“Leadership Must Be TESTED, Not Just TITLED!”

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“TEST ME, O Lord…Examine my heart and my mind.” (Psalm 26:2)               

Tests are Designed to Reveal and Validate What You’ve Learned. Therefore, Until You’ve Been Tested, You Really Don’t Know What You Know—and More Importantly, WHAT YOU DON’T! Tests are Opportunities to Prove Your Growth, Maturity, Obedience, Discipline, Faithfulness and Potential!

So remember the following in times of TESTING: 

1…YOU’LL EXPERIENCE TESTS AT EACH STAGE OF YOUR GROWTH: Just like children in school, they don’t get to take an ELEMENTARY EXAM, pass, go to JUNIOR HIGH and say, “I took a test in 6th grade, I don’t need to take this one!” NO! AT EACH STAGE A TEST, THAT FITS THAT STAGE AND PREPARES YOU FOR THE NEXT, HAS TO BE TAKEN AND PASSED, IF YOU’RE GOING TO BE PROMOTED AND ELEVATED…DESERVINGLY! In a Nutshell: You Can’t Prepare For College, Based Off a 6th Grade Exam, Even If You Passed it at the Top of Your Class! It Still Doesn’t Count! Likewise the Test You Passed as a Minister Doesn’t Qualify You for Eldership. Nor does the Test You Passed as an Elder Qualify You For Pastoralship! Neither Does Your Physical, Mental, Emotional, Financial, Psychological, Social or Spiritual Tests That You Passed In 1990 Mean Anything in 2020! So, Stop Whining and Crying, and Instead Buckle Down and Prepare to Pass Your Test Knowing that Tests Are Only Given When There’s Potential Proof that You’ve Outgrown Your Current Placement!

2…YOUR GOAL SHOULD ALWAYS BE TO PASS THE TEST, OTHERWISE, YOU GET TO TAKE IT REPETITIVELY UNTIL YOU DO: You Do Not Get the Opportunity to Fail Your Test and Pass On to the Next Level Anyhow…(Despite What You See In Our Public School Systems and Church Leadership Today)! Now, if You Fail It’s Alright, Because if the Truth Be Told, We Have ALL Failed on One Test or Another! HOWEVER, As Soon As You Fail, At Least Be Smart Enough to HIT THE BOOKS AGAIN (the Word of God), MEET WITH YOUR TUTOR (the Holy Spirit), STUDY (2 Timothy 2:15), and then Reschedule to Take Your Test AGAIN! You may Fall Down, but Each Time You Get Back Up, POINTS ARE ADDED TO YOUR GRADE! YES, YOU GET BONUS POINTS FOR GETTING BACK UP! Extra Work Earns Extra Credit! Bottom line, You Don’t Get to Go to the Next Level, Without Passing What You’ve Failed! And if you are in the UNFORTUNATE position of being under a LEADER who will pass you anyway (based on how you treat them, your attendance, your gifts, charisma, tithes and offering etc…), HAVE ENOUGH SENSE TO NOT ALLOW IT! IN THE END, YOU WILL ONLY SET YOURSELF UP FOR A FOOLISH AND FATAL HARD FALL! Think about it: Would you allow someone to pass you to Advanced Algebra WHILE YOU’RE STILL TRYING TO FIGURE OUT THE TIME TABLE CHART IN THE BACK OF YOUR COMPOSITION NOTEBOOK!? NO! WHY? BECAUSE YOU’LL ONLY FAIL, AND LOOK FOOLISH WHILE DOING IT! LIKEWISE, MAKE SURE YOU ARE IN THE RIGHT GRADE, TAKING AND PASSING THE RIGHT TESTS, AT THE RIGHT TIME! DON’T BE QUICK TO MOVE UNTIL YOU’RE QUALIFIED!

3…TESTING ALWAYS PRECEDES PROMOTION: Actually, it PREPARES You For It and PROVES You’re Ready to Handle It! If You Cheat, or Try to Copy Somebody Else’s Answers, You May Temporarily Seem to Succeed. But Eventually Time and Circumstances Will Reveal You For What You AreWhich Is Someone Who Can’t Handle What They Manipulated Their Way Into Getting! Here’s Biblical Proof: “Seven sons of Sceva, a leading priest, were doing this. But one time when they tried it, the evil spirit replied, “I know Jesus, and I know Paul, but Who Are You?” Then the man with the evil spirit Leaped On Them, Overpowered Them, and Attacked Them With Such Violence that They Fled From the House, Naked and Battered.” (Acts 19:14-16 NLT). People of God, Pass Your Test Before Attempting to Pass Out Ministry Cards! If Not, You’ll Quickly Find Yourself Being the “Eighth Son of Sceva!”

4…SELF-PROMOTION CAN NEVER REPLACE DIVINE PROMOTION: So, Don’t Attempt to Rush Ahead of God’s Plans; Wait and Allow Him to Open the Door In the Right Season! Look at it this way: Even after a child passes their exam, all their paperwork has to be Looked Over, Graded and Accounted For! What They’ve Done Throughout the Year Has to Be Reviewed. What were All of Their Test Scores? How did they handle Their Projects? Were they Late? How many times were they Absent? How well did they work with their classmates? Likewise, God Will Examine and Evaluate Your FULL FILE, to Determine Whether or Not You’re Ready for the Next Level. And just because you passed ‘A’ Test, Don’t Mean You’re Ready to Pass the ‘GRADE’! “But God hasn’t moved to the mountains; his holy address hasn’t changed. He’s in charge, as always, his eyes taking everything in, his eyelids Unblinking, Examining Adam’s Unruly Brood Inside and Out, Not Missing a Thing. He Tests the Good and the Bad Alike; If Anyone Cheats, God’s Outraged. Fail the Test and You’re Out, Out in a Hail of Firestones, Drinking From a Canteen Filled With Hot Desert Wind.” (Psalm 11:4-6 MSG). Saints, God Will Exam You Inside and Out, Test You, Watch If You Cheat and Give You the Boot if You Fail!  You May Impress People, But God On The Other Hand Is Not Impressed At All! Therefore, Don’t Get Caught Up In the “Laying On of MAN’S Hands”! It Means Nothing Compared to the Laying On of GOD’S HANDS AND HIS COMMISSIONING!

5…A PRODUCT CANNOT BE SAFELY AND PROFITABLY USED, UNTIL IT’S BEEN THOROUGHLY TESTED, AND NEITHER CAN YOU! God’s Not a Hard-Hearted Parent Who Enjoys Seeing His Children Struggle Through Life’s Tests. If He were to visit you in person, He’d probably say: “I don’t enjoy making you go through this, but it’s the only way to prove you’re ready for what’s ahead. Before I can use you greatly—I must test you thoroughly!” Here’s a tip for your next test – Generally, God’s Tests for Elevation are Based On Your CHARACTER! And like any Good Actor in a stage play, Your Job is toSTAY IN CHARACTER!” Regardless of what anyone else does, FOLLOW GOD’S SCRIPT FOR YOUR LIFE! I understand everybody’s becoming a Pastor, Bishop, Apostle, Overseer, Prophet, etc…OVERNIGHT WITHOUT QUALIFICATION, CREDENTIALS, CALLING OR CHARACTER…HOWEVER, DON’T YOU DO IT!…These were Asher’s sons, all of them Responsible, Excellent in CHARACTER, and Brave in Battle—Good Leaders…” (1 Chronicles 7:33-40 MSG); “Be Wary of False Preachers who smile a lot, dripping with practiced sincerity. Chances are they are out to rip you off some way or other. Don’t Be Impressed With Charisma; Look For CHARACTER. Who Preachers Are Is The Main Thing, Not What They Say. A Genuine Leader Will Never Exploit Your Emotions or Your Pocketbook. These Diseased Trees with their bad apples are going to be chopped down and burned.” (Matthew 7:15-20 MSG); “There was a Man by the Name of Joseph, a member of the Jewish High Council, a Man of Good Heart and Good CHARACTER…” (Luke 23:50 MSG); “So don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with Good CHARACTER, Spiritual Understanding, Alert Discipline, Passionate Patience, Reverent Wonder, Warm Friendliness, and Generous Love, Each Dimension Fitting Into and Developing the Others. With these Qualities Active and Growing In Your Lives, No Grass Will Grow Under Your Feet, No Day Will Pass Without Its Reward As You Mature In Your Experience of Our Master Jesus. Without These Qualities You Can’t See What’s Right Before You, Oblivious That Your Old Sinful Life Has Been Wiped Off The Books.” (2 Peter 1:5-9 MSG). People of God, You Will Never Be Used Greatly, Until You’ve Been Tested Thoroughly! And Your Testing Will Be Largely On the Maintenance of Your CHARACTER! Therefore, Possess Good Character, and You Won’t Have To Pray God Grades On A Curve!

If You’re On the Verge of Elevation, then You should be Real Uncomfortable Right About Now! You should feel the Squeezing and the Pressures of Preparing for and Taking God’s Exam! Truth Is: Growth and Maturity Means there’s some Stretching and Expanding! In other words, things are Getting Bigger! Just like in the natural your feet and hands get larger, you get taller, your body develops those things that were once hidden, and brings them to the surface. Likewise, in the Spirit, when You’re Growing and Maturing, Your Faith is Stretched, Your Humility is Increased, Your Accountability is More Severe, Your Responsibility is Expanded, Your Prayers are More Fervent, Your Fasting Becomes More Frequent, Your Studies Become More In Depth. Growth, Maturity and Elevation Are Some Great, Big Blessings, However, They Do Not Come Easily or Comfortably! So, if You’re on the Verge of Elevation and the Weight is becoming Heavier, that’s a Pretty Good Sign that You’re on your way to an A+ On Your Test! On the Other Hand, if You’re on the Verge of Elevation, and All is Smooth Sailing, I’m No Guidance Counselor, but I’d Advise You to Keep All Your Books From this Current Grade! Why? Because I Got a Feeling You’re Going to Need ’em…Again!

