“Carry God Correctly!”

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2 Samuel 6:3, “And they set the ark of God upon a new cart and brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill; and Uzzah and Ahio, sons of Abindab, drove the new cart.” (AMP)                     

For those of you desiring to be a True Soul Winner for God, then the First Key you must remember is to Carry God Correctly!  

God cannot be sprayed on like cologne, used as a scent to cover up our sinful stench! Nor can He be used like a credit card, hidden, and taken out only when needed to be used! No, God Must Live IN You and Through You! 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Do you not know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit Who LIVES WITHIN YOU, Whom you have received [as a Gift] from God? You are not your own, You were bought with a price [purchased with a preciousness and paid for, made His own]. So then, honor God and bring glory to Him IN your body.” (AMP).

Truth is, it’s getting really hard for the people of God to be Effective in reaching out to the world because the world is starting to believe in their own Form of Righteousness and even though they have No Commitment to God, they believe that they are heaven bound! This is going to step on some Sanctified Toes, but the Truth of the Matter Is: This is the Churches Fault! 2 Timothy 3:5, For [although] they hold a form of piety (true religion), they deny and reject and are strangers to the power of it [their conduct belies the genuineness of their profession]. Avoid [all] such people [turn away from them].” (AMP).

Church, We have made So Many Excuses For Ourselves, And Them, going after Money Instead of Deliverance or Preaching Feel Good Messages Instead of Preaching the Total Truth, that Now, the World is Walking Alongside the Church As If They Are Okay! However, the Word of God Has Commanded Us: “So, come out from among [unbelievers], and separate (sever) yourselves from them, says the Lord, and touch not [any] unclean thing; then I will receive you kindly and treat you with favor.” (2 Corinthians 6:17 AMP). 

When we Hide the Truth, We Give No Reason For Change To The World! We have to remember at all times, Believers Don’t Blend!

Again the Church Is Commanded: 2 Corinthians 6:14-16, Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers [do not make mismated alliances with them or come under a different yoke with them, inconsistent with your faith]. For what partnership have right living and right standing with God with iniquity and lawlessness? Or how can light have fellowship with darkness? What harmony can there be between Christ and Belial [the devil]? Or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? What agreement [can there be between] a temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God; even as God said, I will dwell in and with and among them and will walk in and with and among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” (AMP). 

Understand This: When We Are “Of” The World, Then We Promote It And Cause the World to Accept a Form of Godliness, Instead of a Godly Lifestyle! It’s All About How WE (THE CHURCH) Carry God In Our Daily Lives, PUBLICLY AND PRIVATELY! The World Should See a Distinctive Difference Between Us and Them. Our Homes, Families, Character, Integrity, Work Ethics, Dress Attire, Habits, Lifestyle, Should All Send a Clear Message Between Light and Dark, Clean and Unclean, Holy and Unholy, Saved and Unsaved, Believer, and Unbeliever! Church, Let’s Come Out of Acting Like the World, So We Can Bring the World Into the Church! We Can’t Help Them When Our Behavior is No Different From Them.

Listen: In this passage of Scripture, we find a group of people that are Trying to Carry God’s Ark (Which Represents His Presence), BUT They Did Not Follow His Commandments!

Let me say it like this: These guys Decided to Put God on a Vehicle and Carry Him to a Certain Place. HOWEVER, God Commanded that They Carry Him By the Hands of the Sanctified Levites and that They Carry Him By the Handles that were Attached to it! BUT, They Came Up With the Bright Idea to Place Him On a Cart and Drive Him By Oxen! Well, when the cart hit a bump, the Ark Got Off Balance and Uzzah Reached Out to Stabilize it. When He Touched It, He Was Struck Dead On the Spot! But the Moral of This Story Is Not that Uzzah Touched the Ark of God, BUT the Whole PROCESS of Carrying the Ark was WRONG!

Church, in case you didn’t know, Disobedience Leads to Death and Dethroning! Just Ask Saul! Then Samuel said, Do you think all GOD wants are sacrifices—empty rituals just for show? He wants you to listen to him! Plain listening is the thing, not staging a lavish religious production. Not doing what GOD tells you is far worse than following around in the occult. Getting self-important around GOD is far worse than making deals with your dead ancestors. Because you said No to GOD’s command, he says No to your kingship.” (1 Samuel 15:22-23 MSG).

Amazing, You Can Either Have It All Or Lose It All And It All Simply Depends On Obedience!

God Did Not Want Them to Carry Him Like That! Uzzah reached out and tried to Help God, BUT He Shouldn’t Have Been Carrying God Like That In the First Place! Even Though Their Motives Were Good, the Process of Getting God to the People Was Wrong! And That’s What We Must Remember Today! If We Are Going to Reach the Lost, We Have to Carry God Correctly!

2 Corinthians 5:16-20, “Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don’t look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s Representatives. God Uses Us to Persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re Speaking For Christ Himself Now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you.” (MSG).

In A Neat Little Nutshell: You Can’t Convert Them Into a Right Relationship With God, Carrying God Wrong!

Listen: As Christ’s Representatives, We Can’t Afford to Mix God Up in Our Selfish Agendas, BUT We Must Stick to the Bible and Understand How He Wants Us to Walk in This World!

“See then that ye Walk Circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise.” (Ephesians 5:15). The Word “Circumspectly” means to be “Cautious and Prudent” Its Latin Origin “Circumspectus”, from “Circumspicere” literally means to “Look Around”. In other words, whether it be in your thoughts, words, actions, motives, intentions, or attitude, Be Cautious and Prudent, Take the Time to Look Around You, there is a Whole World Watching How You Walk! And Many will either stay the same, change for the better, or change for the worse, Simply and Literally By Watching How You Walk!

“Prudent” means “Acting with or showing care and thought for the future”; Its Latin Origin “Prudens”, from “Providens” literally means “Forseeing” As a part of witnessing, it is our job as the church not to see people (unbelievers) as they are Currently, but as they Can Be In Christ! We have the ability to Forsee Them Being Saved, Sanctified, Healed, Delivered and Changed! Therefore, we walk in such a manner as not to foolishly hinder what could be a fruitful future for them in the Kingdom! Which means, we must take such care in our walk because they are watching and will thereby imitate…For Better Or For Worse!

Think of it this way: A small child learning how to put their shoes on needs assistance, teaching, direction and an example shown because of their lack of knowledge in how this is to be done. And looking to an adult, who they believe knows all about this stuff, obviously, they come to us to show them how to do it. Can you imagine if we told them the left shoe goes on the right foot, and the right shoe goes on the left foot? Sounds comical, but do you know that they’re going to do it! Why? Because they trust that what We Tell Them and Show Them Is Correct! After all, why would we, who supposedly love them, want to tell and show them something that is not only wrong, but painful, and which can eventually lead to a difficult walk and deformity?

However, the truth is, that’s exactly what we, the church, has been doing to the world! We’ve been telling them one thing and doing another! And in confusion, they’re doing both…what we say and what we do, and then we’re wondering why are they so screwed up and confused…BUT WE CAUSED IT!

And while we’re talking about teaching people to walk right, there’s another little thing to keep in mind. As parents, we often check our children’s feet and shoes as they grow older because we always want them to be in the Appropriate Size! Likewise, don’t just get the “glad glads” when someone comes to Christ and then just leave them at the altar! Babes in Christ are no different than Babies, to Children, To Teens, To Young Adults, To Adults. They need help throughout all their stages of life and growth! Teach them throughout each Transition! Listen, you can’t get mad when they’re 16 and still struggling trying to walk in the same size shoe as when they were 6, when you never helped them out of it! You see, the danger is that once a person does something consistently (be it right or wrong), it develops into a habit, and that habit (be it good or bad) will become their normal way of life. So, if we tell the world to put out their cigarettes, get rid of the bottle, flush the drugs, we better make sure those things have already been delivered from us first! Because when we compromise before the world, we compromise the eternity of the world. We can’t tell them to start a new way of life, when we haven’t stopped our old way of living. In addition, we can’t set low standards that say you can cuss (just not on Sundays); you can drink, get high, and smoke 2 packs a day (just not on Bible Study nights); you can fornicate, commit adultery, lie, steal, cheat, be unforgiving and spiteful (just not when you see other believers around). We have to stand out so distinctively it makes the world come to us asking questions! Which is why you don’t see an influx of unbelievers visiting churches. For what? When what’s going on within the 4 walls of the church is the same thing going on within the 4 walls of the club! Why would they come to church to learn how to live right, when we’re comfortable living wrong? Church, we have to do and be better. We have to set the bar as high as God’s character and integrity, especially since we’re going around using His Name (Christ) to describe ourselves (Christians)! My former pastor used to say, ‘bring no shame to the family name.’ Well, if you were charged for bringing shame to the Kingdom of God family name, would you be found innocent or guilty? And yes, that includes your public AND private life!

