“Don’t Become the Devil’s Dinner!”

1 Peter 5:8, “Be sober [well balanced and self-disciplined], be alert and cautious at all times. That enemy of yours, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion [fiercely hungry], seeking someone to devour.” (AMP)

I by no means have a green thumb, I never have and never will! I’ve managed to keep a few plants alive…briefly… However, I do have a friend name Michelle who was born with two green thumbs. She has one of the most beautiful fruit and vegetable gardens I think I’ve ever seen in my life. And more than once I’ve literally asked her to take me on a tour of her garden. And I must say this little city girl always learns a lot in that garden. One of the last times we toured her gardens she showed me a garden spider at work. Actually, it wasn’t at work, it was really at dinner! It was just finishing “filet a la grasshopper”; which just so happened to be the latest insect to be caught in his web.

Now, while I was watching, another grasshopper flew into the bottom of that web a few inches below the spider. And since the web is sticky, he stayed there. Well, Mr. Spider left his dinner, slid down this silk thread like a fireman would slide down his pole, and in a maneuver that you would have missed if you looked away for even a second, this spider spewed out a bombardment of silken thread that totally encased and imprisoned that grasshopper – kind of mummified him. It was over in seconds. From the very moment that he touched the web that grasshopper never stood a chance! Guess he didn’t read Isaiah 52:11, “Depart, depart, go out from there (the lands of exile), Touch no unclean thing; Go out of the midst of her (Babylon), purify yourselves, You who carry the articles of the Lord [on your journey from there].” (AMP). Amazing how much trouble just one touch can cause!

Now it’s not a spider you and I need to be concerned about. Well, maybe you are, but he won’t hurt you much. You’re a lot bigger than he is. But what we need to be concerned about is a lion with a deadly approach, not unlike that of the spider. Thus God’s sober warning in 1 Peter 5:8-9, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy, the Devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him!…”

There is this very day a powerful, shrewd, spiritual destroyer who’s looking for a way to entrap you, to invade your soul, to take you where you never thought you’d go; to devour you as dinner. And in a very real sense, the Devil’s trying to get you just to touch his sticky web. Like that grasshopper, you don’t intend to stay. You don’t intend to become a prisoner. You certainly don’t intend to lose everything. In fact, Satan never tells you he’s going to do all that. He just says, “Just touch this beautiful web one time.” And when you touch the Devil’s web, you’re his. And what does he have planned for you? Let’s look at 1 Peter 5:8 in a few translations shall we?

“…seeking someone to DEVOUR” (CEB);

“…[FIERCELY HUNGRY], seeking someone to DEVOUR.” (AMP)

“…sneaking around to find someone to ATTACK.” (CEV);

“…looking for someone to ATTACK AND EAT.” (ERV);

“…looking for some VICTIM TO TEAR APART.” (TLB);

“…looking for someone to SWALLOW UP.” (NIRV);

“…The Devil is poised to POUNCE…” (MSG)

First, that word “devour” is defined as: “to eat greedily or to consume destructively.” Its Latin Origin “devorare”, from “vorare” literally means “to swallow”.

And then that word “pounce” is defined as: “to spring or swoop suddenly so as to seize or attack; to take swift advantage of a mistake or sign of weakness.”

And that’s exactly what the Spider, Lion and Devil all do alike! They quickly look for a victim who has made a mistake or shown a sign of weakness and then they swiftly take full advantage of it and devour or eat them greedily, consume them destructively and swallow them whole! And you my friend are the next target on the enemies radar! So what’s one of the first things you need to do? 1 Peter 5:8, “Keep awake! Watch at all times. The devil is working against you. He is walking around like a hungry lion with his mouth open. He is looking for someone to eat.” (NLV). The key is “…WATCH AT ALL TIMES…” Because truth is, it’s always when we let our guard down that our enemy gains entry and victory! Which is why we need to follow the admonishment of Ephesians 4:27, “And do not give the devil an opportunity [to lead you into sin…” (AMP). And the devil is always looking to gain an opportunity, which is why we have to be WATCHFUL AT ALL TIMES!

Let’s be honest, truth is, you might be flying perilously close to that web right now by the relationships, or the relationship you’re getting into, by listening to what you’re listening to, or watching things that glamorize or trivialize, or “humorize” sin. By the thoughts you’re dwelling on. By the websites you go to, maybe you’re falling for some of Satan’s most successful web lies, “Hey, just this once.” “Don’t you deserve this?” “Remember what they did to you first?” “You know, so many others are doing it, right.” “You won’t get caught.” “You can stop anytime you want to.” “Would God allow it so close to you if He didn’t want you to be near it?” “It won’t hurt.” “No one will know.

Or better yet, in the words of Scripture: “The serpent was clever, more clever than any wild animal God had made. He spoke to the Woman: “Do I understand that God told you not to eat from any tree in the garden?” The Woman said to the serpent, “Not at all. We can eat from the trees in the garden. It’s only about the tree in the middle of the garden that God said, ‘Don’t eat from it; don’t even touch it or you’ll die.’” The serpent told the Woman, “You won’t die. God knows that the moment you eat from that tree, you’ll see what’s really going on. You’ll be just like God, knowing everything, ranging all the way from good to evil.” When the Woman saw that the tree looked like good eating and realized what she would get out of it—she’d know everything!—she took and ate the fruit and then gave some to her husband, and he ate. Immediately the two of them did “see what’s really going on”—saw themselves naked! They sewed fig leaves together as makeshift clothes for themselves.” (Genesis 3:1-8 MSG).

Amazing how much trouble one little conversation with the devil can get you into! They went from everything to nothing, by messing with the serpent! Don’t let the same thing happen to you! Don’t fall for those lies. They’ve destroyed too many people already!

Remember, once you touch the web, he can do what he wants with you, after all, you’re in his territory and on his property. He has legal right to take full advantage of the “foothold and opportunity” you’ve just granted him. That’s the danger of allowing the wrong people access into your life! Remember Ephesians, “…don’t even give the devil the opportunity…” which means in our simple day-to-day vocabulary: Don’t wait until the second phone call; the third text; the fourth picture; the fifth wink; the sixth ‘let’s just grab some coffee’; the seventh inappropriate Facebook inbox; the eighth Instagram like under your 45 week old picture; the ninth ‘I was just checking on you’; or the tenth ‘that color looks good on you’! NO! At the FIRST sign nip it in the bud and shut it down completely, before it bites you in the behind and shuts you down permanently!

That word ‘opportunity’ is defined as: ‘a favorable time or set of circumstances for doing something.’ And the word ‘opportunist’ is defined as ‘a person who takes advantage of opportunities as and when they arise, regardless of planning or principle.’ Lastly, the word ‘opportunistic’ is defined as ‘exploiting immediate opportunities, especially in an unplanned or selfish way.You see, the devil is just waiting for an opportunity to devour your life, family, marriage, reputation, character, integrity, ministry, job and church. The problem is, we don’t pay close enough attention to when ‘favorable opportunity moments’ arise. Moments like those appear when you and your spouse have had a falling out, and the next picture that you see while scrolling through your timeline is an ‘old friend’ who’s ‘just a friend.’ They see you online and send you a quick, ‘it’s been awhile, how you doing?’ And some are slicker than that, ‘how’s your wife, family, church?’ Seems innocent enough until you make the fatal mistake of a response that opens the door of opportunity, “hey, thanks for checking in, it’s been a rough day, wife is so-so….” And right at that moment, the Devil smiles as he pulls out his napkin, grabs his knife and fork and sits down patiently waiting at the table for YOUR WHOLE LIFE to be served to him for a Devouring Dinner! I warn you, the Devil is waiting for an opportunity because he needs a favorable time to attack. He waits for those moments when you make the worst decisions, moments like when you’re stressed, aggravated, annoyed, depressed, angry, lonely, feeling of low self-esteem and self-worth. Feeling used and abused and abandoned, taken for granted, under-valued, over-estimated, and discarded. He even waits for those moments when you’re feeling yourself; you dressed up in pride, arrogance, conceit and entitlement; moments when you just know you look good; you’ve lost some weight; your acne has cleared up some; you’ve been promoted in the church with a new title, position and chair; your hair has more volume; you started back at the gym; a construction worker paid you a compliment on your way to work; a coworker tells you how handsome you look in that suit. See, the devil will always look for favorable times to attack you because you’re not expecting it! You don’t realize that he’s an opportunist just waiting to take advantage of your ‘guards down’ moment so he can immediately exploit your weakness!  

What people fail to realize is that you don’t always recover from a mistake or a willful decision to sin! Some people have given the Devil a ‘favorable opportune moment’ that has caused them to lose their marriages, children, jobs, friends, reputation, careers, and ministries and never get them back! Forgiven does not mean you get to press restart with absolutely no consequences. Which is why you should always pay attention to what you’ll lose forever by what you gained for a moment. Selah…

Interesting enough, while I was in my friends garden I actually saw another spider and a grasshopper that landed just below his web. The spider didn’t even move. He couldn’t touch that grasshopper if the grasshopper didn’t touch the web. People of God, you render Satan powerless against you in the same way. That’s why God said, “Be self-controlled.” “Be alert.” “Resist him.” Or in the words of James 4:7, “So submit to [the authority of] God. Resist the devil [stand firm against him] and he will flee from you.” (AMP). In a nutshell, Submit to God and Resist the Devil! That word “resist” is defined as “to withstand the action or effect of; to refrain from.” Its Latin Origin “resistere”, from “sistere” literally means “to stop.Which means no blame game, no excuses, no reasoning’s, no justification. Simply, when the devil presents you an opportunity (that simultaneously presents him with an opportunity), stop him dead in his tracks through submission to God and resistance to him! Remember what the Word of God says: “Don’t let anyone under pressure to give in to evil say, “God is trying to trip me up.” God is impervious to evil, and puts evil in no one’s way. THE TEMPTATION TO GIVE IN TO EVIL COMES FROM US AND ONLY US. WE HAVE NO ONE TO BLAME BUT THE LEERING, SEDUCING FLARE-UP OF OUR OWN LUST. Lust gets pregnant, and has a baby: sin! Sin grows up to adulthood, and becomes a real killer.” (James 1:13-15 MSG). Sin, no matter how attractive, is designed not to hurt you but to KILL you! Even when it looks like a ‘little’ temptation, that ‘little’ can grow real BIG before you know it! That’s why we’re admonished to heed Song of Solomon 2:15, “Our vineyards are in blossom; we must catch the little foxes that destroy the vineyards.” (CEV) LITTLE FOXES CAN DESTROY BIG VINEYARDS! And so can what some would call ‘little’ sins! I’ve yet to hear God give size to a sin, but that’s what we do, especially when we want to justify what we’re IN because we don’t really want to come OUT! However, today is your day to get free and stay free! Because your life (here and the hereafter) are at stake! Church, it’s too late in the hour to keep entertaining sin. We’ve straddled this fence long enough, it’s now past time to choose a side and live by it and live like it, because you can’t have your cake and eat it too, no matter how many times Chef Satan tells you, you can!

Which is why we ought to also heed when the Bible tells us: “Don’t become partners with those who reject God. How can you make a partnership out of right and wrong? That’s not partnership; that’s war. Is light best friends with dark? Does Christ go strolling with the Devil? Do trust and mistrust hold hands? Who would think of setting up pagan idols in God’s holy Temple? But that is exactly what we are, each of us a temple in whom God lives. God himself put it this way: “I’ll live in them, move into them; I’ll be their God and they’ll be my people. So leave the corruption and compromise; leave it for good,” says God. “Don’t link up with those who will pollute you. I want you all for myself. I’ll be a Father to you; you’ll be sons and daughters to me.” The Word of the Master, God.” (2 Corinthians 6:14-18 MSG).

If you don’t play around the sticky threads of sin and temptation, the one who wants to devour you can’t even touch you, because you have done what the Bible says! You have resisted the one who would ruin you!

Listen, you’ve been flying pretty close to the Devil’s web lately, too close might I add? Therefore, would you accept this as not just me talking, but a loving warning from God, “Touch the web and you will pay a price you never could’ve imagined!When sin looks good, remember that death on a sticky web! Our opening story gives us somewhat of a parable for playing with temptation and sin. Because the first grasshopper that went into the web became dinner; the second one that got too close was wrapped up like you would leftovers for the next night; but the last one that didn’t touch the web, couldn’t be trapped by the web, nor devoured by the spider! This is not a devotional telling you to get close but don’t get caught. It’s a devotional warning you that you have no idea how many have died just being in the vicinity of sin and temptation! The spider couldn’t touch the last grasshopper because he wasn’t close enough to catch. Likewise, if you don’t want the lion to devour you or Satan to steal, kill and destroy you, STAY AS FAR AWAY FROM THE WEB, THE SPIDER, THE LION AND SATAN AS POSSIBLE! You can’t blame someone for what they do to you on their private property that you willfully trespassed on! The destroyer is waiting to wrap you up and make you his next meal. Don’t let something happen to you that is preventable! Therefore, start checking the company you keep, the places you go, the things you do (and why), and all of them Publicly and Privately! Reevaluate your habits; be honest and address your addictions; readjust your attitude; ask God for clear and concise thoughts and speech; protect your character and integrity; remember that every choice comes with a consequence and others can suffer by association due to your unwise decisions. Ask God daily to remind you that in the midst of every temptation He’s already provided you a way of escape and all you need is the discernment to see it and the wisdom to take it. Pay attention to your attractions and triggers. Know your weaknesses and plead the blood over them. Take personal accountability and responsibility to make you better. Remember that eyes are watching you and ears are hearing you. And most dangerous of all, is the fact that there are people you influence who follow you. Don’t lead yourself or anyone else into sin! Don’t allow a dysfunctional emotional moment to cost you your life, family, ministry, purpose, calling and eternity. That price is out of your price bracket!

Saints, God and the Kingdom have need of you…Alive! You have gifts, ministry, calling and anointing to fulfill. You can’t hang out with the destroyer and meet divine destiny at the same time! So today is your day to choose Whom/whom you will serve? Tomorrow is not promised, and someone who thought they had another day realized that last night was their LAST night. Don’t straddle the fence any longer. No more compromise! Ask the Holy Ghost to place in you a conviction that keeps you on the right side of God’s Commandments.

Spiders will continue to make webs, but grasshoppers don’t have to keep entering them! Likewise, the devil will always make you demonic temptation offers that look like angelic opportunities. However, you don’t have to be fooled, nor do you have to accept. Remember the Word of God: “…we don’t want to unwittingly give Satan an opening for yet more mischief – we’re not oblivious to his sly ways.” (2 Corinthians 2:11 MSG). Don’t let the devils sly ways trap you in his sticky web!

Final Note: Many mice have died because they were so focused on the cheese that they under-estimated the trap! Don’t let it happen to you!

Don’t Become the Devil’s Dinner!

John 14:26, “But the Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will help you remember everything that I have told you.” (AMP)

John 14:15, “If you [really] love Me, you will keep and obey My commandments.” (AMP)

John 10:4-5, “When he has brought all his own sheep outside, he walks on ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice and recognize his call. They will never follow a stranger, but will run away from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.” (AMP)

Galatians 5:22-25, “But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature together with its passions and appetites. If we [claim to] live by the [Holy] Spirit, we must also walk by the Spirit [with personal integrity, godly character, and moral courage—our conduct empowered by the Holy Spirit].” (AMP)

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“I REFUSE to Shut Up”

Acts 4:15-17, “They sent them out of the room so they could work out a plan. They talked it over: “What can we do with these men? By now it’s known all over town that a miracle has occurred, and that they are behind it. There is no way we can refute that. But so that it doesn’t go any further, LET’S SILENCE THEM with threats so they won’t dare to use Jesus’ name ever again with anyone.” (MSG)

Now, I’m no fan of flying, however my friend Jeff is. And if it’s one thing you can just about guarantee about Jeff is the fact that his sons are almost always with him in his travels. Particularly during the summer months and when the kids are out of school around the holidays. In a nutshell, when Jeff goes up in the air, his boys go right along with him. So, needless to say, Jeff has no fears or issues with flying. However, he did have at least one occasion of fear that he remembers vividly. You see, one of his more anxious moments related to air travel, actually had nothing to do with an airplane. It had to do with his two sons, who at the time were pretty young. They were going through the security checkpoint on the way to their gate, and all of a sudden his sons started joking about the one word you don’t mention at airport security.

Yeah, they started joking about bombs. Now, that word isn’t allowed around airport people, so Jeff quickly quieted down his boys informing them, “Guys, that is one word you do not say at the airport, ever!” Naturally, as most parents do, Jeff began to look around real quick to see if anybody had heard his boys use the one word no one uses at the airport. In a big relief for him, thank goodness they hadn’t. Jeff made me laugh when he said, “if you’ve been to an airport, you know there are signs all over the place saying stuff like, ‘any joking about hijacking, or bombs, or explosives will be punished by sharpshooters immediately!” – or at least something along those lines, he remarked. In other words, you simply do not, under any circumstances mention that word or any of those words, no matter what! Why? Because those words represent Something that can destroy Everything!

Which brings us to our text today in Acts chapter 4. We’re reading about a confrontation between the early apostles and the Sanhedrin, the religious ruling group of that day. Here’s what they said to the apostles, “They sent them out of the room so they could work out a plan. They talked it over: “What can we do with these men? By now it’s known all over town that a miracle has occurred, and that they are behind it. There is no way we can refute that. But so that it doesn’t go any further, let’s silence them with threats so they won’t dare to use Jesus’ name ever again with anyone.” (Acts 4:15-17 MSG)

I was talking about airline personnel earlier, and you know that people at an airport don’t want to hear the word “bombbecause a bomb has the power to destroy everything in its path. Well, believe it or not, but the Devil has a word he doesn’t want to hear used either, and it’s, “JESUS”, because of the power of that Name to destroy all his plans! So, for over two thousand years, the Devil has tried to make the Name of Jesus the issue; the dividing point. It was over two thousand years ago when the Sanhedrin said in essence,You can talk about God, you can talk about religion, you can do anything spiritual, just don’t mention that Name!”

