have with God. So don’t you think it’s worth it to do whatever it takes to make your relationship work?

Sorry, it’s not over yet! Because once you’ve wonThe Battle of the BlanketsandThe Battle of the Blahs,you’ll have to fightThe Battle of the Brain.” Your mind will wander off in 101 directions during your quiet time! The devil will make sure of it! You’ll find yourself distracted by noises, lack of sleep, tensions with others, work, things you ‘just can’t forget,’ and even things you haven’t thought about all day. So here are some helpful suggestions:

1…BE SURE YOU’RE THOROUGHLY AWAKE! Take a shower, splash cold water on your face, or do some exercises. Get the Adrenalin flowing! The Psalmist writes,As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.” (Psalm 42:1 NIV). A deer being pursued by a hunter has only one thing in mind; getting to the stream where its wounds can be healed, its thirst quenched, and its strength renewed. Therefore, panting does not mean entering your quiet time dragging in, mumbling half a scripture, and dozing back off to sleep. There is a hunger and a thirst an urgency to get to God. So Wake Up and get to Panting and Pursuing after Him!

2…USE A MEMO PAD: When you decide to spend time with God you’ll suddenly ‘remember’ everything you have to do, or have left undone. So write things down as they come to you, then tell yourself, “I’ll get to that later,” and go back to prayer. Don’t let the devil distract you!

3…WALK WHILE YOU’RE PRAYING: You won’t fall asleep while standing up, (at least I hope not), so move around. And while you’re moving quote scriptures like,…I’m giving you every square inch of the land you set your foot on—just as I promised…” (Joshua 1:3 MSG) You’ll pray more purposeful and powerful then won’t you?

4…PERSONALIZE THE SCRIPTURES: Pray them back to God. Since God’s Word is always in line with God’s Will, your prayers will be answered. For example, use Psalm 23: “Lord, You are my Shepherd, therefore I shall not want for anything. Thank You for leading me in paths that are right when I don’t know which way to go.” It reminds you that you’re talking to SOMEONE who loves you and protects you and wants the best for you.

Who wouldn’t want to spend more quiet time with a Person like that?

If truth be told, nothing is more difficult to maintain than your quiet time with God. When pressures mount, what’s the first thing you’re tempted to drop? Time With God! Satan knows if he can keep you from it, he’s already won the battle, because he’ll have no opposition from you. Many of us who have messed up and missed the mark can honestly say, “It all started when I began to neglect my time with God.” So let’s look at some more ways to Overcome this problem.

1…MAKE A COVENANT WITH GOD! And be serious about it:When you make a vow to God, do not delay in fulfilling it…It is better not to vow than to make a vow and not fulfill it” (Ecclesiastes 5:4-5 NIV). In the end, you need to remember that you’re in a relationship with a Covenant-Keeping God. Therefore, it’s not enough to make the vow, You’ve Got To Keep It!

2…PUT IT ON YOUR SCHEDULE: Block out time to meet with God each day, just like you plan a doctor’s appointment or a business luncheon. Think about it: We will run for a bus, jump on a train, chase down a taxi just to make it on time for an appointment with man. But we can’t roll over out of bed to meet with God in our own house? I don’t know about you, but I don’t want that to be my track record with God. Being known more for my cancellations than actual kept appointments with Him.The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men to see if there were any who…sought after God, inquiring for and of Him…requiring Him [of vital necessity].” (Psalm 14:2 AMP) God is Seeking for those who are Seeking for Him! Are you seeking?

3…BE READY FOR THE DEVIL’S EXCUSES AND ATTACKS: To be forewarned is to be forearmed! So follow the Boy Scout motto, “Be Prepared!Dr. Robert G. Lee used to say,If you wake up in the morning and don’t meet the devil face on, it means you’re headed in the same direction!So don’t wake up with the mentality that the heavens are going to open up, and the angels are going to descend and lead praise and worship while you enter your Quiet Time with God! If this is what you’re looking for when you open your eyes, then you are in for a very Rude Awakening! Often times you’ve got to fight for your Quiet Time With God! But the rewards you receive for winning the fight are invaluable! So let the boxer in you rise up and let the devil know you’ve still got another round in you!I praise you, LORD! I prayed, and you rescued me from my enemies.” (Psalm 18:3 CEV).

4…LEAVE YOUR BIBLE OPEN THE NIGHT BEFORE AT THE PASSAGE YOU INTEND TO READ IN THE MORNING: When you wake up it will serve as a reminder to have your Quiet Time With God. Believe it or not, I use to sit my open Bible on top of my alarm clock, this way I had to pick up my Bible, to shut off my alarm clock. And it takes a pretty crazy person to pick up their Bible and throw it to the side, unread, when you realize God’s Grace and Mercy gave you another day to open your eyes! So whatever it takes… don’t miss out on your Quiet Time With God!…I have treasured the Words of His mouth more than my daily bread.” (Job 23:12 NIV).

But what if I miss a day?Don’t worry about it, and don’t go on a guilt trip over it! If you miss a meal it doesn’t mean you gave up eating, does it? You’ll simply be a bit more hungry, so eat a little more at the next meal. Just don’t make a molehill a mountain! You can trip over a molehill and get some scrapes, dust yourself off and keep going. But a mountain will kill you! So stop treating your missed time with God as if you’ve fallen from Mt. Everest!The LORD’s kindness never fails! If He had not been merciful, we would have been destroyed. The LORD can always be trusted to show mercy each morning.” (Lamentations 3:22-23 CEV).

Listen: Psychologists say it takes up to three weeks to get familiar with a new habit; then another three weeks before it takes root. So the goal is to get beyond that six-week barrier!

Here’s a simple formula for developing a habit:

(1) MAKE A STRONG RESOLUTION: If you begin half-heartedly you’ll never succeed. The Bible says,Encourage one another daily.” (Hebrews 3:13 NIV). So become accountable to someone. Ask them to encourage you, and to remind you of the promise you made to God. I’m a witness, I have some Covenant Friendships that don’t let me get away with nothing! It works!

(2) NEVER ALLOW AN EXCEPTION: A habit is like a ball of twine: every time you drop it some of the strands unwind. So never allow ‘just this once’ to occur. Each act of yielding weakens your will and causes you to lose ground!

(3) SEIZE EVERY OPPORTUNITY TO PRACTICE YOUR NEW HABIT: Whenever you get the slightest urge to practice it, do it right then. Don’t wait, use that moment to reinforce it. It doesn’t hurt to overdo a new, and good, habit.

(4) RELY ON THE POWER OF GOD: When all is said and done, you must realize you’re in a spiritual battle and that you can only succeed by the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. So pray that God will strengthen you. Depend on Him to help you develop Quiet Time habits for His Glory.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).

No Matter How Noisy Life May Become, Prepare And Equip Yourself To Allow Nothing And No One To Disturb Your Quiet Time With Your God!

“O GOD, You Are My GOD, Earnestly I Seek YOU.” PSALM 63:1 NIV

In closing, the word ‘Earnest’ says a lot. In fact, David wasn’t the only one who was ‘Earnest.’ James 5:17 says, “Elijah was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed EARNESTLY that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.” Now when you study how Elijah prayed, the Bible says he prayed ‘earnestly’ that rain should not fall and God answered his prayer. The Scripture also says he was ‘subject’ to like passions as we are. The term ‘subject’ means ‘likely or prone to be effected by’. In other words, Elijah had some of the same pressures, temptations and conditions of life that we suffer today, and yet, when he prayed, he did it in an earnest, heartfelt manner, regardless to circumstance. Therefore, we have no excuse for our fast food prayer delivery! This isn’t a ‘bless the dinner rolls’ type of prayer. Elijah didn’t simply pray, “Lord, let there be no rain”. The word ‘Earnest’ is defined as ‘with sincere and serious intention’. Therefore, earnest prayer is Continued, Fervent and with Deep Conviction. It’s prayer that pulls on the very heart strings of God. This is the kind of prayer Jesus talked about in Matthew 6:6, …when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou has shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.Earnest prayer is Concentrated, Focused, and Deliberate. This kind of prayer is Serious Business! It’s more than saying, “Lord, bless all Christians; bless my family and bless me, in Jesus Name,” and then you’re off to work or to bed! No, it’s Sustained Prayer over a period of time. Earnest prayer, possesses the power to change even the most hopeless of situations. Isaac prayed hard to God for his wife because she was barren. God answered his prayer and Rebekah became pregnant.” (Genesis 25:21 MSG). Even Jesus prayed earnestly, “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail.Luke 22:31 (NLT).

When you engage in this kind of prayer, You Don’t Give Up! Every time I enter a new struggle and it gets long and hard, to the point it wearies me, I read Luke 18:1-5. Also [Jesus] told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not to turn coward (faint, lose heart, and give up). He said, In a certain city there was a judge who neither reverenced and feared God nor respected or considered man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, Protect and defend and give me justice against my adversary. And for a time he would not; but later he said to himself, Though I have neither reverence or fear for God nor respect or consideration for man, YET BECAUSE THIS WIDOW CONTINUES TO BOTHER ME, I WILL DEFEND AND PROTECT AND AVENGE HER, LEST SHE GIVE ME INTOLERABLE ANNOYANCE AND WEAR ME OUT BY HER CONTINUAL COMING…” (AMP). My prayer for you today, is that God will mold you into Disciples of Earnest Prayer. I pray that you will develop the characteristic of persistence and tenacity. And regardless to the situation or circumstance, you will not give up, give in or give out!

Now, just as earnest as Elijah, Isaac, Jesus, and even the widow were, particularly in prayer and petition, David was just as earnest in ‘seeking’ God. David does not use past tense, as an sought for the Lord. But the present tense, of I’m still seeking Him. Whether it’s to enter Quiet Time With God, or to enter into your closet of prayer with God, do it earnestly! Seek for Him with diligence.

Listen to David in full, “O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” The Message Bible says it like this, “God-you’re my God! I can’t get enough of you! I’ve worked up such hunger and thirst for God, traveling across dry and weary deserts.”