It’s our job to make sure that unbelievers come to Christ, and it’s our job to continue walking with them along their journey! However, that is difficult to do when we keep changing up the rules of Salvation depending on the Circumstance of Life we find ourselves in! We can’t call what they do sin on Saturday, when we do the same thing on Monday. We Can’t Compromise the Characteristics of Christ that Should Be Evident in Every Believers Life and Lifestyle. Remember This: Carrying Christ Requires Consistency!

We must learn to consistently walk in such a manner that our testimony is the same as Enoch’s: “And Enoch walked [in Habitual Fellowship] With God; and he was not, for God took him [home with Him].” (Genesis 5:24 AMP).  And this isn’t a Sunday Walk either! Enoch’s Walk With God Was “Habitual”, meaning it was “Done Constantly as a Habit; It was his usual or his regular, daily, consistently unbroken routine”! Now that’s a walk, in the words of the Apostle Paul, that is “worthy to be imitated”!

Church, To Carry God Correctly, We Must Walk Circumspectly! God Wants Us to Walk With Him and Carry Him Within Ourselves So that He May Be Shown Mighty In Our Own Lives! God Wants Us So Full of Him that We Can Just Walk Up to a Sinner and he will See God’s Glory Shining Through Us!

After All, If We’re Really Spending Quality Time Walking With God, Talking With God and Carrying God, There Should Be Manifested Evidence of the Fact, Shouldn’t It? It was for Moses:When Moses came down from Mount Sinai carrying the two Tablets of The Testimony, he didn’t know that the SKIN OF HIS FACE GLOWED BECAUSE HE HAD BEEN SPEAKING WITH GOD. Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, SAW HIS RADIANT FACE, and held back, afraid to get close to him. Moses called out to them. Aaron and the leaders in the community came back and Moses talked with them. Later all the Israelites came up to him and he passed on the commands, everything that GOD had told him on Mount Sinai. When Moses finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face, but when he went into the Presence of GOD to Speak with Him, he removed the veil until he came out. When he came out and told the Israelites what he had been commanded, THEY WOULD SEE MOSES’ FACE, ITS SKIN GLOWING, and then he would again put the veil on his face until he went back to Speak With GOD.” (Exodus 34:29-35 MSG). 

People of God, the World is looking to see the Glow of His Glory on Us, NOT the Form of Godliness Through Us! Therefore, Today Determine To Carry God And His Glory Correctly!

God Is Tired of Us Hiding In the Church or Using Our “Ministry” as a Cart to Carry Him Instead of Us Carrying Him Personally! The Day of Trying to Get Sinners to Church to get them Saved Is Over! We Must Be Full of God’s Spirit and Reach the Lost at Our Jobs, in our Homes, at the Supermarket, in the Laundromat, on line at the Bank, Walking through Park and our Neighborhoods, Just Because He Is Shown Mighty in Our Personal Lives! If We Walk Right Before Them, They Will Know the True and Living God! If Signs and Wonders Really Follow Us (Healing, Miracles, Deliverance, etc.) then They Will Know the Power of God and Desire It! Our Man-Made Schemes of Reaching the World are Not Important! God Will Reach the Lost If We Just Lend Him Our Members and Show Him In Our Daily Walk! Don’t Get Caught Up In a Man-Made Plan to Carry God in Any Method Other Than the Way the Word of God Tells Us To!

After all, what will it Profit the World to See Us Carrying God the Way They Do?

Saints, There Must Be a Difference Between Us and Them! A Clear Distinction! Exodus 8:20-23, “God said to Moses, “Get up early in the morning and confront Pharaoh as he goes down to the water. Tell him, ‘God’s Message: Release my people so they can worship me. If you don’t release my people, I’ll release swarms of flies on you, your servants, your people, and your homes. The houses of the Egyptians and even the ground under their feet will be thick with flies. BUT WHEN IT HAPPENS, I’LL SET GOSHEN WHERE MY PEOPLE LIVE ASIDE AS A SANCTUARY – NO FLIES IN GOSHEN. THAT WILL SHOW YOU THAT I AM GOD IN THIS LAND. I’LL MAKE A SHARP DISTINCTION BETWEEN YOUR PEOPLE AND MINE. This sign will occur tomorrow.’” (MSG)

IT IS MY BELIEF THAT GOD STILL WANTS HIS PEOPLE DISTINCT FROM THE WORLD AROUND THEM! SO THE QUESTION YOU NEED TO ASK AND ANSWER IS: “IS MY CHRISTIAN LIFESTYLE DISTINCT FROM THE WORLD OR HARD TO DIFFERENTIATE FROM IT?!”

2 Samuel 6:6-7, “When they came to Nacon’s threshing floor, Uzzah reached out [with his hand] to the ark of God and took hold of it, because the oxen [stumbled and] nearly overturned it.  And the anger of the Lord burned against Uzzah, and God struck him there for his irreverence; and he died there by the ark of God.” (AMP) Trying to help cost him his life. And all because he put his hands on the ark he wasn’t supposed to touch. An ark that was being carried incorrectly. Can you imagine if that was God’s response to us every time we carried Him incorrectly or represented Him in a manner inconsistent with His Character? How much of the Church would be left alive? Sadly, Uzzah would never have lost his life had the ark been carried correctly in the first place. Saints, we have to remember that there are always consequences to our choices. And if we choose to haphazardly carry God incorrectly, He will chastise the children in whom He loves. But who’s to say what that chastisement might be? And do you really want to compromise and chance it? Truthfully, we’ve all missed out on much due to our disobedience. Not to mention, this side of heaven, we’ll never know how many people we led astray by our contrary behavior.

We preach, teach and pray that these are the end times and the last days. Well, wouldn’t you say then that it’s vital that the church gets her act together? Lives and eternity are hanging in the balance. Our obedience can tip the scales in the Kingdom’s favor. People of God, We Must Stay Obedient to Him In Order to Win the Lost! For We Dare Not Carry God So Carelessly That the World Declares “…You ALMOST Persuaded Me…” (Acts 26:28) ‘Almost’ is defined as, ‘very nearly; borderline; partially; just about; within an inch of.’ And in these last days and end times, is that the report we intend to give to God? That our inconsistent lifestyles of straddling the fence, caused people to miss heaven by a borderline?! People who were very near to accepting You, they were partially there, just about, within an inch of making it in, until they saw how we act out! Listen, I can’t speak for you, but that is NOT the report I intend to give God!

Let’s not lose anymore Uzzahs!

Let’s Carry God the Way He’s Already Commanded Us to. Let’s be His clean, and honorable vessels that He can pour into and out of. Let’s make sure our habits, behavior, attitude, speech, attire, lifestyle choices all reflect a good representation of God. Let’s remember we’re created in His image and likeness, we’re His Ambassadors, we are Christians, called by His Name, we are Disciples of Christ, we are children of God, and representatives of heaven, we are the called out ones, we are the CHURCH OF THE LIVING GOD! Now, let’s act like it!

Remember, the world is watching our walk, let’s make sure we don’t trip them up!

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

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“Pretty Container, But Poisonous Content!”

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My girlfriend Caroline absolutely loves the country, hiking, and camping! She loves animals of every kind, and always has a story to tell from her adventures. Well, the last time she saw a frog, she was with one of her grandchildren. She loved it when her grandson Jake picked up a little bug-eyed green fellow and held him close so she could get a better look at him. It was one of Kermit’s cousins, you know. Now, Jake didn’t have any second thoughts about picking up a frog. They’re harmless, after all! Well, most of the time – unless that’s if it’s what they call a poisonous dart frog! No worries though, I’m pretty sure we don’t have those, but they’re about one and one-half inches long, and they live in tropical rain forests in Central and South America. And they are the good-lookers of the frog kingdom family. You see, they’re not a boring, plain ol’ green color. They are quite diverse in color, and can come in multiple colors at the same time. The dart frog is extremely brightly colored. He looks very interesting, but he can be carrying enough poison to kill 20,000 mice! Or more important to you and me – enough poison to kill ten people!

Here’s a creature who looks so good and yet kills so dead! Just like sin; maybe the sin that’s been looking pretty good to you lately. So many people have reached out and touched what they should have never touched, and they paid a painful price that they could have never imagined. Sin may appear pretty at times, but it’s pretty poison!

James 1:13-15. “Don’t let anyone under pressure to give in to evil say, “God is trying to trip me up.” God is impervious to evil, and puts evil in no one’s way. The temptation to give in to evil comes from us and only us. We have no one to blame but the leering, seducing flare-up of our own lust. Lust gets pregnant, and has a baby: sin! Sin grows up to adulthood, and becomes a real killer.” (MSG)

Those are some sledgehammer verses! It traces a moral disaster from the first desire for something that’s wrong to the sinful choice to get what looks so good, to its final result. When that “baby” called sin finally is born, what you get is death because sin always kills. It kills families, it kills marriages, it kills character and reputations, and it kills ministries and churches. Sin kills your self-respect, people’s trust in you and even your closeness to the God that you can’t live without.