And sadly, that’s still the issue today, isn’t it? Truth is, people don’t mind if you talk about religion, or even God, or the Bible, or morality and spirituality, or family values, or your church, but don’t mention the Name Jesus. And all too often we fall right into the Devil’s trap to censor the name of Jesus in our conversations. We don’t want to be offensive; we don’t want to turn anyone off; we don’t want to sound super-religious. And there’s this little voice that says, “Well, just talk about God. You know, most everybody would accept that.” So, we talk about God in our lives, but we avoid the name of Jesus. Christian musicians will write songs that talk vaguely about HIM with a capitol H, but too often they avoid the Name Jesus, so their music can cross over to the secular world. We no longer sing Gospel music about the salvation, the blood, the cross, the crown of thorns, the nails, the piercing, the death, the resurrection, and the name of Jesus. No, today the church has become quite “inspirational.” If you listen to the music, the prayers or even the lessons and sermons, it’s hard to know exactly who the church is talking, teaching, preaching about, or praying to!

Even Christian leaders try to avoid conflict by watering down the Name of Jesus and instead making statements like: “In His name we pray.But HIS who? HIM who? Say the Name JESUS!

But Acts 4:11-12 says, “This JESUS is the stone which was despised and rejected by you, the builders, but which became the chief cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among people by which we must be saved [for God has provided the world no alternative for salvation].” (AMP). Salvation is ONLY in the Name of JESUS! Power is ONLY in the Name of JESUS! The Devil knows the power in that Name that’s why he works so hard to muzzle your mouth! People of God, don’t you dare let him do it! The Scripture tells us, “…THERE IS SALVATION IN NO ONE ELSE; FOR THERE IS NO OTHER NAME…” It then goes on to say, “…FOR GOD HAS PROVIDED THE WORLD NO ALTERNATIVE FOR SALVATION…” That word “alternative” is defined as “of one or more things available as another possibility; expressing a choice; offering of options; something that can be chosen instead of something else.But, when it concerns salvation, there is nothing else available, no other possibility, no other choice or option, and absolutely nothing and no one else you can use instead of, ONLY JESUS! There are no alternatives! So, how can we possibility be silent about the ONLY Name that brings Salvation, the Name JESUS!

Romans 1:16 says, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation [from His wrath and punishment] to everyone who believes [in CHRIST AS SAVIOR], to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” (AMP)

Church, this is where your boldness kicks into high gear! You have nothing to be ashamed of when talking about the Name of JESUS CHRIST! It is your (and everyone else’s) only means of Salvation from eternal death, damnation, condemnation, and hell! So, don’t murmur it, don’t whisper it, don’t utilize politically correct names for Him, His Name is JESUS! And so you have a heads up before December 25th rolls around, I will not wish anyone a ‘seasons greeting or happy holidays’, it’s MERRY CHRIST-MAS, Whether You Like It or Not! Never Compromise Your Christ for the Acceptable Culture of this World!

I’ve even been with people while witnessing during outreach, and listening to them talk about Jesus, without ever mentioning His Name! How is that even possible? You have to say the Name, because there is no other Name whereby they can be saved, except the Name JESUS! How can you as a believer possibly be ashamed to say the Name JESUS?! After all, it is by the Name JESUS where YOU received salvation, healing, wholeness, peace, joy, unconditional love, restoration, renewal, redemption, justification, righteousness, revival, forgiveness…HOW CAN YOU NOT SAY THE NAME JESUS?!

It is the Name JESUS that kept your marriage together; that brought your children back to their senses; that saved your household; that healed your mother; that delivered your father; that got you that job; that carried you through school…HOW CAN YOU NOT SAY THE NAME JESUS?! When that’s the name that preserved your life even as you slept in the very image of death just on last night. It is the name of Jesus that keeps you breathing and of a sound mind. It is the name of Jesus that took the pills out of your left hand, and the gun out of your right hand. It is the name of Jesus that removed all of the hate, anger, bitterness, resentment, revenge and unforgiveness from your heart when the very ones closest to you betrayed you. It is the name of Jesus that kept the rumors, lies and gossip from ruining your character, reputation and life. How can you be silent about the Name of Jesus when it’s the Only Name that did all of that just for YOU?!

But you see, that’s the 2,000-year-old editor from hell saying, “Edit out Jesus. How dare you mention that Name.” But how did Peter and John feel about that? Let’s see: Acts 4:18-20, “They called them back and warned them that they were on no account ever again to speak or teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John spoke right back, “Whether it’s right in God’s eyes to listen to you rather than to God, you decide. AS FOR US, THERE’S NO QUESTION—WE CAN’T KEEP QUIET ABOUT WHAT WE’VE SEEN AND HEARD.” (MSG)

And truthfully family, neither can we! I mean as you look back over the course of your life, and see what JESUS has brought you through, can you honestly be quiet?! The addictions; the habits; the bad friendships, relationships, marriages; choices; consequences; health challenges; family troubles; financial disasters; loss of employment; repetitive failures…can you look at all of that and still be quiet about the name of Jesus? After all you’ve seen JESUS do for you and your loved ones, after all the praise reports you’ve heard about what He’s done for others, can you really remain quiet about the Name of JESUS?!

Now Peter and John were facing some seriously life or death decisions in mentioning or not mentioning the Name of JESUS. After all, listen to the Bible:“…The religious leaders renewed their threats…” So, their attackers weren’t about to let up on this. They came back at them and renewed their threats. They didn’t come at Peter and John once or twice, but like the subscription to a magazine, they renewed their threat issue before they ever expired! They came at them hard and harsh. They were going to do whatever it took to silence these boys, however, let’s read some more…

The Bible reads, “…but then they released them. They couldn’t come up with a charge that would stick, that would keep them in jail. The people wouldn’t have stood for it—they were all praising God over what had happened. The man who had been miraculously healed was over forty years old.”

Listen church, what you do and what you don’t do, effects more than just you. The people were standing around, they also saw and heard what Peter and John had saw, heard and done. And likewise, people are watching you, listening to you and imitating you. Do you really want to set the example of being a coward for Christ? Your wives are watching and listening; your sons and daughters are watching and listening; your ministries and churches are watching and listening; your schools, jobs, businesses and communities and even the government and your enemies are all watching and listening. And if that’s not enough, the unsaved and even the devil is watching and listening! Don’t Destroy Your Witness By Playing Games With the Name of JESUS! He gave you His blood to wash you clean, don’t insult Him by watering down His name!

Acts 19:13-16, “Some itinerant Jewish exorcists who happened to be in town at the time tried their hand at what they assumed to be Paul’s “game.” They pronounced the name of the Master Jesus over victims of evil spirits, saying, “I command you by the Jesus preached by Paul!” The seven sons of a certain Sceva, a Jewish high priest, were trying to do this on a man when the evil spirit talked back: “I know Jesus and I’ve heard of Paul, but who are you?” Then the possessed man went berserk—jumped the exorcists, beat them up, and tore off their clothes. Naked and bloody, they got away as best they could.” (MSG)

That text opens up with “…Some itinerant Jewish exorcists…” Church, I know we have many itinerant preachers, but please know that the devil also has many itinerant demons! The word ‘itinerant’ is simply defined as ‘to travel from place to place.’ Which is why we have to all the more be sure we’re speaking the name of Jesus and not just about it! Everywhere you travel to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ, there’s a demon there with an assignment to fulfill too! He has an itinerary from hell that may be longer than yours, and with a further reach!

Listen to Matthew 12:43-45, “Now when the unclean spirit has gone out of a man, it roams through waterless (dry, arid) places in search of rest, but it does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it arrives, it finds the place unoccupied, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and brings with it SEVEN OTHER SPIRITS MORE WICKED THAN ITSELF, and they go in and make their home there. And the last condition of that man becomes worse than the first. So will it also be with this wicked generation.” (MSG)

I told you, the devil and his demons have an itinerary too! And it’s to leave people worse than they were before. And the only thing that will make the difference is the Name of Jesus! So you can’t afford to let the devil muzzle your mouth, especially since you need to speak the name of Jesus so those demons will be cast out before they multiply in people’s lives leaving them worse than before!

In addition, you need to make sure you make your own election sure! Don’t play games with the Name of Jesus, even the devil knows that Name and knows His Followers! The real ones! Don’t let the devil embarrass you! Make sure your name comes up on his radar when the Name of Jesus is mentioned! That demon knew Paul’s name just as well as he knew Jesus Name, question is, does he know your name like that? Let the devil know, you know the Name and aren’t afraid to use it either! Don’t let him muzzle your mouth by mumbling some “in His name”, prayer. No, open your mouth and declare “IN JESUS NAME!”

John 14:13-14, “And I will do whatever you ask IN MY NAME [as My representative], this I will do, so that the Father may be glorified and celebrated in the Son. If you ask Me anything IN MY NAME [as My representative], I will do it.” (AMP)

With a promise like that, how can you possibly be silent about the Name of JESUS?! When IN HIS NAME, if you ask for healing, HE WILL DO IT; IN HIS NAME, if you ask for deliverance, HE WILL DO IT; IN HIS NAME, if you ask for salvation, HE WILL DO IT! IN HIS NAME, if you ask for a blessing, a miracle, a way out, over or through, HE WILL DO IT! IN HIS NAME, if you ask Him for protection, provision, increase, HE WILL DO IT! And what’s the key to access all of this? THE NAME OF JESUS! With a promise like that at your disposal, what will you dare to ask for today, IN THE NAME OF JESUS?!

Remember, there are certain words you don’t say at places like an airport, because those words represent destruction. Well, so does the Name of Jesus in the ears of the Devil! Which is why you need to say His Name Loud and Often! When fear, unbelief, doubt, worry, panic, anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, old habits and addictions, rear their ugly head, get right in the devil’s ear and tell them to be cast out IN THE NAME OF JESUS! AND WATCH HIM DO IT!

Now, you would think after dealing with all of that Peter and John might rethink this whole mentioning the Name Jesus thing, but nope that wasn’t the case at all! Listen to the remainder of the chapter:

“As soon as Peter and John were let go, they went to their friends and told them what the high priests and religious leaders had said. Hearing the report, they lifted their voices in a wonderful harmony in prayer: “Strong God, you made heaven and earth and sea and everything in them. By the Holy Spirit you spoke through the mouth of your servant and our father, David: Why the big noise, nations? Why the mean plots, peoples? Earth’s leaders push for position, Potentates meet for summit talks, The God-deniers, the Messiah-defiers!“For in fact they did meet—Herod and Pontius Pilate with nations and peoples, even Israel itself!—met in this very city to plot against your holy Son Jesus, the One you made Messiah, to carry out the plans you long ago set in motion.“And now they’re at it again! Take care of their threats and give your servants fearless confidence in preaching your Message, as you stretch out your hand to us in healings and miracles and wonders done in the name of your holy servant Jesus.”While they were praying, the place where they were meeting trembled and shook. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak God’s Word with fearless confidence.The whole congregation of believers was united as one—one heart, one mind! They didn’t even claim ownership of their own possessions. No one said, “That’s mine; you can’t have it.” They shared everything. The apostles gave powerful witness to the resurrection of the Master Jesus, and grace was on all of them.And so it turned out that not a person among them was needy. Those who owned fields or houses sold them and brought the price of the sale to the apostles and made an offering of it. The apostles then distributed it according to each person’s need.Joseph, called by the apostles “Barnabas” (which means “Son of Comfort”), a Levite born in Cyprus, sold a field that he owned, brought the money, and made an offering of it to the apostles.” (vss. 23-37 MSG)

Isn’t it amazing what God does through His servants that aren’t afraid to publicly serve Him?! Not only did Peter and John continue to preach in the Name of Jesus, but they were all endowed with power from the Holy Ghost, the other believers joined them in prayer, praise and worship and the furtherance of the Message of Jesus Christ! Even the church grew and there wasn’t a selfish bone in the Body of Christ, for they all met the needs of the entire church! Two men decided to stand by the Name of Jesus, and to mention it out loud! The results was they were blessed, and all the people, and all the church.

People of God, Peter and John have since passed away. However, you are still here! Will you dare to continue their discipleship work and say and share the Name of JESUS?! Or, will you let the devil have the final say as he muzzles your mouth? In the end, the choice is always Yours!

My Choice is That I Refuse to Shut Up About the Name of Jesus Christ! I Will Not Keep Silent! How About You?

“To holy people the very name of Jesus is a name to feed upon, a name to transport. His name can raise the dead and transfigure and beautify the living.” (John Henry Newman)

“There is power in simply speaking the name of Jesus.” (Lysa TerKeurst)

“The secret to doing all things in Jesus’ name is realizing I can no longer do them in mine.” (Author Unknown)

“Do you realize just how much power is in the name of Jesus? When you speak it, demons have to flee! You have that access! Use it!” (Isaac Pittman)

“Calling on the name of Jesus shouldn’t be our last resort. It should be our first response.” (Lysa Terkeurst)

“Begging in the Name of Jesus is an insult to His Name. Use His Name as a king, with boldness!” (Chris Oyakhilome)

“How sweet the Name of Jesus sounds in a believer’s ear. It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds, and drives away his fear.” (John Newton)

“Hope is in the Name of God, the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Hope is when you compare your suffering to the infinite, immeasurable love and grace of God.” (Nick Vujicic)

“Grace is a Person. And His Name is Jesus.” (Judah Smith)

“What a beautiful Name. I love to watch how it falls off the lips of those who love Him. I shudder as it falls off the lips of those who don’t. Jesus.” (Beth Moore)

“I am not going to apologize for speaking the Name of Jesus, I am not going to justify my faith to them, and I am not going to hide the light that God has put in me. If I have to sacrifice everything…I will.” (Rachel Scott)

“The Blood of Jesus Washes Away Our Past and the Name of Jesus Opens Up Our Future.” (Jesse Duplantis)

“One thing is clear, demons know they must submit to the Superior Authority in the Name of Jesus Christ.” (Author Unknown)

“So many roads. So many detours. So many choices. But only one way, JESUS.” (Daystar)

“I can think of no other time in history where the Name of Jesus has been so frequently mentioned and the content of His life and teaching so thoroughly ignored.” (Brennan Manning)

“Our power is not our talent, it’s not our ability, it’s not our words, it’s not our music, it’s not our singing, it’s not our buildings; the power behind us is that we have a revelation of the Name of Jesus.” (Jack Cunningham)

“Sickness, Chains, and Bondage Don’t Stand a Chance in the Face of the Name of Jesus!” (Raymond Woodward)

“Demons don’t move because we complain. They move because we speak the Name of Jesus.” (Mike Bickle)

“Nothing hurts the devil more than a lost soul that suddenly becomes saved in the Name of Jesus.” (Lee Stoneking)

“Prayer is repeating the Victor’s Name, Jesus, into the ears of Satan and insisting on his retreat.” (S.D. Gordon)

“When you say the Name of Jesus you’ve said it all! In Him is the Fullness of the Godhead Bodily.” (Terry Shock)

“We have a responsibility to share the Name of Jesus with the whole world.” (Wayne Huntley)

Much Love, Dr. Shermaine #EnjoyTheRead #BeInspired #BeEncouraged #BeEmpowered #BeChallenged #ShareTheWordFeel free to also join us at: http://www.selfcarewithdrshermaine.blogspot.com Today’s Lesson: “Easy Habits That Can Improve Your Mental Health”

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“Ordinary Men, Extraordinary Mandate”

2 Corinthians 4:7, “But this beautiful treasure is contained in us—cracked pots made of earth and clay—so that the transcendent character of this power will be clearly seen as coming from God and not from us.”

Anyone who knows me knows, 2 Corinthians 4:7 is one of my absolute favorite Scriptures in all the Bible! And because of it, the story of “The Cracked Pot” is one of my absolute favorite poems. The Scripture we’ll get to in a moment, but here’s how the poem goes: “A water-bearer in India had two large pots, one hung on each end of a pole, which she carried across her neck. One of the pots had a crack in it. While the other pot was perfect, and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the mistress’s house, the cracked pot arrived only half full. For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water to her master’s house. The perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do. After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water-bearer one day by the stream: “I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you.” Why?” asked the bearer. “What are you ashamed of?” “I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your mistress’s house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don’t get full value from your efforts,” the pot said. The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in her compassion she said, “As we return to the mistress’s house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.” Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some. But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again it apologized to the bearer for its failure. The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path, but not on the other pot’s side? “That’s because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you’ve watered them. “For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my mistress’s table. Without you being just the way you are, she would not have this beauty to grace her house.”

I’m always amazed by this story because it is a constant reminder that we all have flaws, and yet, God still uses us to help make things grow, and make things beautiful. If the cracked pot didn’t have its flaw/crack, there would have been no flowers, and nothing for the bearer to take into her mistress’s house. And men, that’s great encouragement to you!

You see, truth is, in most churches, women make up the majority. Oh, you’ll see a few men scattered here and there, but their numbers never supersede that of the women (or even the children for that matter). Now, here is one of the most repeated reasons I’ve heard over the years, from men, on why they do not attend church (not that their unsaved mind you), or why they attend so infrequently: “The only time they look for men in the church is to fix or move something.” And as long as I’ve been in church, I have found that to be quite true. However, I would like to take something negative and make it a positive. Men, as true, to some degree, as that statement is, I want you to view it today from a different perspective. The reason we do Need you in church is to fix and move some things! Men are still head of their households, coverings for the wives, and strength in their communities. And this needs to be evident in our churches! We need men (with flaws, imperfections and cracks) to show the world that you will never be flawless, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be effective. We need men in church to move things (move the distorted view that all men are dogs; all men are dead-beat dads; all men are standing on a street corner with pants sagging and living off their “women”. Yes men, we need you to move some things indeed! We need you to move the faulty idea that men don’t pray, praise and worship, that men don’t cry, sing on the choir, serve and give. We need you to move the lie that men don’t go to church! Yes men, we need you to move some things!)

I reiterate brothers, you are needed in church to move some things!