“TEST ME, O Lord…Examine my heart and my mind.” (Psalm 26:2)

                 Let’s look at some of the TESTS God Uses to DEVELOP Us: 

1…THE TEST OF SMALL THINGS: This TEST comes when we’re asked to do something We Consider to be BENEATH OUR ABILITY AND POTENTIAL. It Proves how Faithful we are to Our Commitments. It also Reveals whether or not we’re Ready for Greater Responsibilities. Jesus said, “Whoever can be Trusted with VERY LITTLE can also be Trusted with VERY MUCH” (Luke 16:10). You Don’t get to Oversee Much Until You’re Willing to Undertake Little! In other words, if you can be an Elder and still clean the church bathroom, you can be trusted with More! If you can be the Women’s Ministry Director, and serve food at a women’s shelter, you can be trusted with More! If you can be the Chairman Deacon and still mop up a spill in the vestibule, you can be trusted with More! If you can be the Minister of Music, and play no different in front of 2 people than you would 2,000, you can be trusted with More! If you can be the Dean of the Christian Education Ministry and not get an attitude when asked to teach 3 four year olds a Sunday School lesson, you can be trusted with More! Are You Starting to Get the Picture? Can You See It Clearly? You Don’t Get Anything Big Until You Can Be Faithful Over the Small You’ve Already Been Given! If your Pastor was asked if you qualify for More, based off this little summary, would he/she give you a yes or a no? An A+ or an F-?

2…THE MOTIVE TEST: This TEST comes to us when we’re doing all the right things—BUT NOT NECESSARILY FOR ALL THE RIGHT REASONS! For example, it’s right to Pray. YET Jesus Warned: “When you Pray, DO NOT BE LIKE THE HYPOCRITES, FOR THEY LOVE…TO BE SEEN BY MEN(Matthew 6:5) That’s why we need the mirror of God’s Word: “For the Word of God is…able to JUDGE THE THOUGHTS AND INTENTIONS OF THE HEART.” (Hebrews 4:12) When you stand before Christ to be evaluated and rewarded, the question will Not only be, ‘WHAT did you do,’ but also, ‘WHY did you do it?’ A good question that Pastors should ask of their leaders a little more often than most do.

3…THE STEWARDSHIP TEST: Jesus said, “Give, and it will be given to you.” (Luke 6:38). Only when your Empty Hand is Open, can you Receive More From God. The Practice of Giving on a Regular Basis Prevents You from Being Owned By What You Own! Money is called Currency because it’s supposed to Flow Through You Into the Lives of Others! Abraham Was Blessed For the Sole Purpose To Be a Blessing! So Are You! When you Withhold out of Fear or Greed, you Limit what God Wants to Give You. So become a River (one that flows), Not a Reservoir (one that withholds)!

4…THE WILDERNESS TEST: This test comes when we feel Spiritually Dry and our joy level is Low. It Reveals Our Ability to Adapt to Adversity and Change, and as a Result, Enter a New level of Growth! It Proves We’re Able to Perform Even When Life and Ministry Aren’t Fun. “He led you through the vast and dreadful desert…To…TEST You So…In the End it Might Go Well With You.” (Deuteronomy 8:15-16). Remember: Short-term pain, Long-term gain! You Don’t Get to Inherit the Wealthy Place Until You Can Endure the Wilderness!

5…THE CREDIBILITY TEST: Nothing matters more than your Confidence Before God—and Your Credibility Before People! When Lot tried to rescue his sons-in-law from the destruction of Sodom: The Bible says, “He seemed as one that mocked.” (Genesis 19:14) As a result he Lost Credibility When it Mattered Most! Make Sure You Don’t! The Last thing You want is to tell people in a Burning Building where the Exit is, But They Don’t Believe You, So They Don’t Listen to You or Follow You! When You Lose Credibility, You Lose Lives!

6…THE AUTHORITY TEST: Before Paul took the Gospel to the Gentiles he First went to Jerusalem and Submitted His Plan to the Apostles, Asking For Their Blessing. There wasn’t a “Nobody is going to tell me what to doAttitude! When You Fail to Submit, You Forfeit Your Opportunity to Pass On to the Next Level! Look at it this way: God placed David under a Flawed Leader named Saul that wanted to Kill Him! Proving you can Learn As Much From the Mistakes of a Failure As You Can From the Achievement of a Success! Because David Submitted, He Qualified to Sit on Saul’s Throne! An Effective Follower Becomes an Effective Leader!

7…THE OFFENCE TEST: Jesus said, “Offences Will Come.” (Luke 17:1) So Be Ready! Those who Lead Always Take the Brunt of It! The Front Line is No Place for the Weak-Willed or Weak-Kneed! So, When Offences come are you going to: Get Mad and Get Nowhere; Get Even and Get in Trouble; Or Get Over It By Forgiving? “If you hold anything against anyone, Forgive Him, So…Your Father In Heaven May Forgive…Your Sins.” (Mark 11:25). If You Can’t Handle Offence You Can’t Handle the Opportunity of More!

8…THE WARFARE TEST: This test is for those who Claim to be Strong in Faith, but Prove to be Weak in Fight! “When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, Though that was Shorter. For God said, ‘If They Face War, They Might Change Their Minds and Return to Egypt.’” (Exodus 13:17). Now, you Haven’t been called to be Insensitive and Abrasive, But if Your Destiny Is Worth Pursuing—It’s Worth Fighting For! So, Toughen Up! It’s a Battlefield, Not a Bed of Roses! You must Engage the Enemy Daily Using Every Spiritual Weapon at Your Disposal! If Not, He’ll Steal, Kill and Destroy You! This test Demonstrates Your Ability to Continue in Your Vision, Even While Experiencing Disappointment and Opposition! So remember, the Level of Attack is the Best Indicator as to the Level of Blessing that Awaits You, Beyond It! Your Wealthy Place Is Just On The Other Side Of Your Warfare! Don’t Fail This Test! It Will Cost You Too Much!

9…THE TEST OF TIME: This test has Two Dimensions. One Reveals the Strength of Your Life’s Impact, the other Reveals the Length of It! Each Calls For Your Signature of Excellence On All that You Do. Listen: The electric light still burns even though Edison has left the building! The needy are still being cared for even though General Booth is in Heaven. Now, even if your Legacy Doesn’t Reach Those Heights, Your Influence Can Still Outlive You! The test of Time has a second dimension—An Eternal One. How You Live Your Life Today, Determines Your Rewards In Heaven. “Eventually there is going to be an Inspection. If you use cheap or inferior materials, you’ll be found out.” (1 Corinthians 3:12-13). Therefore, Live a Life and Lifestyle that Others Will Deem Worthy of Continuing as a Legacy, Far After Your Earthly Life Is Over!

10…THE LORDSHIP TEST: Simon Peter passed this test by Obeying a Command that Seemed to Make No Sense At All: Jesus said to him, “Pull out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.’ Simon answered, ‘Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But Because You Say So, I Will Let Down the Nets.When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break.” (Luke 5:4-6). First, Peter tried fishing Alone and Failed. Next, He Tried it With Jesus and Succeeded. Same Fisherman. Same Fish. Same Boat. Same Nets. What changed? He Was Willing to Do it God’s Way! If You want to Succeed, Talk to God, Listen to God—and Do What God Says

With 10 points per test, what does your grade look like so far? Note: If you’re going to Be Helped, you have to First Be Honest. So if you haven’t made 100% yet, you still have the Opportunity to do so. Just hit the books (Your Bible), meet daily with your tutor (The Holy Spirit), study diligently (2 Timothy 2:15), and retake the test! There’s a 100% Within Your Reach….Grasp It!

Church, don’t just walk around with Titles that have never been Tested! Make sure you’re proven and qualified. Don’t just go with the latest fad of adding on more Initials yet making no Impact. Maturity, Responsibility and Growth have to take place on your Current Level of Leadership before you attempt Skipping Steps that will eventually lead you to Demotion! Leadership is not an Entitlement, nor is it a Competition. Respect God’s Process of Testing, Time and Choice. It’s not about your Platform, but His Plan. Follow it to the letter, do not deviate! God does not need your help, and knows exactly what’s best for you! Trust Him to do what’s Right, so you won’t have to suffer being Left Back!

2 Timothy 2:15 (various translations)

“Study and do your best to present yourself to God approved, a workman [TESTED by trial] who has no reason to be ashamed, accurately handling and skillfully teaching the word of truth.” (AMP)

“Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (TESTED by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth.” (AMPC)

“Work hard so God can say to you, “Well done.” Be a good workman, one who does not need to be ashamed WHEN GOD EXAMINES YOUR WORK. Know what his Word says and means.” (TLB)

“People who are given whatever they want soon develop a sense of entitlement and rapidly lose their sense of proportion.” (Sarah Churchwell)

“What separates privilege from entitlement is gratitude.” (Brene Brown)

“Gratitude begins where my sense of entitlement ends.” (Steven Furtick)

“Entitlement is a delusion built on self-centeredness and laziness.” (Pinterest)

“Teach your children gratefulness. Do all you can to deliver them from our culture’s poisonous entitlement mentality.” (Randy Alcorn)

“Don’t feel entitled to anything you didn’t sweat and struggle for.” (Marian Wright Edelman)

“Service and gratitude will fuel your relationship; entitlement and expectation will poison it.” (Steve Maraboli)

“One of the consequences of such notions as ‘entitlements’ is that people who have contributed nothing to society feel that society owes them something, apparently just for being nice enough to grace us with their presence.” (Thomas Sowell)

“Having a sense of entitlement is upheld by the belief that WE are the center of the universe.” (Aletheia Luna)

“The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him people of conviction who will carry on.” (Walter J. Lippmann)

“Leadership is less about your credentials, creativity or charisma; and more about your credibility, compassion and character.” (Alex Ihama)

“God never uses anyone greatly until He tests them deeply.” (Aiden Wilson Tozer)

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

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“The Protocol of the Anointing”

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“…It’s like costly anointing oil FLOWING DOWN head and beard, FLOWING DOWN Aaron’s beard, FLOWING DOWN the collar of his priestly robes.” (Psalm 133:2 MSG)

A Well-Known Fact Is This: If People Can Lift You Up, They Can Also Very Well Let You Down! Remember That!

In April 1993, after Steve Morrow scored the goal that gave the Arsenal Football Club England’s Championship Cup, his teammates tossed him into the air in ritual celebration. BUT…they failed to catch him when he came down, and an embarrassed Morrow was carried off the field on a stretcher with a broken arm and an oxygen mask over his face! Can you imagine the feeling after such a great victory, to walk away looking more like the loser than the winner? And if that’s not bad enough, what’s worse is that it wasn’t those AGAINST him that hurt him, but it was those FOR him, those on his OWN TEAM!