The story of this attractive killer goes all the way back to the very first humans God ever created, Adam and Eve. With all the beauty of the Garden of Eden available for his enjoyment, God gave Adam this one prohibition: “You must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” Satan came to Eve and told her the exact opposite: “You will not surely die.” And “when the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it” (Genesis 2:17; 3:4, 6). And they learned the hard way that no matter how much you think you have to gain from going outside God’s boundaries, you have so much more to lose! They lost Eden, they lost walking with God, they lost intimacy with God, and instead they gained so much pain and even death!

It may be that the same devil is lying to you right now about the sin that looks so good to you. “It won’t hurt,” “Everybody’s doing it,” “Hey, you deserve it,” “You need this,” “Only a little,” “Ah, just this once.” Anything to get you to bite! Anything to get you to take the deadly poison of sin. It looks like you have so much to gain if you’ll just lie a little, cheat a little, flirt a little, try a little, or take just one look. But you have so much to lose! However, you won’t know that until it’s too late, unless you listen to what God says.

Wisdom Nugget: First sin fascinates you, and then it assassinates you!

However, I, in God’s love, have come to you TODAY to wave you away from a choice that will take you where you never wanted to go, it will keep you longer than you ever wanted to stay, and it will cost you more than you ever wanted to pay. Don’t walk away from that sin – RUN away from it! Sin looks so good yet it kills so dead! Much like the pretty, yet POISONOUS dart frog!

Let’s take a look at a few facts about this little terror, and see what Spiritual truths we can gather from their Natural world:

FOR ONE, THE BRIGHTER THE DART FROG IS, THE MORE TOXIC IT IS! And isn’t that a lot like sin? After all, it’s always the APPEARANCE of something that gets us in trouble every time! Our EYES fall in love with what we ‘SEE’, not knowing that what we can ‘SEE’ is just on the Surface! For example, we SEE someone else’s marriage and it LOOKS like it’s absolutely perfect; we SEE someone else’s children and they LOOK ideal; we SEE someone else’s home and we become dissatisfied with the apartment we live in; we SEE what someone else is driving and then we’re mad that we’re still taking the bus; we SEE the job someone else has and all of a sudden we’re ready to change careers; we SEE the position someone holds in church and overnight God has called us to a new office, title and position! But what we don’t know is all that lies underneath the SURFACE of all of that stuff we covet. You see, underneath all that brightly covered stuff, their marriage LOOKS perfect, but he beats her daily; their children LOOK ideal, but their son is in a gang and their daughter is on cocaine; their home LOOKS beautiful, but neither of them can get any sleep at night worrying about making the payments they can’t afford; their car is in a class all by itself, and yet their children have to take out loans because the car loan emptied their college funds; they have a well-paid job, and little do you know they hate it every day because of all the compromising they have to do to maintain it; they sit in a big chair at church, but possess so little character in the comfort of their own home! Be careful of allowing your EYES to LURE you into lusting after ‘SHINY, BRIGHT’ things. You just may discover that it’s nothing more than poison gift wrapped in pretty paper! 2 Corinthians 11:12-15, “And I’m not changing my position on this. I’d die before taking your money. I’m giving nobody grounds for lumping me in with those money-grubbing “preachers,” vaunting themselves as something special. They’re a sorry bunch—pseudo-apostles, lying preachers, crooked workers—POSING as Christ’s agents but sham to the core. And no wonder! SATAN DOES IT ALL THE TIME, DRESSING UP AS A BEAUTIFUL ANGEL OF LIGHT. So it shouldn’t surprise us when his servants MASQUERADE as servants of God. But they’re not getting by with anything. They’ll pay for it in the end.” (MSG)

GUARD YOUR EYES AGAINST THE APPEARANCE OF PEOPLE, PLACES AND THINGS! LOOKS CAN STILL BE DECEIVING AND THINGS AREN’T ALWAYS WHAT THEY LOOK LIKE!

SECONDLY, THE DART FROG IS SMALL, BUT DEADLY! As believers, we’re quick to jump on those who commit adultery, fornicate, drink, smoke, curse, lie, and steal, but I’m often amazed by how we alter the definition of sin when it comes to our OWN! We like to categorize it and give it a size, when it becomes personal. You see, adultery is a “big sin”, oh but sister girl in the corner slandering her sister in Christ with gossip, now that’s a “little sin.” But the bible does not differentiate! Sin, is Sin, no matter who does it or what kind of sin it is! The dart frog can be as SMALL as a paperclip, and still it is DEADLY! And whether they get caught drunk driving while you’re sowing discord among the brethren, sin is still sin! It is still deadly, no matter how ‘small and insignificant’ you may think it is! Proverbs 6:16-19, “These six things the Lord hates; Indeed, seven are repulsive to Him: A proud look [the attitude that makes one overestimate oneself and discount others], a lying tongue, And hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that creates wicked plans, Feet that run swiftly to evil, A false witness who breathes out lies [even half-truths], And one who spreads discord (rumors) among brothers.” (AMP) But most don’t pay these things any mind, because clearly the “bigger” sins, are adultery and drunkenness! LISTEN, anything that God deems a sin, is a sin! And sin has no size, no category, just the consequence of death! Today, is a great day, to get rid of ALL sin! Just as the ‘little foxes’ spoil the vine, even the sins in your life that you deem ‘little’ will spoil you! Song of Solomon 2:15, “Our vineyards are in blossom; we must catch the LITTLE foxes that DESTROY the vineyards.” (CEV) What You Deem a SMALL SIN Can Bring You BIG DESTRUCTION!  James 3:3-12, “Now if we put bits into the horses’ mouths to make them obey us, we guide their whole body as well.  And look at the ships. Even though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are still directed by a very SMALL rudder wherever the impulse of the helmsman determines.  In the same sense, the TONGUE is a SMALL part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See [by comparison] how great a forest is set on fire by a SMALL spark!  And the tongue is [in a sense] a fire, the very world of injustice and unrighteousness; the tongue is set among our members as that which contaminates the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life [the cycle of man’s existence], and is itself set on fire by hell (Gehenna).  For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and sea creatures, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race.  But no one can tame the human tongue; it is a restless evil [undisciplined, unstable], FULL OF DEADLY POISON.  With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God. Out of the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. These things, my brothers, should not be this way [for we have a moral obligation to speak in a manner that reflects our fear of God and profound respect for His precepts].  Does a spring send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water?  Can a fig tree, my brothers, produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Nor can salt water produce fresh.” (AMP)

I REITERATE, WHAT YOU DEEM A SMALL SIN CAN BRING YOU BIG DESTRUCTION! DON’T COMPROMISE YOUR CHARACTER! ALL SATAN NEEDS IS A SMALL OPENING TO GIVE HIM OPPORTUNITY TO OVERCOME YOU! Ephesians 4:27, “Leave no [such] room or foothold for the devil [give no opportunity to him].” (AMPC) A “foothold” is defined as “a place where one can lodge a foot to give secure support while climbing; to secure a position from which further progress may be made.” You may not think a ‘little sin’ can cause much damage, but the Bible disagrees with you! You see, all the devil needs is a foothold, enough room just to get his toes in, and as soon as you allow him that little wiggle room, it will become the place where he can lodge his foot to give him secure support while climbing into your life, making further progress until total takeover and destruction has been accomplished! So…do you still think ‘little’ isn’t such a BIG deal?!