You’ll know when you’re Earnestly Praying and Earnestly seeking, when your pursuit of God’s presence makes you feel trapped in a desert, hungry and thirsty and He’s your Only source of satisfaction and fulfillment! Somehow the church, the bride, has lost her hunger and thirst, her passion, her desire and longing for God, her bridegroom. Therefore, it is my prayer that this extensive devotional has stirred up a refreshing in your soul for Him. A new hunger and thirst that only He can feed and quench. I pray you will change your schedule in whatever way needed just so you can spend Quality, Quiet Time With God. I pray for a burning fire to be ignited within you that has to reach Him, has to see Him, has to hear from Him. From this day forward, I pray you will open your eyes each morning and say with David, “O God, you are my God, EARNESTLY I seek you…”

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

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“Praying in the Right Heart Posture”

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Luke 18:9-14, “He told his next story to some who were complacently pleased with themselves over their moral performance and looked down their noses at the common people: “Two men went up to the Temple to pray, one a Pharisee, the other a tax man. The Pharisee POSED AND PRAYED like this: ‘Oh, God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, crooks, adulterers, or, heaven forbid, like this tax man. I fast twice a week and tithe on all my income.’ “Meanwhile the tax man, SLUMPED IN THE SHADOWS, his face in his hands, not daring to look up, said, ‘God, give mercy. Forgive me, a sinner.’” Jesus commented, “This tax man, not the other, went home made right with God. If you walk around with your nose in the air, you’re going to end up flat on your face, but if you’re content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself.”

This short parable contains a diminutive (‘extremely or unusually small’) prayer that produced a dynamic answer. But before we can fully appreciate the prayer, we need to understand the context.

1…THE AUDIENCE: Jesus, in the presence of His disciples, was specifically addressing: “…some who were complacently pleased with themselves over their moral performance and looked down their noses at the common people…” These were probably the Pharisees, since one of the two characters in the story was a Pharisee. The Pharisees, a Jewish sect, were strict observers of the Mosaic law of the Old Testament. They loved the external, detailed aspects of the law and, when it was not specific enough, they added their own traditionshundreds of them, in fact. Unfortunately, these overzealous rule-keepers valued the outward keeping of their rules above all else. As a group, because they had become exceedingly self-righteous, they looked down on anyone who was not in their sect.

2…THE SETTING: The two men Jesus told about in the parable had one similarity and many differences. Their similarity was that both: “…went up to the Temple to pray…” For a Jew living during the time of Jesus, the temple was the prime place of prayer. When Solomon dedicated the first temple, his prayer was that God’s eyes would be open to the temple day and night. It was to be the place where God would hear prayers and forgive: (2 Chronicles 6:20-21, “That Your eyes may be open upon this house day and night, toward the place in which You have said You would put Your Name [and the symbol of Your presence], to listen to and heed the prayer which Your servant prays facing this place. So listen to and heed the requests of Your servant and Your people Israel which they shall make facing this place. Hear from Your dwelling place, heaven; and when You hear, forgive.” (AMP). Jews still view the temple in Jerusalem as the supreme location for prayer. Today in modern Jerusalem you can see Jews gathered at the Western Wall of the remains of Solomon’s temple. This sacred place is often called the Wailing Wall and was believed to be the back wall of the Holy of Holies on the temple mount. Three times a day, for thousands of years, Jewish prayers from around the world have been directed toward the Western Wall. Jewish mystical tradition teaches that all prayers from around the world ascend to the Western Wall, and from there, to heaven. The Talmud says, “If someone is praying outside the Land of Israel, he should direct his heart in the direction of Israel. If the person is praying in Israel, he should direct his heart toward Jerusalem. Those in Jerusalem should direct their hearts to the Temple.

3…THE MAIN CHARACTERS: In Jesus’ story, one man was a Pharisee and the other, a tax collector. Jesus, no doubt, used these two types of men because they represented the extremes of the culture. The Pharisees represented the superficially upright, externally moral, legalistic, self-righteous, ultra-right wing of Judaism. The tax collectors signified the bad boys. Because Israel was under Roman occupation, the Jews were saddled with a heavy tax burden. Tax collectors were Jews who collected taxes from their Jewish brothers and sisters for the Romans. This made them traitors in the eyes of their people. To make matters worse, often they were found to be guilty of extortion as well as associating with prostitutes and other “dregs (‘most worthless parts’) of society.

4…THE INEFFECTIVE PRAYER OF THE PHARISEE: Luke 18:11-12, “The proud religious law-keeper stood and prayed to himself like this, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men. I am not like those who steal. I am not like those who do things that are wrong. I am not like those who do sex sins. I am not even like this tax-gatherer. I go without food two times a week so I can pray better. I give one-tenth part of the money I earn.’” (NLV).

Skillfully, Jesus shows us five reasons why God refused to respond to the Pharisee’s prayer.

1…HE PRAYED FROM A POSITION OF SELF-PROMOTION: When he prayed, he “…STOOD UP…” It was customary for men to stand when they prayed at the temple. But this Pharisee was standing with an attitude. An amplified study of the language reveals that he took his stand ostentatiously. “The Pharisee took his stand ostentatiously and began to pray…” (Luke 18:11 AMP). The word “ostentation” is defined as “a flamboyant display which is intended to impress.” It’s Latin Origin “ostendere” literally means “to stretch out to view.The posture of the prayer may say much about the nature of the prayer and the one praying. Proud men stand in order to be noticed, especially when they pray. The Pharisee’s prayer was pretentious and showy – and God was not impressed! I love the definition of the word “pretentious”, it means “attempting to impress by affecting greater importance or merit than is actually possessed.” In other words, acting in “character” while possessing no character! 2 Timothy 3:1-5,But understand this, that in the last days will come (set in) perilous times of great stress and trouble [hard to deal with and hard to bear]. FOR PEOPLE WILL BE LOVERS OF SELF AND [UTTERLY] SELF-CENTERED, lovers of money and aroused by an inordinate [greedy] desire for wealth, PROUD AND ARROGANT and CONTEMPTUOUS BOASTERS. They will be abusive (blasphemous, scoffing), disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane. [They will be] without natural [human] affection (callous and inhuman), relentless (admitting of no truce or appeasement); [they will be] slanderers (false accusers, troublemakers), intemperate and loose in morals and conduct, uncontrolled and fierce, haters of good. [They will be] treacherous [betrayers], rash, [and] INFLATED WITH SELF-CONCEIT. [They will be] lovers of sensual pleasures and vain amusements more than and rather than lovers of God. For [although] they hold a FORM OF PIETY (true religion), they deny and reject and are STRANGERS to the power of it [their CONDUCT belies the genuineness of their profession]. Avoid [all] such people [turn away from them].” (AMPC). And if that weren’t enough, listen to Matthew 6:5-15, “And when you come before God, don’t turn that into a THEATRICAL PRODUCTION either. All these people making a regular SHOW out of their prayers, hoping for stardom! Do you think God sits in a box seat?“Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to ROLE-PLAY before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. THE FOCUS WILL SHIFT FROM YOU TO GOD, and you will begin to sense his grace. “The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are PRAYER-IGNORANT. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice, PEDDLING TECHNIQUES FOR GETTING WHAT YOU WANT FROM GOD. Don’t fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, YOU CAN PRAY VERY SIMPLY. Like this: Our Father in heaven, Reveal who you are. Set the world right; Do what’s best—as above, so below. Keep us alive with three square meals. Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others. Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil. You’re in charge! You can do anything you want! You’re ablaze in beauty! Yes. Yes. Yes. “In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part.” (MSG)

2…THE PHARISEE WAS SELF-CENTERED: He “…PRAYED ABOUT HIMSELF…”. The King James Version says that he “…PRAYED WITH HIMSELF…” The New American Standard Version states he “…PRAYED TO HIMSELF…”. His prayer was self-absorbed. It was to himself, with himself, and about himself. Self-centered people focus their conversations and prayers on themselves. However, God’s heart is all about selflessness. Philippians 2:1-4, “If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.” (MSG)

3…THE PHARISEE WAS SELF-RIGHTEOUS: He prayed, “…God, I thank you that I AM NOT LIKE OTHER MEN – robbers, evil-doers, adulterers – or even like this tax collector.” He is telling God all the bad things he is too ‘good’ to do. This Pharisee views himself as too righteous to rob, do evil, or commit adultery. He saw himself as above such lowly behavior. Self-righteous persons love to point out and criticize the shortcomings of others. However, God does not need our help in seeing others’ shortcomings. In fact, the Bible puts it like this, “…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.” (Galatians 6:1-3 MSG).

4…THE PHARISEE WAS SELF-ABSORBED: He prayed, “…I FAST TWICE A WEEK AND GIVE A TENTH OF ALL I GET…” He not only told God what he wouldn’t do, but also what he did do that set him apart from ordinary sinful men. This man fit the description of Jesus’ hearers – those “…who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else.” (Luke 18:9). Self-absorbed people like to speak of the good they do. However, our awesome God is not awed by our deeds of righteousness. In fact the Bible states, “For we have all become like one who is unclean [ceremonially, like a leper], and all our righteousness (our best deeds of rightness and justice) is like filthy rags or a polluted garment; we all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away [far from God’s favor, hurrying us toward destruction].” (Isaiah 64:6 AMP). The Common English Bible says it like this: “We have all become like the unclean; all our righteous deeds are like a menstrual rag…” (CEB) Doesn’t sound to me like God cares two cents about our supposed “righteous deeds”, especially when His Word compares them to a used menstrual rag!

5…PRAYER IS OFTEN A WONDERFUL REVEALER OF THE HEART: The Pharisee had a proud, self-promoting, self-centered, self-righteous, self-absorbed heart. But the main cause of his inefficiency in prayer was his self-sufficiency! He did not feel the need to ask God for anything. He had it all together and under control. The biggest problem with legalistic religion is that it quickly digresses to the point where God is no longer needed. For the Pharisee, prayer had become little more than a chance to brag. 2 Corinthians 12:9, “but He has said to me, “MY GRACE IS SUFFICIENT FOR YOU [MY LOVINGKINDNESS AND MY MERCY ARE MORE THAN ENOUGH – always available – regardless of the situation]; for [MY] POWER is being perfected [and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness.” Therefore, I will all the more gladly BOAST IN MY WEAKNESSES, SO THAT THE POWER OF CHRIST [MAY COMPLETELY ENFOLD ME AND] MAY DWELL IN ME.” (AMP). You see, you only get to brag about your weakness; it is God who gets to brag about His strength! Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things [which He has called me to do] THROUGH HIM WHO STRENGTHENS AND EMPOWERS ME [TO FULFILL HIS PURPOSE – I AM SELF-SUFFICIENT IN CHRIST’S SUFFICIENCY; I am ready for anything and equal to anything THROUGH HIM WHO INFUSES ME WITH INNER STRENGTH AND CONFIDENT PEACE].” (AMP) Again, it’s not about YOU, it’s about HIM! Philippians 4:19, “And my GOD WILL LIBERALLY SUPPLY (FILL UNTIL FULL) YOUR EVERY NEED ACCORDING TO HIS RICHES IN GLORY IN CHRIST JESUS.” (AMP) No matter how self-sufficient you think you are, it is GOD ALONE, THROUGH JESUS CHRIST, where your needs are supplied! Don’t get so caught up in your clay that you forget the importance of the potter! 2 Corinthians 4:7-12, “If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the UNADORNED CLAY POTS OF OUR ORDINARY LIVES. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us. As it is, there’s not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that WE’RE NOT MUCH TO LOOK AT…” (MSG); Jeremiah 18:3-4, “So I went to the potter’s house, and sure enough, the potter was there, working away at his wheel. Whenever the pot the potter was working on turned out badly, as sometimes happens when you are working with clay, the potter would simply start over and use the same clay to make another pot…” (MSG) Never Forget: We are the Ordinary Clay in the Potters Extraordinary Hand, He is Not in Ours!