The Psalmist writes: “How wonderful, how beautiful, when brothers and sisters get along! It’s like costly anointing oil FLOWING DOWN head and beard, FLOWING DOWN Aaron’s beard, FLOWING DOWN the collar of his priestly robes. It’s like the dew on Mount Hermon FLOWING DOWN the slopes of Zion. Yes, that’s where God commands the blessing, ordains eternal life.” (Psalm 133:1-3 MSG).

The Amplified Bible says it like this: “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment poured on the head, that RAN DOWN on the beard, even the beard of Aaron [the first high priest], that CAME DOWN upon the collar and skirts of his garments [consecrating the whole body]. It is like the dew of [lofty] Mount Hermon and the dew that comes on the hills of Zion; for there the Lord has commanded the blessing, even life forevermore [upon the high and the lowly].” (AMP).

I want us to take a look at a few vital lessons found here:

1…According to the Bible, the “COSTLY ANOINTING OIL” is tied directly to “how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in UNITY.” And yet, somehow the church still manages to fight and compete more over the “anointing/anointed” than they are willing to come together and work together on the same team for the same goal. Listen, you can’t tell me you’re anointed and yet you’re at odds with your brothers and sisters in Christ who are connected and fitly joined in the same One Body. The anointing is yoked to your unity, not disunity. So if you’re so “anointed” that you can’t get along with your brothers and sisters, perhaps you’re not necessarily “anointed”, just “oily.” Look at it like this: Pouring oil on raw chicken then serving it to others is unhealthy and deadly. Yet, pouring oil on the same raw chicken, however, placing it in the oven to thoroughly cook until it’s done and then serving it to others, feeds and nourishes them. The difference is one went through nothing, and the other went through a process. With that said, I’ve come to discover that some people are just “oily”, possessing no nutritional value whatsoever, and can be deadly in their words, actions and attitude, because they’ve endured no process. They just threw on some oil and assumed it was the same as the anointing. And yet you also have those who have more than just “oil”, because they’ve been processed. Which is why a lot of “oily” folks are immature; while processed “anointed” folks are mature. You see, they’ve learned to respect process; time; persistence; endurance; patience; and waiting. All things that the immature can’t handle. On the other hand, the maturity of the anointed knows that the key is dwelling and working together in unity with your brothers and sisters. Anything less, is just immature, oily folks who cause malnutrition to the Body of Christ. Which is why it’s so vital to remember: Ephesians 4:16, “From Him the WHOLE BODY [THE CHURCH, IN ALL ITS VARIOUS PARTS], JOINED AND KNITTED FIRMLY TOGETHER by what EVERY JOINT supplies, when EACH PART IS WORKING PROPERLY, CAUSES THE BODY TO GROW AND MATURE, BUILDING ITSELF UP IN [UNSELFISH] LOVE.” (AMP) The Costly Anointing Oil is Yoked to Unity in the Body of Christ;

2…According to the Bible, the “anointing oil” is “PRECIOUS”. It is not to be used as a tool of competition and comparison. It is to be treated as the precious, treasure that it is, not fruitless attempts to out-do, or be better than someone else. We’ve so grievously misused, and mishandled the anointing. But it was never given for the purpose of trying to out-shine anyone else. The anointing serves a purpose and that purpose is not a selfish tool used at your whim. “And it shall come to pass in that day, that his burden shall be taken away from off thy shoulder, and his yoke from off thy neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing.” (Isaiah 10:27). Does that sound like the anointing should be used in a common manner? Certainly not. Therefore, today, realize the purpose, plan and power of the anointing, and handle it as the precious oil that it is. It should never be handled haphazardly for it’s the necessity to the destruction of yokes! The word “precious” is defined as “having great value”. Its Latin Origin ‘pretiosus’, from ‘pretium’ literally means ‘price.’ The anointing is too costly to be utilized in such a cheap manner as to degrade it with competition and comparisons. Remember that the next time you’re tempted to out-preach, out-teach, out-pray, out-sing, out-shout, out-praise your brethren! That is not the purpose for something this precious and priceless. The Costly Anointing Oil is Precious;

3…According to the Bible, the “anointing oil” covered “…the collar and skirts of his GARMENTS…Can you imagine the anointing covering your garments? Sometimes I wonder if the anointing is as present on us, in us and with us as we say? Because shouldn’t at some point in time, contact with the anointing alter your garments? Truth is, there’s some attire (on both men and women) in church that confuses me. I don’t understand open cleavage; visible panty-lines; tight clothes that need an oxygen mask of their own. And things have gotten so bad in church, even amongst leadership, that vestments have become “fashion statements”. But in Scripture the “anointing oil” covered “…the collar and skirts of his garments…Shouldn’t the church be seen differently than the world, even in our attire? And if so, why do our “holy garments” look no different than their “fashion statements”? And since when did words like “basic”; “simple”; “fundamental”; “decorum“; “descent“; become curse words? Think about this: Being crafted in His image and likeness; being called the righteousness of God and ambassadors of Christ, shouldn’t we be a bit more cautious and careful in how we present ourselves, or should I say more importantly, how we present and represent HIM? With that said, today, take a double-look at how you “as a believer” dresses (men and women alike). Make sure that you are sending the right message. After all, would you want to be in an emergency situation and the NYPD showed up dressed like the swim team? No, you expect them to be in uniform and to be prepared and equipped, and looking like the distinguished officers they’ve been called to be. Well, people should expect the very same from us as believers, followers, disciples, Christians and Children of God. There should never be cause for people to need to take a double-look or question if we’re a part of the Kingdom of Light or the Kingdom of Darkness. The Costly Anointing Oil Should Alter Our Attire;

4…According to the Bible, the “anointing oil” did something special “…it consecrated the whole body.The word “consecrate” is defined as “to make or declare sacred; to ordain to a sacred office.” Its Latin Origin “consecrare” literally means “to dedicate or devote as sacred.” In this day and age of the church we don’t see much consecration, dedication or devotion to GOD. Can we dare to tell the truth, rings, robes, chairs, positions and titles are all being haphazardly tossed to and fro with no meaning or purpose other than to say from one year to the next, I’ve been elevated…again. But the “anointing oil” is precious and serves to consecrate. It signifies that you’ve been set apart for no other reason, purpose, motive, intention, or agenda than to simply be used of God. “…the whole body…” was consecrated. Head to Toe. Which makes me wonder do we make sure that our minds, thoughts, deeds, actions, words, emotions, and the like are all set apart for God as well as our bodies? Does He have all of us, or just the parts we’re willing to give Him? Think about it: When the Father gave us His Son, He didn’t give us pieces of Him, He gave us His Whole Son. He sacrificed All that He is, just to have all that we are, and to use us to draw in others with the same loving-kindness. Is the anointing that special to you? Does it mean so much to you that you’re willing to give God ALL of you for His use in His service for His kingdom? Or is the anointing just special to you when you’re assigned to preach, to teach, to pray, to lead, or to be visible to others? The Costly Anointing Oil Consecrates the WHOLE Body;

5…According to the Bible, the “anointing oiland the “unity of the brethren” is also tied directly to “the dew of Mount Hermon…that comes on the hills of Zion; for there the Lord has commanded the blessing even life forever more…How amazing that the anointing is attached to a place where the Lord has commanded blessings and eternal life? And yet, we treat it so commonplace. But your anointing is a blessing and its life! Don’t get so caught up in the distractions of treating the anointing as a competitive edge over your ministry colleagues. Your anointing is not so you can preach better, teach awesome, or pray like the intercessor of the month. Your anointing is where the Lord has commanded blessings and life, treat it as such and don’t devalue it by abusing it carelessly. The Costly Anointing Oil Gives Blessings and Life;

6…According to the Bible, the “anointing oil” is “…upon the high and the lowly…The anointing does not discriminate. It doesn’t wait until Sunday morning, special services, consecrations, conferences and convocations to flow. It doesn’t need to be attired in full vestments to flow. It serves 2 people no differently than it serves 200 or 2 million. So, a good question to ask yourself is, do I flow to All, or just stagnate toward a few? The anointing reaches the “…the highly and the lowly…It treats alike the rich and the poor, the white and the black, the educated and the challenged, the sick and the well, the old and the young, the women and the men, all equally. Do you? Honestly, do you teach to the same degree with a class of 3 that you do in a class of 30? Do you preach to a congregation of 12 the same as you would 1,200? Do you carry yourself the same whether meeting with the CEO or the janitor? The anointing is consistent and does not change up roles like characters in a play. And if you are amongst the anointed, neither should you. The Costly Anointing Oil Does Not Discriminate;

7…Lastly, according to the Bible, “the anointing oil” “…FLOWS DOWN…

Despite what you see in a lot of our churches today, God still works through Structure and Order! “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” (1 Corinthians 14:33). The New Living Translation says it like this: “For God is not a God of disorder but of peace, as in all the meetings of God’s holy people.” (NLT). In other words, the Oil Flows DOWN, Not UP! That would be confusion and contradiction, doing the opposite of what the Word has already declared.

Truth is, it doesn’t matter if those Under you think you’re absolutely wonderful, unless those Above you agree! Like it or not, but leadership and anointing come with the requirement of complete submission and total surrender. I don’t care how many people pat you on your back, never let it go to your head! Meek, lowly, humble are all characteristics that every anointed leader should carry. It keeps you from becoming pompous, arrogant and conceited. Remember: the anointing flowed down from Aaron (the leader, the high priest). It did not flow from Israelite to Israelite. It flowed from the High Priest down…In Order!

Until you understand that, you’ll be susceptible to those who, for their own reasons, and hidden agendas, want to tell you how wonderful you are and how you should be running the show! However, in God’s Kingdom, you’re not approved by people, you’re approved by God: “…This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him.” (Matthew 17:5); “Fellow Israelites, listen to these words! Jesus the Nazarene was a man whose credentials God proved to you through miracles, wonders, and signs, which God performed through him among you. You yourselves know this.” (Acts 2:22 CEB); “Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.” (Galatians 1:10 NLT); “God tested us thoroughly to make sure we were qualified to be trusted with this Message. Be assured that when we speak to you we’re not after crowd approval—only God approval. Since we’ve been put through that battery of tests, you’re guaranteed that both we and the Message are free of error, mixed motives, or hidden agendas. We never used words to butter you up. No one knows that better than you. And God knows we never used words as a smoke screen to take advantage of you.” (1 Thessalonians 2:3-5 MSG). Bottom Line: The Anointing is Approved of By God, Than the Leadership in Which You Are Submitted, Subjected and Surrendered to, NOT By the People Who Pat and Applaud You!