THIRDLY, THE FOOD THE DART FROG EATS IS WHAT MAKES IT POISONOUS! Which is why you have to be so careful about what you DIGEST! The enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy, so clearly he’s not digesting anything good! Therefore, nothing to do with sin can be good! I don’t care what it looks like, feels like, or the lies it promises, sin is still a deadly killer! Everything out of the enemy and sin is ugly, damaging, and life threatening. It’s fear, discouragement, jealously, anger, maliciousness. And when you partake of sin, that’s the poison you digest! Stop coming into contact with people, places and things that will kill you! Don’t play around it, don’t flirt around it, don’t go near it, avoid it at all costs! Because nothing from it can ever produce anything good, just further destruction! People of God, Let’s Use the Wisdom of Scripture! Proverbs 4:10-15, “Dear friend, take my advice; it will add years to your life. I’m writing out clear directions to Wisdom Way, I’m drawing a map to Righteous Road. I don’t want you ending up in blind alleys, or wasting time making wrong turns. Hold tight to good advice; don’t relax your grip. Guard it well—your life is at stake! Don’t take Wicked Bypass; don’t so much as set foot on that road. Stay clear of it; give it a wide berth. Make a detour and be on your way.” (MSG) THE MORE WORD YOU DIGEST THE LESS CHANCE YOU HAVE OF SIPPING ON SIN AS YOUR CHOICE SUBSTANCE ABUSE! FOLLOW THE ADMONISHMENT OF THE PSALMIST: “How can a young person live a clean life? By carefully reading the map of Your Word. I’m single-minded in pursuit of You; don’t let me miss the road signs you’ve posted. I’ve banked Your promises in the vault of my heart so I won’t sin myself bankrupt. Be blessed, God; train me in Your ways of wise living. I’ll transfer to my lips all the counsel that comes from Your mouth; I delight far more in what You tell me about living than in gathering a pile of riches. I ponder every morsel of wisdom from You, I attentively watch how You’ve done it. I relish everything You’ve told me of life, I won’t forget a word of it.” (MSG)

BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU CHOOSE TO DIGEST, IT CAN VERY WELL MEAN LIFE OR DEATH TO YOU!

FOURTH, AS COLORFUL AS DART FROGS ARE, THEY ALWAYS HAVE BLACK ON THEM TO MAKE THEM EASIER TO CAMOUFLAGE! And that’s just like sin! It can camouflage as something good and fulfilling. But no matter how well it camouflages itself, sin is still sin, and sin still kills! You can dress it up all you like, the poison it possesses still remains intact! The Dart Frog is the Epitome of Hypocrisy…and Unfortunately, So are Many of God’s Children! 2 Timothy 3:5, “holding to a FORM of [OUTWARD] godliness (religion), although they have denied its power [FOR THEIR CONDUCT NULLIFIES THEIR CLAIM OF FAITH]. Avoid such people and keep far away from them.” (AMP). The Message Bible reads like this: “Don’t be naïve. There are difficult times ahead. As the end approaches, people are going to be self-absorbed, money-hungry, self-promoting, stuck-up, profane, contemptuous of parents, crude, coarse, dog-eat-dog, unbending, slanderers, impulsively wild, savage, cynical, treacherous, ruthless, bloated windbags, addicted to lust, and allergic to God. They’ll make a SHOW of religion, but BEHIND THE SCENES they’re animals. Stay clear of these people.” (vss. 1-5 MSG) Which is why today is a good day to re-exam the company you keep! Why? 1 Corinthians 15:30-33, “…But don’t fool yourselves. Don’t let yourselves be POISONED…BAD COMPANY RUINS GOOD MANNERS.” (MSG); Matthew 7:15, “Beware of the false prophets, [teachers] who come to you dressed as sheep [APPEARING GENTLE AND INNOCENT], BUT INWARDLY ARE RAVENOUS WOLVES.” (AMP). Some people are nothing more than pretty containers with poisonous content! A form of godliness; a show of religion; wolves in sheep’s clothing! Nothing more than the appearance of godliness. Therefore, use wisdom when selecting your circle so you don’t end up boxed into a circus full of clowns!

Now, there are so many more facts about the dart frog that could be shared, but I’ll close with this last one:

POISONOUS DART FROGS DO NOT LIVE IN THE WATER AS THEY LACK TOE WEBBING AND ARE POOR SWIMMERS. However, like all frogs they begin life in the water as tadpoles. They live in small pools found in the leaves of bromeliads and other tree dwelling plants until they emerge as tiny frogs. And why is this my favorite fact? Because of Ephesians 5. A portion of it reads like this: “Husbands, love your wives [seek the highest good for her and surround her with a caring, unselfish love], JUST AS CHRIST ALSO LOVED THE CHURCH AND GAVE HIMSELF UP FOR HER,  SO THAT HE MIGHT SANCTIFY THE CHURCH, HAVING CLEANSED HER BY THE WASHING OF WATER WITH THE WORD [OF GOD],  so that [in turn] He might present the church to Himself in glorious splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy [set apart for God] and blameless.  Even so husbands should and are morally obligated to love their own wives as [being in a sense] their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself.” (5:25-28 AMP)

Focal Point: “…SO THAT HE MIGHT SANCTIFY THE CHURCH, HAVING CLEANSED HER BY THE WASHING OF WATER WITH THE WORD [OF GOD]…”  

I’ve learned that to keep myself from sin, I need to position myself where the enemy can’t get to me! You see, the dart frog is full of poison and can kill 20,000 mice or ten people, yet it has to be able to get to them first! And if I dare to stay with Christ, and allow Him to sanctify me by washing me with the water of the Word of God (the enemy), that pretty, poisonous dart frog, can’t get to me, BECAUSE IT CAN’T SWIM! Reminds me of Moses and the Red Sea! They went through, while their enemies went under! Or like the unclean spirits that came out of the man and asked Jesus if they could enter the pigs. They were granted their request, and rushed down the steep bank into the sea; and they were drowned [one after the other] in the sea, says the Scripture! How awesome is that! If I keep myself out of the enemies reach, he can’t touch me! But family, that means that we actively do what we must to stay out of harms way! You can’t play with sin and the devil, and then get mad when you get hurt! You can’t play with hell then cry when the heat burns you! A safe place for you is to dwell in the presence of God, in the Word of God, in prayer with God! Allow Him to be the Rivers of Living Water flowing out of you (more water that the enemy can’t swim in!)

People of God, don’t be tricked, or fooled, it (and they) may look real good, and may promise to make you feel even better. However, don’t fall for it! It may be pretty, but it (and they) can be quite poisonous! Stay clean, stay holy, stay drenched in God, and stay alive!

Remember: Just as God has plans for our lives (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); so does Satan have plans for our lives! 2 Corinthians 2:11, “I did this so that Satan would not win anything from us, because we know very well what Satan’s plans are.” (NCV) And what are his plans for our lives? “…TO STEAL AND KILL AND DESTROY!” (John 10:10) Let’s Not Be the Ones Who Supply Him With the Ammunition to Take Us Out! Instead, Let’s Obey Christ’s Orders: Matthew 10:16, “Stay alert. This is hazardous work I’m assigning you. You’re going to be like sheep running through a wolf pack, so don’t call attention to yourselves. Be as cunning as a snake, inoffensive as a dove.” (MSG)

The enemy is playing for keeps, so keep yourselves alert in this hazardous kingdom assignment! Don’t compromise and don’t live contrary to Christ’s commands:

Ephesians 5:11-16, “Don’t waste your time on useless work, mere busywork, the barren pursuits of darkness. Expose these things for the sham they are. It’s a scandal when people waste their lives on things they must do in the darkness where no one will see. Rip the cover off those frauds and see how attractive they look in the light of Christ. Wake up from your sleep, Climb out of your coffins;
Christ will show you the light! So watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times!” (MSG);

Romans 12:1-2, “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” (MSG)

Hebrews 12:1-3, “Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!” (MSG)

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

We will not lose our crown, nor silence His ‘well done good and faithful servant!’

Let’s exam our lives saints, and get back to raising the standard bar of a Spirit of Excellence among God’s Children. Let’s not be fooled again by Satan’s Pretty Containers With Poisonous Content, We Have Too Much to Lose! Holiness Will Always Keep Us Safe From What’s Hellish!

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

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“Don’t Miss Your Turn”

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“You have stayed here long enough. TURN…” (Deuteronomy 2:3 TLB)

God’s plan for your life always involves your gifts, His timing, and being in the right place. But three things can keep that from happening:

1…Fear of Failing: (For some reason we’re under the impression that failures are final and fatal, and that is far from the truth. When you read the Bible from cover-to-cover you will quickly discover that all of God’s children failed at some point in time. Absolutely none of them were perfect. They failed as Kings, Priests, Prophets, Judges, Leaders, Fathers, Mothers, Sons, Daughters, Male, Female, Married, Single, Young and Old Alike. No one that is flesh and blood is exempt from failure! However, failure is not to be feared, it’s to be learned from so that you better appreciate the success when it does come)!

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” (Thomas A. Edison)

“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” (Michael Jordan)

“Failure is only the opportunity to begin again, only this time more wisely.” (Henry Ford)

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

LESSON TO LEARN: NEVER FEAR FAILURE BECAUSE IT’S NEVER FINAL OR FATAL!

2…Unwillingness to Leave Your Comfort Zone: (Sadly many people have not failed because of where they’ve gone, but because of where they’ve chosen to stay. Truth is, you can’t get THERE, remaining HERE! Which means daily you have to challenge yourself to do, try and experience new, different, uncomfortable and unfamiliar things. You have to learn to broaden your circle by getting out of the box! No one fulfills their Calling in a Comfort Zone. Jesus walked the world over healing and delivering, but it was the shedding of blood that brought salvation. Last I checked, the cross was not the most comfortable way to the crown, but He endured it, and whatever your cross is, endure it! Get out of your comfort zone, so you can finally fulfill your calling)!