And NOW to THE EFFECTIVE PRAYER OF THE TAX COLLECTOR: Luke 18:13, “BUT the tax collector, [merely] standing at a distance, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but kept striking his breast, saying, O God, be favorable (be gracious, be merciful) to me, the especially wicked sinner that I am!” (AMP). Jesus began with the word “But,” signifying that in every way the tax collector was a contrast to the Pharisee. As a result, the tax collector’s prayer was highly effective.

There are several reasons why his prayer succeeded:

MOST IMPORTANT HOWEVER, THE TAX COLLECTOR WAS WITHOUT PRETENSE! “He stood at a distance….” He did not consider himself worthy of a front and center place at the temple. Instead of standing where he could be easily seen, he was entirely UNASSUMING (‘not pretentious or arrogant’). The tax collector was also HUMBLE (‘having or showing a modest or low estimate of one’s own importance.’ Latin in origin, ‘humilis’ literally means ‘lowly’, from ‘humus’ meaning ‘ground’). Instead of staring confidently into heaven, he prayed with a bowed head and heart, humble enough to be lowly enough, that the image would be that of prostrating on the ground. Modest people bow their heads in deference (‘humble submission and respect’) to those they consider above them. Proverbs 18:12, “Before disaster the heart of a man is haughty and filled with self-importance, BUT HUMILITY COMES BEFORE HONOR.” (AMP); Psalm 147:6, “THE LORD LIFTS UP THE HUMBLE; He casts the wicked down to the ground.” (AMP); James 4:10, “HUMBLE YOURSELVES [WITH AN ATTITUDE OF REPENTANCE AND INSIGNIFICANCE] IN THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD, AND HE WILL EXALT YOU [HE WILL LIFT YOU UP, HE WILL GIVE YOU PURPOSE]” (AMP). Furthermore the tax collector, DID NOT JUDGE OR CONDEMN THE PHARISEE, AS THE PHARISEE JUDGED AND CONDEMNED HIM. He did not tell God how much better he was than someone else. Instead of picking at the splinter in the eye of another, his vision was overwhelmed with the beam in HIS OWN EYE. Matthew 7:5, “You hypocrite (play-actor, pretender), FIRST GET THE LOG OUT OF YOUR OWN EYE, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” (AMP). Rather than tout his own righteousness, he simply called himself a SINNER. The tax collector knew better than to try and bluff God or deny the obvious. He knew what he was – A SINNER. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, “Don’t you realize that this is not the way to live? Unjust people who don’t care about God will not be joining in his kingdom. Those who use and abuse each other, use and abuse sex, use and abuse the earth and everything in it, don’t qualify as citizens in God’s kingdom. A NUMBER OF YOU KNOW FROM EXPERIENCE WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT, FOR NOT SO LONG AGO YOU WERE ON THAT LIST. Since then, you’ve been cleaned up and given a fresh start by Jesus, our Master, our Messiah, and by our God present in us, the Spirit.” (MSG) Unlike the independent Pharisee, the tax collector was DEPENDENT. He did not think he had it all together or could handle it himself. He knew he was INSUFFICIENT. He knew his need and Who could meet it. So he asked GOD to supply! When someone approaches God with the humble, dependent, unpretentious attitude of the tax collector, his heart is attuned to real needs and right directions. 1 Samuel 16:7, “But God told Samuel, “Looks aren’t everything. Don’t be impressed with his looks and stature. I’ve already eliminated him. God JUDGES PERSONS DIFFERENTLY THAN HUMANS DO. Men and women look at the face; God LOOKS INTO THE HEART.” (MSG). The tax collector’s prayer was right on target. He not only asked for something, he asked for the right thing, the right way. James 4:2-3, “You are jealous and covet [what others have] and your lust goes unfulfilled; so you murder. You are envious and cannot obtain [the object of your envy]; so you fight and battle. You do not have because you do not ask [it of God].  You ask [God for something] and do not receive it, BECAUSE YOU ASK WITH WRONG MOTIVES [OUT OF SELFISHNESS OR WITH AN UNRIGHTEOUS AGENDA], so that [when you get what you want] you may spend it on your [hedonistic] desires.” (AMP) Always make sure your motives, intentions and Heart are in right standing with God as you enter prayer!

God wants to answer our prayers, but so often we ask for the wrong things. We pray about non-essentials and miss the real needs of our hearts. This tax collector nailed the request, just as Solomon did when he asked for wisdom, and the disciples when they wanted to be taught to pray. The tax collector asked God for mercy. He offered one of the most effective prayers found in the Bible. “Have mercy on me a sinner.” Our relationship with God is founded upon God’s Mercy. As Isaiah witnessed, God is absolutely holy, without sin in any way, shape, or form. His level of holiness is so intense that the seraphim literally called out the brilliance of His holiness. Isaiah 6:3, “And one called out to another, saying, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is filled with His glory.” (AMP) On the other hand, we are not holy in any way, shape, or form. We are sinners by nature, deed, attitude and act. The wages of sin is death, and we deserve severe punishment for our continued sin. The best our righteousness merits is total and eternal banishment from God’s presence and from blessing of any type.

YET, GOD IS MERCIFUL! Lamentations 3:22-25, “It is because of the Lord’s MERCY and loving-kindness that we are not consumed, because His [tender] compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great and abundant is Your stability and faithfulness. The Lord is my portion or share, says my living being (my inner self); therefore will I hope in Him and wait expectantly for Him. The Lord is good to those who wait hopefully and expectantly for Him, to those who seek Him [inquire of and for Him and require Him by right of necessity and on the authority of God’s Word]” (AMPC)

He can rightfully withhold our punishment because His Mercy drove Jesus to the cross in our place. The Father can spare us because He refused to spare Jesus. Jesus took our penalty. He died in our place. We can be saved. Living in this consumer-centered, commercial-filled world, we are constantly being told that we have a RIGHT for more and better. Such a message may make for an effective advertisement, but it spells poor theology. The tax collector knew what he deserved, and it was not more or better. It was eternal separation from God in outer darkness. So instead of telling God that He must give him the great riches that were his right, he asked God for mercy so he would not receive the judgment he truly did deserve.

The word used here for Mercy is “Hilaskomai”, which is actually the word for an atoning sacrifice. In the fullest sense, the tax collector is saying, “God, be merciful to me through Your atoning sacrifice for sins, because I am a sinner.” The tax collector understood what too many miss. He knew that he could not merit a relationship with God through his own righteousness or good works. Paul even summarized this reality with the following words: “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.” (Ephesians 2:8-9 MSG).

NOW FOR MAKING IT PERSONAL: If you never have before, now is the time to say to God the words uttered by the tax collector, “God be merciful to me, a sinner.If you mean it, this can be a soul-saving, life-changing prayer. It was for the tax collector and it has been for an untold amount of others. Praying this is our part in being justified or made right with God.I tell you, this man went down to his home JUSTIFIED (FORGIVEN AND MADE UPRIGHT AND IN RIGHT STANDING WITH GOD), rather than the other man; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 18:14 AMP).

Learn to pray as the tax collector, NOT the Pharisee. Lose any trace of arrogance, pretense, self-righteousness, self-centeredness, and self-sufficiency as you approach life in general and prayer in particular. Live and pray with humility, honesty, and modesty. Come dependently to God in prayer. Learn to tell Him what you really need. And oftentimes it’s not Materials, but Mercy!

Tax Collectors Didn’t Have the Best of Reputations, But With Humility, At Least This One Knew How to Get the Right Response From God! People of God, Remember This: Arrogant Prayers Go Unanswered! It’s Not About the Asking, But the Attitude That Accompanies It!

Lastly, the word ‘posture’ is defined as, ‘a particular position of the body.’ However, an additional definition reads, ‘an approach or attitude towards something.’ Make sure you approach God in prayer with the right motives and intentions in your heart and attitude. Yes, He still answers prayer, but He also still exams the posture of the heart of that prayer too!

Much Love, Dr. Shermaine #EnjoyTheRead #BeInspired #BeEncouraged #BeEmpowered #BeChallenged #BeHumble
Feel free to also join us at: http://www.selfcarewithdrshermaine.blogspot.com Today’s Lesson: “Best and Worst Workouts, According to Science”

“Don’t Let Pressure Stop Your Press!”

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“I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience His resurrection power, be a partner in His suffering, and go all the way with Him to death itself. If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it.” (Philippians 3:10-11 MSG)

While John was a prisoner on the Isle of Patmos, far from his loved ones and surrounded by the cries of abused captives, he had a vision of Jesus. He writes, “When I saw Him, I fell at His feet as if dead…” (Revelation 1:17 AMP). He received an incredible revelation in the midst of confinement, chaos and pain – and isn’t that often how revelation works? God certainly has an amazing way of showing Himself mighty in the midst of our misery. The problem is however, we don’t respond like John. Despite what John was facing and surrounded by, when “…he saw Him…[he]…fell at His feet as if dead…” Let’s be honest, how many of us actually fall into worship mode when in the midst of struggles? Truth is, far more often, we become snappy, our attitudes get out of control, our emotions are doom and gloom, our faith falters, our countenance falls, our hope becomes helplessness, we invite family, friends and even foes to our self-proclaimed pity party. It’s sad but true. Rarely do we immediately fall into worship when life hits us with its worst!

But even Jonah learned to worship in the worst of it! “Jonah 2:2-6, Describes Jonah’s Fish Temple of Worship: The Bible says, “In trouble, deep trouble, I prayed to God. He answered me. From the belly of the grave I cried, ’Help!’ You heard my cry. You threw me into ocean’s depths, into a watery grave, With ocean waves, ocean breakers crashing over me. I said, ’I’ve been thrown away, thrown out, out of your sight. I’ll never again lay eyes on your Holy Temple.’ Ocean gripped me by the throat. The ancient Abyss grabbed me and held tight. My head was all tangled in seaweed at the bottom of the sea where the mountains take root. I was as far down as a body can go, and the gates were slamming shut behind me forever…” (MSG).