Like in the opening story above, the very same people who lifted Steve Morrow UP, were the very same people that let him fall DOWN! And if you think they won’t do the very same to you, just ask Jesus! The same that yelled “Hosanna, Hosanna,” in one breath, were the very same people who inhaled then exhaled “Crucify Him, Crucify Him.” God is still a God of structure and order. Let Him Approve of You, Then Be Patient and Wait For His Approval to Pass From His Desk to Your Leaders, and Then On to You. The anointing is not like ordinary oil, it does not run out. So even if you have to wait for the appointed, appropriate time, WAIT. You’re anointing will never be assigned to someone else. Nor will it dry up and deplete itself. Nothing from the Holy Spirit lacks or is deficient in anyway. So I admonish you, don’t allow people, especially your inner circle, clique, crew etc…to push you before God’s allotted time. Respect the process and wait. Let the oil flow DOWN from the head to you!

The word “flow” is defined as “to move steadily and continuously; to move or issue forth freely.In other words, you don’t have to force it, you just have to wait for it!

Remember this: To do anything significant for God you must first submit to leadership that can inspire you, instruct you, and when the time is right, release you into your calling. So don’t leave the church, argue with leadership, get caught up in the gossip mill, resign, walk away, throw in the towel and give up. Just be patient and wait. The anointing oil is still flowing!

And while you wait, learn the protocol that goes with the position. The word “protocol” is defined as “the official procedure or system of rules governing affairs of state or diplomatic occasions; the accepted code of behavior in a particular situation.” Its original sense however meant “the original note of an agreement; the first page or flyleaf.” Which is the introduction or beginning of an agreement. It’s the table of contents letting you know all that comes AFTER this first, initial page. It gives the description of what is to come. And the start of any proper protocol to any position is submission and surrender. The ability to wait with expectation and a good attitude. And the first step of protocol to your anointing is to remember that the Oil Flows DOWN! So stay low, stay meek, stay humble. It is after all, the place where the anointing flows and settles.

In conclusion: The “anointing oil” reminds me a lot of the Old Testament leader Joash, who was the keeper of the cellars of oil. When you get a chance make sure you study it, it is valuable information for leaders and laity alike! However, in a nutshell: He was responsible for keeping the oil; making sure it stayed in place; and watching out for intruders. But the downside, as some would say, to his position was that he was unnoticed, uncomfortable, lonely and unappreciated. He couldn’t come out the bottom of the cellar until the king called for him. And much is the same for you, the anointed, possessors of the anointing. The oil flows DOWN, not in a prominent, seen, visible, highly acknowledge position. But it’s lowly and unnoticed until the king calls you forth. Make sure you remember that the very next time someone attempts to “encourage you to follow them instead of the flow of the anointing oil.” Stay low and humble, continue to serve, because even when you think no eyes are on you, they are. When leadership deems it time for you to come to the forefront, your anointing will flow. But until then, stay down until He brings you up!

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

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“The Gift of Being Hidden”

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Isaiah 49:2-3, “… in the shadow of His hand He HID ME; He made me into a POLISHED arrow and CONCEALED me in His quiver. He said to me, “You are my servant…in whom I will DISPLAY my splendor.” (NIV).

Isaiah says four notable things about how God works in our lives, let’s take a look:

1…“…IN THE SHADOW OF HIS HAND HE HID ME…” The wordShadow is defined asa dark area, a position of relative inferiority or obscurity, sadness, gloom or weakness.And yet, the Prophet Isaiah is excited about being in theShadow”! Why? As they would say in real estate, LOCATION IS EVERYTHING! The Scripture says,…In the Shadow OF HIS HAND He hid me…Isaiah understood a few Powerful Principles about the Hand of God that we need to learn! He understood that SALVATION is found IN THE HANDS OF GOD!Behold, the LORD’S HAND is not shortened, That it cannot SAVE…” (Isaiah 59:1 NKJV). “For they did not gain possession of the land by their own sword, Nor did their own arm SAVE THEM; But it was YOUR RIGHT HAND, Your arm, and the light of Your countenance, Because You favored them.” (Psalm 44:3 NKJV). Isaiah understood that DELIVERANCE is found in the Hands of God!So the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty HAND and with an outstretched arm…” (Deuteronomy 26:8 NKJV). “The great trials which your eyes saw, the signs and the wonders, the mighty HAND and outstretched arm, by which the LORD your God BROUGHT YOU OUT…” (Deuteronomy 7:19 NKJV). “You have BROUGHT YOUR PEOPLE…OUT…with signs and wonders, with a strong HAND and an outstretched arm…” (Jeremiah 32:21 NKJV). Isaiah understood WHO SAT AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD!Whereas this ONE [CHRIST], after He had offered a single sacrifice for our sins [that shall avail] for all time, sat down at the RIGHT HAND OF GOD.” (Hebrews 10:12 AMP). Isaiah understood that CHRIST INTERCEDES for us while seated at the Right Hand of God!Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—IS AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD AND IS ALSO INTERCEDING FOR US.” (Romans 8:34 NIV). Isaiah understood that the AUTHOR AND FINISHER OF OUR FAITH was Seated at the Right Hand of God!Looking unto JESUS the AUTHOR AND FINISHER OF OUR FAITH…is set down at the RIGHT HAND OF THE THRONE OF GOD.” (Hebrews 12:2). Isaiah understood the DEPTH OF LOVE Found in God’s Hands!See, I have WRITTEN YOUR NAME on the PALMS of MY HANDS. Always in my mind…” (Isaiah 49:16 NLT). Isaiah understood the PROTECTIVE HEDGE found in the Father’s Hands!My Father, Who has given them to Me, is greater and mightier than all [else]; and NO ONE IS ABLE TO SNATCH [THEM] OUT OF THE FATHER’S HAND.” (John 10:29 AMP). Maybe it’s just me, but being found “…In the Shadow of HIS HAND…sounds like a pretty good place to be, even when I’m feeling dark, inferior, obscure, sad, gloomy and weak! And that’s not all, in addition to the Right Hand of the Father, even before the Prophet Elijah called down fire from heaven at Mount Carmel, God instructed him to go and HIDE HIMSELF at the brook Cherith where he would be supernaturally fed and strengthened (“Go from here and turn east and HIDE YOURSELF…1 Kings 17:3 AMP). People of God, you must understand that before every “SHOWING” there’s always first a “HIDING”! God gets us alone and does a work in us that cannot be accomplished any other way! SO THE NEXT TIME YOU’RE DREADING THE SHADOW, REMEMBER THAT THE SHADOW IS FOUND IN THE HANDS OF GOD, THE ABSOLUTE BEST AND SAFEST PLACE TO BE HIDDEN! Psalm 91:1, “HE WHO DWELLS IN THE SHELTER OF THE MOST HIGH WILL REMAIN SECURE AND REST IN THE SHADOW OF THE ALMIGHTY [WHOSE POWER NO ENEMY CAN WITHSTAND].” (AMP) So, yes, you’ll come forth, in due season, and do great works, but never forget, there’s always a “HIDING” before a “SHOWING”! Therefore, Don’t try to Shine, just Stay in the Shadow!

2…“…HE MADE ME INTO A POLISHED ARROW…” The archer takes a rough tree branch, cuts it down and makes it into a highly polished arrow capable of hitting the mark! Many people see you as they saw David, hanging in the back, unnoticed, overlooked, underestimated and undervalued! (1 Samuel 16:11, “Then he asked Jesse, “Is this it? Are there no more sons?” WELL, YES, THERE’S THE RUNT. But he’s out tending the sheep…” MSG) But that’s alright, because just like David, in due season, the Prophet assigned to your life, will come looking for you in the HIDDEN places of the backyard, to bring your anointing to the FOREFRONT! And he’ll do it before the eyes of all those who didn’t see much in you! But keep this in mind, you don’t have to do anything to help this process along! The Bible says in Isaiah, “…HE MADE ME…So stop seeking validations, confirmations, applause, accolades, encouragement, pats on the back, support and assistance! Stop waiting for someone to sign their name to a certificate granting you elevation that only God need give! This is not the season to put your focus on people, but you need to get your focus back on God! When you desire for people to lift you, you also grant them the opportunity to let you down! That’s why it’s always best to wait for God to do it, so no one can take credit for who you become in God! Instead, be like Abraham, “…I’ll take nothing from you, not so much as a thread or a shoestring. I’M NOT GOING TO HAVE YOU GO AROUND SAYING, ‘I MADE ABRAM RICH’” (Genesis 14:22-23 MSG). Stop allowing people to rub your ears and ego with flattery, and wait for GOD TO POLISH YOU TO PERFECTION! You may be a rough tree branch right now, but over time you will reflect the Psalmist, “…he shall be like a tree firmly planted [and tended] by the streams of water, ready to bring forth its fruit IN ITS SEASON; its leaf also shall not fade or wither; and everything he does shall prosper [and come to maturity].” (Psalm 1:3 AMP). That’s what happens when you let God do it and not man! Remember: “…HE MADE ME…SO NO SELF-PROMOTION IS NEEDED OR NECESSARY! You don’t have to go around informing everyone about what God is about to do in your life; you don’t have to post it, tweet it or scope it! You don’t have to upload the website, you don’t have to design the business cards! You don’t need flyers and self-promoting advertisements; you don’t need to live stream what God hasn’t allowed to flow out of you yet! YOU, don’t have to do anything but wait on God, hear God, serve God, and respect God’s process and timing! Remember: “…HE MADE ME INTO A POLISHED ARROW…” That word “Polish” is defined as “to make smooth and shiny by rubbing; to improve or refine.” And with that said, know this: Pearls come forth after constant rubbing against or irritation of sand; Diamonds come forth through pressure; and Gold and Silver come forth through the refining of Fire. In other words, your polishing will not always be a wonderful experience, because you will be irritated at times, have to endure pressure at times and will have to be challenged through some fiery situations, but when it’s all said and done, you’ll be able to say with Job, “But He knows the way that I take [and He pays attention to it]. When He has TRIED ME, I will come forth as [REFINED] GOLD [PURE AND LUMINOUS]” (Job 23:10 AMP). Therefore, Let God Polish You Into the Arrow That Will Hit It’s Mark…In Due Season!