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. You won’t find glory at the center of safety, but at its edge. You won’t find love at a place where you are covered, but in the space where you are exposed. You gotta take some risks. You have to not only pick up the dice, but roll ’em. So go ahead, take the gamble. You have nothing to lose except the chance to win. Life is not long enough to spend it on the sidelines.” (Neale Donald Walsch)

“Step so far outside your comfort zone that you forget how to get back!” (Author Unknown)

“A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.” (Author Unknown)

“Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.” (Brian Tracey)

“If we’re growing, we’re always going to be out of our comfort zone.” (John Maxwell)

“Sometimes it takes us traveling outside our comfort zone, to discover the abilities we never knew we had.” (Robert M. Hensel)

Lesson to Learn: Your Calling Will Not Be Fulfilled in Your Comfort Zone!

3…Being Swayed By the Opinions of Others: (Another sad commentary is that many people accomplish only minimal greatness because they’re so busy ignoring Christ and listening to Critics! If you are to do great things, you have to get past the opinions of people. And it doesn’t matter whether those opinions are good or bad. Even Jesus had Hosanna’s turn to Crucify by the same mouths! So likewise, you have to learn to do what God has called you to do, and be who He has called you to be, without the need for people opinions, validations, confirmations, seal of approval and pat on the back. When God gives the go ahead, only a fool allows others to stop him!

“I used to care about what people thought about me until one day I tried to pay my bills with their opinions and quickly realized how worthless their opinions really are.” (Author Unknown)

“Your opinion is not my reality.” (Dr. Steve Maraboli)

“Don’t let the noise of other peoples opinions drown out your inner voice.” (Steve Jobs)

“Don’t worry about other people’s opinions of you. God never told you to impress people; only to love them.” (Dave Willis)

“Leave people to their opinions and judgements. They cannot harm you; it is their understanding that is faulty, Not Yours.” (Leon Brown)

“Opinion is the medium between knowledge and ignorance.” (Plato)

“The greatest fear in the world is of the opinions of others. And the moment you are unafraid of the crowd you are no longer a sheep, you become a lion. A great roar arises in your heart, the roar of freedom.” (Osho)

Lesson to Learn: Don’t Allow the Opinions of Others to Hinder Your Obedience to God!

Remember This: Use Your Gifts, Move in God’s Timing, and Make Sure You Are Always in the Right Place! Never Allow Fear of Failure, The Crippling of Your Comfort Zone or the Opinions of Others to Stop Your Forward Progression!

In focusing on our text, there came a point where in order to enter the Promised Land, God said to Israel, “You have traveled around this mountain long enough. Now TURN…” (NLV). Please understand, that when you reach this point it’s crucial that you say yes to God and be willing to step out in faith! Whether God is directing you, or redirecting you, listen, heed and immediately obey!

Think about it, and let’s be honest, we can all admit that we’ve stayed in places longer than we should have. And to be even more brutally honest, many of us have stayed in stuff we should’ve never been in, in the first place! But how much longer do you intend to miss God? God said to them, “You have traveled around this mountain long enough…” I don’t know about you, but I’ve never seen a “small mountain”. In other words, mountains are by definition Big! In fact, it’s defined as, “a mass of land rising abruptly and to a large height from the surrounding level.” That doesn’t sound too tiny to me! Can you imagine traveling around “a mass of land rising abruptly and to a large height from the surrounding level”? A mountain is massive! And the word “massive” means “large and heavy; solid; exceptionally large, intense, or severe.” So, people of God, I say to you, as God said to them, “You have traveled around this mountain long enough…” Or better yet, you’ve traveled around this massive, large, heavy, intense and severe situation long enough…WHEN DO YOU PLAN TO HEED GOD’S DIRECTION AND TURN?! It’s been a burden, it’s weighed you down, it has caused you to lose sleep, weight, hair, and peace. How much longer are you going to endure self-inflicted-suffering? God Himself is giving you permission to go in another direction, so what are you waiting for? Why are you still facing a dead-end? Why are you still standing by the cliff? Why are you stuck in park? MOVE! Better Yet…TURN!

I love the definitions of the word “Turn”: “to move into a different position; to go in the opposite direction of where you are currently; to change in nature, state or form.” However, my favorite is: “a place where a road meets or branches off into another; a turning point.” Another favorite: “a time when one period of time ends and another begins.” And that phrase “turning-point” is another favorite of mine: It’s defined as “a time at which a decisive change in a situation occurs, especially one with beneficial results.” Now, please tell me with all of that said, why have you yet to TURN?! People of God, it’s time for you to stop blaming, pointing fingers, complaining, having good intentions with no plans, a long list of “one day I’m going to…” and “I promise…” and finally you make a deliberate decision to do something! Based on the above definitions, it’s time for you to move into a different position, go in the opposite direction of where you’ve been traveling, make a change! In a nutshell: TURN!

The word “reposition” is a good one, it means “a strategic move to alter and adjust to a different position.” In other words, no I am by no means saying this will be easy, but I am definitely saying it will be worth it for you to deliberately make a strategic move and alter and adjust to different people, places and things! After all, the people, places and things that you’ve become accustomed to, have obviously not worked for you, so why not quit and get work elsewhere?! You’ve been doing this long enough, putting up with this long enough, tolerating this long enough, suffering because of this long enough! Now is the time to Reposition and Turn! Remember: “turn” is also “a place where a road meets or branches off into another; a turning point.” And a “turning-point” is “a time at which a decisive change in a situation occurs, especially one with beneficial results.”

In a nutshell: This Turn Is To Your Benefit, So What Are You Waiting For…TURN!

“A bend in the road is not the end of the road…unless you fail to make the TURN” (Helen Keller)

During a famine God said to the prophet Elijah, “And the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “Leave here and TURN east. Hide yourself by the river Cherith, east of the Jordan.  You will drink from the river. And I have told the ravens to bring food to you THERE.” So he went and did what he was told by the Word of the Lord. He went and lived by the river Cherith, east of the Jordan.  The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and in the evening. And he drank from the river.” (1 Kings 17:2-6 NLV).

God’s PLAN for your life is always connected to a PLACE!

“…Leave here and TURN EAST…”; (1 Kings 17:2-6 NLV);

“You have traveled around this mountain long enough. Now TURN NORTH”; (Deuteronomy 2:3 TLB);

“The Lord said, “Ezekiel, son of man, TURN TOWARD THE SOUTH…” (Ezekiel 20:45-46 CEV);

“Moses…led the flock to the WEST…The angel of God appeared to him in flames of fire…” (Exodus 3:1-2 MSG)

Are You Getting This? From all 4 corners of the Earth, God’s people are charged and challenged to make a TURN! EAST, NORTH, SOUTH, WEST! Likewise, it’s vital for your life and calling that you are always in the Right Place at the Right Time! This week is a good time to take a look around at the people, places and things in your life, and see where you need to make a Beneficial TURN for yourself!

Think about it: Elijah would’ve missed his provision in the EAST if he didn’t TURN; Israel would’ve missed the Promised Land if they didn’t TURN to the NORTH; Ezekiel would’ve missed his ministry opportunity to deliver a prophetic word if he didn’t TURN to the SOUTH; and Moses would’ve missed the burning bush if he didn’t TURN to the WEST! What are you missing out on because you have yet to TURN in the direction God has commanded?!

Listen, Even Jesus “…HAD to go through Samaria…” (John 4:4 NIV). The Message Bible says it like this, “TO GET THERE, HE HAD TO PASS THROUGH SAMARIA…” (MSG). In order to get THERE, you have to leave HERE! And why did Jesus have to go through Samaria? To meet a woman who was destined to reach that city with the Gospel. Can you imagine, a whole city would’ve missed out on hearing the Good News of the Gospel, if Jesus didn’t go through Samaria?! Believe it or not, but you being in the right place at the right time, is not just about you! There are some people who won’t receive what they need to until you get there! Some people won’t make a turn for the better until you’ve finally decided to make a turn from the worse! Some won’t get a turn, until you make you a turn! And do you really want to be held responsible for a whole city missing God because you missed your turn?!

And will all of your turns feel good? Absolutely not! However, you can’t just go where you like, God honors you when you’re where HE wants you to be! “Tell me,” Samuel said. “Does the Lord really want sacrifices and offerings? No! He doesn’t want your sacrifices. He wants you to obey Him.” (1 Samuel 15:22 CEV). So whether you’re being sent to the North, South, East or West is irrelevant! What’s important is that you obey the direction of the Lord when He tells you it’s time to make a TURN!