And you think you’ve got problems??!!  Jonah worshiped in the midst of fish guts and seaweed, and you mean to tell me you can’t worship God in the midst of what you’re going through? Look at what Jonah worshiped in the midst of! But yet in still, you cancel your worship due to rolling eyes and attitudes; over what someone said or didn’t say; because they didn’t sing your song or preach you happy; because it’s raining outside; because they sat in your seat; because of what the doctors said. Tell yourself from this day forward, the devil is a liar! I’ll let nothing and no one cancel my worship again! Not their words, facial expressions, opinions, criticisms, discouragement, or bitterness! If Jonah could worship with his head tangled in seaweed at the bottom of the sea; surely you can continue to worship God as He keeps your head above the waters that He promised you would not drown you! Isaiah 43:1-4, “…Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called your name. You’re mine. When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you. When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down. When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end—Because I am God, your personal God, The Holy of Israel, your Savior. I paid a huge price for you: all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in! That’s how much you mean to Me! That’s how much I love you! I’d sell off the whole world to get you back, trade the creation just for you.” (MSG) And yet, you would allow worries to steal your worship, problems to steal your praise, fear to steal your faith, hurt to steal your hope and circumstances to steal your commitment?!

When in the midst of what John was surrounded by, he still fell at the Lord’s feet. In the midst of what Jonah faced, he still worshiped. So what’s your excuse? Do you really believe that trials, troubles, struggles and tribulation are all bigger than the God you say you serve? Well, if that’s your belief, than I’m here to tell you your broken belief system needs repairs!

Please understand that the difficult circumstances you’re going through right now can actually clear your perceptions, cause you to seek God as never before, and find answers for your life, to questions that have been bombarding your sanity! John’s predicament proves that negative experiences don’t hide the Lord – they reveal Him! The Bible reads:I saw this and fainted dead at his feet. His right hand pulled me upright, His voice reassured me: “Don’t fear: I am First, I am Last, I’m Alive. I died, but I came to life, and My life is now forever. See these keys in My hand? They open and lock Death’s doors, they open and lock Hell’s gates. Now write down everything you see: things that are, things about to be…” (Revelation 1:17-19 MSG). As bad as it was, John saw the Lord, bowed before Him in reverential fear and had the Lord Himself to encourage him: “…His voice reassured me: “Don’t fear…” That’s the beauty of being a child of the King, even when all of the Kingdom of Darkness is against you! He Always Reveals Himself to the Righteous, Regardless of How Bleak Their Circumstances May Appear.  After all, the One Whom we serve is still the first and the last, which encourages us to know that no matter what transpires in the middle, God got it covered from beginning to end! And He’s so awesome that He admits Himself, that He died and came back to life and now lives forever. He’s reassuring John (and us) of just how powerful He really is! All He desires is that we trust Him and believe Him! And then, if that weren’t enough to increase our faith, lift up our heads, square off our shoulders and straighten up our back, He goes on to say in His hand are keys, and He alone has the access to open and lock death’s doors and Hell’s gates, so you’re afraid of what? Right! Absolutely Nothing! Because this is the God you serve!

I think sometimes we unfortunately forget the Lord’s promise to us: “…for He  [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]” (Hebrews 13:5 AMP) How do you read a promise like that and fear anything or anyone? The Lord Himself DELIBERATELY REFUSES to fail you; give you up; leave you without support and will under no circumstances leave you helpless; nor will He forsake you; let you down or relax His hold on you! You are so loved, cherished, treasured and protected by God that He Initiated This Promise To You! You didn’t have to ask Him to do it, you didn’t have to ask Him for it, He Chose To Give it to You Himself! So regardless to what you’re in, what you’re surrounded by, what you’re going through, who you’re up against or what you’re facing, you have full CONFIDENCE that God’s Got You COVERED!

Hebrews 10:35, “Do not, therefore, fling away your FEARLESS CONFIDENCE, for it carries a great and glorious compensation of reward.” (AMPC) The Message Bible says it like this: Hebrews 10:32-39, “Remember those early days after you first saw the light? Those were the hard times! Kicked around in public, targets of every kind of abuse—some days it was you, other days your friends. If some friends went to prison, you stuck by them. If some enemies broke in and seized your goods, you let them go with a smile, knowing they couldn’t touch your real treasure. Nothing they did bothered you, nothing set you back. So don’t throw it all away now. You were sure of yourselves then. It’s still a sure thing! But you need to stick it out, staying with God’s plan so you’ll be there for the promised completion. It won’t be long now, he’s on the way; he’ll show up most any minute. But anyone who is right with me thrives on loyal trust; if he cuts and runs, I won’t be very happy. But we’re not quitters who lose out. Oh, no! We’ll stay with it and survive, trusting all the way.” (MSG) 

No Matter Your Circumstances, Never Cast Away Your Confidence in the God That Has You Covered!

I love the way Joseph words it: “…Don’t you see, you planned evil against me but God used those same plans for my good…” (Genesis 50:20 MSG). Not even the Best attack of the enemy against you can stop all the Good God is going to make happen towards you because of it! And He’s so awesome as God that He only needs ONE plan for your life, and No Back-Up! Why? Because the ONE plan He has for your life is more than sufficient! “…I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I HAVE IT ALL PLANNED OUT – PLANS TO TAKE CARE OF YOU, NOT ABANDON YOU, PLANS TO GIVE YOU THE FUTURE YOU HOPE FOR.” (Jeremiah 29:11 MSG). Who needs a back-up plan to that?! God will in fact shame your enemies so that He will even use THEIR PLANS FOR YOUR DESTRUCTION AS THE BRICKS TO BUILD YOU UP IN THE END! Joseph’s brothers had some Bad plans for him, but God used them to Bless Joseph Real Good! And He will do the very same for YOU! So lift your bowed down head, square your shoulders, straighten your back and put a smile on your face, God is not done blessing you yet!

Instead of destroying you, Satan’s attacks can actually develop you. Yes, it STRESSES you, but it also STRETCHES you spiritually. In Hebrews Chapter 11 we see two things:

  1. The Deeds of Their Faith; and
  2. The Depth of Their Faith.

It always amazes me how God’s saints of old could worship Him in the midst of absolutely anything, and we can’t seem to worship in anything. They pursued God on just promises, and even the ones that weren’t fulfilled in their lifetime, they never lost their appetite for God. They continued to hunger and thirst after Him. Maybe that’s why they were so Full and we’re so Empty. The depth of their faith propelled them to continue in their deeds for Him, despite what was being done to and against them. They maintained such a Faith Under Fire That No Fierce Attack Could Put it to Ashes! They mastered how to Press In and Press On…Anyhow!

Think about it: Where did God prove His faithfulness to Daniel? In the Lion’s Den! “The king caved in and ordered Daniel brought and thrown into the lions’ den. But he said to Daniel, “Your God, to whom you are so loyal, is going to get you out of this.” A stone slab was placed over the opening of the den. The king sealed the cover with his signet ring and the signet rings of all his nobles, fixing Daniel’s fate. The king then went back to his palace. He refused supper. He couldn’t sleep. He spent the night fasting. At daybreak the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. As he approached the den, he called out anxiously, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve so loyally, saved you from the lions?” “O king, live forever!” said Daniel. “My God sent his angel, who closed the mouths of the lions so that they would not hurt me. I’ve been found innocent before God and also before you, O king. I’ve done nothing to harm you.” When the king heard these words, he was happy. He ordered Daniel taken up out of the den. When he was hauled up, there wasn’t a scratch on him. He had trusted his God.” (Daniel 6:16-23 MSG). My favorite part? “…HE ORDERED DANIEL TAKEN UP OUT OF THE DEN. WHEN HE WAS HAULED UP, THERE WASN’T A SCRATCH ON HIM. HE HAD TRUSTED HIS GOD.” Daniel was able to trust God in the midst of his attack, why can’t you do the same? After all, He is still the SAME GOD! We need to learn like Daniel to pursue God, to trust Him, rely on Him, rest in Him no matter what, because He’s Got Us…No Matter What or Who is Trying to Get at Us!

Remember: He’ll Do Anything For You, So Why Won’t You Do Anything For Him?!

Let’s Recall Paul’s Words: “I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience His resurrection power, be a partner in His suffering, AND GO ALL THE WAY WITH HIM…” (Philippians 3:10-11 MSG) He’ll clearly go all the way to life, death, and life for you, won’t you even go to prayer, praise and worship for Him? Won’t you follow and obey His commandments? Won’t you read and apply His Word? Won’t you go to His house of worship and celebrate and serve Him and His people? Won’t you give up anything for Him since He’s given up everything for you?

Likewise, think about this: Where did the Lord reveal Himself to the three Hebrew boys? In a fire that was heated seven times over! “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered King Nebuchadnezzar, “Your threat means nothing to us. If you throw us in the fire, the God we serve can rescue us from your roaring furnace and anything else you might cook up, O king. BUT EVEN IF HE DOESN’T, IT WOULDN’T MAKE A BIT OF DIFFERENCE, O KING. WE STILL WOULDN’T SERVE YOUR GODS OR WORSHIP THE GOLD STATUTE YOU SET UP.” Nebuchadnezzar, his face purple with anger, cut off Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He ordered the furnace fired up seven times hotter than usual. He ordered some strong men from the army to tie them up, hands and feet, and throw them into the roaring furnace. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, bound hand and foot, fully dressed from head to toe, were pitched into the roaring fire. Because the king was in such a hurry and the furnace was so hot, flames from the furnace killed the men who carried Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to it, while the fire raged around Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Suddenly King Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in alarm and said, “Didn’t we throw three men, bound hand and foot, into the fire?” “That’s right, O king,” they said. “But look!” he said. “I see four men, walking around freely in the fire, completely unharmed! And the fourth man looks like a son of the gods!” Nebuchadnezzar went to the door of the roaring furnace and called in, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the High God, come out here!” Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego walked out of the fire. All the important people, the government leaders and king’s counselors, gathered around to examine them and discovered that the fire hadn’t so much as touched the three men—not a hair singed, not a scorch mark on their clothes, not even the smell of fire on them! Nebuchadnezzar said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego! He sent his angel and rescued his servants WHO TRUSTED HIM! They ignored the king’s orders and laid their bodies on the line rather than serve or worship any god but their own. “Therefore I issue this decree: Anyone anywhere, of any race, color, or creed, who says anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego will be ripped to pieces, limb from limb, and their houses torn down. There has never been a god who can pull off a rescue like this.” Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the province of Babylon.”  (Daniel 3:16-30 MSG).