3…“…HE……CONCEALED ME IN HIS QUIVER…” Once you allow God to HIDE you…then…POLISH you, next He’ll put you into His QUIVER. A “Quiver” is “an archer’s portable case for his arrows, that he keeps Tied Securely to Him”. WHAT A WONDERFUL PLACE TO BE, TIED SECURELY TO HIM, WITHIN EASY REACH WHEN THE MOMENT TO USE YOU COMES! That’s why you don’t need to run all around town begging and pleading with folks to encourage, validate or support you! You don’t need to tap dance and perform for the praise or opportunities of man! If you simply practice the art of Patience and allow God the Time it takes in the Process to Hide You, then Polish You, then Secure You In His Quiver, when the Kingdom Assignment comes up with Your Name On It, You’re Already at the Fingertips of God, Ready to be Used at the Most Opportune Moment! You want to be used? THEN DON’T STICK CLOSE TO MAN, STICK CLOSE TO GOD! That word “Conceal” is defined as, “to prevent from being seen or known.” Its Latin ‘concelare’, from ‘celare’ literally means “to hide.” And clearly that’s the problem with God’s children today, we want to be Seen and Known…not Hidden and Concealed! We’re so unlike Jesus who always sought out a solitary place to be with God and pray. Now, He’s the Son of God, and yet He didn’t seek notoriety! Matthew 20:28, “…Whoever wants to be great must become a servant. Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. THAT IS WHAT THE SON OF MAN HAS DONE: HE CAME TO SERVE, NOT BE SERVED…” (MSG) He came to seek and to save that which was lost…not to find those who would be able to help Him put His name up in lights! People of God, being hidden and concealed is for your own protection! Do not try to go ahead of God or to do things your own way and in your own timing. God has you concealed in His quiver to keep you tied securely to Him. So when it’s your time, your close enough to God to be ready for immediate use. Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live].” (AMPC) The Message Bible says it like this: “Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.” (vss. 7-10 MSG) Saints, stay tied to Him in prayer, praise and worship; stay tied to Him in discipline, obedience and sacrifice; stay tied to Him so close that like John you can rest on His breast; stay tied to Him where if the enemy ever tried to come for you…he’d have to come through Him first! God is not concealing you for punishment, He’s concealing you for protection. And not just from the enemy, but from people who see your gifts and anointing and want to push you to a place God has not permitted you to go yet! That’s why we have so many ineffective churches open today, someone saw a gift and anointing, spoke about it, and off folks went to get anybody to lay hands on them and hand them a piece of paper that has nothing to do with the Will of God for their lives! Don’t let that happen to you! Stay quietly concealed in the Masters quiver, until HE says it’s now time for you to be released!

4…“…YOU ARE MY SERVANT…IN WHOM I WILL DISPLAY MY SPLENDOR” After visiting the Balkans, Canadian reporter James Creelman wrote, “I learned that the world’s supply of rose oil comes from the Balkan Mountains. The thing that interested me was that the ROSES HAD TO BE GATHERED DURING THE DARKEST HOURS. Initially this seemed to be a relic of superstition. But as I investigated I learned that A FULL 40 PERCENT OF THE FRAGRANCE DISAPPEARS IN THE LIGHT OF DAY. Saints, if you’re not too prideful to be HIDDEN, not too impatient to wait on POLISHING, not too quick to be attached to people instead of attached to God’s QUIVER, you’ll eventually reach the destination of DISPLAY! But like the roses on the Balkan Mountains, DON’T DOWNPLAY YOUR DARKNESS! Just as the roses are gathered at the darkest hours, GOD WILL COME FOR YOU IN YOUR DARKEST HOUR! GOD KNOWS THAT YOUR BEST FRAGRANCE IS IN THE DARK! HE KNOWS YOUR MOST POTENT PRIOR TO DAYBREAK! AND JUST AS MOST OILS ARE PRODUCED IN THE DARKEST OF PLACES, THE ANOINTING ON YOUR LIFE IS NO DIFFERENT! SO DON’T DISCOUNT YOUR DARKNESS, IT ALWAYS LEADS TO DISPLAYING HIS SPLENDOR! Isaiah 45:3, “And I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness, secret riches; and you will know that I am doing this – I, the Lord, the God of Israel, the one who calls you by your name.” (TLB). There’s great treasures in store in dark places, if only you’ll remain close enough to God (not people) so you can attain it. You my friend are likewise a hidden treasure in the darkness, and God will display your value when it’s time so that it’s not misused, mishandled, squandered or taken advantage of. So, what do you do in the meantime? Remember what He said: “…You Are My Servant…”, therefore, do what Servants do…Serve! Stop waiting for your moment; your 15 minutes of fame; stop waiting to be the next gospel super-star; stop waiting for the church, the ministry the elevation and promotion; stop waiting for the title, the position, the acknowledgements and celebrations. No, just remain Hidden, while God Polishes you. Stay Concealed in His Quiver, Tied Securely to Him and Within Reach at all times. And when He deems the time has arrived, He’ll find His Servant…Serving and then you’ll have the testimony, “…IN WHOM I WILL DISPLAY MY SPLENDOR…” Just remember, even when it’s your time to be Displayed, it’s not about you, but about Him! “…I WILL DISPLAY MY SPLENDOR…” Being used of God has nothing to do with making your name or yourself great! 2 Corinthians 4:7-12, “If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the UNADORNED CLAY POTS OF OUR ORDINARY LIVES. THAT’S TO PREVENT ANYONE FROM CONFUSING GOD’S INCOMPARABLE POWER WITH US. AS IT IS, THERE’S NOT MUCH CHANCE OF THAT. YOU KNOW FOR YOURSELVES THAT WE’RE NOT MUCH TO LOOK AT…” (MSG) This needs to be our attitude! The importance, the significance, the focus should always be on His Treasure Within Us That We’ve Been Privileged to Carry…NOT ON US, THE UNADORNED CLAY POTS! When it’s time for your Display, just remember WHO you are to Display!

People of God, whether it’s getting married, having children, going back to school, relocating, ministry, employment, starting a business, etc. RESPECT GOD’S PROCESS! When you go from point A to point B, there’s no story to tell! But when you have to patiently start at point A and travel all the way to point Z, there’s a whole lot of story between all those letters! Sad to say, but so many people are in such a rush to get to the next thing, that they’re missing out on the current thing. So, enjoy your NOW and stop missing out on life pursuing NEXT! God does all things well, and in His perfect timing, so be patient, trust Him, and wait.

Look at it like this: Can you imagine the sadness of a parent if all they had was the birth of their child, and then the next moment the kid’s graduating college?! No first steps, first words, recitals, try-outs, holidays, birthday’s etc…just birth then college graduation! What parent would dare want to miss out on all the pictures, memories, moments etc…of all that falls in between? Well it’s time you learn to treat your life the same way. There’s a lot of story to tell, so stop trying to peek at the next chapter, and live in this one! Stop trying to get to the end of your story! Enjoy the characters, the story line, all the drama, comedy, romance and action of what life is all about! Trust Me, You’ll Be So Glad You Did in the End!

Respect God’s Process, Because There’s a Gift in Being Hidden!

Ecclesiastes 3:11, “He has made everything beautiful and appropriate IN ITS TIME. He has also planted eternity [a sense of divine purpose] in the human heart [a mysterious longing which nothing under the sun can satisfy, except God]—yet man cannot find out (comprehend, grasp) what God has done (His overall plan) from the beginning to the end.” (AMP);

Jeremiah 29:10-11, “This is God’s Word on the subject…I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” (MSG);

Psalm 62:5-6, “God, the one and only – I’ll wait as long as He says. Everything I hope for comes from Him, so why not? He’s solid rock under my feet, breathing room for my soul, An impregnable castle: I’m set for life.” (MSG)

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

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

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“6 Rules For Anger Management”

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Ephesians 4:25-32 “What this adds up to, then, is this: no more lies, no more pretense. Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ’s body we’re all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself. GO AHEAD AND BE ANGRY. YOU DO WELL TO BE ANGRY—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…Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift. Don’t grieve God. Don’t break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted. Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.” (MSG)                                                                    

Two forceful personalities in a relationship are like two rivers flowing into one; there’s going to be a Strong Current! Anger can be instant like a flash of lightning, or prolonged like the rumble of thunder! Sometimes we clash painfully, other times we distance and silently abandon the relationship. But Anger Handled the Right Way Doesn’t Have to be Destructive!

IMPORTANT: “Anger is only one letter short of Danger.” (Author Unknown).

So let’s discuss some of God’s Rules for Anger Management.

RULE #1—KEEP IT HONEST: Our text says, …NO MORE LIES…When You’re Angry Don’t Deny It! Believe it or not, Anger Can Be Constructive! Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton said: “Anger ventilated often hurries toward forgiveness; and concealed often hardens into revenge.We’re right to get angry when people are mistreated and wrongs are not made right. Saying, ‘I’ve been feeling angry and because I value our relationship I’d like to talk about it,Is Honest, Non-Threatening and Invites Resolution

Observe the following tidbits on Anger: 

a)   IGNORING, STIFLING, SUPPRESSING, OR PRETENDING YOU’RE NOT ANGRY IS DISHONEST:Do not teach your children never to be angry; teach them how to be angry.” (Lyman Abbott).

b)   ANOTHER FORM OF LYING WHEN YOU’RE ANGRY IS EXAGGERATION: Phrases Like: ‘You NEVER listen to what I say.’ Or ‘You ALWAYS ignore my wishes.’ Or ‘NOBODY does anything around here except me.Such Generalizations Are Untrue and Serve Only to Aggravate and Polarize, Guaranteeing the Real Problem Gets Obscured and Goes Unsolved. The truth is, maybe they weren’t listening; maybe your wishes are ignored and maybe you do more than others; BUT CAN YOU HONESTLY SAY THAT HAPPENS ALL THE TIME?! Remember this: “If you add to the truth, you subtract from it.” (The Talmud). So, do your best to avoid such words as ‘NEVER’; ‘ALWAYS’ and ‘NOBODY’. Keeping in mind that: “An exaggeration is a truth that has lost its temper.” (Kahlil Gibran).

c)   ANOTHER WAY TO LIE WHEN YOU’RE ANGRY IS BLAMING: Phrases Like: ‘If you’d arrive on time I wouldn’t have to nag you,’ or ‘If you’d quit nagging so much, maybe I’d start being on time.’ BLAMING IS A WAY OF EVADING YOUR OWN RESPONSIBILITY WHILE POINTING THE FINGER AT OTHERS! It angers others, perpetuates your own anger and never produces the result you want! I believe the following quote will put things in proper perspective for you: “If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month.” (Unknown Author)…I know that hurt, but if applied, it will help!