God has promised to bless you, but sometimes He has to reposition you in order for you to receive His blessing! Just ask Peter. He went from I’ll live and die with you Jesus, to being warmed by strange fire, with strange people, and lying about his identity to Jesus. However, it’s never too late to make a TURN, because he’s later restored, repositioned, and preaching redemption to thousands! Paul went from killing Christians to speaking life and resurrecting them! It’s amazing what just a little TURN in the right direction can accomplish! In other words, it’s not too late for you either! So, MAKE THE TURN…BEFORE YOU MISS YOUR TURN!

Think about this as well: It was when Ruth moved to Bethlehem that she met Boaz and married him; it was when Bartimaeus went to where Jesus was that he received his sight! In a nutshell: You Don’t Want to Miss Your Turn Because You Missed Your Turn! Make sure you are in the right place, at the right time, with the right people, doing the right thing! After all, to miss God, is just wrong!

In closing, can you imagine how Abraham’s story would’ve read had he missed his TURN in Genesis 12:1? “Now the Lord had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you.The Living Bible says it like this, “God told Abram, “Leave your own country behind you…” (TLB). And the Amplified Bible reads, “…Go for yourself [for your own advantage] away from your country…” (AMP). Abram had to leave some people, places and things BEHIND HIM and FOR HIS OWN ADVANTAGE, AND TURN IN A DIFFERENT DIRECTION ALTOGETHER! And what was the blessing for his obedient TURN? “If you do, I will cause you to become the father of a great nation; I will bless you and make your name famous, and you will be a blessing to many others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you; and the entire world will be blessed because of you.” (Genesis 12:2-3 TLB).  And All Because He Refused to Miss His Turn By Missing His Turn! Verse 4, is the bonus, “SO ABRAM LEFT JUST AS GOD SAID…” (MSG). What Blessings Are You Missing Out On Because You’re Still In the Same Place?! What Blessings Are You Missing Out On Because You Didn’t Listen When God Spoke?!

And was this the only time Abram would have to make a TURN? Absolutely Not! He would eventually have to TURN away from Lot, who was originally granted permission by Abram to go with him! However, Once Again, Do to Making Another Timely TURN, the Word of God Declares: “After Lot separated from him, God said to Abram, “Open your eyes, look around. Look NORTH, SOUTH, EAST, AND WEST. Everything you see, the whole land spread out before you, I will give to you and your children forever. I’ll make your descendants like dust—counting your descendants will be as impossible as counting the dust of the Earth. So—on your feet, GET MOVING! Walk through the country, its length and breadth; I’m giving it all to you.” (Genesis 13:14-17 MSG)

Abram Made a Timely TURN, and God Made Abram a Timeless Promise! If You Don’t Want to Miss Yours As Well, Today, Determine to MAKE A TURN!

“No matter how far you go in the wrong direction, there’s always a chance to TURN your life around.”  (Author Unknown)

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: “Women’s Hair Loss: Thinning Hair, Causes and Solutions”

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“Salt With No TOUCH Has No TASTE”

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Matthew 5:13, “Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.” (MSG)

If it’s one thing I love to do its cook! However, one thing I hate to cook with is salt! You see, having parents who both suffered with high blood pressure and heart disease definitely had a huge impact on how I prepared food. To my credit, in my last two decades of life, I became a master at seasoning, so you would have no idea that salt was ever missing from my meal preparation. But prior to that, was a whole different story! I remember cooking dinner for my daughters and my friend Laurie came over to join us. She took one bite and screamed, “where the heck is the salt!?” I reminded her I didn’t cook with salt (as I laughed hysterically at the faces she made!) Well, even though I don’t cook with salt, I always have my trusted salt shaker full and ready for use for those who prefer it. So Laurie, jumps up and heads to the kitchen for the flavorful seasoning and comes back with the comment, “now we’re in business!” She did a few shakes then tasted the food again. She repeated the action three times! And yet, her facial expression let me know she was still not happy. By now, I’m a bit discouraged thinking, “I know I know how to cook, it can’t be that bad!” Laurie, always the candid one responded, “I’m telling you I don’t taste a difference.” Now I’m stressed because the amount of shakes she did with that salt will give her a heart-attack before dessert! But then my eldest daughter in all her wisdom, whom we all call grandma, because as my older relatives would say, ‘she’s been here before’, decided to enlighten us. Her comment, ‘are you sure the salt is coming out?’ Sure enough, we looked at the salt shaker, and as fancy as it was, you needed to move a little button from closed to open on the bottom of the salt shaker! Laurie was shaking her little heart out, and nothing changed, because nothing came out! Without TOUCH, there was no change to the TASTE!

In reading today’s Scripture for my morning devotional, the above memory is what immediately came to mind. Laurie had the salt in her hand, what she needed to put it on was right in front of her, within reach, and she even put in tremendous effort to get the salt out, and yet, because it stayed contained in its little bottle, nothing was affected, nothing was changed. Sounds a lot like Matthew 5:13 doesn’t it?

“Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.” (MSG)

The whole reason we’re here is to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. But if the salt never touches anything, how does it change anything? Which makes me think of the evangelism that has so greatly halted in our churches. Oh, we go to church week-after-week, Sunday School; Sunday worship; prayer; bible study; meetings; rehearsals; revivals; special services and the like, and we’re quite comfortable sitting in our sanctuaries (aka “salt shakers”), well contained! Problem? Salt is touching salt, but touching nothing else! Selah…

In order for you to TASTE salt, it has to TOUCH something! In order for salt to change something, it has to touch something. In order for us salty Christians to change something, or someone, we’ve got to touch it and them! We can’t remain in the salt-shaker, where we’re useless because we’re touchless and tasteless.

Therefore, we can’t sit in our churches and complain about the world and the way it is, while we sit in the salt-shaker sanctuary touching nothing and no one. Just imagine if we actually left the salt-shaker sanctuary and went to shake some salt in the nursing homes, in the hospitals, in the prisons, in the homeless shelters, at the soup kitchens. What change might we bring about if only we’d leave the salt-shaker sanctuary? If we shook some salt while standing in the grocery aisle, in the barbershop, or at the nail and hair salon? What if we shook some salt at our jobs, in our families and in our communities? What if we shook some salt on that drug-infested park, or gang-infested territory? What if we shook some salt as we walk the streets from day-to-day, passing countless ‘tasteless’ individuals on the way? I mean after all, the Bible says that’s what we’re here for, right? Isn’t that our purpose? Isn’t that our charge? Isn’t that our call?

Is it possible that people haven’t tasted God, because we haven’t touched them with Him? With His unconditional love, His sufficient grace and new mercies. With His forgiveness, kindness, compassion and encouragement. With His protection, provision, and presence. With His unspeakable joy and reassuring peace. I reiterate, is it possible that people haven’t tasted God, because we haven’t touched them with Him?

Psalm 34:8, “Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see – how good God is. Blessed are you who run to Him.” (MSG)

How can people “taste” how good God is, if we’re His salt, but we never leave the salt-shaker?

I’m sure God would love to hear the sounds of His salt getting out of the shaker more often! After all, the work salt is supposed to do is not inside the salt shaker, all clustered together with the other salt. It’s supposed to get out and change the flavor of something!

The Scripture says, “Open your mouth and taste…”, now, can you imagine feeding your baby, and yet every time they open their mouth, you bring the spoon close enough, but then you pull it away. Do you know the noise that little rascal would make, especially if he/she is already hungry! But that’s what we do as a church. We have programs and services, and we invite “whosoever will let him come”, and then when they don’t come in, we don’t go out. And of course it’s not our fault, after all, we invited, we held the service, we put on the program…but honestly, all we’re doing is bringing the food on a spoon close enough for them to see it, but then we pull it away before they can taste it. Truth is, most unbelievers are not going to simply walk in the church on Sunday morning, cry out “how can I be saved”, and then shout to a praise break! Believe it or not, but that’s like being a police officer and waiting at the precinct for someone who is guilty to stroll in and ask to be held accountable for their wrong! Not gonna happen! Officers go out to bring them in! Someone did it for us, so why are we not doing it for others?

Matthew 28:18-20, “Jesus came up and said to them, “All authority (all power of absolute rule) in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations [help the people to learn of Me, believe in Me, and obey My words], baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always [remaining with you perpetually – regardless of circumstance, and on every occasion], even to the end of the age.” (AMP)

Now, how are we to make disciples OF ALL NATIONS, if we never leave the pulpit or the pew? How is it God said GO, but we’ve YIELDED to the point that we’ve STOPPED? How can we MAKE something without ever touching it? How are people to LEARN of our God if we’re the TEACHERS who are never in CLASS with our STUDENTS? How can they BELIEVE Him if we don’t tell them ABOUT Him? How can they be expected to OBEY HIS WORD, when they haven’t HEARD HIS WORD?