Why don’t you trust God like that? John bowed, Jonah worshiped, Daniel trusted, the three Hebrew Boys maintained their resolve, and yet you do none of the above when the circumstances of life attack you? But I Reiterate, HE IS STILL THE SAME GOD…YOUR GOD! So, whether He takes you out, or leaves you in, you ought serve Him with gladness anyhow, because He’s already promised to never leave you or forsake you, so why do you keep leaving and forsaking Him? He’s proven time and time again that He will do anything for you, when will you start to at least do something for Him?

You have to leave Circumstantial and Conditional Faith, and Finally Attain Concrete Faith!

Listen: Believe it or not, but there’s a place in God where fiery trials consume everything Except your desire to know Him. And though that place may sometimes escape your grasp, never let it escape your gaze. It was Paul’s all-consuming goal: “[For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death, [in the hope] That if possible I may attain to the [spiritual and moral] resurrection [that lifts me] out from among the dead [even while in the body].” (Philippians 3:10-11 AMP)

Paul desired to know God intimately. No matter the circumstances, no matter the obstacles, no matter the pain, suffering or tragedy of death. It was all worth it, just to know Him! Paul would do anything for HIM! Will you? And just in case you think Paul had a cake-walk to getting to know God, listen at his testimony: 2 Corinthians 11:21-29, “… I’ve worked much harder, been jailed more often, beaten up more times than I can count, and at death’s door time after time. I’ve been flogged five times with the Jews’ thirty-nine lashes, beaten by Roman rods three times, pummeled with rocks once. I’ve been shipwrecked three times, and immersed in the open sea for a night and a day. In hard traveling year in and year out, I’ve had to ford rivers, fend off robbers, struggle with friends, struggle with foes. I’ve been at risk in the city, at risk in the country, endangered by desert sun and sea storm, and betrayed by those I thought were my brothers. I’ve known drudgery and hard labor, many a long and lonely night without sleep, many a missed meal, blasted by the cold, naked to the weather. And that’s not the half of it, when you throw in the daily pressures and anxieties of all the churches. When someone gets to the end of his rope, I feel the desperation in my bones…” (MSG) AND YET, PAUL WOULD ENDURE ALL OF THIS AS LONG AS HE GOT TO KNOW GOD! SO, WHAT’S YOUR EXCUSE AGAIN FOR WHY YOU “CAN’T” MAKE THE SAME SACRIFICE?! WHY CAN’T YOU ENDURE? WHY CAN’T YOU PRESS AND PRAISE THROUGH? WHY CAN’T YOU WORSHIP STILL? WHY DON’T YOU TRUST REGARDLESS OF WHAT YOU SEE?

Listen, I know struggles and attacks can make it hard sometimes to press in, but you’ve got to press anyhow! No matter how bad it may become, remember your God is always good and will always bring about good on your behalf: “AND WE KNOW THAT ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD TO THEM THAT LOVE GOD, TO THEM WHO ARE THE CALLED ACCORDING TO HIS PURPOSE.” (Romans 8:28) YES, THAT DOES SAY ALL THINGS (GOOD, BAD, UGLY, BEAUTIFUL, ETC…) WORK TOGETHER FOR YOUR GOOD! So continue to trust God no matter what you’re in, He’s a proven provider and protector of His people! “The Lord is my light and my salvation; He protects me from danger—whom shall I fear?  When evil men come to destroy me, they will stumble and fall!  Yes, though a mighty army marches against me, my heart shall know no fear! I am confident that God will save me. The one thing I want from God, the thing I seek most of all, is the privilege of meditating in His Temple, living in His presence every day of my life, delighting in His incomparable perfections and glory.” (Psalm 27:1-4 TLB). If You Don’t Have This Level of Confidence in God…GET IT!

Remember This: Fiery Trials Work For You, Not Against You!

“Dear friends, don’t be bewildered or surprised when you go through the fiery trials ahead, for this is no strange, unusual thing that is going to happen to you.  Instead, be really glad—because these trials will make you partners with Christ in His suffering, and afterwards you will have the wonderful joy of sharing His glory in that coming day when it will be displayed.” (1 Peter 4:12-13 TLB);

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

SAINTS, EVEN BAD WORKS FOR THE GOOD OF THE BELIEVER!

So Give God Your Very Best in Serving Him, Because He’s Given You His Very Best in Saving You!

Remember: He’ll Do Anything For You,  Won’t You Now Do Anything For Him?!

And what’s one thing you can start doing today? DON’T LET THE PRESSURE STOP YOUR PRESS!

Much Love, Dr. Shermaine #EnjoyTheRead #BeInspired #BeEncouraged #BeEmpowered #BeChallenged #KeepPressing
Feel free to also join us at: http://www.selfcarewithdrshermaine.blogspot.com Today’s Lesson: “How to Start Strength Training?”

“Jonah’s Dirty Deliverance!”

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…I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.(Jonah 2:2).

Jonah chapter 2 is another one of my favorite Scriptures! You See, Right in the Midst of Trouble, Jonah Still Prayed Unto the Lord! He Forgot about his Situation and Fully Turned His Attention to God! Can you imagine what would happen if today the church did the very same thing? If we sought God no matter our situation? If we still fell on bended knee no matter how many times the rug has been pulled out from beneath us? If we still talked to God no matter how badly others are talking about us? If we still went to church even if we had to walk there? If we would still read the Bible even when we’ve lost the job? Can you imagine if we still sought God regardless of our current circumstances!? Just think what would become of our lives if we prayed as the Bible admonishes us to: “Pray At All Times” (1 Thessalonians 5:17 GNT) Just imagine how strong our relationship with God would become if we indeed prayed at all times. And that includes praying when the car breaks down; the kids are failing in school; the marriage is holding on by its last string; the job just laid you off; the doctor just gave you a cancerous diagnosis; your parent passes away; your sibling is strung out on drugs; your church is emptying out; your bank accounts can’t even keep the bare minimum anymore; Medicaid said no; Medicare won’t cover; there’s dust in the cupboards and only Arm and Hammer in the fridge! Would you still be able to pray to God, even in these times?! Would you still trust Him? Would you still lean on Him? Would you still believe Him? Would you still praise and worship Him? Would you still have Faith in Him? Would you still thank Him?

When you study the content of Jonah’s prayer in Jonah 2:2-9, you’ll discover that he wasn’t praying the ‘give me or get me out of this prayer, but a Prayer of Worship and Thanksgiving (“…But I’m Worshiping you, God, calling out in Thanksgiving!…” (Jonah 2:9 MSG) However, what happens next is Absolutely Dynamic; the Bible says, “And the LORD Commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.” (Jonah 2:10 NIV). What a Mighty Deliverance! BUT, if you look at what Jonah Worshiped in the Midst Of to Get It, you’ll have to ask yourself, ‘do I really want it that bad?Because to get This Kind of Deliverance, You’ve Got to Possess the Ability to Worship In the Worst Of It! Yes, that means to pray, worship and thank God while the eviction notice is on the front door; the pink slip after 20 years was just handed to you; the doctor has nothing else he can do for your disease; your teenage son tells you he has a baby on the way; your daughter comes home with a tattoo across her forehead; there’s nothing in the fridge but the light-bulb; the toilet water won’t go down, the heat won’t come up, the car won’t start and the bills won’t stop! YES, You Have To Still Pray, Praise, Worship and Thank God In the Midst of It All! So How Bad Do You Really Want It?!

First off, it was due to Jonah’s Disobedience that he was in Trouble in the first place! So Jonah was where he Deserved to be, and God Put Him There, the Bible says,Now the Lord had Prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah…”(Jonah 1:17). Like Jonah, many of us are where we are due to our OWN disobedience! BUT the very next verse says, “Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God Out Of the Fish’s Belly.” (Jonah 2:1). Truth be told, sometimes Deliverance Looks Downright Disgusting! I know you thought God was going to bring you out driving a 2019 so and so…NOPE…with a brand new house…NOPE…with a 7 figure income…NOPE…with the spouse dipped in honey…NOPE…with a world-wide ministry…NOPE…totally debt free…NOPE…a size 36-24-36…NOPE! Your Deliverance Is NOT Going To Look Pretty! After all, did you really think Jonah would spend 3 days and 3 nights in the belly of fish and come up smelling like roses? Truth is, I hate to even walk past the scent of a fish market, let alone have to be in the belly of a great fish for 3 days and 3 nights! So, no, Jonah wasn’t coming out fresh and clean! And neither are you going to come out of all you’ve been in smelling like Febreeze!

Just look at Mark 7:33-35, the Bible reads: “And taking him aside from the crowd [privately], He thrust His fingers into the man’s ears and spat and touched his tongue; And looking up to heaven, He sighed as He said, Ephphatha, which means, Be opened! And his ears were opened, his tongue was loosed, and he began to speak distinctly and as he should.” (AMP). Sweetheart, your deliverance is Not going to come with the latest fad-prophet sprinkling fairy dust over you and waving a pearly white magic wand! NOPE! Ear Wax and Spit Baby! So Do You Still Want To Be Delivered?! Listen for the two important truths here: One, the man’s ears were opened! “So faith comes from HEARING…” (Romans 10:17 AMP) Now, you may not like the method God uses to deliver you, but you will love hearing by faith what He has to say to you! The deliverance may be downright disgusting, but won’t it be worth it to hear God say: “…All these blessings will come down on you and spread out beyond you because you have responded to the Voice of God, your God: God’s blessing inside the city, God’s blessing in the country; God’s blessing on your children, the crops of your land, the young of your livestock, the calves of your herds, the lambs of your flocks. God’s blessing on your basket and bread bowl; God’s blessing in your coming in, God’s blessing in your going out. God will defeat your enemies who attack you. They’ll come at you on one road and run away on seven roads. God will order a blessing on your barns and workplaces; he’ll bless you in the land that God, your God, is giving you. God will form you as a people holy to him, just as he promised you, if you keep the commandments of God, your God, and live the way he has shown you. All the peoples on Earth will see you living under the Name of God and hold you in respectful awe. God will lavish you with good things: children from your womb, offspring from your animals, and crops from your land, the land that God promised your ancestors that he would give you. God will throw open the doors of his sky vaults and pour rain on your land on schedule and bless the work you take in hand. You will lend to many nations but you yourself won’t have to take out a loan. God will make you the head, not the tail; you’ll always be the top dog, never the bottom dog, as you obediently listen to and diligently keep the commands of God, your God, that I am commanding you today…” (Deuteronomy 28:1-14, MSG) Wouldn’t a Dirty Deliverance Be Worth Hearing That?! Secondly, his tongue was loosed! The Bible says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” (Proverbs 18:21 AMP); It further shares, “You will also decide and decree a thing, and it will be established for you; and the light [of God’s favor] will shine upon your ways.” (Job 22:28 AMP) Having your tongue loosed, means you get to decree life over your life and change it with the creative power your God has given you in your ability to open your mouth and speak it! The Bible says, “…and speaks of the nonexistent things that [He has foretold and promised] as if they [already] existed.” (Romans 4:17 AMPC) Once your deliverance takes place and your lips are loosed, regardless to what your situation may still look like, you open your mouth and declare the nonexistent things God foretold and promised you and you speak them as if they already exist! “I’m healed; I’m whole; I’m debt-free; my marriage is repaired; my children are returning from straying; my bank accounts look like phone numbers with the 1 and area code attached! I’m cancer free; the mortgage company said yes; the grant was approved; I’m driving the car off the lot; God is sending me the mate He custom designed just for me; the business proposal has been approved; the tuition is free; the church is full; my household is saved; my family is delivered; the addiction has been arrested by the Holy Ghost; the anointing is fresh; the gifts are stirred; closed doors of opportunity are unlocking as I speak; the promotion is mine; the elevation is mine; the doctors diagnosis is being reversed; the blood-work is coming back in my favor; the x-rays are clear; the chemo, radiation and dialysis are stopping; I’m graduating!” You see that’s the beauty of deliverance, no matter how dirty it is, you get to receive the restoration of your hearing and speech! It may be dirty, but thank God for deliverance anyhow!