God’s rule is always right:  ‘…Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor…‘.

RULE #2—KEEP IT NON-LETHAL: Paul writes: ‘IN YOUR ANGER DO NOT SIN… ‘ (Ephesians 4:26 NIV). What do Paul’s words mean? DON’T LET YOUR ANGER ESCALATE TO THE POINT OF DOING DAMAGE! DON’T USE YOUR WORDS AS WEAPONS OR A CONTROL MECHANISM!Sometimes when I’m angry I have the right to be angry, but that doesn’t give me the right to be cruel.” (Author Unknown). It’s okay to express your emotions in A HEALTHY WAY, BUT KEEP THEM IN CHECK! “Not the fastest horse can catch a word spoken in anger.” (Chinese Proverb). Your goal must be to resolve the problem and strengthen the relationship, not ‘sound off’ and wound the other person! “Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.” (Ambrose Bierce). The Bible says it best: “…a crushed spirit who can bear?‘ (Proverbs 18:14 NIV). Now, is all this easy to do? NO! BUT YOU HAVE TO BE MINDFUL: WORDS SPOKEN IN JEST, SARCASM, SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS OR ‘RIGHTEOUS INDIGNATION’ WOUND PEOPLE, AND SOMETIMES THOSE WOUNDS ARE PERMANENT! Hear the Word of the Lord: ‘A wholesome tongue is a tree of life, But perverseness in it breaks the spirit.‘ (Proverbs 15:4 NKJV). ‘ ‘The tongue can bring death… ‘ (Proverbs 18:21 NLT). Ungodly words, once unleashed, can: ‘…sink deep into one’s heart‘ (Proverbs 26:22 NLT). YOUR WORDS CAN LIVE IN THE HEART AND MEMORY OF A PERSON AND GO ALL THE WAY TO THE GRAVE WITH THEM! We say, ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,BUT IT’S NOT TRUE! A PERSON CAN DIE OF A CRUSHED SPIRIT, AND THE ONE WHO SPOKE THE WORDS CAN LIVE TO REGRET THE DAMAGE THEY’VE INFLICTED AND NEVER GET A CHANCE TO UNDO IT! ON THE OTHER HAND, ANGER PROPERLY HANDLED NEVER NEEDS TO BE REPENTED OF! SO LEARN TO DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN THE ANGER YOU FEEL AND THE WORDS YOU SPEAK! ANGER CAREFULLY THOUGHT THROUGH, CAN REVEAL IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT NEEDED CHANGES!

RULE #3—KEEP IT CURRENT: Storing anger in your hard drive ONLY HURTS YOU! Anger, if not restrained, is frequently more hurtful TO US than the injury that provokes it.” (Seneca). When you rehearse old resentments YOU GROW BITTER! But remember the words of Malachy McCourt, “Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” The Bible says: ‘The good man brings good things OUT OF THE GOOD STORED UP IN HIS HEART, and the evil man brings evil things OUT OF THE EVIL STORED UP IN HIS HEART. FOR OUT OF THE OVERFLOW OF HIS HEART HIS MOUTH SPEAKS‘ (Luke 6:45 NIV) The Contemporary English Bible says it like this: “Good people do good things BECAUSE OF THE GOOD IN THEIR HEARTS. Bad people do bad things BECAUSE OF THE EVIL IN THEIR HEARTS. YOUR WORDS SHOW WHAT IS IN YOUR HEART.SO SILENCE ALL THOSE OLD ISSUES IN YOUR HEART BEFORE THEY GET TO TALKING AND REVEAL THE REAL YOU! “Anger dwells only in the bosom of FOOLS.” (Albert Einstein).

Therefore, when you’re angry, DEAL WITH IT QUICKLY! Don’t passively allow time to decide your options, or sit around hoping the other person will see the light and apologize! The Bible says: ‘If a fellow believer hurts you, GO AND TELL HIM—work it out between the two of you…confront him with the need for repentance, and offer again God’s forgiving love.” (Matthew 18:15-17 MSG). Did you read those instructions clearly? “…GO AND TELL HIM…DON’T SIT BY IDLY WAITING FOR THEM TO COME TO YOU! GET UP AND GO TO THEM AND TRY TO RESOLVE THE PROBLEM AND RESTORE THE RELATIONSHIP!Reconciliation is more beautiful than victory.” (Violeta Barrios de Chamorro).

When You Repress Reconciliation, You Add One More Skeleton to Your Closet! And Sooner or Later, Doctors Say, It’ll Eat at Your Stomach Lining, Attack Your Immune System, Predispose You to Heart Problems, Cancers and Other Physical, Social and Emotional Disorders! Meantime, It’ll Preoccupy You, Dissipate Your Energy, Cripple Your Creativity, Hinder Your Fellowship With God, Your Friends and Fellow Believers; Not to Mention That It Denies the Offender the Opportunity to Clear Their Conscience, Repent and Get Right With God and You! So Stop Dragging Up the Past, Trying to Blackmail the Guilty By Hauling Skeletons Out of Closets at ‘Auspicious’ Moments, Plotting Revenge, and Passing Down Resentments For the Next Generation to Carry!

Now, I don’t believe in Buddha, but I sure like his analogy: “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; BUT INSTEAD, YOU’RE THE ONE WHO GETS BURNED.Tell me that’s not accurate! Therefore saints, ask God for the Humility and Courage to deal with Today’s Problems – TODAY! When your head hits the pillow tonight, know that your issues are Current, Up To Date with God and Everyone Else, and Sleep Well! “In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for You, Lord, alone make me dwell in safety and confident trust.” (Psalm 4:8 AMP).

RULE #4—KEEP IT SOLUTION-FOCUSED: Someone has said that fellowship is like two fellows in a ship: one can’t sink the other without sinking himself! In other words, by seeking to gain the upper hand you both lose! By seeking to save and strengthen the relationship you both win! So when you speak, be sure it’s ‘…helpful for building others up according to their needs…‘ (Ephesians 4:29 NIV). Maybe this Scripture would become clearer if you read it in the Amplified Bible, it states: “Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk [EVER] come out of your mouth, but only such [speech] as is GOOD and BENEFICIAL to the spiritual progress OF OTHERS, as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it may be a blessing and give grace (God’s favor) TO THOSE WHO HEAR IT.We Are Charged to Understand What the Other Person Needs! In doing so, YOU DO NOT BRING UP PREVIOUSLY CONFESSED OFFENSES; YOU DO NOT DRAG IN OTHER PEOPLE; You Do Not Use Wisecracks About People’s Weight, Height, Color, IQ, Physical, Mental and Emotional Limitations; and You Do Not Bring Up Unrelated Things or People That Cloud the Issue and Keep You From Finding a Solution! In addition, Don’t Raise the Volume In Order to Intimidate and Manipulate! God Made You With a Capacity For Anger Because When Handled the Right Way It’s the Fuel That Brings Needed Change and the Medicine That Heals. An unknown author stated: “You don’t have to attend every argument you’re invited to.”   

Keep that in mind as you: 

a) SEEK A SOLUTION, NOT A ‘VICTORY’: Name-calling and ‘diagnosing’ others only makes things worse. Your focus should not be on what they did, BUT ON WHAT YOU CAN DO TOGETHER TO RESOLVE IT.

b) ADMIT YOUR OWN FLAWS AND ASK FOR FORGIVENESS: Since it takes two to tango, acknowledging your OWN imperfections makes it easier for someone else to acknowledge theirs.

c) BEFORE YOU ATTEMPT TO TAKE A ‘SWING’ AT SOMEONE, MAKE SURE IT’S A POSITIVE ‘STROKE’: If you take the time to get your mind right, mere words will be no struggle! Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, THINK continually on these things [CENTER YOUR MIND ON THEM, AND IMPLANT THEM IN YOUR HEART]. (Philippians 4:8 AMP). For each of the difficulties you have to address, GIVE A COMPLIMENT ALSO. Example: ‘I’m sure this wasn’t easy for you to hear, but thanks for listening to me so graciously.CRITICISM DOESN’T CHANGE CHAOS TO CALM, BUT A COMPLIMENT SURE DOES!

RULE #5—KEEP IT IN THE LAUNDRY ROOM:Let all bitterness and indignation and wrath (passion, rage, bad temper) and resentment (anger, animosity) and quarreling (brawling, clamor, contention) and slander (evil-speaking, abusive or blasphemous language) be banished from you, with all malice (spite, ill will, or baseness of any kind).” (Ephesians 4:31 AMP). MALICIOUS TALK IS LIKE WILDFIRE, IT CONSUMES THOSE WHO SPREAD IT AND THOSE WHO LISTEN TO IT! As my auntie would say, “don’t display your dirty wash; keep it in the laundry room.

Saints, dirty laundry gets aired in two ways: 

1)   OPEN EMBARRASSMENT. YOU SAY IT WHERE YOU KNOW OTHERS ARE GOING TO HEAR IT!  But keep in mind: “A person’s character is revealed by their SPEECH.” (Greek Proverb). Solomon also gives us some wise advice to follow: “He who goes about as a talebearer REVEALS SECRETS, but he who is trustworthy and faithful in spirit KEEPS THE MATTER HIDDEN.” (Proverbs 11:13 AMP); “Prudent people don’t flaunt their knowledge; TALKATIVE FOOLS BROADCAST THEIR SILLINESS.” (Proverbs 12:23 MSG). SO WHETHER YOU REALIZE IT OR NOT, SPEAKING YOUR MIND, ONLY SPEAKS VOLUMES ABOUT YOUR LACK OF GOOD INTENTION AND INTEGRITY; YOUR LACK OF PROPER MOTIVE AND MATURITY AND YOUR LACK OF COMPASSION AND CHARACTER! “Outside show is a poor substitute for inner worth.” (Aesop). 