And, you are needed to fix some things as well! Fix our sons who don’t have positive role models displaying what a real man is and does; fix our daughters so they can see how real men treat women; fix women who believe, because of their own past experiences, that all men cheat; fix the leadership in the church (for as much as women have come a long way in the church, men still need to be repositioned in their rightful places of authority and leadership at the helm of the church. And that’s not my opinion, simply read the structure of how God established the family and church); we need you to fix families so people will stop thinking that all fathers are missing from the household, and that there are men who come home to their own wives, sit at the dinner table with their families, do homework with their children and actually work full-time, legal jobs, and believe it or not, but they also finished more higher education than most assume!

Yep, men, you are needed in our homes, churches, and society at large to fix and move some things! 

That cracked pot poem has always encouraged me that God can work through anybody greatly no matter who they are or where they’ve been or come from. Flaws don’t stop ordinary men, from accomplishing extraordinary mandates! But I think most brothers avoid such opportunities not just because of their flaws, but also, according to the poem, the flaw/imperfection/crack was visible (others would be able to see it)! Which is why a lot of people would rather work in the background and not the forefront, because then you can no longer hide your flaws/imperfections/cracks.

But brothers, today is the day you shift gears and move from the back to the front!

Listen to this: I’ve always been in the front row of almost every group picture I’ve ever been in! Now, please understand, I didn’t put me there! “Let me be on the front row!No, that was never my heart or mouth’s cry! You see, it was always the photographer that always put me there! And I must also unfortunately admit that it’s not because of my drop-dead gorgeous looks that I was always moved by the photographer to the forefront. Nope, that’s not it at all. Truth is, it was because of my inches…or should I say more accurately, my lack of inches! I’m only 5 feet and 2 inches tall, yep, that’s it! (What confuses people is that I am a lover of stilettoes, so I often appear quite tall when I have them on, but oh how far the mighty have fallen when I take them off! LOL!) So, that’s the reason in a nutshell, they always put us short gals in front! If you’re short, you know it to be true. As for the tall ladies, they always put them in the rear of the picture, and that’s for a good reason too, one that just may encourage you. Here’s why, they put the little folks in the front because the big ones block their view!

Which brings us back to 2 Corinthians chapter 4, and I’ll begin reading at verse 7. “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all surpassing power is from God and not from us.” The treasure he’s talking about is the message of light, salvation and deliverance through Jesus Christ.

So many men I know have a spiritual inferiority complex, and it’s causing them to retreat from really jumping into doing things for God. “I’m not intelligent enough; I’m not as gifted as they are; I don’t have a lot of charisma; I’m not that outgoing; I’m not musically inclined; I’m just not as educated; I don’t have the degrees; I don’t have the ability; my words get tangled up when I stand before people; I’m just your average, common, ordinary Joe.

But, did you know that makes you a primary candidate to be mightily used by God?!

Listen, our Scripture today says God likes to put His treasure in clay vessels, not in beautiful, expensive vases, but ones that will accentuate the treasure not the vessel! Because when you put it in a beautiful vessel, everybody says, “Oh, isn’t that a beautiful vessel.They rarely care what’s even in it, because what’s on the outside, and visible to the eye, is all that mattered in pleasing them. But God wants the treasure to be called attention to, not the vase! Which is why He loves average, common, ordinary men that He can use! Men who simply want to work for God without needing to be seen in the work!

Listen to our text in the Message Bible version, it reads: “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. We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken. What they did to Jesus, they do to us—trial and torture, mockery and murder; what Jesus did among them, he does in us—he lives! Our lives are at constant risk for Jesus’ sake, which makes Jesus’ life all the more evident in us. While we’re going through the worst, you’re getting in on the best!” (2 Corinthians 4:7-12 MSG)

I love it! “…UNADORNED CLAY POTS…” Wouldn’t that be awesome to see in such a generation of the church where everyone is dressed, just to be seen! The pulpit is well “adorned”! Everywhere you look, there’s flowing robes in all styles, colors and lengths; diamond-encrusted crosses; rings the size of the moon, but in all of this, is the Word and Work of the Lord being fulfilled? Brothers, you don’t have to have the perfect black suit, shoes and ties. You don’t have to have a title. You don’t have to be a preacher. You just need to be available to be filled so God can pour you out on a world that is thirsty for the Living Water, and hungry for the Bread of Life!

What I also love about that Scripture is this, “…THAT’S TO PREVENT ANYONE FROM CONFUSING GOD’S INCOMPARABLE POWER WITH US…” Men, when your concern is about God, and not you, you’ve already done something extraordinary, even as ordinary men. Be a man that isn’t so consumed with getting glory for himself, that no one can see the Glory of God on him or in him. And why would God want to use a man like that? Because that’s at least one man He can be sure of won’t be competing with Him for His Glory!

And the writer doesn’t stop there! He goes on to say, “…WE’RE NOT MUCH TO LOOK AT…” Which would not be the testament in most churches today. Because everybody wants to be seen! But brothers, humility will never steer you wrong. If you are to accurately reflect Jesus, know that He was Humble, Meek and Mild. Even as the Son of God, He didn’t come to shine as the star, but He was to shine as a part of the supporting cast. He didn’t come that His name would be brightly twinkling in lights. He came to serve, not to be seen. And when you as men keep that in the forefront of your mind, God will bring you to the forefront, because He knows He’ll be able to trust you with His treasure!

And in the closing of the text it says, “…WHILE WE’RE GOING THROUGH THE WORST, YOU’RE GETTING IN ON THE BEST.” Men, it’s not about showing off or shining through, but it’s about submission and servitude. As the writer shared, when serving God, times will get tough! “…We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken. What they did to Jesus, they do to us—trial and torture, mockery and murder; what Jesus did among them, he does in us—he lives! Our lives are at constant risk for Jesus’ sake, which makes Jesus’ life all the more evident in us…”  It wasn’t about what they would endure or suffer, they just wanted their ordinary lives to be used by an extraordinary God who granted them an opportunity to fulfill an extraordinary mandate. No matter what they faced for the sake of the Gospel, it was worth it because, “…While we’re going through the worst, you’re getting in on the best!”

So, brothers, your flaws, imperfections and cracks are useful and so are you! In you, a cracked pot and an unadorned, common, average man, is an extraordinary mandate just waiting for you to show up, be available, humble and ready to receive! And to receive it, just as you are! No form or fashion, just faithful even when flawed. Be willing, for the sake of the Gospel and the sake of the Kingdom, to bring your flaws to the forefront!

In the book of 1 Samuel when Samuel is looking for a king, God sends him out to check out all these brothers, and he says, “Oh, it’s surely going to be one of the older, taller, good looking brothers.” It turns out to be the youngest kid out in a sheep pen – David.

You see, the problem with the superstar people is that they’re so big and tall that they block the view! Like the tall kids in our group photos, God wants to use people who will point others to Him, not to themselves. He’s had enough “tall” people standing in the way with their rings, robes, crosses, chairs, titles, positions, notoriety, fame, name, size, degrees and initials. This is now the time when God is seeking for some “short” men, those who can be trusted to be brought to the forefront, be in the picture, but not block the view of others. He needs men He can trust to proclaim the gospel (even when it’s done standing in the park on a Saturday afternoon); He needs men He can trust to serve in the church (with nobody even knowing their names, or what they’ve done); He needs men He can trust to work in the labor of the Lord without looking for rewards, benefits and packages of promised promotions. He needs men like David, who weren’t even aware that promotion came to the front of the house, because he was already busy working in the back! Today, will you be the “short” man God is looking to use?

Most people would want to be tall and stately. And as wonderful as that is, it’s not all that wonderful when you place them in front to take a picture. When you do, they either block the rest of the people behind them so they don’t even get in the picture; or the tall person in the front has to contort their body to accommodate those around them. So everyone may get in the picture that way, but now the tall person looks deformed, out of place, and awkward. And in the end, messes up the picture for everyone else. After all, who wants a picture sitting on their mantle with some strange bent over, deformed looking individual in the forefront?

I know it sounds comical, but many men are staying away from church because they don’t think they’re good enough to go. Well, if that were the case, the Lord’s house would be an empty shed, because no one would qualify! But brothers, there is need of you with all of your flaws, imperfections and cracks! You are needed to move from the back to the front, to move some things and fix some things! You may think you’re average, common, and ordinary, but you would be amazed by what the Lord can do through you because He can trust you to accomplish the goal, without competing for the glory.

The great ones end up getting the attention rather than the attention going to the Lord. But when the Lord picks up Joe Average and starts doing His work through him, leading, speaking, reaching the lost through someone average like him, people say, It’s got to be God. It can’t be them!And that’s the whole idea! Being men, fulfilling God’s mandate, without concern for man-made glory, honor, or prestige!

The idea is that when God does a work, people are saying, “Isn’t Jesus something?” Instead of, “Oh, what a great leader, what a great singer, what a great speaker is Pastor Shawn, Deacon Derrick, and Minister Keith.

Brothers, you may have been holding back saying, “There’s got to be someone better than I am for God to use.But see, it’s you that God wants to use! It’s your very ‘averageness’, your weakness that makes you a prime candidate for Him to work through in a manner of His strength and His ability to display something extraordinary. He may be pushing you to the front of His picture. And you know why? It’s because you won’t block the view of others; you won’t try to be the big picture yourself. God can trust those who He can use in the back or the front, but who refuse to lose their humility in either position. He can use men who aren’t concerned about their name being called or attached to a title.

He can’t use men who are so busy in self-promotion, that the name of Jesus never comes off his lips.

However, He can use a cracked pot just like you, Mr. Average Joe.

Often the ones the world calls big are on God’s back row, and the ones the world calls small are the ones He wants in front. Don’t be afraid to bring your flaws to the front row, there is need of you in developing the big picture of God!

Acts 4:13, “Now when the men of the Sanhedrin (Jewish High Court) saw the confidence and boldness of Peter and John, and grasped the fact that they were uneducated and untrained [ORDINARY] MEN, they were astounded, and began to recognize that they had been with Jesus.” (AMP)

James 5:17, “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours [WITH THE SAME PHYSICAL, MENTAL, AND SPIRITUAL LIMITATIONS AND SHORTCOMINGS], and he prayed intensely for it not to rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months.” (AMP)

“When we come to the end of ourselves, we come to the beginning of God.” (Billy Graham)

“Embedded in the larger story of redemption is a principle we must not miss: God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things in the lives of others.” (Paul David Tripp)

“God often uses small matches to light up great torches. No matter how small you feel in this world, he has something big in store for you.” (Pinterest)

“Those that God used in the past were just ordinary people with an extraordinary Master.” (Winkie Pratney)

“God is looking for ordinary people empowered by Him to do extraordinary things!” (Pinterest)

“God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things. It doesn’t matter who we are. It matters who He is.” (Christine Caine)

“Excellence is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.” (John W. Gardner)

“One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man.” (Elbert Hubbard)

Much Love, Dr. Shermaine #EnjoyTheRead #BeInspired #BeEncouraged #BeEmpowered #BeChallenged #ShareTheWordFeel free to also join us at: http://www.selfcarewithdrshermaine.blogspot.com Today’s Lesson: “9 Foods You Should Never Eat After Age 30”

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“Prayer is the Cure for Healing the Land”

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.” (Author Unknown)

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

“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 #ShareTheWordFeel free to also join us at: http://www.selfcarewithdrshermaine.blogspot.com Today’s Lesson: “8 Benefits of Drinking Ginger Tea”

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“Contacting God’s Complaint Department”

Psalm 142:1-2, “I cry out loudly to God, loudly I plead with God for mercy. I spill out all my complaints before Him, and spell out my troubles in detail.” (MSG)

My dear friend Brett, in my opinion, has the absolute worse job in all the world…you see, Brett’s full-time job is handling consumer complaints! Now, he’s what I call a definite prime candidate for a lot of antacid commercials! Can you imagine getting calls all day long from people whose sole purpose in calling, is to tell you what they Don’t like? I mean honestly, who wants to listen to people dump on them for eight hours a day, even if you’re being paid for it? I mean non-stop, constant lit-up switchboards filled with miserable, angry, frustrated people just waiting for the first fool to pick up the phone and ask the dumb question, How may I help you?

His whole day is overwhelmed with complaints! “The light didn’t come on; can I get a refund; the commercial said; the salesman promised; what’s the return policy; can I talk to a manager; what do you mean there’s nothing you can do; can you fix this or not?!” And on and on and on goes Brett’s wonderful day at the office! He listens to complaining people all day long. It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it, and in Brett’s case, it’s him.

However, Brett is not the only person qualified for the job of complaint control! Thank God!

In Psalm 142, David says this: “I cry aloud to the Lord.” Sure sounds like he’s hurting, struggling and frustrated, not to mention overwhelmed. “I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy. I pour out my complaint before Him. Before Him I tell my trouble. When my spirit grows faint within me, it is You who knows my way.” That’s a very interesting portrayal of where our complaints ought to go. God’s Throne Room – that’s where you ought to take your complaints. David said, “I pour out my complaint to HIM. It’s before the LORD I tell my trouble.” “He’s the One where I, in a sense, dump all of this hurt, and anger, and frustration.

The Amplified Bible reads like this: “I cry aloud with my voice TO THE LORD; I make supplication with my voice TO THE LORD. I pour out my complaint BEFORE HIM; I declare my trouble BEFORE HIM. When my spirit was overwhelmed and weak within me [wrapped in darkness], You knew my path. In the way where I walk they have hidden a trap for me. Look to the right [the point of attack] and see; For there is no one who has regard for me [to act in my favor]. Escape has failed me and I have nowhere to run; No one cares about my life. I cried TO YOU, O LORD; I said, “You are my refuge, My portion in the land of the living. Give attention to my cry, for I am brought very low; Rescue me from my persecutors, For they are stronger than I. “Bring my soul out of prison (adversity), So that I may give thanks and praise Your name; The righteous will surround me [in triumph], for You will look after me.” (Psalm 142 AMP)

David helps to guide us in the direction to the right person in the complaint department for us to pour all our complaints on… and who is that? No one else but the LORD! How happy that would make Brett if only that was an opportunity of delegation for him on his job! But as for us, we don’t have to worry if Brett is in a good or bad mood, or if he showed up for work today, or even if he can help us, because when we have life complaints, we can go straight to the throne room of God, without need of anyone to speak on our behalf! We can simply pour out our complaint BEFORE HIM!

But truthfully, how often does that really happen? Let’s be honest. We all at one time or another have had the bad tendency to take our complaints other places, haven’t we? We complain to our friends, we complain about the other guy to everybody else except the guy, we complain to our family, we complain to our pastors and church members, we complain to our co-workers, and the only thing we accomplish is we get to drag them down with us! They were feeling great until we came along. And then, all of a sudden, this big, dark cloud came in with us. We start them thinking negatively about it too. And we sound like squeaky chalk irritating the ears of the entire classroom of students.

Now, I know you may not want to hear this, but there are people in your life today who will thank me for telling you this…We’re Tired of Listening to Your Complaining! “Girl, he said, she did, they went…”; “Bruh, the wife; the kids; the job”; “Pastor, the ushers, the choir, the preachers”; “Sis, can you help me with, because I only got…”

Believe it or not, but no one wants to be around someone who is always crying, complaining, murmuring, bickering, nit-picking, begging, needy, desperate, miserable, pessimistic, negative, argumentative, combative and confrontational…nor one who is always having a bad “why me” day, all 24 hours in a day, all 52 weeks, all 12 months, all 366 days! Nobody wants to entertain that voice in their ears as a non-stop, open for business 24 hours a day 7 days a week 366 days a year complaint department! Nobody…But…GOD! And sometimes you simply need to remind people that you are godly, but you are Not GOD!

Listen to 1 Peter 3:15: “Quietly trust yourself to Christ your Lord, and if anybody asks why you believe as you do, be ready to tell him, and do it in a gentle and respectful way.” (TLB). A lot of folks can’t hear our hope because they hear more about our hassles! Think about it: how can we “quietly” tell them about the reason we trust Jesus as Lord in our lives, with all the craziness in our lives, and do so in a “gentle and respectful” manner, if all they are invited to hear from us is our miserable whining, crying, self-pity party?! How can we possibly persuade someone to trust Jesus, when we act as if we don’t?

I challenge you to listen to yourself sometimes. Step outside of yourself and just try to listen to the things you say. What’s coming out of your mouth? What do you say about your spouse? Your children? Your job? Your boss? Your coworkers? Your church? Your ministry? Your colleagues? Your auxiliary? Your pastor? Your health? Your diagnosis? Your life? Your future? Your finances? Your promotion or demotion? Your unemployment? Your hair? Your teeth? Your make-up? Your looks? Your clothes? Your figure? Your acne? Your stretchmarks? Your weight gain? Your family? Your parents? Your siblings? Your community? What is coming out of your mouth? And in the ears of those who are listening to you, is it “quiet”? Is it “gentle”? Is it “respectful”? If not, then why are you still saying it?

Hebrews 12:15 says, “Exercise foresight and be on the watch to look [after one another], to see that no one falls back from and fails to secure God’s grace (His unmerited favor and spiritual blessing), in order that no root of resentment (rancor, bitterness, or hatred) shoots forth and causes trouble and bitter torment, and the many become contaminated and defiled by it.” (AMPC)

That’s what happens when your bitter, resentful, hate-filled voice gets in the hearing of others…it’s like a poison that seeps in under the skin of the Body of Christ and infects all its many members! It causes trouble and bitter torment and MANY become contaminated and defiled by it! It functions as a cancer that quickly spreads throughout the body killing it off member by member. Which should make you think twice before opening your mouth to complain to the wrong people ever again! Your bad disposition about life is like death to a decaying body, it destroys every part of it until there’s nothing left! Do you really want to bear that responsibility?!

If not, you need to ask yourself honestly, am I becoming a complainer?