Need another Dirty Deliverance Example? Just Look at Mark 8:23-25, the Bible reads: “And He caught the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village; and when He had spit on his eyes and put His hands upon him, He asked him, Do you [possibly] see anything? And he looked up and said, I see people, but [they look] like trees, walking. Then He put His hands on his eyes again; and the man looked intently [that is, fixed his eyes on definite objects], and he was Restored and saw Everything Distinctly [even what was at a distance].” (AMP). There’s That Spit Anointing Again! Who Knew Jesus Was Such A Dirty Deliverer?! But this deliverance comes with the blessing of restored vision! Not just physical, but spiritual! All those dreams that you had that were so big and clear before life happened and you stuffed them on the shelf, are coming off the shelf! You will be like Joseph, have one dream that’s big, then dream again and it gets even bigger! You may not like the dirty deliverance, but you will love the results! Things that were so foggy and unclear are going to be 20/20 before 2020 even gets here! You were blind to God’s favor; blind to ways being made on your behalf; blind to the miracles coming down your street and to your house, but oh what happens when God delivers your vision! Another thing I love about this text is that it says, “…he was Restored and saw Everything Distinctly [even what was at a DISTANCE].” Once you’re delivered and your vision is restored you will not only see the blessings and favor of the Lord on your life, but you’ll be able to see the blessings on multiple generations to come! Your deliverance and restoration are not just for you, but for your posterity that hasn’t even been born yet!

You see, deliverance comes when you can Worship God in the Midst of the Worst of your Troubles! Understand that there’s No Doubt About Your Deliverance Coming, You Just Need to Accept the Fact, In Advance, That Your Deliverance Will Come, But It Won’t Come Clean! You’ll often have to get Dirty Before You Get Delivered! Can I Prove It? The Bible says, Elisha sent out a servant to meet him with this message: “Go to the River Jordan and immerse yourself seven times. Your skin will be healed and you’ll be as good as new.” Naaman lost his temper. He turned on his heel saying, “I thought he’d personally come out and meet me, call on the name of GOD, wave his hand over the diseased spot, and get rid of the disease. The Damascus rivers, Abana and Pharpar, are Cleaner by far than any of the rivers in Israel. Why not Bathe in them? I’d at least get Clean.” He stomped off, mad as a hornet. But his servants caught up with him and said, “Father, if the prophet had asked you to do something hard and heroic, wouldn’t you have done it? So why not this simple ‘wash and be clean’?” So he did it. He went down and immersed himself in the Jordan seven times, following the orders of the Holy Man. His skin was healed; it was like the skin of a little baby. He was as good as new.” (2 Kings 5:10-14 MSG). Are You Willing To Get Delivered Even When You Don’t Get To Choose The Method of Your Deliverance? Are You Willing To Get Delivered Even When You Don’t Get to Choose the Prophet? Are you willing to be delivered where no one can see it and talk about? Are you willing to be delivered when God uses a nobody to declare the Word of healing to you? Are you willing to get delivered even if you have to do something “beneath” your title, office or position in order to get it? How Bad Do You Really Want To Be Delivered!? Because Naaman dipped seven times in the dirty Jordan River, will you quit at 2 because it’s just asking too much of you? But at least Naaman was above ground, dipped seven dirty times and came up clean, Jonah lie in the belly of a great fish for 3 days and 3 nights! Listen, if you can’t handle 7 dips, you’ll lose your natural mind over 3 days and 3 nights! So, how bad do you really want to be delivered?!

Honestly, Do You have Enough Guts to get Dirty Before You get Delivered?! Can you Worship and Give Thanksgiving right in the Belly of the Fish, Before you get set Free on Dry Ground?! Truth is, Anybody can Worship and Give Thanks AFTERWARDS, But the Beginning of Deliverance is Doing It DURING?! And since we’re talking about Worship, how about we visit Jonah’s Church, enter into his Sanctuary, and take a good look around at What Jonah Worshiped in the Midst Of! Jonah 2:2-6, Describes Jonah’s Fish Temple of Worship: The Bible says, “In trouble, deep trouble, I prayed to God. He answered me. From the belly of the grave I cried, ’Help!’ You heard my cry. You threw me into ocean’s depths, into a watery grave, With ocean waves, ocean breakers crashing over me. I said, ’I’ve been thrown away, thrown out, out of your sight. I’ll never again lay eyes on your Holy Temple.’ Ocean gripped me by the throat. The ancient Abyss grabbed me and held tight. My head was all tangled in seaweed at the bottom of the sea where the mountains take root. I was as far down as a body can go, and the gates were slamming shut behind me forever…” (MSG).

And you think you’ve got problems??!! You have the audacity to complain about your church?! In the winter you can’t worship because it’s too cold; in the summer you can’t worship because it’s too hot; in the spring you can’t worship because of your allergies; in the fall you can’t worship because it’s holiday season! The ushers push you in a pew; the trustees pull you and all your money apart; the choir never sings your song; the musicians are too loud; service is too long; the kids are too busy! Everything in the church hinders your worship, but nothing you face at your church can compare to what Jonah had to worship through in his! Jonah worshiped in the midst of fish guts and seaweed, and you get an attitude because the church has 2 services instead of 1?! Are you kidding me?!

Look at what Jonah worshiped in the midst of! But yet in still, you cancel your worship due to rolling eyes and attitudes; over what someone said or didn’t say; because they didn’t sing your song or preach you happy; because it’s raining outside; because they sat in your seat; because of what the doctors said. Tell yourself from this day forward, the devil is a liar! I’ll let nothing and no one cancel my worship again! Not their words, facial expressions, opinions, criticisms, discouragement, or bitterness! Why do I refuse to let it cancel my worship? Because I can say with Jonah, “…Yet you pulled me up from that grave alive, O God, my God! When my life was slipping away, I remembered God, And my prayer got through to you, made it all the way to your Holy Temple. Those who worship hollow gods, god-frauds, walk away from their only true love. But I’m worshiping you, God, calling out in thanksgiving! And I’ll do what I promised I’d do! Salvation belongs to God!” (vss. 1-9 MSG)

If Jonah can worship God in the midst of all of this, surely you can worship God in the midst of your mess! God does not stop being Sovereign because of your Situation! He can do anything, anywhere for any one of His children! That’s why you need to understand the power of your worship. It summons all of Heaven to meet you in Hell, Just ask Jonah,…I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.(vs. 2). If Jonah Can Cry Out to God In the Midst of a Belly of Hell, Surely You Can Walk Into Your Pretty Sanctuary and Worship God? Surely! He lay in fish guts while you sit on cushioned seats and you still can’t worship God? His music was the indigestion of a fish, while you have a whole minstrel section and yet you still can’t worship God? He was at the bottom of the ocean and you sit elevated in your prestigious pulpit seating and yet you still can’t worship God? How is it that Jonah can give God his all right where he was, and yet you haven’t given God anything and you’re in a better position than Jonah?!

And an added bonus: You don’t have to look for God in worship, if you worship, He’ll come looking for you!…true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the FATHER SEEKS.John 4:23 (NIV). People of God, Learn How to Worship Your Way Through, And Before You Know It, You’ll Worship Your Way Out! It May Be a Dirty Deliverance, But It’s Guaranteed To Give You a Clean Slate!

“God will lead you into a deliverance where the means that delivers you will be those who would destroy you.” (Edwin Louis Cole)

“…unless you long for deliverance you shall not have it.” (John Owen)

“Before you ever get a problem, God has already got your deliverance planned.” (Joyce Meyer)

“The wise man in the storm prays to God, not for safety from danger, but for deliverance from fear. It is the storm within which endangers him, not the storm without.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

“God hears and He sees, and you are not alone in your struggles. Remain firm and stable, for God has your deliverance planned.” (Joyce Meyer)

“God is in control and therefore in EVERYTHING I can give thanks not because of the situation but because of the One who directs and rules over it.” (Kay Arthur)

“God wants you to be delivered from what you have done and from what has been done to you. Both are equally important to Him.” (Joyce Meyer)

“When the Power of God is Present, Healing and Deliverance are Just Like Breathing.” (T.B. Joshua)

“The nature of the enemy’s warfare in your life is to cause you to become discouraged and to cast away your confidence. Not that you would necessarily discard your salvation, but you could give up your hope of God’s deliverance. The enemy wants to numb you into a coping kind of Christianity that has given up hope of seeing God’s resurrection power. Don’t give up!” (Bob Sorge)

“Faith does not operate in the realm of the possible. There is no glory for God in that which is humanly possible. Faith begins where man’s power ends.” (George Muller)

“Don’t worry. God is never blind to your tears, never deaf to your prayers, and never silent to your pain. He sees, He hears, and He will deliver.”