2) SUBTLETY. You make jokes about their figure, family members and friends, etc., IN ORDER TO BELITTLE THEM! This results in EMBARRASSMENT for the person you’re angry at, widens the gap between you AND MAKES RECONCILIATION IMPOSSIBLE!  So the next time you decide to crack a joke, EMBARRASS someone or speak your mind REMEMBER WHAT GOD SAID: “Let there be no filthiness (obscenity, indecency) nor foolish and sinful (silly and corrupt) talk, nor coarse jesting, WHICH IS NOT FITTING OR BECOMING…” (Ephesians 5:4 AMP). In addition, the next time you go to acting “SUBTLEBE MINDFUL OF THE PERSON YOUR EMULATING:NOW THE SERPENT was more SUBTLE and crafty than any living creature of the field…” (Genesis 3:1 AMP). Need I say more?! Even Paul warns Timothy about avoiding “Subtleties”: “O Timothy, guard and keep the deposit entrusted [to you]! TURN AWAY FROM THE IRREVERENT BABBLE AND GODLESS CHATTER, WITH THE VAIN AND EMPTY AND WORLDLY PHRASES, AND THE SUBTLETIES AND THE CONTRADICTIONS IN WHAT IS FALSELY CALLED KNOWLEDGE AND SPIRITUAL ILLUMINATION.” (1 Timothy 6:20 AMP). Keep in mind: “Subtlety may deceive you; integrity never will.” (Oliver Cromwell).

Solomon writes: ‘He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets, But he who is trustworthy conceals a matter‘ (Proverbs 11:13 NASB). SO, NO MATTER WHAT YOU KNOW ABOUT THEM, YOUR CHARACTER AS A CHRISTIAN OUGHT TO COMMISSION YOU TO CONCEAL THE MATTER! As believers, we possess “…the ministry of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:18) NOT THE MESSAGE OF REVENGE! Keep in mind: “While you are meditating revenge, THE DEVIL IS MEDITATING A RECRUIT.” (Francois de Malherbe). So are you going to be SAVED OR SATANIC? DIVINE OR DEMONIC? LIGHT OR DARK? YOU CAN’T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS! Paul makes that crystal clear: “…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?…” (2 Corinthians 6:13-17 MSG). You can’t be Loving and Hateful, you need to make a choice. And just in case you need a little help, the Bible says: “Hatred stirs up trouble; love overlooks the wrongs that others do.” (Proverbs 10:12 CEV).  THAT ALONE SHOULD’VE TAKEN THE DIFFICULTY OUT OF YOUR DECISION!

RULE #6—BE PART OF THE CLEAN UP CREW: We say, ‘They brought it on themselves. Let them get over it.They may have deserved it, but we can’t walk away and leave open wounds to become infected! We ‘Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.‘ (Ephesians 4:32 MSG). How did Christ forgive us? After we’d acknowledged, confessed and repented of our sins? No! The Bible says: ‘…when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son…‘ (Romans 5:10 NIV). God took the initiative, so forgive, before the other person asks for forgiveness! And if you want to really show maturity, forgive them even if they Never ask for forgiveness! God didn’t allow you to remain His enemy for life (and He had good reason to); so show forth the same grace and mercy you receive and forgive them. Only then are you yourself forgiven, the wounds inflicted healed, and all parties records before God are expunged! Manage your anger before it causes you to act real Asinine (defined as “extremely stupid or foolish”)!

IN A NUTSHELL: TODAY IS A GOOD DAY TO OVERCOME ANGER!

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

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“A Shout of Faith”

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“Then, when they give one long, loud blast, all the people are to give a mighty SHOUT, and the walls of the city WILL fall down; then move in upon the city from every direction.” (Joshua 6:5 TLB)

Are you fighting a battle you’re afraid you won’t win? Well, truth is, in one form or another we all are. Be it a battle over health, finance, family, employment, school, bills, church, etc…we are all battling some form of attack in hopes that we will be the victors in the outcome. However, a key question we need to ask ourselves is, who are we depending on to gain us the victory in our battles? Is it God or is it Ourselves?

When faced with the combined armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, God told His people Israel, “…Don’t be afraid! Don’t be paralyzed by this mighty army! For the battle is not yours, but God’s!” (2 Chronicles 20:15 TLB). And last I checked, God has NEVER lost a battle! He is in fact the Greatest Warrior I know! Don’t believe it, read Jeremiah 50:21-26, “Go up, O my warriors, against the land of Merathaim and against the people of Pekod. Yes, march against Babylon, the land of rebels, a land that I will judge! Annihilate them, as I have commanded you.  Let there be the shout of battle in the land, a shout of great destruction.  Babylon, the mightiest hammer in all the earth, lies broken and shattered. Babylon is desolate among the nations! O Babylon, I have set a trap for you and you are caught, for you have fought against the Lord. The Lord has opened his armory and brought out weapons to explode his wrath upon his enemies. The terror that befalls Babylon will be the work of the Lord God.  Yes, come against her from distant lands; break open her granaries; knock down her walls and houses into heaps of ruins and utterly destroy her; let nothing be left.” (TLB).

When God Goes Into Battle, Victory Is Guaranteed! So, before you dare to doubt that you are well equipped and well able to win your every battle with God on your side, remember that the Battle is HIS, and HE has NEVER lost, and NEVER will!

God told Joshua, “…See, I HAVE delivered Jericho into your hands…” (Joshua 6:2 NIV). Notice, He didn’t say, “I will soon deliver”; “I hope to deliver”; “Prayerfully I will be able to deliver”; “If all goes well, I will deliver” or “I might deliver”. NO, He said “…I HAVE DELIVERED JERICHO INTO YOUR HANDS…”  One of the definitions of the word “have” means “past tense, already done; already in possession”. And the word “already” is defined as “before the time in question; and as surprisingly soon or early as this.In other words, before Israel even went into battle, before there was ever a question of will they win, and even surprisingly before time, God had Already declared Israel the victor in battle. This wasn’t about hoping and believing and praying that God would do something, it was walking by faith in what God had Already done!

Think about it: It would be foolish for a team to sit on the sidelines stressed, worried and frustrated with their fingers crossed in hopes that they will win the Superbowl, when in fact, they were already declared the winners! It would look silly for them to pace the field waiting to hear what has Already been said! Likewise, it’s just as foolish for believers to stress, fret, worry and panic over what God has Already done!

Matthew 6:30-33, “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” (MSG)

Philippians 4:6-9, “Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.” (MSG)

Philippians 4:19-20, “You can be sure that God will take care of everything you need, his generosity exceeding even yours in the glory that pours from Jesus. Our God and Father abounds in glory that just pours out into eternity. Yes.” (MSG)

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

Saints, it makes no sense to pray you come out on top, when He’s Already declared you are Already out on top! So, why worry over a victory you’ve Already attained? Why stress over a battle that has Already been won in your favor? Why lose your mind, your sleep, your appetite and even your hair over what the doctor has said when Jesus has said that “By My Stripes You Are ALREADY Healed?” It is unbecoming behavior for a believer to walk in unbelief! So today declare to yourself, God Has Already Done It! I Believe It, I Receive It and It’s Already Mine!

Listen Further: Israel Already had the victory, now they were being called to ACT on it. But the question remained, how? God’s answer? “…SHOUT…”

Joshua told the Israelites, “When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud SHOUT; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.” (Joshua 6:5 NIV).

Now no rational person would expect a shout, no matter how loud, to bring down the walls of a big city. After all, the word “Rational” is defined as “based on or in accordance with reason or logic; able to think sensibly or logically; having the capacity to reason.” And reason and logic have as much to do with faith as light has to do with darkness; love has to do with hate; and good has to do with evil! In other words, this battle will not be won by reason and logic, but by faith and obedience! So as ridiculous as it may sound…SHOUT!

You see, this was no Ordinary Shout; it was a Shout of FAITH based on a PROMISE God had made! And why does that make the difference? Because, the Word of God Encourages Us That God Keeps Every Last One of His Promises! He Does Not Go Back On His Word and Surely He Does Not Break His Covenant With His People!

“Understand, therefore, that the Lord your God is the faithful God who for a thousand generations keeps his promises and constantly loves those who love him and who obey his commands.” (Deuteronomy 7:9 TLB);

“And by that same mighty power he has given us all the other rich and wonderful blessings he promised; for instance, the promise to save us from the lust and rottenness all around us, and to give us his own character.” (2 Peter 1:4 TLB);

“God is no mere human! He doesn’t tell lies or change his mind. God always keeps his promises.” (Numbers 23:19 CEV);

“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);

“The Lord then said, “You are right, for I’m watching over My Word until it is fulfilled.” (Jeremiah 1:12 CEB)

In other words, when God says Victory is yours, there is absolutely no Opponent strong enough to overturn the Declaration of the Lord over Your Life! Which is why you have no excuse not to walk by faith, believing and trusting God that it is so!

Even though victory looked impossible, when Israel shouted God responded by bringing down the walls and opening the doors to the Promised Land! Hear His Word: “When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud SHOUT; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.” (Joshua 6:5 NIV).

With this being reiterated, it’s vital that I give you an added admonishment: Make sure that everyone with you, is with you! This needs to be on one accord! “…HAVE THE WHOLE ARMY GIVE A LOUD SHOUT…” Look at it this way: You don’t need to be on the East “Shouting”; with some on the West “Complaining”; some in the South “Murmuring” and some up North “Whispering Defeat”! This is important because EVERYBODY GOES IN TOGETHER!

Listen: “…then the wall of the city will collapse and THE ARMY WILL GO UP, EVERYONE STRAIGHT IN.”

The last thing you need is to survive the battle, and enter the promise land with a multitude of doubters possessing a defeated attitude! EVERYBODY is going straight in, so make sure you’re not taking the wrong people right IN!

Whether it’s buying a house; a car; starting a business or ministry; beginning school; changing careers; Be Careful to Leave Pessimistic, Negative, Doubting, Fault-Finding, Complaining, Murmuring, Lazy People Behind! Because the reality is, this will not be your first, only, or last battle! Your faith will be stretched again! And there are some people who just barely made it by in this battle, but will be a bigger danger than your enemies in your next attack! It’s not enough to win the battle, but you have to make sure you have the right soldiers!