Now, before you go off the negative deep-end again, let me clarify. David didn’t say, “don’t complain.” That would be denying the pain; denying your real feelings. I would never suggest people, even believers, walk around delusional, acting as if they are not experiencing life pain! I have never been a fan of the phrase, “fake it, till you make it!” And I’m not about to start becoming a fan of it now. So, your complaint isn’t the real problem. Let’s continue to see what is: The word “complain” itself means “to express dissatisfaction, grief, pain, discontent or annoyance; to state the reason one is suffering.” Its Old French Origin “complaindre”, from Latin “complangere” literally means “to bewail or lament.” Which also means “to plaint”. The word “plaint” means “lamentation; wail; complain.” It’s Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin “planctus”, from “plangere” which means “to strike, or beat one’s breast.” Which causes us to understand its related words which are: “to bellyache; gripe; growl; grumble; holler; moan; murmur; nag; scream; whimper; quarrel; bemoan; cry; sob; agonize; sorrow; weep; outcry; anguish; heartache; heartbreak; and woe.” You see, in a nutshell: Complaining is expressing an emotion of hurt, which isn’t bad, because even Jesus expressed His emotions. But for us, the problem comes in when we express those emotions to the wrong people.

David shows us that God Himself invites us to pour out our complaints to Him. Because at the end of the day, He’s the Only One who can do something about it.

Listen to David in the Message Bible: “I cry out loudly to God, loudly I plead with God for mercy. I spill out all my complaints before Him, and spell out my troubles in detail: “As I sink in despair, my spirit ebbing away, You know how I’m feeling, know the danger I’m in, the traps hidden in my path. Look right, look left – there’s not a soul who cares what happens! I’m up against it, with no exit – bereft, left alone. I cry out, God, call out: ‘You’re my last chance, my only hope for life!’ Oh listen, please listen; I’ve never been this low. Rescue me from those who are hunting me down; I’m no match for them. Get me out of this dungeon so I can thank You in public. Your people will form a circle around me and You’ll bring me showers of blessing!” (MSG)

David said, “I cry out loudly to GOD, loudly I plead with GOD…I spill out all of my COMPLAINTS BEFORE HIM…YOU KNOW HOW I’M FEELING…I cry out, GOD…”

David doesn’t seek to speak with any of the angels, he goes straight to the Almighty! Which is why a lot of people bypass the complaint department sometimes and go right to the manager/president. They say, “Hey, I want action! So forget the complaint guy; I’m going straight to the top!” Well, that’s actually the right place to go! Sometimes it’s appropriate to go to an offending person and confront them in order to seek healing. And, of course, it’s appropriate to share our burden with other people and ask them to pray for us. But first, dump all your garbage at your Lord’s feet. Go to the top! Get the emotions out before Him. Get some objectivity, some perspective that comes from being in God’s presence with all that stuff.

1 Peter 5:7, “Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] ON HIM, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.” (AMPC)

The Throne Room of God is the complaint department of the universe. So, let God deal with your complaints. You won’t get action by complaining to all the employees. Skip them and go straight to the top! After all it is HE that said to cast ALL! He didn’t say tell me about what happened yesterday, or a portion of last night. Nor does He say you can tell me about your career, but I don’t want to hear all that stuff about your cancer. NO! God wants all of it! Every Care, Every Anxiety, Every Worry, Every Concern, Every Complaint! He can handle it, people cannot!

Now, there are several things I absolutely love about what David shares in Psalm 142.

One, David didn’t attempt to water down how he felt. ‘He cried LOUDLY to God!’ No eloquent speech, just a loud cry! You need to do the same, but to God, not to people! Stop spilling your guts then wondering why everybody knows everything about your life. It’s because of you! If you talked more to God, than to them, they wouldn’t have so much insider information!

Two, David tells us a truth that we fail to remember quite often: “YOU KNOW HOW I’M FEELING”. God does, people don’t! Psalm 139 informs us that God knew all of our days before we ever lived one. Knows us inside and out. So, why not go to Him instead of Tyrone or Michelle? After all, would you take your Lexus to Ford and ask what’s wrong with it? Selah!

Three, David says, “You Know the Danger I’m In”, God is the one who knows, not Keisha. And telling Keisha changes nothing anyhow. God is the one you talk to when the foreclosure notice is on the way; when the diagnosis isn’t favorable; when the kids are straying; when the marriage is failing; when the business is going under; when the ministry doors are about to close; when your parent is about to die; when your lights are about to be cut off; when they’re about to repossess the car; when you get handed a pik slip! What is Keisha supposed to do about all of that? God knows what you’re in danger of in your David Dungeon, therefore, take it to Him!

Four, before David comes up out the cave, he makes a vow to God in advance: “Get me out of this dungeon so I can thank You in public.” Which is our great admonishment, believe that God can and will and prepare your public thanksgiving in advance, by faith! David had a praise of thanks already ready! He wasn’t hoping God would, but he declared, “Get me out of this…” He spoke of God’s ability, are you speaking the same?

And lastly David says, “Your people will form a circle around me and You’ll bring me showers of blessing!” This is the part that we get backwards, because as soon as we’re in danger of problems beyond our ability to handle, we immediately go down to the altar waiting for the saints to surround us in a circle, pray, and make it all better. No, I’m afraid that’s not how this works! You go to God first, when God delivers you, you thank Him in public with the rest of the saints!

People of God, it’s time we reflect the faith we say we live by. We can’t persuade people about God, running to people about our problems. Does that mean we can’t confide in our brothers and sisters? Absolutely not, the book of James even encourages this. But many of us have made that our first resort and it should not be so. Should we be complaining, pounding our chest in grief as if we’re going down for the last time? Wailing, moaning, grumbling, negative, hopeless and helpless. No, that is not a reflection of our faith. We believe God to do it, so we take the hard thing to Him, not to him or her. Our complaint is to be poured out to God, He alone can Save, Heal and Deliver.

We need to have a reason for people to look at us and see what we’re going through with challenges, trials, struggles, and pain. We need them to look at us and ask, “how do you go through this and not fall apart? How do you handle this like you are? Show me!” People don’t need to see more of our frowns; hear more of our complaints; and feel more of our burdens. They need to see how we carry our load, walking by faith. And even when the journey sends us to the complaint department, we’re only there to speak with one person, God!

Let today be the day you pour out your complaints to God instead of family, friends, coworkers, church members, or even social media. Let today be the day that you reflect your trust in God and His ability to heal your hurt; to fix what’s broken; to mend what’s torn; to build up what’s been demolished; to repair what fell apart! Let’s live, and speak, and act, in such a way that people have to stop and question us about our Jesus. Let’s give people a reason to trust Him just the same!

I’ll close with this: Sometimes, especially when you have your own home, you feel like a waste management engineer. You get to collect and take out the garbage. But take it from me, you do not want to buy cheap garbage bags, or maybe don’t wait as long as I have in the past to take the garbage out. Here’s the problem. You’ve just tied up a brimming bagful of things you really don’t want to see any more, you don’t want to smell them anymore, you no longer even want it around you anymore. It’s all supposed to be in the garbage can. But sometimes it doesn’t make it there when the bag rips open and dumps it all over the kitchen floor! Truth is, taking out the garbage isn’t bad, but allowing it to get dumped in the wrong place is. Which is the same about your complaints of hurt, pain and frustration. It’s not that you have them, it’s where you take them and dump them. It doesn’t belong to other people, but the Word of God tells you where you can dump it! “I pour out my complaint before HIM; before HIM I tell my trouble.” Bring your complaints straight to God. First, He’s not going to be hurt by them. He’s not going to be poisoned by them like the people around you will. Secondly, He can do something about your complaints much more than the people around you can do. Now, we all go through some garbage in our lives, and it’s true we often need a place to dump that garbage. And, God has offered us a wonderful place to do just that. Of all places, in His Throne Room. But if you’ve been dumping on the people around you instead, you’ve been unloading garbage where it is not supposed to be and you’ve probably been polluting them in the process. They don’t need it (they’ve got their own), and besides your Father would hate to find out you’ve been polluting the environment.

Saints, take it to God, first. He doesn’t care what it looks or smells like, or how long you’ve had it lying around the house. He just wants you to dump it on Him, not them (and preferably, before the bag breaks)!

We often complain about people spreading gossip, lies, rumors, and the like. But truth is, it’s hard to misinterpret silence. In other words, people usually have so much verbal garbage to spread around because we took the lids off the garbage cans in our lives and in the lives of others and gave them access to rummage through. Therefore, as soon as someone comes to you with ‘what they heard’, immediately let them know if there’s nothing positive and productive I need to do with the information you feel vital to share with me, DON’T! I don’t need you to give me anything that I need to do nothing with. And even for your own personal lives, when going through varying trials, take it to God, not people (or social media)! You can’t get mad when they put your name and life on the front cover of messy tabloids and it was you that wrote and shared the article of your struggles! David took his complaints and poured them out to God, follow is example! Enter your prayer closet and take your complaints to God!

“When you pray, God listens; When you listen, God talks; When you believe, God responds.” (Author Unknown)

“God speaks to those who take time to listen, and He listens to those who take time to pray.” (Author Unknown)

“God is the best listener. You don’t need to shout or cry out loud because He hears even the very silent prayer of a sincere heart.” (Author Unknown)

“Pray, not until God hears you, but pray until you hear God.” (Author Unknown)

“God listens to all your spoken and unspoken prayers, and grants the ones which are the best for you. Have faith. Trust Him.” (Author Unknown)

“When you can’t put your prayer into words, God hears your heart.” (Author Unknown)

“Our God listens to us. Our God is a living God. He’s not a block of wood you made up that’s not going to answer you. My God listens to me. He answers me.” (Francis Chan)

“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.” (Author Unknown)

“When we pray, God hears more than we say, answers more than we ask, gives more than we imagine, in His own time and His own way.” (Author Unknown)

“When you need, God knows. When you ask, God listens. When you believe, God works.” (Author Unknown)

“Talk with God, no breath is lost. Walk with God, no strength is lost. Wait for God, no time is lost. Trust in God, you will never be lost.” (Author Unknown)

“Pray daily. God is easier to talk to than most people.” (Author Unknown)

“God is always ready to listen anytime you are ready to talk to Him. Prayer is simply talking with God.” (Author Unknown)

“Talking to God is like talking to a friend on the telephone. We may not see Him on the other end, but we know He’s listening.” (Author Unknown)

“God will lead you where He wants you to be, but you have to talk to Him daily to see where He wants you to go. The key is prayer.” (Author Unknown)

Much Love, Dr. Shermaine #EnjoyTheRead #BeInspired #BeEncouraged #BeEmpowered #BeChallenged #ShareTheWordFeel free to also join us at: http://www.selfcarewithdrshermaine.blogspot.com Today’s Lesson: “How to Improve Your Circulation?”

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“Get Over Your Grudge”

Matthew 5:21-24, “You’re familiar with the command to the ancients, ‘Do not murder.’ I’M TELLING YOU THAT ANYONE WHO IS SO MUCH AS ANGRY WITH A BROTHER OR SISTER IS GUILTY OF MURDER. Carelessly call a brother ‘idiot!’ and you just might find yourself hauled into court. Thoughtlessly yell ‘stupid!’ at a sister and you are on the brink of hellfire. The simple moral fact is that words kill.“This is how I want you to conduct yourself in these matters. If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a GRUDGE a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God.” (MSG)

As for me as a kid, and as a parent with kids, one of my all-time favorite shows was and still is, “Sesame Street.” It was always the ideal show for young people. They learned abc’s, 123’s, manners, how to tie their shoes, friendship and the like. Which is all the polar opposite of what’s available to children to watch on television today. Truth is, I find very little educational programming for youth nowadays, which is quite disturbing. You see, there was a time when children were taught how to dress, how to speak, how to respect their elders, the importance of education, the love of family, picking the right friends, being kind and being nice. They were taught to say no to drugs, and that alcohol was bad for them. They were taught how to expand their vocabulary, and they were greatly encouraged to listen to their parents, and enjoy reading many books in the library (believe it or not, but there was a time when we physically took children to the library, instead of visiting an app on their phone). They were taught to do their chores. They were taught to get along with their siblings. They were taught not to speak to strangers. They were taught to listen to their teachers and do well in school as well as complete all of their homework assignments, even over the holiday weekends. So many tremendous lessons children Used to learn, and not just by family, friends and teachers, but there was a time when even television had more Education than Entertainment, even for children.

Which makes me ponder the thought, have our children willfully detoured and gotten off track, or did we willfully stop driving them in the right direction? Did they simply go astray, or did we stop keeping them from going astray? Did they really just wake up one morning and decide to drop out of school, have sex, produce children, curse out parents, go to jail, do drugs and alcohol, violently bully (and record it), or end up at the clinic with multiple std’s? Did they suddenly wake up one morning with purple hair, green eyes, pierced tongues, and tattoo’s over 90% of their bodies? I think not! We, as adults, played a huge part in the lack of character among many of our young people. There was a time in which we protected them, now we simply pretend as though it’s all their fault, they simply woke up this way one morning, with no assistance from us at all!

Which is why as for me and my kids, “Sesame Street” was and still is, indeed a show which had and has such a great love for children that protects their heart, ears, eyes, and mind. If only we could get more programming like this for our children today. If only we could have more programming like that for us as adults today! “Sesame Street” help us!

And with that in mind, let’s see if you remember this: What famous TV personality said these words: “I love trash!” You guessed it, Sesame Street fans, Oscar the Grouch, who even lived in a trash can.

Now listen, I’ve got a few idiosyncrasies; not nearly as many as everybody else I know, but one of those is that it’s very important to me that my trash gets picked up once a week. When I lived in an apartment with my 2 daughters, I would always try to be faithful in getting the trash out of the house and out to the street like I’m supposed to on the day it’s supposed to be there. I’ve always been such a neat and clean freak, so trash is one thing I hate to have in my house. So I’ve always been very diligent about getting trash to where it needs to be, on time, consistently. But then I wondered about something: What if the trash man doesn’t come this week? What if he didn’t come for two weeks? What if he didn’t show up for three weeks? What should I do?

What about taking my trash problem to all my neighbors? What if I went to each of them and said, “My trash wasn’t picked up!” And then I leave them and go tell the mailman, “Do you know what? That trash man didn’t come and pick up my trash!” And most certainly I think I should advise my pastor and let him know, “Pastor, I’m not getting my trash picked up!” And since I spend so much time weekly at the supermarket, naturally I think I should inform the checkout girl while I’m at the grocery store; “you know what girl? They haven’t picked up my trash in three weeks!” Not to mention, I do a lot of traveling so of course the gas attendant at the gas station must be included in this issue, right? “Mr. gas man, did you know my trash has yet to be picked up!

And if I did all of that, at some point you’d say, “Shermaine, aren’t you missing a pretty obvious step here?” And you know what? I’d have to agree. You see, in all of my “trash storytelling” I forgot to talk to the only person who can explain why the trash is still there; I didn’t talk to the only person who can change it – THE TRASH MAN! I needed to talk to the one Responsible for the trash! But instead, I talked to everybody else about it, except him. Which reminds me a lot of how Christians today handle their Relationship Conflicts with other Christians!

Our text is found in Matthew 5:21-24. You may recognize this as coming from The Sermon on The Mount and Jesus is speaking. He says this: “You’re familiar with the command to the ancients, ‘Do not murder.’ I’m telling you that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder. Carelessly call a brother ‘idiot!’ and you just might find yourself hauled into court. Thoughtlessly yell ‘stupid!’ at a sister and you are on the brink of hellfire. The simple moral fact is that words kill.“This is how I want you to conduct yourself in these matters. If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a GRUDGE a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God.” (MSG)

Now, what Jesus is saying here in its most simplistic form is, “Don’t come to Me until you’ve gone to your brother or sister, FIRST, and made things right with them.” That’s interesting isn’t it? He says, “Even though you’re bringing a sacrifice in your hands, which is the holiest thing that a Jew could do at that time, even though you’re coming to worship Me, you and I don’t have much to talk about until you’ve gotten that conflict-that tension-squared away with your brother or sister.” “…If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a GRUDGE a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. THEN AND ONLY THEN, COME BACK AND WORK THINGS OUT WITH GOD.” (MSG)

You remember what I said about telling everyone about the trash man and my problem with him? That’s unfortunately how we handle problems with each other, as Christians no less. We go talk to everybody else about it Except the person there’s the problem with. We take all sorts of evasive action to avoid confronting someone. Oh, we’re subtle about it, we ask for prayer, “Lord, you know…”, “Please pray for me will you?”, “Ask the Lord about this.” And of course we get into sanctified gossip with our prayer requests sometimes, or we just unload it on our friends. We complain, we keep score, we sputter that he should know better. But have you talked to the person who has hurt you? Have you talked to the person maybe that YOU have hurt?

Just like Sesame Street, gave basics to children on how to get along, the Bible teaches God’s children how to get along with one another. And even when we come up against “sibling rivalry” we are already given the directives on how to handle it. And how we handle it is not by picking up our trash and walking all throughout the church, the house, the job, and even social media with it, sharing it with people that have no involvement in it or responsibility for it. You need to go to that person, not all persons! Listen to Scripture: Matthew 18:15-17, “If a fellow believer hurts you, GO AND TELL HIM—WORK IT OUT BETWEEN THE TWO OF YOU. If he listens, you’ve made a friend. If he won’t listen, take one or two others along so that the presence of witnesses will keep things honest, and try again. If he still won’t listen, tell the church. If he won’t listen to the church, YOU’LL HAVE TO START OVER FROM SCRATCH, confront him with the need for repentance, and offer again God’s forgiving love.” (MSG)

Did you catch that? “…If a fellow believer hurts you, GO AND TELL HIM—WORK IT OUT BETWEEN THE TWO OF YOU…” (MSG) Nothing about that said to take your hurt to the usher board, ministerial staff, or your cousin Boo-Boo! And this is where we screw things up and get real messy. Instead of dealing with the individual, we go and find everyone, Except the individual of course, and share trash!