“Sometimes God will deliver you from the fire, and other times God will make you fireproof.” (Joel Osteen)

“I’m determined to stand whether God will deliver me or not.” (Bob Dylan)

“We all know the disappointments that come when we base anticipation on what we and other humans can deliver. God will never have a problem delivering.” (James MacDonald)

“God Who delivers us from the guilt of sin through faith in Jesus Christ, is able to deliver the believer from the power of sin as well.” (J. Edwin Orr)

“What’s damaged you as a child does not have to destroy you as an adult. God can deliver you from all your hurt and pain. Enter into God’s delivery room!” (Jasmine Harris)

“Don’t rush the time of God. He knows what is best for us and when it is best for us. Continue to wait, but know that He is faithful and He will deliver.” (Lisa Osteen Comes)

Psalm 50:15, “And call on Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall honor and glorify Me.” (AMPC)

Psalm 59:1, “Deliver me from my enemies, O my God; defend and protect me from those who rise up against me.” (AMPC)

Psalm 32:7, “You are a hiding place for me; You, Lord, preserve me from trouble, You surround me with songs and shouts of deliverance. Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!” (AMPC)

Psalm 70:1, “Make haste, O God, to deliver me; make haste to help me, O Lord!” (AMPC)

Jeremiah 15:21, “And I will deliver you out of the hands of the wicked, and I will redeem you out of the palms of the terrible and ruthless tyrants.” (AMPC)

Job 5:17-18, “So, what a blessing when God steps in and corrects you! Mind you, don’t despise the discipline of Almighty God! True, He wounds, but He also dresses the wound; the same hand that hurts you, heals you. From one disaster after another He delivers you; no matter what the calamity, the evil can’t touch you.” (MSG)

Galatians 1:3-5, “Grace and spiritual blessing be to you and [soul] peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah), Who gave (yielded) Himself up [to atone] for our sins [and to save and sanctify us], in order to rescue and deliver us from this present wicked age and world order, in accordance with the will and purpose and plan of our God and Father – To Him [be ascribed all] the glory through all the ages of the ages and the eternities of the eternities! Amen (so be it).” (AMPC)

Daniel 3:17, “If our God Whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, He will deliver us out of your hand, O king.” (AMPC)

Genesis 45:7, “And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.” (KJV)

Much Love, Dr. Shermaine #EnjoyTheRead #BeInspired #BeEncouraged #BeEmpowered #BeChallenged
Feel free to also join us at: http://www.selfcarewithdrshermaine.blogspot.com Today’s Lesson: “Advanced Meal Prep Tips and Tricks”

 

“The Secrets of a Rock Badger!”

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Proverbs 30:26, “…The Conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the Rocks…”  The New King James Version says it like this: “The Rock Badgers are a feeble folk, Yet they make their homes in the crags” 

Today we’re going to do some parable teaching, hope you enjoy!

“The Conies or the Rock Badgers”, “make their houses in the Rocks”. You see, the conies are afraid of foxes, and dogs, and cruel men who hunt and kill them. They are considered poor, weak things, and are not strong enough to fight and take care of themselves. So what do they do? They make their holes among stones and rocks whenever they can! They go where men can’t dig them out. They go where dogs and foxes can’t follow them in. And then, when they see men, or dogs, or foxes coming – they run into those rock holes, and are found safe! 

Now, truth be told, the wolf can run much faster than the Rock Badger, for it has much longer legs. And the deer is much bigger than the Rock Badger, and has good antlers. However, the wolf and the deer have no rock holes to run into! They lie out on the open fields. And so when men come to hunt them with dogs and guns, they are soon caught and killed. But the little “feeble” Cony, that Radical Rock Badger, has a hiding place to run to, therefore, he often escapes!  

Listen: The problem isn’t your fears or the attacks of the enemy, the problem is you don’t know how to Respond Like a Rock Badger! You see, a Coney, or Rock Badger, looks like a rabbit, but he can’t run like one. He resembles a mole but he can’t dig deep like one. Therefore, since he can’t run like a rabbit, or dig like a mole, he uses what he got to his advantage! If I was preaching this, I’d tell you to tell your neighbor, use what you got! You see, Rock Badgers move to higher ground and positions himself in rocks, which is a place of strength. And what’s the word for you today? Reposition Yourself! Rock Badgers know how to Reposition Themselves In a Place of Strength! In the Place of the Rocks! Fear doesn’t stop them, being feeble doesn’t hinder them, because they know how to Reposition Themselves in a place of Strength! Do you?

Rock Badgers, says the Bible, are aFeeble Folk”. And the wordfeeblemeanslacking physical or mental strength.” It comes from a Latin Origin which means tolament, weep or cry.” And that’s the problem with some of us, when it comes to attaining our purpose in God. We focus on what we lack, to the extent, it leads to depression, and low self-esteem, which causes us to lament, weep and cry. What we need to do is follow the example of the Rock Badgers. They don’t cry, become depressed or self-loathing, because their considered feeble. No, they refuse to stay in a weak environment, instead they reposition themselves, and go up higher into the rocks, to a place of strength! In order for you to overcome your fears and attain your purpose in God, you’ve got to reach a point where you stop comparing yourself and cutting yourself down. Stop allowing your limitations to limit you, because they don’t limit God. Use what you got and make it work for you! Think about it, Even Rock Badgers have enough sense to know that if where I’m at has me weak and vulnerable, then I need to Reposition Myself and go up higher into a place of strength! Why stay the same way, and keep doing the same thing? Which reminds me of a quote I live by, “Insanity is doing the same thing but expecting different results.Saints, stop acting like a lunatic that has lost his/her mind, the Bible says He has given you a Sound Mind, so stop acting Insane! Reposition yourself in a place of strength! Think about it: If you hire a man to do a job and you pay him to it, if he stops doing the job, do you continue to pay him? Of course not, that would be foolish. Well, likewise, stop paying all of your attention, energy and strength to doing the same thing that hasn’t worked in the past, ain’t working in the present and won’t work in the future either! Reposition Yourself In a Place of Strength!

Now don’t miss this part, because even though Rock Badgers are consideredfeeble folk”, who lack physical and mental strength, they yet have enough physical and mental strength to build houses in rocks! You see they supposedly lack the ability to do anything. When you look at them physically or mentally, they shouldn’t be able to accomplish much. And yet, not only do they take themselves to a higher place of strength, but in their weakness, they have the audacity to build houses there!

See, when you take a piece of property and build a house on it, you have no intentions on leaving! You are pretty much letting folks know, I’m moving in and staying right here! The Rock Badgers built houses in a place of strength. That’s why you need to let folks know with my weak, feeble self, I still possess the ability to build, and I have enough nerve to do it in a place of strength! Cross your eyes, talk about me, laugh behind my back, but know this, I’m staying right here! No education, no money, alcohol and drug addicted, past of prostitution and yet you keep watching me, before you know it, I’ll be singing on the choir, preaching in the pulpit, and witnessing in the streets! Folks would have you believe, that you don’t have the ability to accomplish a thing. But the devil is a liar! She ain’t never led no song, he never directed a choir, she’s never been a women’s ministry overseer, he don’t know how to plan no retreat, she’s never conducted a meeting, he’s not qualified to hold that position. And what should you say to this? So what! Why? Because it don’t even matter! As long as I learn how to wait on God, He’ll do “exceeding abundantly above all that I ask or thinkevery single time. Learn how to Wait on God, Reposition Yourself in a Place of Strength, and Realize your limitations don’t limit God. That’s a Rock Badgers Rationale! 

I love Rock Badgers, because it’s something about the Rocks they build and establish themselves in that encourages me! Which means I had to study the Rock Badgers and Rocks to find out what is it about the Rocks that keep a Rock Badger Fearless! Well, as the parable preacher that I am, let me share with you some insights about Rocks that will help you to Overcome Your Fears! 

1…The enemy will not mess with a Rock Badger because even though he’s the accuser of the brethren, the Bible says, he that is without sin, cast the first STONE! Don’t miss it! STONES, or ROCKS shut down all those who would attempt to point out your sins and transgressions and attempt to shame and guilt you into not fulfilling your purpose. The enemy attempts to use your past, your pain, your mistakes, and your missteps against you so that the fear of folks finding out about your mess will send you into silence! But the Bible says he that is without sin cast the first STONE! Now, you can look your attackers in the face and tell em ‘unless your sinless, remain stoneless!’ Why fear your past, or fear the people who know about it, when they have no ammunition to use against you! The ROCKS are on your side!  

2…Furthermore, ROCKS were heaped over the DEAD! Therefore, your accuser can’t use anything from your past! Because like a dead body, your past is over, it’s dead and ROCKS have been laid over what is dead! When you become confident in God you realize that no matter how many bones are in your closet, when it’s dead, it’s dead! No where in the Bible did God cause a resurrection for someone’s past, a resurrection was because there was more to yet accomplish. And your past my friend has nothing else to accomplish! So even if they want to poke through your closet and pick at your bones, you can confidently tell them, ‘you can connect the thigh bone to the hip bone, the hip bone to the leg bone, the leg bone to the knee bone, the knee bone to the ankle bone, the ankle bone to the foot bone, and still My Past Will Not Walk Into My Future!’ Whisper to yourself: ‘that was for me!’ 

3…You have no need to fear the enemy because as a Rock Badger, ROCKS are a sign of WORSHIP. ALTARS for WORSHIP were made out of ROCKS. Jesus was tempted by Satan, but the last straw was when the devil attempted to mess with His WORSHIP. Then Jesus declared “Satan get thee behind me”, In essence get out of my face! How dare you attempt to mess with my WORSHIP! You need to understand the power of your WORSHIP! The enemy can’t affect your WORSHIP for John 4:24 declares you must WORSHIP IN SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH, but if you journey a few more chapters over into, John 8:44 it says ‘the devil is a liar and the father of such for there is NO TRUTH IN HIM.’ Therefore, when you enter WORSHIP, you enter TRUTH and that LYING TRUTH can’t handle TRUTH, so he can’t handle your WORSHIP! Remember ALTARS of WORSHIP were made from ROCKS! And Rock Badgers LIVED in ROCKS, therefore the next time fear rears its ugly head, just bow down in WORSHIP! The reason why the devil can’t mess with a WORSHIPER is because the Bible says the Father is looking for TRUE WORSHIPERS, and the enemy knows that to mess with you, while your ministering in WORSHIP will provoke the Father to come see about you!  

4…The devil won’t mess with a Rock Badger because according to Judges 6:20-21 ROCKS are the place where you place your OFFERING and when you place your OFFERING on the ROCK a FIRE is provoked and consumes everything! The devil knows that FIRE represents the PRESENCE OF GOD, FIRE represents the POWER OF GOD, FIRE represents the DEMONSTRATION OF GOD! The enemy is not going to mess with you because where ROCKS are, an OFFERING is close, and the FIRE OF GOD’S PRESENCE, POWER AND DEMONSTRATION are even closer! 

5…The devil don’t mess with a Rock Badger because according to Judges 13:19-20, ROCKS aren’t just the place of offering, or the place of fire, but it’s the place where the ANGELS show up and do wondrous works! You have nothing to fear, with the mindset of a Rock Badger, because ANGELS are ready to arrive when you enter the ROCK!  