Listen: You are about to Celebrate Victory, so why would you want to Invite Party-Poopers to the Festivities?!

Take those who walk by faith, who depend on the Lord, who trust God, who believe in the Promises of His Word, those who actively open their mouths in a Shout of Faith knowing that God can’t lie and can’t fail! Take those who see what you see, because they will help you to seize what you see! Take those ready to fight, even if all they’ll have to do is Shout! Take those equipped to go the distance, even on days when the journey doesn’t look so victorious. Take those who don’t get stuck in the bumps along the path. Take those who Shout in advance over Promises fulfilled!

You need soldiers who are obedient, determined, those who know how to take orders (even when they make absolutely no sense). You need those who aren’t afraid to Advance, March, Blow Trumpets, Carry the Ark and Shout! God is giving you a Victory you don’t have to Work for, but that doesn’t mean you get Lazy Soldiers!

Remember the Text: “Then, when they give one long, loud blast, all the people are to give a mighty SHOUT, and the walls of the city WILL fall down; then move in upon the city from every direction.” (Joshua 6:5 TLB)

This is about to be an All-Consuming Victory! You will Defeat the Enemy in Every Direction! So, look around you today and see who you have in your company! You can’t afford blind-spots, and doubters, you can’t afford distracted and easily deterred soldiers! This is about to be an “On Every Side” Victory, make sure the folks you have on your side, are really On Your Side! And certainly make sure you have some noisy folks with you too! There is no such thing as a Silent Shout! Remember, prior to the walls falling, there is a Mighty Shout! Those who sit Sunday after Sunday just warming the pew, without opening their mouths with the fruit of thanksgiving and praise on their lips shouldn’t be on your pew or in your company!

Another note to bear in mind: Joshua had all kinds of people, and yet everyone knew their place and position! He had priests, and everyday people with no titles at all. Some people carried the ark, some shouted, some blew trumpets etc. Make sure you not only have the right people, but that they’re in the right place and position. Truth is we lose a lot of battles because those who were supposed to be blowing the horn were jealous of those carrying the ark, and so they get out of place attempting to accomplish what they were never assigned to do.

In addition, Joshua gave instructions on when to shout, because there was a period of Working in Silence. And if you have people in your company that just have to be seen and heard, you will miss your victory!

AND, Joshua had priests carrying the ark, but he also had Armed Men ready and equipped to do battle! You need your praisers and worshipers, but you are after all, still in battle! Don’t get so heavenly minded that you are no earthly good! Everybody plays a part, so don’t let your story end prematurely because you didn’t give all the characters their proper roles!

AND, they went around seven times! In other words, not every victory comes when you spin around 3 times and then you’re out of it! You need soldiers who are persistent and determined. Those who are tenacious and have stamina. Those who are not easily intimidated by the length of the battle or the level of the attack! You need soldiers who will hang in there till the end!

AND, they still made time to bless Rahab and make sure that all the valuables went to the house of the Lord. Some of us get real mean in battle. Our go through causes us to put others through unnecessarily. Listen, even in the midst of battle there will be people for you to bless and sacrifices to be given to God, don’t miss this!

So, how does it all end?

“So the people shouted when the priests blew with the trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.” (Joshua 6:20).

Everyone played their part, and God took the lead and gave the city to the people who were smart enough to listen and brave enough to act.

And the conclusion of the matter?

“So the Lord was with Joshua; and his fame was noised throughout all the country.” (Joshua 6:27).

It’s amazing what faith and obedience can accomplish!

Today, determine to put yours to the test!

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

Feel free to also join us at: http://www.selfcarewithdrshermaine.blogspot.com Today’s Lesson: “Signs You’re Not Getting Enough Vitamin B6”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Look at this same verse in a few translations:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jeremiah 29:10-11, “This is God’s Word on the subject…I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I KNOW WHAT I’M DOING. I have it all planned out – plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” (MSG) God knows what He’s doing, His plan is fool-proof, now just make sure you’re not acting the fool to mess it up!

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

Ever been there? Are you there right now?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God. And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours]” (AMP)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“But when the right time finally came, GOD…”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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“How to Get UP When You’re DOWN”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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“Marriage RIGHTS For When Things Go WRONG”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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“Overcome Overload”

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

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

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

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

(2)  GET REAL WITH GOD: Under stress a surge of negative emotions can be overwhelming, and unless you unburden your soul before God you’ll explode at the wrong people! The Psalmist suggests: “Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall” (Psalm 55:22 NIV ); “Trust God, my friends, and always tell him each one of your concerns. God is our place of safety” (Psalm 62:8 CEV). It’s no coincidence that many of the Psalms start out with the Psalmist crying out to God for help, and end with him rejoicing because he vented his pent-up frustrations! Maybe you should follow his example! “I am so weak that I can hardly write, I cannot read my Bible, I cannot even pray, I can only lie still in God’s arms like a little child, and trust” (Hudson Taylor). Sometimes that alone, Is Enough! In other words, stop trying to act like Bionic Woman, 6 Million Dollar Man, Superwoman, Superman, and the like. Truth is, you are flesh and blood and a lot more like the Hulk than any other (because one stresser too many and you’re going to turn into a green explosion)! I know you are Spirit and that Spirit has power, but it never diminishes the fact that you are still 100% human, with human limitations! Think about it: Even Jesus had to deal with human emotions! He was compassionate; angry; greatly distressed; sleepy; in anguish; in pain; sorrowful; grieved; thirsty. He asked others to pray with Him and for Him. He wept. He had to deal with difficult family members, friends, disciples, and enemies. Daily He was confronted with the sick, those with ailments and disease; those in need of sight, hearing, speech; forgiveness. Jesus had a full Human plate just as many of us have today. And yet He was still humble enough and honest enough to get away by Himself for alone time with God. The Bible shares, “…Soon a large crowd of people had gathered to listen and be healed of their ailments. As often as possible Jesus withdrew to out-of-the-way places for prayer.” (Luke 5:16 MSG). And this is the all-powerful, all-knowing, all-seeing Jesus the Son of the Living God! And yet, He needed time away, because He never allowed His deity to mask his humanity. He shows us how to deal with varying daily struggles and yet be smart enough, human enough, to pull away and say enough. And if He can do it, surely He desires the very same of us. In fact, in His own words: “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30 MSG) Sounds to me that God Himself doesn’t mind you getting a little rest in! “I do the best that I can do, and leave the rest to God.” (Danny Dummitt); “When we rest, we trust that God holds everything together.” (Margaret Feinberg); “When we do not allow time to rest, cracks in our spirit can leave us emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually fragile.” (Karen Ehman); “Rest in the security of your Heavenly Father’s arms until you see His power transform your circumstances.” (Stormie Omartian); “Throw yourself upon God’s faithfulness as you do upon your bed, bringing all your weariness to His dear rest.” (C.H. Spurgeon); “Rest is a weapon given to us by God. The enemy hates it because he wants us to always be stressed and pre-occupied.” (Author Unknown); “You have permission to rest. You are not responsible for fixing everything that is broken. You do not have to try and make everyone happy. For now, take time for you. It’s time to replenish.” (Author Unknown)

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

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

(1)  THINK ABOUT SOMEONE OTHER THAN YOURSELF: David was so frazzled he was awake all night. Ever been there? That’s when you need to remember: Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” (Philippians 4:6-7 MSG). Elijah was depressed and suicidal when God showed him how to help himself. How you ask? BY LEAVING THE CAVE HE WAS HIDING IN, AND GOING OUT AND MINISTERING TO OTHERS! FOCUSING ON SOMETHING OTHER THAN YOURSELF GIVES YOU BETTER PERSPECTIVE! All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too” (2 Corinthians 1:3-5 MSG). Need help? THEN REACH OUT AND HELP OTHERS! However, this does not mean adding someone else’s load to the one you’re already struggling with yourself! It means something a little more simplistic: Tutor a teen with a subject they’re struggling with; drop off a hot plate of food to a senior who lives alone or someone sick and shut in; send someone an encouraging quote who’s dealing with a burden; sit next to someone in service you know is hurting and hold their hand. You’ll be amazed how much of a break your brain will get from constantly being drained by your own struggles. And as an added bonus, when you began to help someone who is worse off than you, it helps to put things into perspective for yourself. Just maybe something or someone you’re struggling with is not as bad as you think…remember as bad as things are they can always become worse. So learn to appreciate where you are and what you have, and the best way to do that is helping someone else! “A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal.” (Dr. Steve Maraboli); “Helping one person might not change the world, but it could change the world for one person.” (Author Unknown); “We rise by lifting others.” (Robert Ingersoll); “We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.” (Ronald Reagan); “The strongest people make time to help others, even if they are struggling with their own problems.” (Simple Reminders); “As you grow older you discover you have two hands: one for helping yourself, one for helping others.” (Audrey Hepburn)

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

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

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

(2)  DON’T QUIT: Every time you reach the breaking point it’s a test! You have before you a series of choices that will add up to either quitting, or persevering through to victory. Paul was flogged, thrown in jail, shipwrecked and run out of town, but he refused to give in to circumstances and in the end he was able to say, “I have fought the good fight, I have FINISHED the race, and I have REMAINED FAITHFUL” (2 Timothy 4:7 NLT).  DON’T QUIT! Don’t change jobs, change churches, or change spouses! Stick it out and wait for the Lord! He has promised you He has a guaranteed plan for your future: Jeremiah 29:11, “This is GOD’s Word on the subject…I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out – plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for” (MSG) and last I checked He Still Cannot Lie and His Word Still Cannot Fail! (“…God is not man, one given to lies, and not a son of man changing His mind. Does He speak and not do what He says? Does He promise and not come through?” (Numbers 23:19 MSG); “…Just as rain and snow descend from the skies and don’t go back until they’ve watered the earth, Doing their work of making things grow and blossom, producing seed for farmers and food for the hungry, So will the words that come out of my mouth not come back empty-handed. They’ll do the work I sent them to do, they’ll complete the assignment I gave them.” Isaiah 55:8-11 MSG).  So I reiterate, Don’t Quit! No matter how many things are going Wrong…God will come through at just the Right time on your behalf!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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