Look at it like this: And try your best to get a good visual of this. My trash hasn’t been picked up in 2 weeks, so I physically pick up all my garbage bags (as funky as they are after 3 weeks) and take them neighbor by neighbor, knocking on each door, going to each floor, going to each house, just to tell them about the trash I’m holding that the trash man didn’t pick up. Then I talk to people on the street, and tell them about my trash that the trash man didn’t pick up. Then since I’m passing the laundromat, gas station, supermarket, banks, pharmacy, florist…I take the time to go into each establishment and share with them my trash that the trash man didn’t pick up. Now, as you are well aware, trash stinks! And the longer you hold on to it, the funkier it gets! So as I take my time going to everybody, but the one somebody, my trash is getting funkier by the minute! As time goes by, the longer I hold on to my trash, the greater the stench! And even though it’s not my fault that my trash wasn’t picked up, but because I’m holding it, and carrying it, and sharing it, the worse it gets, and the worse I get too! The worse it smells, the worse I smell also! Because it is impossible to carry trash and the odor not eventually get on you too!

Have you ever been stuck in a car or walking down the street and there’s the garbage truck!?! The smell is horrendous! And it’s not just because there’s trash in it, but because of how long the trash has been in it, and all the remains it leaves behind! Why do you think people respond the way they do when they see the garbage truck? No one wants to be on the same block, let alone stuck behind it or walking near it. Why? BECAUSE IT STINKS! So people do whatever they need to, to avoid any contact with it.

Could that be the way some people feel about you? Do you have a funky disposition? A nasty attitude? A dirty mouth and mind? A filthy heart? Messy motives? Grimy intentions? Before you go thinking that people just have it in for you, maybe you should take some time to re-evaluate your behavior. Do people see you and smell the garbage truck coming?

You know the saddest part about all of this is, you don’t have to keep carrying your trash. You just need to take it to the right person to help you clean it up. The Bible clearly says, “…abandon your offering, leave immediately, GO TO THIS FRIEND AND MAKE THINGS RIGHT. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God.” (MSG); “If a fellow believer hurts you, GO AND TELL HIM—WORK IT OUT BETWEEN THE TWO OF YOU…”

You say, “Well, if they’ll make the first move…” But that’s not what Jesus said. He says, “YOU make the first move.” Honestly, you’ll more often than not, be surprised – if you’ll just talk TO them – about the reasons behind their actions. Maybe YOU have totally misinterpreted their actions. It may clear up all kinds of misunderstanding; it could get rid of the growing cancer of bitterness inside of you. And even if they don’t respond, you have dealt with the bitterness and anger that the Bible says causes you to forfeit the grace of God. And most of all, even if it doesn’t resolve the relationship, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve done it Jesus’ way. You have obeyed the Scriptures.

One of the most disobeyed commandments of Jesus is to settle it with your brother. I think we ought to be asking each other, when someone comes to us with a problem about another person, “Have you talked to THEM? Have you talked to the REAL PERSON involved?” Because the key to healing broken relationships is to NOT go to any more outsiders. Go direct!

Oscar was a Grouch who lived with a Grudge because he lived in Garbage. Have you become Oscar? Have you become a Grouch with a Grudge because you’re living with and in Garbage? Then why stay that way when you were never intended to?

Today, is a great day for a new beginning. For those who have hurt you, stop taking your gifts to the church and trying to hide behind them. No, the Bible tells you to leave it there, and go to who hurt you, so you both can heal. Don’t attempt to shout, run, praise, worship, pray, serve, lead, sing, dance, preach, teach your way out. Your simple and only Biblical way out of it, is to go to the person directly (with no crowd, no audience, no performers, no back-up, no instigators), just you and them. Talk and clear the air between the two of you. That’s what mature believers do.

In addition, if someone dares to come to you about an ISSUE that has nothing to do with you…UNSUBSCRIBE!

Stop allowing people to dump their garbage on you. In the end, you’ll smell just as funky as the garbage you allowed to be dumped in your life (head, heart and hearing). Don’t let people disrespect you by deeming you worthy of their trash. You weren’t apart of piling it up, so don’t be a part of getting rid of it! Use wisdom and remind them of what our Sesame Street Scriptures teach the Children of God: GO TO YOUR BROTHER/SISTER AND BETWEEN THE 2 OF YOU, FIX WHAT THE 2 OF YOU BROKE!

Stop allowing people to make you the repairman of what they’ve damaged! That is not your responsibility, it’s theirs!

Have you ever paid attention to the tables in a court case? There’s 2. And the only people at those tables are those Directly Involved. Even witnesses don’t sit at those tables. They approach, share their portion that involves them, and leave! You need to learn how to do the very same. Either you’re at the defense table, the prosecution table, or you’re brief seating at the witness stand. Wherever you are Supposed to be, be there. And if you aren’t a part of any one of these, LEAVE THE WHOLE CASE ALONE!

If you’re problem is with your spouse, you take it up with your spouse (not your friends and family). If it’s your children, take it up with your children (not the missionary circle). If it’s with your auxiliary, take it up with your auxiliary, not one that has absolutely nothing to do with it. If it’s with your coworker, take it up with them, not during choir rehearsal with people who don’t even know who you’re talking about. If it’s with a friend, take it up Specifically with that friend, alone (not with all your relatives at your family reunion)!

Messy people take trash everywhere except where it’s supposed to be. Don’t be messy. Keep the trash contained, and deal with it with the only person that helped you create it. Don’t spread your trash. Don’t spread your odor. Don’t be a Grouch With a Grudge because of Garbage!

Do you know what a “grouch” is? It’s defined as “a habitually grumpy person; a constant complainer; an ill-tempered person.” Its Old French Origin is “grouchier” which literally means “to grumble, or murmur”. And “grudge” is defined as “a persistent feeling of ill will or resentment resulting from a past insult or injury; to be resentfully unwilling to grant or allow (something).” Its Origin comes from “grutch” which means “to murmur or grumble”. And is directly linked to the word “grouch” (unsurprisingly). Note, a grouch grumbles, complains and murmurs Habitually. And what does that mean? “Something done constantly, regularly, all the time, as their usual and norm.” Do you really want that to be descriptive of you? As someone who is always, constantly, regularly, all the time, as their usual, as their norm, murmuring and complaining? Stop walking around as a grouch with a grudge that smells worse than garbage! Today, go to your sanitation friend and make things Right. Because a believer with a funky attitude and disposition is Wrong!

 Learn how to treat the Scriptures as your personal Sesame Street. The place where you learn the basics on how to behave as a Child of God should.

Now that you know better, do better. You will most certainly smell better!

Leviticus 19:18, “Don’t seek revenge or carry a GRUDGE against any of your people. “Love your neighbor as yourself. I am God.” (MSG);

Psalm 103:6-18, “God makes everything come out right; he puts victims back on their feet. He showed Moses how he went about his work, opened up his plans to all Israel. God is sheer mercy and grace; not easily angered, he’s rich in love. He doesn’t endlessly nag and scold, nor hold GRUDGES forever. He doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve, nor pay us back in full for our wrongs. As high as heaven is over the earth, so strong is his love to those who fear him. And as far as sunrise is from sunset, he has separated us from our sins. As parents feel for their children, God feels for those who fear him. He knows us inside and out, keeps in mind that we’re made of mud. Men and women don’t live very long; like wildflowers they spring up and blossom, But a storm snuffs them out just as quickly, leaving nothing to show they were here. God’s love, though, is ever and always, eternally present to all who fear him, Making everything right for them and their children as they follow his Covenant ways and remember to do whatever he said.” (MSG);

2 Corinthians 2:9-11, “The focus of my letter wasn’t on punishing the offender BUT ON GETTING YOU TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE HEALTH OF THE CHURCH. So if you forgive him, I forgive him. Don’t think I’m carrying around a list of personal GRUDGES. The fact is that I’m joining in with your forgiveness, as Christ is with us, guiding us. After all, we don’t want to unwittingly give Satan an opening for yet more mischief—we’re not oblivious to his sly ways!” (MSG);

Philippians 4:2, “[Pray About Everything ] I urge Euodia and Syntyche to iron out their differences and make up. God doesn’t want his children holding GRUDGES.” (MSG);

Ephesians 4:27, “And do not give the devil an opportunity [to lead you into sin by holding a GRUDGE, or nurturing anger, or harboring resentment, or cultivating bitterness].” (MSG)

“Holding grudges. Judging others. Hating. Wanting to cause harm. Withholding forgiveness. Gossiping. Ridiculing. Ignoring others. Withholding mercy. Throwing stones. STOP IT!” (Dieter F. Uchtdorf)

“Grudges are like hand grenades; it is wise to release them before they destroy you.” (Barbara Johnson)

“To carry a grudge is like being stung to death by one bee.” (William H. Walton)

“Let your hands be so busy catching blessings that you don’t have the capacity to hold onto grudges.” (Author Unknown)

“Rather than hold grudges, I prefer to remember the lessons learnt to keep me prepared for our next encounter.” (Natalie Tomlinson)

“Let go! How would your life be different if you learned to let go of things that have already let go of you? From relationships long gone, to old grudges, to regrets, to all the ‘could’ve’ and ‘should’ve’ to the dead friendships you still hang on to. Free yourself from the burden of a past you cannot change.” (Dr. Steve Maraboli)

“When you hold a grudge, you want someone else’s sorrow to reflect your level of hurt but the two rarely meet.” (Dr. Steve Maraboli)

“Holding a grudge is never positive or appropriate.” (John C. Maxwell)

“Grudges are for those who insist that they are Owed something; forgiveness, however, is for those who are Substantial enough to move on.” (Criss Jami)

“Don’t carry a grudge. While you’re carrying the grudge the other guy’s out dancing.” (Author Unknown)

“Holding a grudge and harboring anger and resentment is poison to the soul. Get even with people, but not those who have hurt us, forget them, instead get even with those who have helped us.” (Dr. Steve Maraboli)

“Grudges seldom hurt anyone except the one bearing them.” (Sherrilyn Kenyon)

“The heaviest thing you can carry is a grudge.” (Author Unknown)

“Don’t hold a grudge. It takes up room in your heart; it takes up time in your life; it takes up space in your mind.” (John Wooden)

“Resentment and grudges are things we dare not collect in our spirits, for they will spoil and rot, producing poison that will contaminate our words as well as our actions.” (Rick Orrell)

“Forgiveness: Anyone can hold a grudge, but it takes a person with character to forgive. When you forgive, you release yourself from a painful burden. Forgiveness doesn’t mean what happened was OK, and it doesn’t mean that person should still be welcome in your life. It just means you have made peace with the pain, and are ready to let it go.” (Doe Zantamata)

“Stop Holding Grudges! Don’t live your life with hate in your heart. You will end up hurting yourself more than the people you hate. Forgiveness is not saying, ‘What you did to me is okay.’ It is saying, ‘I’m not going to let what you did to me ruin my happiness forever.’ Forgiveness is the answer. Let go, find peace, liberate yourself. And remember, forgiveness is not just for other people, it’s for you too. If you must, forgive yourself, move and try to do better next time.” (Author Unknown)

“Let today be the day you finally release yourself from the imprisonment of past grudges and anger. Simplify your life. Let go of the poisonous past and live the abundantly beautiful present…Today.” (Dr. Steve Maraboli)

“I used to hold grudges until I realized that most people are narcissistic and their actions are driven by an unhealthy self-interest and not by maliciousness towards me. I have since freed myself from this needless burden.” (Dr. Steve Maraboli)

“Life is too Short for Long-term grudges.” (Elon Musk)

“Holding a grudge doesn’t make you strong; it makes you bitter. Forgiving doesn’t make you weak; it sets you free.” (Dave Willis)

“Grudges are a waste of perfect happiness. Laugh when you can, apologize when you should, and let go of what you cannot change.” (Author Unknown)

“Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” (Author Unknown)

“Holding a grudge is like letting someone live rent free in your head.” (Author Unknown)

“You could hold on to more precious memories if your hands weren’t so full of the grudges you are carrying so closely.” (Author Unknown)

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

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“It’s Time to Write and Run!”

“Then the Lord answered me and said: “WRITE the Vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may RUN who reads it.” (Habakkuk 2:2 NKJV)

Habakkuk describes his vision as, ‘The oracle (a BURDENSOME MESSAGE – a pronouncement from God) which Habakkuk the prophet saw‘ (Habakkuk 1:1 NKJV). He ‘SAW’ it wherever he went. It drove him to his knees. He even cried out, ‘O LORD, how long shall I cry, And You will not hear? Even cry out to You, “Violence!” And you will not save. Why do You SHOW me iniquity, And cause me to SEE trouble? For plundering and violence are before me; There is strife, and contention arises. Therefore the law is powerless, And justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; therefore perverse judgment proceeds‘ (Habakkuk 1:2-4 NKJV).

Saints, Before God blesses you with a plan of action He will first BURDEN you with the problem you’ve been called to help solve! A ‘burden’ is defined as, ‘a heavy load; a cause of hardship, worry, or grief; something that is carried; something oppressive or worrisome; a thing to bear; a duty; responsibility; something that weighs down.’ You see, so many are running to God asking Him for a vision, but they don’t want the burden that comes attached to the vision. Receiving a vision from God will cost you. And the price is heavy. Oftentimes a vision from God will keep you up late at night; pacing the floor; spending countless hours in prayer; fasting for weeks on end; separating yourself from familiar people, places and things. Often a vision from God comes with the weight of burden. It doesn’t come cheap or easy. So before you go to God the next time asking for a vision, be careful, because you just may get more than you bargained for!

Many of us love to quote Ephesians 3:20, “Now to Him who is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us.” (AMP) However, we tend to forget that a vision from God, and His purpose for us can also BURDEN us with a weighted responsibility that’s, “…superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us.” When it comes to God’s vision and purpose, it comes with glory, and His glory always carry’s weight! Accepting an assignment from God, receiving vision from God, fulfilling purpose in God, will come with burden and glory, and both are heavy! Don’t ask God to hand you what you’re not ready to carry!

Yes, the prophet received a vision, but it came at the expense of him crying out to God; with him facing trouble and violence; unanswered questions; powerlessness and even being surrounded by wickedness. Are you really sure you’re ready to pay the price of carrying vision and burden?

Lewis Braille wanted to read and write. But at three years of age he was blinded in a tragic accident while playing in his father’s harness shop. Refusing to settle for a world of darkness he said, ‘I will make a system so that the blind can read and write.As a result, millions of sight-impaired people have been blessed by the Braille system.

People of God Prepare Yourself, Because He’s going to Bless You, but FIRST HE’S GOING TO BURDEN YOU!

The Psalmist cried: ‘The ZEAL for Your house has CONSUMED me…‘ (Psalm 69:9 NASB). Today, ask yourself the following questions, ‘What’s my all-consuming desire? What am I passionate about? What has God called and gifted me to do?’ You see, the word ‘zeal’ is defined as, ‘eagerness in pursuit of an interest; a fervor; passion; enthusiasm; an intense, compelling emotion that requires action; it’s a deep stirring; a determination to do something.’ And where was the psalmist zeal? In God’s House! What are you doing in God’s House?! Are your gifts, talents, skill-set, ability, anointing, calling all being passionately utilized in the Lord’s House? Or are you simply warming pulpit/pew chairs until the Lord returns? What are you doing with what God gave you to do?

Paul’s burning desire was to reach the world for Christ. And he succeeded! When his enemies imprisoned him, instead of giving in to defeat he turned his cell into a writer’s retreat and penned thirteen epistles that would change more lives after he left the world than he could ever hope to touch while he was in it! So, what are you willing to give your life to, and for, that will impact this world while you’re here and in an even greater way after your gone? Why is that important to ask? Because if your vision is truly of God, you will ‘FEEL’ a BURDEN for it! And that BURDEN will be COSTLY! And you need to be honest with yourself and find out if you’re really willing to pay the price?

Notice two important things about Vision: 

1)   YOUR VISION MUST COME FROM GOD: There’s a difference between setting your OWN GOALS and having a GOD-GIVEN VISION! When your vision is of God, ‘… it will surely come…‘ (Habakkuk 2:3). In other words, you won’t have to orchestrate events behind the scenes; God will provide the resources and open the right doors at the right time and you’ll enter them with all the right people! Your steps will be directed by Him! Here’s an interesting Scripture: ‘…TIME AND CHANCE happen to them all. For man also does not know his time: Like fish taken in a cruel net, Like birds caught in a snare, So the sons of men are snared in an evil time…‘ (Ecclesiastes 9:11-12 NKJV). God will reveal to you your destiny and give you an opportunity to fulfill it. But, you can resist it, or postpone it, or give your life to other things and end up missing your ‘TIME’ and ‘CHANCE’, according to the Scripture. Which is why I admonish you, DON’T GET CAUGHT IN THAT NET OR TRAPPED IN THAT SNARE AND FORFEIT WHAT GOD HAS FOR YOU! Your ‘TIME’ and ‘CHANCE’ have a limit. You don’t accomplish them after death; you accomplish them in the time God has given you to live! Don’t die having let everybody use you but God! When God gives you the vision; sets the due time for it to come to pass; and grants you the right perfect chance to go for it, don’t be caught like the foolish virgins missing out on what you could’ve got in on, if only you were prepared and ready when the opportunity presented itself!

2)   YOUR VISION WILL BE CONNECTED TO A CERTAIN FIELD: Joseph’s dream started with a field of wheat (Genesis 37:6-7, “Joseph had a dream. When he told it to his brothers, they hated him even more. He said, “Listen to this dream I had. We were all out in the FIELD gathering bundles of wheat…” MSG). So, what’s your field? Because, whether God calls you to the field of medicine, education, finance, ministry, real estate, or some other field, it’s to be a blessing to others! It’s not for you to boast, it’s for you to be a blessing! God told Abraham, ‘…I will make your name great, and you will BE A BLESSING‘ (Genesis 12:2 NIV). Don’t seek fortune, fame, popularity, stardom, or the like, but seek to serve others! If you do, your impact will be greater than your image and your eternal reward greater than anything you can drive, wear, live in, or hang on a wall! THEREFORE, FIND YOUR FIELD!