Romans 10:14, “But how will people call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how will they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher (messenger)?” (AMP)

Furthermore, how are they to be BAPTIZED, without us touching them?

And how do we use anything as an excuse, when God Himself said, “…AND LO, I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS [REMAINING WITH YOU PERPETUALLY – REGARDLESS OF CIRCUMSTANCE, AND ON EVERY OCCASION], EVEN TO THE END OF THE AGE.” What can we possibly use as an excuse for why we have not done what He “COMMANDED”?

According to Jesus, “You are the salt of the earth…“, not of the sanctuary! But of the entire Earth! Which means we have to leave from within the church walls. We have to operate outside of our comfort zones, our pulpits and pews. We have to leave the meeting and the auxiliaries. We have to leave the Fellowship to go Fellow-Ship, before they all Drown!

Can you imagine the horror on the face of an individual who’s fighting with all their might, absolutely terrified that they may die any minute while trying to stay afloat in the troubling waters of life…and yet, we, the church, Jesus’ Life-Guards, are standing on the shore, watching…equipped to help…but just watching…knowing how to save…but choosing to just watch…having the Word that will deliver from destruction…and yet we remain, just watching.

People are struggling at sea, because the saints are only concerned with their safety on shore. This should not be!

You don’t keep salt stored up together in the shaker any more than you stand as a lifeguard on shore and watch someone drown. No, you scatter salt around so it will be in contact with the things that need their flavor changed. No lifeguard just stands on the shore and yells, “see if you can make it over here to me, then I can help you”. No, it’s the lifeguard’s job to look out for those who may need him, and he goes out to them, he does not wait and hope they will come to him. And unfortunately, that’s what we’ve been doing as a church. We see people struggling to stay afloat in the troubling waters of life, and instead of going out to help them, we’re standing on shore, yelling, “see if you can make it over here to my church, my service, my program, then I can help you.” That’s not how this is supposed to work saints.

Listen, Jesus left Heaven to get to us, Satan left Hell to get to us, and yet we won’t even leave the church to make disciples?

As Christians we were never meant to be all clustered together in a spiritual salt shaker, just salting each other and soaking up more blessings, miracles and the like for ourselves. The salt’s got to be in direct contact with the meat or the vegetables that need it. So guess what? You and I have to be in meaningful contact with the people who really, really need our Jesus. We’re not supposed to be hiding out, playing defense all the time, trying to keep from being contaminated by avoiding the world that Jesus left us here to change! We need to have the world testify about us as they did about some of Jesus’ more effective disciples:

Acts 17:6, “But when they did not find them there, they dragged out Jason and some of the Lord’s followers. They took them to the city authorities and shouted, “PAUL AND SILAS HAVE BEEN UPSETTING THINGS EVERYWHERE. NOW THEY HAVE COME HERE.” (CEV). They took the gospel message “EVERYWHERE”! And we can’t get folks to leave the sanctuary or the community!

Listen to a few other translations:

“…THESE MEN HAVE MADE TROUBLE EVERYWHERE IN THE WORLD…” (ERV);

“…THESE MEN WHO HAVE TURNED THE WORLD UPSIDE DOWN HAVE COME HERE ALSO.” (ESV);

“…PAUL AND SILAS HAVE TURNED THE REST OF THE WORLD UPSIDE DOWN, AND NOW THEY ARE HERE DISTURBING OUR CITY,” THEY SHOUTED.” (TLB) – Now, when is the last time you touched the world, and unbelievers, in such a way that you disturbed them? Disturbed their sin, their wickedness, their unbelief, their habits and addictions. When is the last time you disturbed the devil? When is the last time you turned the city upside down? When is the last time you gave someone a taste of God by giving them a touch from God?

The Message Bible says it like this, “…YELLING HYSTERICALLY, “THESE PEOPLE ARE OUT TO DESTROY THE WORLD, AND NOW THEY’VE SHOWN UP ON OUR DOORSTEP, ATTACKING EVERYTHING WE HOLD DEAR! AND JASON IS HIDING THEM, THESE TRAITORS AND TURNCOATS WHO SAY JESUS IS KING AND CAESAR IS NOTHING!” (MSG) When is the last time we’ve made an impact like this on the world as the church?! When is the last time we went door-to-door letting them know Jesus is King? When is the last time we’ve attacked sin, the very thing the unbeliever holds dear? When is the last time we touched the world in such a manner that they couldn’t deny the taste of God?!

People of God, we have to do more than rub shoulders with each other in the salt shaker sanctuary! Think about it, salt on top of salt is dangerous and deadly to our physical health…could be just as dangerous and deadly to our spiritual health as well?!

Saints, if the last days are really upon us, what are we doing sitting in salt shakers?

2 Timothy 4:3-5, “You’re going to find that there will be times when people will have no stomach for solid teaching, but will fill up on spiritual junk food – catchy opinions that tickle their fancy. They’ll turn their backs on truth and chase mirages. But you – keep your eye on what you’re doing; accept the hard times along with the good; keep the Message alive; do a thorough job as God’s servant.” (MSG)

This is what we should be doing in these last and evil days. Preaching the gospel truth message to the masses as God’s servants! Not to each other! But to others! If we don’t touch, they don’t taste, they’ll just settle for tickling! Do you really want to be held responsible for that?

Like it or not, but if your time is pretty much spent with Christians, well you’re missing your mission! We’ll do that in heaven! We’ll hang out together all the time, for all eternity! But right now we’ve got to be involved with some people who aren’t going to heaven yet! It’s time for you to take all that you’ve been storing up spiritually and start taking it to places and people where it’s really needed.

It’s time to be intentional about building relationships with that neighbor of yours, you know that lost co-worker, with some of your fellow students who need Jesus. It’s time to look around your community and find some human needs that you can be involved in meeting in Jesus’ name; to build some bridges into lives. They’re all around us waiting for a touch and a taste, let’s not let them down!

It’s time to look around your community for a place to volunteer so you can be in contact with some unreached people with some really deep needs. You need a community connection, not just a church connection; something that will put the salt of your life in contact with some of the lives that really need the flavor of Jesus! Remember: “…if you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness?They can’t taste godliness without first touching your saltiness. So, are you within reach? Are you salty? Are you in use? Are you available? Are you touchable?

We need to be actively involved in the life of our church no doubt. God wants that. Hebrews 10:22-25, “So let’s do it – full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps His Word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.” (MSG) See, we are to spend some time in the salt shaker together, but we can’t stay there indefinitely! There are people waiting to get a taste of God from a touch of us, we have to come out!

You need time together, but not to the exclusion of connecting with the world that God so loves. You are the spiritual salt where you live. Get out of that salt shaker! And what’s the danger if we don’t?

“… You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.” (MSG)

Surely you don’t want the testimony that you went from the Gospel to the Garbage…do you? I think not.

Luke 10:1-2, “Now after this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them out ahead of Him, two by two, into every city and place where He was about to go. He was saying to them, “The harvest is abundant [for there are many who need to hear the good news about salvation], but the workers [those available to proclaim the message of salvation] are few. Therefore, [prayerfully] ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” (AMP)

Let today be the day that you challenge yourself, your family and friends, your community and certainly your church to come out the salt shaker and touch the world with a taste of God! Many are waiting, be counted in the number with the few, who are in fact available to proclaim the message of salvation to the masses!

Remember: Salt With No Touch Has No Taste! Reach Them Today!

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

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“Drowning Christians in a Thirsty World”

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Psalm 42:1-3, “ A white-tailed deer drinks from the creek; I want to drink God, deep draughts of God. I’M THIRSTY for God-alive. I wonder, “Will I ever make it—arrive and drink in God’s presence?” I’m on a diet of tears—tears for breakfast, tears for supper. All day long people knock at my door, Pestering, “Where is this God of yours?” (MSG)           

You know, after about a week of rain, you start to forget what the sun looks like. And we experienced something just like that a few Spring seasons ago, that we had no other choice but to endure! I mean it got to the point where you didn’t even have to listen for the weather forecast any longer; I think they just had “duh, it’s going to be rainy today” on repeat tape! After a consistent rainy forecast day-after-day, you simply knew what it was going to be like the very next day.  

Well, I glanced at these stretch of hotels that were along the road on the way home. And what to my wondering eye should appear, but Sprinklers! Yeah, all their lawn sprinklers were out and going Full Blast, Watering a NOT so Thirsty Lawn! I couldn’t believe it, after a week of torrential rain, and on a day when the rain was still pouring down, these companies had the Sprinklers On Full Blast! In essence, they were Saturating What Was Already Saturated!