6…The devil won’t mess with a Rock Badger because a Rock Badger has BACK-UP in the ROCKS! Jeremiah 49:16 declares that EAGLES reside in the ROCKS! Song of Solomon 2:14 declares that DOVES reside in the ROCKS! Job 39:1 declares that WILD GOATS reside in the ROCKS! And what’s so special about those BACK-UPS? Well, the EAGLES are symbolic of the STRONG; DOVES are symbolic of the HOLY GHOST and WILD GOATS are symbolic of FIGHTERS! Therefore, you have no need to fear the enemy because the devil knows your BACK-UP is a STRONG HOLY GHOST WHO KNOWS HOW TO FIGHT! On top of that, Rock Badgers are known for HUDDLING TOGETHER, they’ll lie on top of one another to the point they are three to four layers deep! You need to surround yourself with some strong folks and let the devil know to be careful in messing with you because you’ve Got BACK-UP! 

7…The enemy won’t mess with a Rock Badger because they have a HIND CLAW that is specially designed for GROOMING, therefore Rock Badgers are EXTREMELY CLEAN. Saints,f Just Stay Clean! The enemy likes to mess with dirty folks, that’s why you have to go out of your way to maintain a LEVEL and LIFESTYLE of HOLINESS, because it deters the dirty hands of the enemy!

8…The enemy won’t mess with a Rock Badger because the enemy knows that ROCKS are the place of MIRACLES. In Exodus 17:6 and Numbers 20:11 WATER was brought forth from the ROCK; In Judges 6:21 FIRE arose up out the ROCKS; In 1 Kings 19:11 the WIND broke the ROCKS; and In Matthew 27:51 the EARTH quaked and Rent the ROCKS! So what does all that mean? Well, it takes me back to my childhood to a little cartoon called the Fantastic Four. They represented Water, Fire, Wind and Earth! The Four most powerful elements in the world and still, when it comes to a Rock Badger even the Four most powerful elements have to bow down! How can you walk in fear when you have power even over the elements over your environment?! 

9…The enemy won’t mess with a Rock Badger because according to Acts 27:29 when the fishermen were at sea, and saw the ROCKS, fear griped them and they let down FOUR ANCHORS! The enemy won’t mess with you when you’re in the ROCKS because as soon as fear arises, he’ll see you let down your ANCHORS! Which is a sign that I shall not be moved! I’m grounded, I’m rooted, I’m planted! People of God, when fear comes, ANCHOR YOURSELF! ANCHOR in the Word, ANCHOR in Prayer, ANCHOR in Praise, ANCHOR in Worship! 

10…The enemy won’t mess with a Rock Badger because Exodus 33:22 says that’s where Moses hid in the cleft of the ROCK and GOD’S GLORY passed by! Saints, when fear arises, just hide in the ROCK, the devil won’t mess with you because he can’t face GOD’S GLORY! 

11…The enemy won’t mess with a Rock Badger because Deuteronomy 32:13 declares HONEY AND OIL come out of the ROCK! Job 29:6 says the ROCK poured me out rivers of OIL! HONEY represents VALUE and OIL represents the ANOINTING. Therefore, when fear arises, place yourself in the ROCK! Because the Rock represents a VALUABLE ANOINTING! And the devil knows that the ANOINTING Destroys the Yoke! Not bends it, not breaks it, but utterly destroys it! The enemy uses fear to distract you so you forget the VALUE of your ANOINTING! The enemy knows that if you dare tap into your ANOINTING you will Utterly Destroy Every Yoke the Enemy has tried to Bind You With! 

12…The enemy won’t mess with a Rock Badger because Exodus 33:21 declares God saying THERE IS A PLACE BY ME, and thou shalt STAND upon a ROCK! The enemy will try various scare tactics to trip you up, but he knows he has not a chance when you get to the ROCK because that’s the place where you’re STANDING SIDE-BY-SIDE with God! The place where you shall STAND! And having done all to STAND you will STAND therefore! Don’t allow fears to shift you, your FOOTING is sure because you STAND on the SURE FOUNDATION OF JESUS CHRIST!  That’s why the enemy gets frustrated, because he’s used to sending fears your way and watching you cower down on your knees groveling and crying and complaining. But he’s not use to you STANDING tall because you’ve found your place SIDE-BY-SIDE with the King of kings and Lord of lords! He’s not use to you STANDING strong! The Psalmist declared, “…he shall set me up upon a ROCK…and establish my goings” (Psalms 27:5; Psalms 40:2). The reason you should never fear the enemy is because no matter where you go, your every STEP is established by the Lord! The enemy can’t catch you off guard!  Even the Psalmist said, “my FOOT almost slipped” the reason it didn’t was because my FOOTING is established by the One who said “Now unto Him who is able to KEEP YOU FROM FALLING”!  

13…The enemy won’t mess with a Rock Badger because Numbers 23:9 declares from the top of the ROCKS I SEE HIM! The enemy won’t mess with a Rock Badger because a Rock Badger has VISION! A Rock Badger has KEEN EYESIGHT. And if it’s one person the enemy will not mess with it’s a person with VISION! A Rock Badger can detect movement up to a mile away! You see, Rock Badgers are so high up in the ROCKS, they’re close to the SUN, which causes them to be an easy target for predators. But what the predators don’t know is that the Rock Badger is equipped with a special membrane which filters the rays of the sun! The Rock Badger can look directly at the sun with no adverse effects! The enemy won’t mess with a Rock Badger because they’re close to the Sun and can easily spot their attackers! Likewise, when you possess Rock Badger Characteristics you learn how to go high up and KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE SON, He will expose your attacks and attackers and you will escape the Hand of the Enemy! 

14…The reason the enemy won’t mess with a Rock Badger is because when a Rock Badger is about to be attacked by a predator, the Rock Badger OPENS HIS MOUTH AND LETS OUT A LOUD BARK! You can’t be a Rock Badger and be Silent! PRAISE is your weapon! Adult Rock Badgers use at least 21 DIFFERENT VOCAL SIGNALS! So whether you hit every key or none of the keys, JUST OPEN YOUR MOUTH AND GO FORTH IN PRAISE! The Rock Badgers use their VOICE TO DENOTE DANGER that a predator is near! Likewise, you need to OPEN YOUR MOUTH and let your VOICE CRY OUT when the enemy is at hand! Why? Because God is drawn and attracted to PRAISE! The Bible says PRAISE is ‘Comely’ for the Believer, or it’s just plain Natural for a believer to OPEN THEIR MOUTH IN PRAISE! You need to SOUND FORTH A SIGNAL to the heavenlies that danger is at hand and watch God come to see who’s messing with His PRAISE and His PRAISER! 

15…The enemy won’t mess with a Rock Badger because a Rock Badger has RESOURCES in the Rocks! Revelation 6:15 declares “And the KINGS of the earth, and the GREAT MEN, and the RICH MEN, and the CHIEF CAPTAINS, and the MIGHTY MEN, and every BONDMAN, and every FREE MAN, hid themselves in the dens and in the ROCKS of the mountains” The reason the enemy won’t mess with you is because of your RESOURCES in the ROCKS! Why walk in fear when your RESOURCES are KINGS, GREAT MEN, RICH MEN, CHIEF CAPTAINS, MIGHTY MEN, BONDMEN, AND FREE MEN? Your RESOURCES in the ROCKS are those of AUTHORITY and POWER! You Have Nothing to Fear! 

16…The enemy won’t mess with a Rock Badger because Matthew 7:24-25 declares “Therefore whosoever hearth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his HOUSE UPON A ROCK: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that HOUSE; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a ROCK”. Stop fearing for your HOUSEHOLD for the Word declares that the HOUSE built and founded upon a ROCK shall not fall even though rains descends, floods come and winds blow, your HOUSE will still remain standing! Don’t let the enemy cause you to be fearful for your FAMILY! Just build them in the ROCKS and he doesn’t stand a chance! 

17…The enemy won’t mess with the CHURCH of a Rock Badger (Pastors) because according to Matthew 16:18, “…upon this ROCK I will build my CHURCH; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” Don’t let the enemy throw fears your way concerning your CHURCH, he doesn’t have a prayer! The promise is that the gates of hell shall not prevail against it! 

18…The enemy can’t intimidate the Rock Badger with being compared to others, because a Rock Badger is UNIQUE and RARE! You see, they’re FEATURES are a mixture of other animals! It has the incisors of a RODENT; the molars of a RHINO; the vascular system of a WHALE; and the feet of an ELEPHANT! It’s the only animal that’s that DIVERSE. You see, Rock Badgers refuse to be boxed in and stuck in a Status Quo! So what you’re DIFFERENT! Take advantage of it! It’s a blessing, not a curse! That’s why the enemy should never under-estimate a Rock Badger! Because as small and “feeble” as they are, they yet have the FEATURES of 3 of the LARGEST  and most POWERFUL animals in the Animal Kingdom! Don’t worry if people judge you by your LOOKS or SIZE! Just let them know, ‘I’m BIGGER, BETTER and BADDER than you think!’

19…The enemy won’t mess with a Rock Badger because a Rock Badger can EAT AND DIGEST LARGE SUMS OF FOOD! Rock Badgers don’t settle for the Milk of the Word; Rock Badgers EAT and DIGEST the MEAT OF THE WORD, and does it in LARGE SUMS! The enemy knows not to mess with a Rock Badger because they’re FILLED WITH TOO MUCH MEAT! As a Rock Badger, FILLED WITH THE MEAT OF THE WORD, what or who have you ever got to fear?! 

20…The enemy won’t mess with a Rock Badger because HE CAN’T REACH HIM Psalm 61:2 says, “When my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the ROCK that is HIGHER than I”. The enemy is a SNAKE and SNAKES can’t handle HIGH ALTITUDES! So if you’re fearful of the enemy, YOU’RE LIVING TOO LOW! 

Lastly, Leviticus 11:5 in the God’s Word Translation reads: “You must never eat Rock Badgers…”  People of God, have no fear, you can’t be DEVOURED! Rock Badgers in the Old Testament were considered unclean because they chew the cud and have a split hoof. Therefore, a Rock Badger couldn’t be eaten because of WHAT IT ATE AND THE WAY IT WALKED! Likewise with you, the enemy cannot DEVOUR you Because of WHAT YOU EAT AND THE WAY YOU WALK! When you FEED on the MEAT of God’s Word, it will cause you to WALK in the Way of God’s Word, and because of What You EAT and the Way You WALK, You Cannot Be DEVOURED! 

According to the Word of God, He is the ROCK of His people; He is the ROCK of Strength; He is the ROCK of Defense; He is the Rock of a FORTRESS; He is the ROCK Refuge; He is the ROCK of Salvation; He is the ROCK in a Weary Land! And as a Rock Badger that Lives in the ROCK, What or Whom Shall You Ever Fear?! Answer: NOTHING AND NO ONE!

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