Jesus said, ‘…In fact, THE REASON I WAS BORN…‘ (John 18:37 NIV). When you know why you’re here and what your God-given purpose is, you become virtually UNSTOPPABLE! You won’t be flawless, but you’ll have the innate power to overcome each obstacle as you proceed! If you get turned around, God loves you enough to get your attention, correct and redirect you, and get you back on track! But to find the right answers you must first ask the right questions, such as:  1) What desires have been living in me most of my life? 2) What motivates me to be productive? 3) What keeps me going forward when I’m worn out? 4) What makes me refuse to quit when I meet with resistance or opposition? 5) What do I do that doesn’t seem like work? 6) What do I do that brings positive response and support from others? 7) What am I doing, or what’s happening in my life when doors seem to open automatically and effortlessly? 8) What do discerning leaders and godly counselors think about my work? 9) What makes me feel good about being who I am? 10) What makes my creative juices flow? 11) What am I willing to sacrifice to accomplish it? 12) What am I doing that I’d be proud to offer for God’s approval? 13) What would I do without being paid for, if I could afford to? 14) What would I be willing to withstand Satan over, in order to accomplish it?

You Need To Know: What is the reason you were born’? And when you do find out your reason, know that’s it’s not too late; so ‘find‘ your vision and follow it!

Paul was on a mission! He traveled light, practiced personal discipline, avoided distractions and kept his eye on the ball. The Bible says, ‘…one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize…‘ (Philippians 3:13-14 NKJV). Successful companies live by a mission statement every team member can understand; they keep it before them at all times. God told Habakkuk, ‘…”Write the vision and make it plain… that he may run who reads it.‘ (Habakkuk 2:2 NKJV). SAINTS, YOU MUST WRITE YOUR VISION DOWN, READ IT REGULARLY, REMEMBER IT AT ALL TIMES AND RUN WITH IT! YOUR GREATEST ENEMY ISN’T THE OPPOSITION, IT’S THE DISTRACTIONS! SO LET NOTHING AND NO ONE MESS WITH ACCOMPLISHING YOUR MISSION! Proverbs 4:23-27, “Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts. Don’t talk out of both sides of your mouth; avoid careless banter, white lies, and gossip. Keep your eyes straight ahead; IGNORE ALL SIDESHOW DISTRACTIONS. Watch your step, and the road will stretch out smooth before you. Look neither right nor left; leave evil in the dust.” (MSG)

Ever heard of ‘a white elephant?When the King of Siam wanted to destroy an enemy, he supposedly gave them a white elephant. In those days white elephants were considered sacred, and nobody dared refuse a king’s gift. The trouble was, white elephants couldn’t be put to work…but they had to be fed – A LOT! So the king’s ‘gift’ ended up causing his enemy’s downfall. Listen Carefully! Guard yourself, your vision and purpose against ‘white elephants’ that drain your time, energy and resources, and do nothing towards anything that works for you! In order to protect your vision, live by these words, ‘…lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God…consider Him…lest you become weary and discouraged… ‘ (Hebrews 12:1-3 NKJV).

DON’T LET DISTRACTIONS DIVERT YOUR VISION! ‘Divert’ means to, ‘turn aside; deviate; to turn from one course or use to another; to distract; to entertain.’ You cannot afford to lose sight of your vision; nor to distort your vision because you’ve become so busy entertaining distractions. Which reminds me of a quote I heard: “Don’t blame a clown for acting like a clown, blame yourself for going to the circus.” People of God, Stay Focused!

Five times in Genesis chapter thirty-nine we read: ‘But the Lord was with Joseph.Be encouraged: God is at work with you and in what you’re going through right now! Where did Joseph get the wisdom to lead a nation? By dealing with his own family problems, by handling Potiphar’s household staff, and by running a prison system! Like rungs on a ladder, each one took him closer to the top! Notice how it worked: his brothers sold him to Ishmaelite slave traders, who sold him to Potiphar, who put him in prison where he met the butler, who introduced him to Pharaoh, who made him Prime Minister of Egypt, fulfilling his dream! Was it easy? No, “Until the time that his word came the word of the LORD tried him” (Psalm 105:19). Prepare Yourself: Your vision will be ‘tried‘ by situations that either make or break you! And the word ‘tried’ is defined as, ‘to be found good and faithful; to be found trustworthy through experience, trials, distress or testing.’ And indeed that same text in psalm read in the Message Bible proves Joseph was tried by testing and he passed with flying colors! “Then he called down a famine on the country, he broke every last blade of wheat. But he sent a man on ahead: Joseph, sold as a slave. They put cruel chains on his ankles, an iron collar around his neck, Until God’s Word came to Pharaoh, and God confirmed His promise. God sent the king to release him. The Pharaoh set Joseph free; he appointed him master of his palace, put him in charge of all his business to personally instruct his princes and train his advisors in wisdom.” (Psalm 105:16-22 MSG)

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

Now, some of you may ask, ‘but what do you do when you already received a vision, but it died?’

Well, Bill Gothard describes this process as: the birth of the vision, the death of the vision, and the resurrection of the vision. When you’ve no funds, no friends, and no fight left in you (the death stage), remember the words of Jesus:Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain‘ (John 12:24 NKJV). The Message Bible says it like this: “Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.” (vss.24-25 MSG). When your vision dies and God resurrects it, you begin to talk and act differently! With ego subtracted and grace added, you start saying with the Psalmist,I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living‘ (Psalm 27:13). At that point God smiles and says, ‘You’re finally getting it right! You’re finally ready to receive the resurrection of your dreams, purpose and vision.Once you get it right with God, you get to begin again. Remember, Joseph didn’t just have one dream, but the second was bigger than the first, and yours can be also!

When a vision comes from God and you commit yourself to it, it will ‘SURELY’ be fulfilled! Yes, you’ll stumble, be stretched to new limits and maybe even stagger across the finish line, but you’ll make it! You’ll get to the Promised Land, even if failure is the road you have to travel in order to get there! Look at Moses: he had a history-changing message to deliver to Pharaoh, yet he was a poor speaker. He had marriage problems. He had to reach his breaking point before he learned to delegate responsibility to others. He even had a problem with his temper, as a result God said, ‘…”This is the land I promised… I have let you see it… but you will not cross over into it.” (Deuteronomy 34:4 NIV). But Moses finally got there, maybe not in life, but most certainly in death! For, 1,400 years later he stood with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration: right in the middle of it! Matthew 17:1-3, “Six days later, three of them saw that glory. Jesus took Peter and the brothers, James and John, and led them up a high mountain. His appearance changed from the inside out, right before their eyes. Sunlight poured from his face. His clothes were filled with light. Then they realized that Moses and Elijah were also there in deep conversation with him.” (MSG)

You say, I’ve failed so badly.Well, David committed adultery, yet his psalms bring strength to multitudes and he’s quoted in pulpits around the world still today! God didn’t excuse David, but he forgave him and used him still! ‘…David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God…was buried… ‘ (Acts 13:36 NKJV). The Bible describes God as, ‘… ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, abundant in kindness… ‘ (Nehemiah 9:17 NKJV). Notice the words ‘ready to pardon.God is ready when you are, all you have to do is turn back to Him! Just because you mess up doesn’t mean you miss out on God’s vision and purpose for your life! He’s always right there ready to pardon (which means ‘the excusing of an offense without exacting a penalty; to release from the legal penalties of an offence; to forgive a fault; to absolve from the consequences of a crime.)!

Aren’t you glad that God doesn’t judge our failures like man does?

But here’s something else from Habakkuk. He said, ‘I will stand my watch and set myself on the rampart, and watch to see what He will say to me, and what I will answer when I am corrected‘ (Habakkuk 2:1 NKJV). Did you catch that? Corrected, but NOT Discarded! Isn’t that wonderful?

Lastly, there’s an interesting picture in Amos ‘… “A shepherd who tries to rescue a sheep from a lion’s mouth will recover only two legs or a piece of an ear. So it will be…‘ (Amos 3:12 NLT). Picture Satan as that lion, you as that lamb, Jesus as that shepherd coming to pick up what’s left of you, and see how God brings victory out of defeat! Has life torn your vision to pieces like the image in Amos? If so, keep in mind, with God, you only need two things for a comeback according to what’s recovered in Amos:

1)   AN EAR TO HEAR: Stop listening to voices that discourage you; it’s not over until God says it’s over! God told Ezekiel to prophesy to a valley full of dead, dry bones (Ezekiel 37:4): ‘So I prophesied… and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceeding great army.‘ (Ezekiel 37:10 NKJV). Your hopes may be dead and your soul dry, but if you listen to what God is saying your vision will live again! Keep your ear to God’s mouth, receive His instructions, obey them, revive your vision, and this time let it live!

2)   A LEG TO STAND ON: The God who gave Job twice as much at the end of his trouble as he started with before it, isn’t finished with you yet! Read what He’s promised and stand on His Word! Look at it this way: Achan was stoned to death in the Valley of Achor for stealing the spoils after the battle of Jericho. End of the story? Not a chance, later, God in His mercy said, ‘I will give… the Valley of Achor as a door of Hope…‘ (Hosea 2:15 NKJV). You may be living with your consequences, but by God’s grace you can still live to see your vision fulfilled! There is Hope in the Valley for Your Vision! Your Valley of Achor may have started out with a Stoning, but it will end with You and Your Vision Surviving and Walking Through New Open Doors of Opportunity! Don’t throw in the towel, don’t give up and don’t quit!

People of God, as you can see from cover-to-cover in the Bible there are tons of stories of those who Found Their Vision, Followed Their Vision and Fulfilled Their Vision…Even AFTER Fumbling Their Vision! And even those who suffered and recovered from the death of their vision. So, Keep Your Eyes of Faith Focused! A Rich Future Is Ahead of You, But Only If You’ll Finally Invest In the Value of Your Vision!

It can and it will come to pass, hold on to it, and let nothing and no one distort it!

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

IT’S TIME FOR YOU TO WRITE THE VISION SO WE CAN ALL RUN WITH IT!

Much Love, Dr. Shermaine #EnjoyTheRead #BeInspired #BeEncouraged #BeEmpowered #BeChallenged #ShareTheWordFeel free to also join us at: http://www.selfcarewithdrshermaine.blogspot.com Today’s Lesson: “What Happens to Your Body When You Relax?”

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“You’re About to Be Blessed Beyond Measure”

Genesis 13:14-18, The Lord said to Abram…Lift up now your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; For all the land which you see I will give to you and to your posterity forever. And I will make your descendants like the dust of the earth, so that if a man could count the dust of the earth, then could your descendants also be counted. Arise, walk through the land, the length of it and the breadth of it, for I will give it to you…” (AMP)

Isaiah 43:19, “Behold, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs forth; do you not perceive and know it and will you not give heed to it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert?” (AMP)

God says He wants to “…do a new thing…” FOR YOU, so disregard the circumstances and believe the God who cannot lie!

“So shall My Word be that goes forth out of My mouth:  it shall not return to Me void [without producing any effect, useless], but it shall accomplish that which I please and purpose, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11 AMP);

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

So If God Said He’s About To Do Something New For You, You Better Believe It and Get Ready to Receive It!

“Then said the Lord to me…I am alert and active, watching over My Word to PERFORM IT” (Jeremiah 1:12 AMP) People of God, Get Your Tickets Quick and Arrive Early For the Show Because the Lord Is About to PERFORM His Word In Your Life Today! So, “Are You Ready Yet?

In case you didn’t know, might I inform you that you’re too important to God to be destroyed by a trial that was just meant to give you character, integrity, growth, development, maturity and direction! In other words, You Survived! By the Grace of God You Made It! And God not only brought you through the valley, but He caused you to grow in it and come out of it Stronger and With Deeper Roots for Stability for Future Struggles! Therefore, if you want to know what God can do, just look at what He’s ALREADY done for YOU in the past and you’ll start feeling better about your future! “I See Myself In The Future And Things Look So Much Better! I’m Expecting a Miracle, And My Miracle Is Expecting Me!” (Bishop James R. Chambers)

And that’s not all! Listen: “Behold, I will do a new thing; NOW IT SHALL SPRING FORTH…After feeling like you’ve waited forever, Get Ready, God will move Suddenly! You ma’am, you sir, are about to experience a SPRING forth in the middle of a FALL season!

People of God, if you’re not ready you’ll miss the next open door, the next great idea or the next wonderful relationship God has RESERVED just for you! And do you know what the word “Reserved” means? Let Me Help You: “Reserved” means, “To keep for future use” or my personal favorite definition: “To make pre-determined arrangements to be kept for the use of a particular person” (Singles, that should’ve made you real happy! Because, you’re not just single, but you’re RESERVED FOR A PARTICULAR PERSON!) In addition, “Reserved” also means “To retain or hold for an individual who has the right or entitlement to something”! It further means, “Funds kept available by a bank, company, or government” and lastly it means, “An area of land set aside for the access of a particular person”! “Reserved” has a Latin Origin “Reservare” which literally means, “To Keep Back”!

And what does all that mean? Glad you asked! I don’t care how rough its’ been, how bleak it looks or how discouraged you are! The reality is, God Has a New Thing In Reserve Just For You! And That Reserve Includes Funds and Land That Can Only Be Accessed By YOU Because As A Child of the King, It Is Your Right and Entitlement!

“…since you are Christ’s family, then you are Abraham’s famous “descendant,” HEIRS according to the covenant promises” (Galatians 3:29 AMP) Do you know what “Heir” means? No problem, I don’t mind helping you out again! “Heir” means, “A Person Legally Entitled to the Property or Rank of Another Upon that Person’s Death” It also means “A Person Who Continues the Work of a Predecessor”. I don’t know about you, but I’m certainly determined to continue the work of my Predecessor Abraham! He Was Continually Blessed and that’s My Job Too…To Be Continually Blessed!

Listen: Truth Is, Abraham Is Dead! However, His Covenant Promises to His Heirs Are Very Much Alive! And what Covenant Promises Are We Inheriting? Glad you asked! And I (God) will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you [with abundant increase of favors] and make your name famous and distinguished, and you will be a blessing [dispensing good to others] And I will bless those who bless you [who confer prosperity or happiness upon you] and curse him who curses or uses insolent language toward you; in you will all the families and kindred of the earth be blessed [and by you they will bless themselves]” (Genesis 12:2-3 AMP)

Is that all? NOPE! “Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, I will give this land to your posterity…” (Genesis 12:7 AMP) And what’s “Posterity”? As always, glad you asked! “Posterity” means, “To All Future Generations”! Its Old French Origin “Posterite”, from Latin “Posterus” literally means, “Following”! In other words, Every Generation That Follows After You Will Reap The Abrahamic Covenant, Promises, Blessings and Favor! So I ask again, “Are You Ready To Receive Your Reserved Blessings?If not, pay close attention, because your inheritance continues to increase in value!

…Abram was extremely rich…” (Genesis 13:2 AMP) In Case You Forgot…YOU Are Abraham’s Heirs! And you have no need to be selfish either, because God isn’t going to just bless YOU, but even your “Posterity” (All Future Generations Following After You)! And what does the Bible say about Abraham and one of His “Posterity” descendants, Lot? Glad you asked! “Now the land was not able to nourish and support them so they could dwell together, for their possessions were too great for them to live together” (Genesis 13:6 AMP) Can you even wrap your brain around the fact that God will so favor you that you have to move because where you are can no longer hold you?!

Saints, I’ve Warned You…So Pack Your Stuff and Get Ready For a Move Of God, Your Blessings are On the Way! You are About to Be Blessed Beyond Measure!

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

Okay, I’m no genius but I certainly know an Incredible Inheritance When I See and Hear One! Did you pay close attention to the text? Of course you didn’t, because if you did, you would be shouting right NOW! Why? Here’s a few reasons from the text:

  1. No matter where Abram looked (“…northward…southward…eastward…westward…”) God declared …all the land which you see I will give to you… Go Ahead…It’s Okay, You Can Shout! And If Anybody Says Anything To You, Just Send Them To Me And I’ll Explain Your Unspeakable Joy, So Your Praise is Not Interrupted! Seriously, Can You Imagine Being So Blessed That No Matter Which Way You Turn You Bump Right Into a Blessing?! GET READY! Or Should I Say Brace Yourself, Because You’re About To Bump Into A Blessing! I mean can you imagine being so blessed that you run into blessings at the laundromat, the bank, the supermarket, the nail and hair salon, the barbershop, in the park, in traffic, in the cab, at Macy’s, in the car, on the bus, on the train, at the gas station, at Walmart, standing still on the subway platform! Can you imagine being so blessed that you can’t even escape your own blessings?! It’s like your blessings are handcuffed to you, where you go they go, and the sentence is a life sentence, inescapable! Can you imagine being so blessed that you can’t even hide from your own blessings?! You can’t cook in the kitchen, watch television in the living-room, eat in the dining room, sleep in the bedroom, or shower in the bathroom without running into a blessing! You can’t mow the front yard or barbecue in the backyard without running into a blessing! You can’t fill up the attic or empty the basement without running into a blessing! Can you imagine being so blessed that you can’t walk down the street, turn the corner, wait at a stoplight without running into a blessing!? I admonish you, get ready, for your blessings are coming and they’re going to hit you top to bottom, front to back, before you and behind you, from east, west, north and south! Get Ready! Get Ready! Get Ready! Everywhere you turn you will bump into a blessing!
  1. Not only will Abram receive an,anywhere you look the land is yours” blessing, but God declares, “…I will give to you and to your posterity FOREVER…” Do You Know How Long Forever Is?! It’s defined as, “For All Future Time!” and “Continually”! I love that word “continual” it’s defined as, “constantly or frequently occurring; having no interruptions”. In other words, you AND all your future generations will Forever…For all the time into the Future Be Abundantly Blessed, Constantly, Frequently and With NO Interruptions! Now, I’ve heard of a Big Blessing, But Only God Can Give You A Blessing So Big That It Outlives You and All Your Future Generations That Aren’t Even Born Yet! That’s What You Call a Radically, Ridiculous, Make No Sense, I’ll Never Be Able to Explain It Kind of Blessing! Saints, You Are So Favored By God That Not Even Time or Death Can Stop Your Blessing! Go Ahead, It’s Okay…You Can Run Again I’ll Try To Explain To Folks Who Don’t Understand That You’re Being Bombarded With a Blessing That’s Hitting You From Every Direction and On Top of that,Your Every Direction I Turn” Blessing, Is Also Going to Last FOREVER! Truthfully, I Have No Idea How I’m Going to Explain Your Shout Over That One So Keep Me In Your Prayers! 1 Chronicles 17:25-27, For You, O my God, have revealed to Your servant that You will build for him a house (descendants); therefore Your servant has found courage to pray before You. And now, O Lord, You are God, and you have spoken and promised this good thing to Your servant. Therefore may it please You to bless the house (descendants) of Your servant, that it may continue before You FOREVER; for what You bless, O Lord, is BLESSED FOREVER.” (AMP) You My Friend Are Immeasurably Blessed…FOREVER!
  1. Then God tells Abram, “Arise, walk through the land, the length of it and the breadth of it, for I will give it to you…” What?! Can You Imagine an “Anywhere I Place My Foot It’s Mine” kind of Blessing?! No Matter How Long or Wide I Walk…The Land Is Mine…Forever! You Better Go To “Sport’s Authority”, “Modell’s”, “Payless”…Wherever…And Get You a Good Pair a Sneakers And Get To Stepping! Where? IT DOESN’T EVEN MATTER! THE LAND, IN IT’S LENGTH AND WIDTH…ARE YOURS…FOREVER! NOW RUN TELL YOUR HATERS THAT! Joshua 1:3, “I am giving you every place where you set foot, exactly as I promised Moses.” (CEB) Another version reads like this: “Wherever you go, I’ll give you that land, as I promised Moses.” (CEV) Can you imagine being so blessed that it doesn’t even matter where you go, wherever your foot steps, the land automatically becomes favorably yours, forever?! Saints, your blessings are coming, and they’re immeasurably BIG, you better get ready!

Listen: If You Are Still Not Ready To Receive The Newness of God…There Is Absolutely No Hope For You At All After That! Seriously, Do You Realize The Extent of Your Promised, Guaranteed Reserved Inheritance?! Saints, It’s High Time You Become Sensitive to the Voice of the Lord, Alert to His Movements, and Live In Full Expectation…Because The Lord Is Getting Ready To Give OLD You a NEW Start! So, If You’re Not Ready…Get Ready! Because It’s About to Happen SUDDENLY!

After praying and waiting in the upper room for 10 long days we read, …SUDDENLY there came a sound from heaven…” (Acts 2:2 AMP) Open Your Ears, Because After All This Time You Are About To SUDDENLY Hear From Heaven! They “…SUDDENLY…” heard from heaven and the church was born; a church that would change the world! People of God, I Know You’ve Waited A Lot Longer Than 9 Months…But You’re About To SUDDENLY Give Birth! Birth to Ministry, Birth to Healing, Birth to Break-Through, Birth to Deliverance, Birth to Anointing, Birth to Assignments! You’re About To SUDDENLY Give Birth to Finances, a Business, a House, a Car, even Land! You’re about to SUDDENLY Give Birth to Fresh Ideas, Clear Vision, and Destined Direction! Listen: You’ve Waited, You’ve Gained Weight, You’ve Gone Through All Kinds of Crazy Bodily and Mood Changes, Folks Have Been Poking Fun At Your Big Belly That Hasn’t Popped Yet! But Get Ready! You Are About To SUDDENLY STEP INTO SUDDENLY! NOW BEAR DOWN AND BIRTH THAT!

When God Miraculously brought Paul and Silas out of prison we read, “SUDDENLY there was a great earthquake, so that the very foundations of the prison were shaken; and at once all the doors were opened and everyone’s shackles were unfastened” (Acts 16:26 AMP) Lord Have Mercy! Need I Say More?! Listen, You’ve Waited…I Get It! But Now It’s Time To Get Ready! Because God Is About To Shake Some Things Up In Your Life and Before You Know It, You’re Going to Suddenly Hear From Heaven and Doors Are Going to Suddenly Open! And All Those With You (Don’t Miss This) All Those Who Were With You When You Went IN Are About To Come OUT Too! So Anyone Who Walked Away, Don’t Call ‘Em Back! If They Couldn’t Be In Your Prison, They Can’t Be In Your Palace! Lock The Doors!

SAINTS…ARE YOU READY TO RECEIVE THIS LEVEL OF BLESSING?! IF NOT, GET READY, BECAUSE YOUR BLESSINGS ARE COMING, AND THEY ARE IMMEASURABLE! YOUR INHERITANCE IS ABOUT TO HUNT YOU DOWN!

The word ‘immeasurable’ is defined as, ‘incapable of being measured; indefinitely extensive; very great in size or amount; impossible to measure; bottomless; boundless; endless; fathomless; illimitable; infinite; limitless; countless; incalculable; incomputable; inestimable; innumerable; exhaustless; inexhaustible; immense; and vast.’ FYI: That’s the size of your blessing that’s on the way, get ready! This will be BIG! Ephesians 3:20, “Now to Him who is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us,” (AMP); “Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]” (AMPC)

Deuteronomy 28:1-14, “If you listen obediently to the Voice of God, your God, and heartily obey all His commandments that I command you today, God, your God, will place you on high, high above all the nations of the world. 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. Don’t swerve an inch to the right or left from the words that I command you today by going off following and worshiping other gods.” (MSG)

In a Nutshell: Obey God and Be Overtaken By His Immeasurable, Reserved Blessings That Will Be Yours and Your Future Generations…FOREVER!

Much Love, Dr. Shermaine #EnjoyTheRead #BeInspired #BeEncouraged #BeEmpowered #BeChallenged #ShareTheWordFeel free to also join us at: http://www.selfcarewithdrshermaine.blogspot.com Today’s Lesson: “7 Foods That Reduce Bloating and 5 That Cause it”

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“Angry? Don’t Delay It, Deal With It”

Ephesians 4:26-27, “If you are angry, don’t sin by nursing your grudge. Don’t let the sun go down with you still angry—get over it quickly; for when you are angry, you give a mighty foothold to the devil” (TLB)

In my house, the rule of thumb is, “if I cook, someone else does the dishes”! Now, my husband doesn’t struggle with this, but my eldest daughter makes me laugh. And it’s not because she has a problem with doing the dishes, it’s just that once she starts to clear the table, your plate, (that you’re not even done with yet), is not exempt! She will clear your plate while you’re still in mid bite! So you need to keep an eye on that if you’re ever invited to dinner. She’s not particularly excited to do the dishes, so when she has to, she wants to quickly get the job done!

However, much like my daughter, I’m not exactly fond of doing dishes either. But where she will do them immediately to get them out of the way, I would rather leave them for a minute and let my food digest, (while sitting on the sofa, in my favorite spot, watching television that is), but that’s neither here nor there. But the problem with my idea of, “leave the dishes…don’t worry about them right now…come on in the living room and relax. The dishes can wait a few“, is that while they wait, they get worse! Truth is, I’ve never known the dishes to rinse themselves, and certainly a wise discipline is to rinse the dirty dish…immediately. Why? Because the longer you wait, the harder it will be.

Ephesians 4, starting with verse 26, reads, “In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the Devil a foothold.” Well, there’s a biblical clock here on strained relationships/friendships, just like there is on letting dirty dishes sit untouched. The longer you wait to clean it up, the harder it is to clean it up. Our conflict in relationships/friendships are like that too. That’s why it’s wise not to allow things to sit, settle and fester. Remember, according to the Bible, we have a clock on our discord, and that clock runs out at sundown every day! In other words, we really shouldn’t be hanging on to our anger after the end of the day.

That reminds me a lot of those old Western movies my dad used to love to watch. If you’ve ever seen them, you will know the famous line all the marshal’s use, “You better be out of here by sundown!” Well, that’s what we’re supposed to be saying to any anger, or resentment, bitterness or conflict that comes up in our relationships/friendships. “Get out of here by sundown!” There’s a good reason for this. You know those food remnants on dirty dishes which I was talking about? If you deal with them right away they’re soft and easy to remove; just kind of scrape them a little bit and they fall right off. But you know what happens if you wait with a dirty plate? The longer it sits dirty, the harder it is to get clean!

Makes me wonder if that’s where we coined the term, “hard feelings“? Because our unresolved hurt is just as hard as the non-rinsed dishes! And sadly enough, that’s when the Devil gets an opportunity to enter a marriage, or a parent-child relationship, or a friendship, or a church, business, school or workplace.

In conducting various marriage counseling sessions, I’ve discovered that at the core of most every marriage breakup there was an issue that once was small, but it wasn’t dealt with when it was small. That’s why it’s so hard to mend marriages, because problems are never dealt with when they occur. They’re not dealt with until what was delayed has now become a damage beyond repair. Which is also why it’s so hard to keep to the current issue, because couples have left so many “small” issues ignored, that now that there’s a problem that happened in January of this year, it can’t be resolved because so much time and energy is still focused on the arguments from January 2003!

In addition, at the core of broken parent-child relationships or a hurting friendship, or a divided church, there are also people who didn’t clean up their anger when it first appeared; when it was still small, when it was still manageable, when it was relatively soft. And now it’s led to a terrible hardening outcome. And the truth is, we can’t blame the devil. The Scripture tells us not to give him a “foothold”, but a foothold is just enough space for a person to put their foot in the door. But, who opened the door? The devil couldn’t get his foot in if you didn’t open the door and grant him access. And how do you grant him foothold access? By sending your anger to answer the door!

“Be angry [at sin—at immorality, at injustice, at ungodly behavior], yet do not sin; do not let your anger [cause you shame, nor allow it to] last until the sun goes down. AND DO NOT GIVE THE DEVIL AN OPPORTUNITY [TO LEAD YOU INTO SIN BY HOLDING A GRUDGE, OR NURTURING ANGER, OR HARBORING RESENTMENT, OR CULTIVATING BITTERNESS].” (AMP).

“…DO NOT GIVE THE DEVIL AN OPPORTUNITY…” And what’s an “opportunity”? It’s defined as “a favorable time or set of circumstances for doing something; a career opening offered; a chance for promotion; a situation or condition favorable for attainment of a goal; a good position, chance, or prospect, as for advancement or success.” And all of that is the Opportunity you allow your grudge, anger, resentment and bitterness to grant to the devil. So when he gets a “foothold” in your relationships, friendships, marriage, children, church, business, workplace, remember who opened the door and invited him in as their special guest…yep, you guessed it…YOU! You made the circumstances favorable for him, you hired him and gave him a career and promotion to destroy your life and loved ones, you helped him attain his goal of disruption, discord and destruction, you placed him in a good position, you were his great prospect, you helped advance his attack and gain success. Yes, YOU and the emotions you sent to answer the door of your relationships/friendships! This my friend is not one of those times when you can say, “the devil made me do it.No, YOU did it, all on your own! As parents, those are things we like to call Responsibility and Accountability. And if the devil has gotten a foothold into your relationships/friendships, you set out the welcome mat for him to step on. You are held accountable because it was your responsibility to make sure it didn’t happen!

Listen to the Scripture again, “Be angry [at sin—at immorality, at injustice, at ungodly behavior], yet do not sin; do not let your anger [cause you shame, nor allow it to] last until the sun goes down. AND DO NOT GIVE THE DEVIL AN OPPORTUNITY [TO LEAD YOU INTO SIN BY HOLDING A GRUDGE, OR NURTURING ANGER, OR HARBORING RESENTMENT, OR CULTIVATING BITTERNESS].” (AMP). One, small 3-letter word is key, “…LET…” defined as “to allow someone to have the use of” You were not supposed to give the devil a foothold but you did, even though the Scripture commanded you, “…DO NOT LET YOUR ANGER…” Did you catch that? “…YOUR…” All of this is YOUR Responsibility! You are not to give the devil room to be allowed to use your anger against you and your relationships/friendships. You are held accountable for allowing the devil to have opportunity! And how did you do that? Pay attention to the Scripture:

“…HOLDING A GRUDGE…”; “…NURTURING ANGER…”; “…HARBORING RESENTMENT…”; “…CULTIVATING BITTERNESS…” You know, for this to be “the devil’s” fault, as many will use as their excuse, YOU sure are doing quite a bit in this text to help him don’t you think?

How about we take a look at the part you play…

“Holding” – is defined as “to grasp, carry, support, keep, have in one’s possession, contain, cause to stay, remain tightly secured

“Nurturing” – is defined as “to rear and encourage the development of; to feed and cherish

“Harbor” – is defined as “to keep (a thought or feeling) secretly in one’s mind; to give refuge, shelter or protection to

“Cultivate” – is defined as “to prepare and use; raise and grow; to maintain; to acquire and develop

This is how well you take care of your Grudge, Anger, Resentment and Bitterness! Do you know this is better care and treatment than some spouses and children receive! All of the emotions that are opening the door for the devil’s foothold into your relationships/friendships are being Held, Nurtured, Harbored and Cultivated…BY YOU! Do You Know What You’ve Deliberately Decided to Do With Your Grudge, Anger, Resentment and Bitterness, according to the above definitions? You’ve purposely grasped it, carry, support and keep it, you have possession of it, you keep it contained and you cause it to stay by allowing it to be held onto tightly and secure. You’re rearing it up like a child and encouraging its development by feeding and cherishing it. You’re dwelling on it secretly in your thoughts and feelings and it means so much to you that you’ve even provided it with refuge, shelter and protection. You are even preparing it for use as you raise and grow it, maintain, acquire and develop it, because you have absolutely no intentions on letting any of it go! And that’s why the devil has been able to repeatedly enjoy a sweatless-victory over your relationships/friendships. With the loving way you hold your grudges, nurture your anger, harbor your resentment and cultivate your bitterness, what exactly is there left for him to do?

Maybe there’s a strained relationship in your life right now. Could that be why God wanted us talking about this today? Well, if that should be the case, there have been far too many sunsets, too many bad feelings you let hang on! Please understand, it will never be smaller than it is today. I know that it’s bigger than it used to be, but this is the smallest it’s ever going to be. It will never be easier to address that conflict, that resentment, that anger than it is right now, no matter how hard that might seem. It’s only going to get harder the longer you let it sit there untouched and unaddressed. It will only get more costly because you’re going to lose relationships, friendships, trust, support, and even love.

Now, I know we live in a day and age of the “church”, where everybody will tell you, “just let them go, drop ‘em, leave ‘em, forget about ‘em”, however, I do not believe that this is the Conduct of Christians. And before you go down your long, never-ending, laundry list of all the dirt, soil and filth of what they did, that is so absolutely unforgivable, might I remind you, you’re not as clean as you think.

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)

That’s Right, “…FOR NOT SO LONG AGO YOU WERE ON THAT LIST…” You may not have done what they did, but I assure you, you did something! We all did…we all do! So before you go grabbing knives, scissors and saws, to sever relationships/friendships, remember that the Lord forgave you, pardoned you, gave you another chance… “…NOT SO LONG AGO…” And before you go pointing fingers like Adam, “it was the spouse you gave me; it was the children you gave me; it was the friend you gave me…it was the church you gave me…”, make sure that the split didn’t happen with the ax you’re holding!

I always find it amusing and sad that people will quicker redeem cans and coupons, than they will redeem people, relationships, friendships, and even marriages…It’s sad that we possess the Fruit of the Spirit, yet our Flesh has caused it to Rot.

Listen, I by no means am saying that those of you with “justifiable hurt and legitimate pain” should not be angry. Even the Scripture doesn’t say that, “GO AHEAD AND BE ANGRY. YOU DO WELL TO BE ANGRY…” (MSG) The Bible does not tell us to hide, mask, camouflage, or pretend with our feelings and emotions. We’re never asked to lie about the level of hurt we’ve experienced. However, we cannot take Part of the Scripture, we must embrace it Whole, and the rest reads, “…BUT DON’T USE YOUR ANGER AS FUEL FOR REVENGE. AND DON’T STAY ANGRY. DON’T GO TO BED ANGRY. DON’T GIVE THE DEVIL THAT KIND OF FOOTHOLD IN YOUR LIFE.” (MSG)

Get Angry, Deal With it in a Healthy Manner, Then Let It Go Before Sundown!

Listen to the Bible, “…DON’T USE YOUR ANGER AS FUEL…” And for a lot of us, that’s exactly what we’re doing, using our anger as fuel. And one of the definitions of “fuel” is “to supply or give power to.” That’s why it keeps going, that’s why that issue never stops, because you keep refueling it, day-by-day, never dealing with it, never addressing it, never resolving it, and never letting it go. Well, today, I was sent to you for the sole purpose of taking your discord out of delay mode, and shifting it to deal with it mode instead!

The word “delay” is defined as “to put off to a later time; defer; postpone; to impede the process or progress of; to put off action; to retard or hinder.” The key word however, is “impede”. It means “to delay or block the progress or action of.” But its Latin Origin “impedire” means ‘shackle the feet of’. How dangerous to have the devil’s foot free, but yours shackled! While you’re doing nothing, he’s able to move around freely all through your house, marriage, family, relationships, friendships and churches and cause havoc everywhere!

Think about it, do you really want to lose that family member; that relationship, that friendship? As much as its meant? As long as it’s been? With all the good times and memories, are you really willing to sit shackled on the sidelines while the devil steps all over everything and everyone you love? Have you forgotten their value, their worth, their importance?

Let no one tell you that anyone is beyond restoration. Not even Jesus felt that way. And He had good reason to kick quite a few folks to the curb, but He didn’t…Judas betrayed Him (but He didn’t discard him); Peter denied Him (but He didn’t discard him); Thomas doubted Him (but He didn’t discard him); and in the end, they all left but John, and still He didn’t discard them, in fact, He gave up His life still. Can you imagine hanging on a cross, dying yourself, between 2 thieves, knowing full well that they are guilty as sin, and yet one calls out to Him, and He still answers. Don’t discard your loved ones. One day they will be on the other side of dirt, and by then it will be too late to wish you would have dealt with what you delayed.

Church, we are still called to the Ministry of Reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:16-20, “Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don’t look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that ANYONE UNITED WITH THE MESSIAH GET’S A FRESH START, IS CREATED NEW. THE OLD LIFE IS GONE; A NEW LIFE BURGEONS! Look at it! All this comes from the God WHO SETTLED THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN US AND HIM, AND THEN CALLED US TO SETTLE OUR RELATIONSHIPS WITH EACH OTHER. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world A FRESH START by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to DROP THEIR DIFFERENCES and enter into God’s work of MAKING THINGS RIGHT BETWEEN THEM. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you.” (MSG)

All of this God did for us, so we could do the very same for others. Don’t Ruin What Simply Needs Repairing! They Can Be Redeemed, They Can Be Restored, They Can Be Renewed, and You Both Can Be Reconciled! Don’t give up and give in so quickly. Just think where we’d all be if Jesus threw in the towel every time we messed up our relationship/friendship with Him!

Today is always your best opportunity to go to that person and do whatever it takes to repair things. Apologize if you need to, confront if you need to, pray together, talk it through. You just can’t afford the hard spot in your heart that develops from anger that you stuff inside and let sit and settle. Anger never stays the same size. Bitterness never stays the same size. It always grows, just like sin! James 1:13-15, “Don’t let anyone under pressure to give in to evil say, “God is trying to trip me up.” God is impervious to evil, and puts evil in no one’s way. The temptation to give in to evil comes from us and only us. We have no one to blame but the leering, seducing flare-up of our own lust. Lust gets pregnant, and has a baby: sin! SIN GROWS UP TO ADULTHOOD, AND BECOMES A REAL KILLER.” (MSG) You can’t afford for the sin of bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness to grow! Neither can you allow anger, even when it’s justified, to grow! Because all you will be doing is helping the devil accomplish his goal, letting those things grow until they become a “…Real Killer” to you, your relationships, friendships, marriages, families, jobs and churches.

Remember the ‘dish-rinse’ philosophy, there’s nothing to gain in waiting! The longer you wait, the harder it gets! Today is a great day for a new start. So, call them, email them, text them, write them, visit them. Whatever it takes for however long it takes, put the work in and rebuild your relationship ruins! It can be done, it will be done. No More Delays…Today…DEAL WITH IT…before the sun goes down!

Luke 17:3-4, “Be alert. If you see your friend going wrong, correct him. If he responds, forgive him. Even if it’s personal against you and repeated seven times through the day, and seven times he says, ‘I’m sorry, I won’t do it again,’ forgive him.” (MSG)

Matthew 18:21-22, “At that point Peter got up the nerve to ask, “Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?” Jesus replied, “Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven.” (MSG)

Much Love, Dr. Shermaine #EnjoyTheRead #BeInspired #BeEncouraged #BeEmpowered #BeChallenged #ShareTheWordFeel free to also join us at: http://www.selfcarewithdrshermaine.blogspot.com Today’s Lesson: “Foods to Help Lower LDL (‘Bad’) Cholesterol”

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“Release Those Bags”

Pastor Sheila shared the following with me: “When my airplane flight is over, it’s not really over. You see, there’s that closing chapter of a trip that you get to spend at baggage claim. At my home airport they have these big carousels where suitcases are dumped out and where they circle until their owners claim them. Now, my bags seem to have a knack for waiting until almost all the other bags are out, for some reason. So I just keep watching those suitcases of all shapes and sizes and conditions appear, and waiting for one I like – no, no, no. I mean, one I recognize! Moving on…I happened to notice there’s always “phantom bags” there as well. They just keep circling and circling and circling. And since the luggage carousel is all I really have to look at, the show gets pretty boring, pretty fast! Hours later you’re still saying yep, there goes that SAME BAGGAGE…AGAIN!”

Keep That Story In Mind!

Probably the most curious question Jesus ever asked is found in John 5:3-9. There was a pool where people went out to get their diseases healed and it says, “Here there was a great number of people and they used to lie there, the blind, the lame, the paralyzed, and there was one who had been an invalid for 38 YEARS. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that HE HAD BEEN IN THIS CONDITION FOR A LONG TIME he asked him, ‘Do you want to get well?’ ‘Well sir,’ the invalid replied, ‘I have no one to help me to get into the pool when the water is stirred.’That’s when the healing time was. “While I’m trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.’ Then Jesus said, ‘Get up, pick up your mat and walk.’ At once the man was cured, picked up his mat and he walked.” 

Now, this man has been a victim of paralysis for 38 YEARS and yet Jesus asks him,Do you want to get well?But why ask this question? 

Well, let’s stop for a moment and consider the condition that YOU are in right now. Something that fits the Biblical description that’s given here might read over your current situation the same way: “…In this condition for a long time…” Maybe it’s the pain or the memory of some past hurt or past abuse or past betrayal. It’s haunted you; it’s even held you back for a long time. Or, it could be that you’ve carried feelings of worthlessness for a long time, and they’ve caused you to make some very hurtful choices. It may be some enslaving sin that’s held you down for a long time, but like this man at the healing pool, you’ve been in some way emotionally, or spiritually, or relationally, or mentally paralyzed for a long time. And then along comes Jesus with this strange questionthe one that comes before the healing, “…Do you want to get well?…” Or to put it in airport terms, “Are you finally tired of watching the same old baggage go by again and again?

In a way, those memories and those resentments, those no good feelings, those sins, they are the BAGGAGE in your life and they just keep replaying and replaying and causing more frustration and more damage! 

Why does Jesus ask us if we want to get well? BECAUSE SOMETIMES WE’RE AFRAID TO CHANGE!

We’ve gotten used to playing the victim role! We’ve settled into an identity that revolves around that SAME OLD BAGGAGE! 

Notice the man didn’t just say “Yes.” He responded with a “nobody cares complaint” A “woe is me” whine. Because he’s gotten used to being the guy with the problem, he was stuck in his victim identity, but Jesus acts miraculously and that man walks away carrying what had been carrying him for 38 years! 

And just as Jesus did for him, He wants to do the very same for you! And yes, He’s still got the power to do it! He wants to help you put the pain and paralysis of the past once and for all behind you ONCE AND FOR ALL! To take away the victim card and to replace it with one that says, More than conquerors through Him who loved us.He wants to help you make today the day that you wrap up the past and put it in a book called Volume 1, and leave it on the shelf forever! Today is the beginning of Volume 2, one in which you release the hurt through forgiving the hurter (that’s my word…I’m certain “hurter” is not in the dictionary), you release the sin through aggressive repentance, and you release the worthless feelings by living like the masterpiece God created you to be! That all happens when you come to the cross of Jesus and say,Jesus, I’m Yours. You died to free me from all of this, and today I’m determined to be free!Today is your day to finally do something DIFFERENT and get rid of that SAME OLD BAGGAGE! 

No more standing there watching it go around and around again! You’ve watched it throughout your teens, your twenties, your thirties, your forties, your fifties, and now you’re approaching the 65 mark, a time when you can retire from work, and Yet, you have yet to retire from looking at this same old baggage!

Whatever he did, whatever she said, LET THE BAGGAGE GO! Forget about how many times they’ve under-estimated you and overlooked you! LET THE BAGGAGE GO! Yes they betrayed you, yes they lied on you, yes they deserted you, BUT NOW IS THE TIME TO LET THE BAGGAGE GO! Mama didn’t support you, and dad didn’t understand you, I get it, BUT NOW IS THE TIME TO LET THE BAGGAGE GO! He vowed to love you till death do you part, and then Diane stepped in the picture, and ten years of marriage just went down the drain. Your anger is Justified, BUT FOR YOUR OWN SANITY AND PEACE OF SOUND MIND, LET THE BAGGAGE GO! She took your kids and the court helped her! Your hurt is Justified, BUT FOR YOUR OWN GOOD NIGHTS SLEEP, AND THE REGULATION OF YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE, LET THE BAGGAGE GO! They laid you off, they fired you, they wouldn’t hire you, OK, BUT LET THE BAGGAGE GO! Whatever happened 20 days, 20 weeks, 20 months, or 20 years ago! LET THE BAGGAGE GO!

Think of it this way: Airplanes are taking off and flying to some of the most beautiful places on earth! You have your ticket in hand and all you have to do is leave the carousel and board the plane! But You Can’t! And You Miss Out All Because You Have Become Accustomed to Watching the Same Baggage Go Around and Around! Never Claimed! Never Picked Up! Just Circling Around and Around! Meanwhile, Paris just passed you by, Rome went on the road without you, London left you, Hawaii left you high and dry, and Aruba abandoned you! All Because You Were Watching the Same Old Baggage Go Around In Circles That Has Been Going Around In Circles For The Last 38 YEARS! 

People of God, enough is enough! Free Yourself and Free Your Future! Great Things Are Awaiting You As Soon As You Stop Waiting Around the Same Old Baggage Carousel! 

In fact, Go Shopping and Buy You A New Set of Luggage! One that No One Has Put Anything Into and Pack It Yourself With Only The Things You Will Need When You Arrive to Your Destined Place In God! 

In honesty, YOU may not be tired of looking at YOUR SAME OLD BAGGAGE yet, but remember there are OTHER PEOPLE at the Baggage Carousel who have been Watching Your Baggage Too! And believe it or not, but as much as your girlfriends and sister-girls and your boys and brothers, love you, WE ARE ALL TIRED OF LOOKING AT YOUR SAME OLD BAGGAGE RESURFACE AGAIN AND AGAIN! So if you won’t do it for YOU, at least be kind enough to do it for US! We’ve been sparing your feelings, but girl/boy, truth is: We really don’t want to hear about Hank and Helen, talk about Tony and Tanisha, fight about Frank and Francine, cry over Chris and Christine or leave Larry and Lorraine….AGAIN!

So what she bought the same dress you bought, so what he didn’t help you, support you, feed you, encourage you, pay for you, stay with you, love you etc…LET IT GO! PACK UP AND SHIP IT OUT! YESTERDAY HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH TOMORROW SO TODAY GET YOURSELF TOGETHER! My brothers and sisters, It’s a New Day, a New Season, and almost a New Year! So buy some New Luggage and Enjoy a New Life!

Now, I know this is gonna sound real harsh but whoever and whatever hurt you, cry you a river, build you a bridge and get over it!

After 38 years of the same old baggage, this is about as sensitive as I intend to get. Tough love is still unconditional love! Listen, it took that man 38 years to get rid of his same old baggage! And not because it couldn’t happen sooner, but because HE DID NOTHING TO MAKE IT HAPPEN SOONER, BUT WAITED FOR OTHERS TO DO IT FOR HIM!

Folks, your Future Is at Stake! Do you really want to spend all of your Present Mad about Your Past?!

Truth is, Behavior like that Distorts Your Perspective and Stops You From Pursuing, Persevering and Possessing Your Promise! Do You Really Want That To Be the Inscription On Your Tombstone?! At the end of your journey do you really want it said that she did nothing because she never got past what was done to her?!

Think about it: Another 2 more years and he would be no better than the Israelites with a 40 year unfruitful journey…and not because of what OTHERS did, but because of their OWN behavior! Yes I said it, stop blaming other folks for your misery! 

Even if they caused it! Pay attention, “Caused” it is past tense! Therefore, Whatever he did, she did, they did, IT’S DONE AND OVER WITH, AND YOU NEED TO BE TOO! If you’re still crying, still depressed, still angry, still stuck…IT’S NOT BECAUSE OF THEM…IT’S BECAUSE OF YOU! Listen, Jesus said do YOU want to be well? The man responds with THEY won’t…In other words, WHO CARES WHAT THEY WON’T DO! NOBODY IS RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR HAPPINESS, YOUR PEACE, YOUR JOY, YOUR LIFE…BUT YOU AND JESUS! Stop waiting for them to say I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it, I wish I could take it back, if I had another chance I would…If I could do things all over again…SUCH TALK IS FUTILE! YOU DON’T NEED ANYBODY TO RECTIFY ANYTHING…YOU SIMPLY NEED TO MOVE ON! 

So, put on your bikinis and hop YOURSELF in the pool! YOU’VE WASTED ENOUGH TIME ON THEM…FOCUS ON YOU GETTING YOU BETTER…AND GETTING BETTER…MINUS THE BAGGAGE!

Now, I know this sounds real rough, but I’m not telling or teaching you from what I’ve read or studied, but from what I’ve had to learn from experience and apply to my own life! You see, if I was still holding on to what the rapist did in 1988, I would have wasted 3 decades of watching the same old baggage over and over again, instead of enjoying my daughter who was the product of that rape, enjoy life and be smart and successful. A daughter who became a salutatorian in high school; on the dean’s list in college and become a phenomenal paralegal at an awesome law firm! If I allowed myself to get stuck in the ‘why me’ mindset from years of enduring domestic abuse, I would have wasted all the years since where I’ve trained to be a domestic violence counselor to help other women get out, long before I did! If I still cried over every drink I’ve had, I would not be able to be someone else’s sponsor today. If I stayed depressed over the 3 failed suicide attempts in my past, I wouldn’t be so excited that I’ve made it to 48 years of life; married 20 years; raise 6 adult children and love 6 grandchildren! Are you hearing me?

You can’t get stuck in your past if you intend to be productive in your present and fruitful in your future! People of God, don’t live stuck, don’t die stuck!

Here’s something else to consider: People stand around that baggage carousel watching for their baggage because they know what their baggage looks like. You’ve spent enough years looking at your baggage go around and around. Today, claim it. You know it’s yours. And you know what’s in it, because you were responsible for packing it! Everything in that bag is left up to you to claim and unload! Like I said, you packed it, you know what’s in it. Now it’s time to stop making excuses for what’s in there; stop blaming others for what’s in their; stop complaining about what’s in there. Instead, claim it, open it up, and start getting rid of stuff one article at a time! You will not grab your luggage and dump everything out in the nearest garbage. If that were true, it would not have taken 38 YEARS TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT SOMETHING THAT COULD’VE TAKEN 38 MINUTES OR 38 SECONDS! It will take you time to unpack and unload. But you have to start somewhere. Acknowledge the hurt, the pain, the choices, the consequences, the mistakes, the deliberate and willful acts of abuse. Take your life in your own hands and finally make yourself personally accountable for getting better!

No more circles, no more cycles, no more generational curses, no more carousels!

Change begins FOR you, WITH you, BY you!

Today is the day you unload all the baggage from your past; from your former church; from your last marriage/relationship/friendship; from your last loss; from old habits and addictions; from family issues; from job issues! All of it has to go, and you are the one who is responsible for getting rid of it!

Listen, it’s time for you to soar, and the only way that will happen is if you lighten the load you’re carrying. Stop allowing the weight of the past to weigh down your wings! There is a destiny waiting for you, but you’ll never arrive until you unpack, unload, and get over all that’s behind you, because IT’S BEHIND YOU! What’s coming is better than what’s been, but you have to embrace that!

Yes, You Have to Participate In Your Own Healing and Deliverance!

Lastly, “Bon Voyage” is a French expression and it means: “Bon” (meaning “Good”) and “Voyage” (meaning “Journey”). It’s used to express farewell and good wishes to a departing traveler! Well saints, today is your day to bid a big “Bon Voyage” to Your Past With All Its Baggage! Wish Your Past Goodbye and You and Your Present Enjoy a “Good Journey” Into a Joy-Filled Future!

TODAY IS YOUR DAY TO FINALLY RELEASE ALL YOUR BAGGAGE!

Carry Luggage Into Your Future as You Soar to Your Destiny; Not the Baggage of the Past That Will Keep Your Flight Too Weighed Down to Take Off!

“If you pick something up, and it feels too heavy, it isn’t meant for you to carry.” (Author Unknown)

“Keeping baggage from the past will leave no room for happiness in the future.” (Wayne L. Misner)

“The mountains that you’re carrying, you were only meant to climb.” (Author Unknown)

“The journey is inevitable, baggage is optional.” (Author Unknown)

“Letting go of the baggage we carry with us, whether emotional, physical, or mental, is absolutely necessary so we can move forward with our own lives. Let it GO!” (Author Unknown)


“We all have baggage, but there comes a time when you realize it’s time to unpack.” (Author Unknown)

“How many of us walk around being weighed down by the baggage of our journey? You can’t possibly embrace that new relationship, that new companion, that new career, that new friendship, or that new life you want while you’re still holding on to the baggage of the last one. Let Go! And allow yourself to embrace what is waiting for you right at your feet.” (Dr. Steve Maraboli)

“Excess baggage is a symptom of something we are missing on the inside – a fear that we won’t be accepted for what we are, as if ourselves are not enough. We bring too much of our past experience, the clutter of our emotions. These things get in the way and keep us from getting close to others. Then we are left with the task of having to find someone else to carry it, whether it is our luggage or our loneliness.” (Mary Morris)

“You can check your emotional baggage at the curb and aspire to become the gentle warrior or you can carry it on and continue to be the wounded soul.” (David Rappo)

“Don’t let the baggage of your past failures, affect your identity or self-esteem. You are NOT what you did, or how you acted previously. You’re the author of your future; you control your destiny.” (Author Unknown)

“Enjoy life by limiting your emotional baggage to a small carry on.” (Tim Fargo)

“Don’t bring the baggage from your ex-relationship into your next relationship, unless you want it to be a short trip!” (Author Unknown)

“Oh what we could be if we stopped carrying the remains of who we were.” (Tyler Knott Gregson)

“If we throw out the guilt and shame and disappointment we’ve been dragging with us, we will be free to pursue those things that were hidden in the baggage.” (Sharon Hughes)

Much Love, Dr. Shermaine #EnjoyTheRead #BeInspired #BeEncouraged #BeEmpowered #BeChallenged #ShareTheWordFeel free to also join us at: http://www.selfcarewithdrshermaine.blogspot.com Today’s Lesson: “20 Things You Shouldn’t Do Before Bed”

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