According to the Powerful Word of God: “Jesus, overhearing, shot back, “Who Needs a Doctor: the Healthy or the Sick? Go figure out what the Scripture means: “I’m After Mercy, Not Religion.’ I’m Here to Invite OUTSIDERS, Not Coddle Insiders.” (Matthew 9:12 MSG). In other words, I came as the Living Water for those who are Spiritually and Eternally Dying of Thirst, not those who Already Have a Well of Water Bubbling Up On the Inside! There’s no need to water a lawn that’s already drowning in water! What then is a better use of the water? To water what’s dry and dying of thirst!              

In Romans chapter 15, we read about the Magnificent Obsession of the Apostle Paul. Beginning with the 17th verse, Looking back over what has been accomplished and what I have observed, I must say I am most pleased—in the context of Jesus, I’d even say proud, but only in that context. I have no interest in giving you a chatty account of my adventures, Only the Wondrously Powerful and Transformingly Present Words and Deeds of Christ in Me that Triggered a Believing Response AMONG THE OUTSIDERS. In Such Ways I Have Trailblazed a Preaching of the Message of Jesus All the Way From Jerusalem Far Into Northwestern Greece. This Has All Been Pioneer Work, Bringing the Message Only Into Those Places WHERE JESUS WAS NOT YET KNOWN AND WORSHIPED. My Text Has Been, THOSE WHO WERE NEVER TOLD OF HIM—They’ll See Him! THOSE WHO’VE NEVER HEARD OF HIM—They’ll Get the Message!” (vss. 17-21 MSG).  

Paul Obviously here has a Magnet Inside of Him that is Drawing Him to a Particular People. It’s Pulling Him Toward a People Who Do Not Yet Know His Christ! You see, he’s not traveling from church to church to only preach the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to church folk! He’s going where the people have not known nor heard of Jesus! These are the people who need to hear the message! Which is why the Bible reads: “But how can people call for help if they don’t know who to trust? And how can they know who to trust if they haven’t heard of the One Who can be trusted? And how can they hear if nobody tells them? And how is anyone going to tell them, unless someone is sent to do it?” (Romans 10:14-17 MSG). Church, we are the Sent Ones with a message to deliver to those who have yet to hear that our Jesus is still alive and is still saving, healing, delivering, forgiving, restoring and redeeming! Saints, we’re spending far too much time feeding the Word to those who eat it daily already! But what about those who have never had a Crumb from the Master’s Table?! Man cannot LIVE by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God! But how can we expect a people to live for God who are dying because of the church?! They don’t know to trust Him, unless we tell them. They don’t know who to call for help, unless we tell them. They will never hear, unless we tell me! But the problem is, unfortunately, we’re only talking to those who have already heard and believed! 

Paul continues to not only be called to a people who don’t yet Know Jesus, but also to PLACES where Christ is not yet Known! The Bible says, “He told them, “You don’t get to know the time. Timing is the Father’s business. What You’ll Get Is the Holy Spirit. And When the Holy Spirit Comes On You, You Will Be Able to Be My Witnesses In Jerusalem, All Over Judea and Samaria, Even To the Ends of the World.” (Acts 1:8 MSG). The disciples were sent as far as to the ends of the world with the message of Jesus Christ, and we can’t get folks to go into their own neighborhoods! Listen, Jesus is not expecting us to hop on a plane and travel to every city, state and country, but He does expect us to share the message where we can! Believe it or not, but there’s people in the supermarket you go to that don’t know your Jesus; when you dropped off your car to the mechanic, there are people there who don’t know your Jesus; when you go to the doctor’s office, there are people there who don’t know your Jesus; when you go to work and spend some 8-12 hours daily, there are people there who don’t know your Jesus; when you go to the gym and talk to everybody about everything except your Jesus, you do know that there are people there who don’t know your Jesus; when you get in the cab, board the plane, hop on the bus or train, you do know that they are filled with people who don’t know your Jesus; in the prisons, at the hospitals, in the nursing homes, sitting at the dialysis center, laying in chemo therapy, struggling in rehab, waiting in line at the unemployment office, social services office, the homeless shelter, the soup kitchens, in the mall, at the movies, in the deli, at the cleaners, are all places filled with people who do not yet know your Jesus, how then can you afford to be silent…until Sunday…in Church…with people who Already know your Jesus!              

You know, these days you don’t have to go very far to find the places where Christ Is Not Known: the dry places, the un-rained on places, the un-watered places, the unsaturated places. I mean, our society has basically been divided like a river over recent years. On one side of that river, are Christians Who’ve Got More Christian Stuff Than Christians Have Ever Had: Christian TV, Radio, and Internet, Books, Blogs, Seminars, Magazines and Concerts! There’s so much going on Spiritually! In a way we’re the Most Spiritually Saturated Believers In All of History!              

But now, far across that river, On the Opposite Bank, Are People Who Don’t Know Christ – which in honesty is the Majority of People Around Us! There Have Probably Never Been So Many Lost People In This Country Who Have Known So Little About Jesus As People Today; Who’ve Cared So Little About the Bible, Who’ve Lived So Totally Oblivious to God! In a sense, They Are Dying of Spiritual Thirst! The Bibles says, “Jesus answered her, All who drink of this water will be thirsty again. But Whoever Takes a Drink of the Water that I Will Give Him Shall Never, No Never, Be Thirsty Any More. But the Water that I Will Give Him Shall Become a Spring of Water Welling Up (Flowing, Bubbling) [Continually] Within Him Unto (Into, For) Eternal Life. The Woman said to Him, Sir, Give Me This Water, So That I May Never Get Thirsty…” (John 4:13-15 AMP).              

So, the people with the water, and the people with the thirst, Have Unfortunately Never Been Farther Apart! And what I love about the text in John is the woman is not resistant but ready to receive! How many people are around us day-to-day, ready to receive Jesus, the living water, yet our sprinklers are only turned on, on Sunday, to saturate the already saturated, as others die of thirst! 

Martin Marty, the church historian, said in the Wall Street Journal, If you’re part of the evangelical subculture, it’s your whole life. You go to church, buy the religious books, watch the television programs.But he says,If You’re Not Part of the Subculture, You Don’t Even Know it Exists.              

Well, one reason is that All The Sprinklers Are Being Aimed At The Already Saturated!  

Which is Why Our Great Commission was not to SIT (in the pews and pulpit) but it was to GO (to the people and places)! “Jesus, Undeterred, Went Right Ahead and Gave His Charge: God Authorized and Commanded me to Commission You: GO Out and Train Everyone You Meet, Far and Near, In This Way of Life, Marking Them By Baptism in the Threefold Name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then Instruct Them In the Practice of All I Have Commanded You. I’ll Be With You As You Do This, Day After Day After Day, Right Up to the End of the Age.” (Matthew 28:19-20 MSG). You do realize that we are Charged, Commanded and Commissioned to GO?! It was not an idea, it was not negotiable, it was not a suggestion! We are Charged (which is a Demand); We are Commanded (which is to be given an Authoritative Order); and We are Commissioned (which is to be Issued and Entrusted to Fulfill a Duty)! Does any of that sound like, do this if you feel like it; do this when you feel like it; do this if you should have a little spare time? NO! This is GO RIGHT NOW! Why? Because people’s eternal lives are hanging in the balance, and if we reach them with the message of life, it will tip the scale in the favor of Heaven on their behalf! I mean do you really want someone to lift their eyes in Hell because you were too focused on getting Only You and Yours to Heaven?! No, we are Called to Combat, not Comfort! There’s Thirsty Souls That are Waiting for Us to Show Up With the Living Water, Will We Be Present or Absent?!              

Listen, we can sit in the comfort of our Sunday School Sessions, Bible Study Lessons, and our Christian Websites, and Recordings, and Videos, and Drink It All In and Feel Like We’re Winning the Battle! But the People We’re Next To Every Day Are Dying Right In Front Of Our Eyes! All We’ve Soaked Up Just Drowns Us Unless We Lay It On The Line, Take Some Risks, And Get Involved With Lost People Where They Are, Like Our Lord Did! “Indeed, the Son of Man Has Come to Seek and to Save People Who Are Lost.” (Luke 19:10 GWT). What good does it do the Kingdom for all those who have been Found already, to only Find themselves in church every Sunday, while the Lost wanders their way to Hell all week long! 

Imagine you’re at the mall with your son or daughter and they get lost. How would that make you feel? I know as a parent I would be scared, terrified, worried, telling everybody to help me find them, I would be calling 911, trying to locate the mall security officers so they can review the cameras, the doors, the stores. I would more than likely be in tears and praying and screaming out for them, and God! A million thoughts would attack my mind, did someone take them, are they scared, are they crying, are they hurt. You know why all of this would be happening? Because they’re my children and I love them and want them to always be safe. That’s the kind of unconditional love we need to have for the lost. Because truth is, many of them have no idea of the dangerous games the devil plays. They have no idea that their eternity is at stake. They may yell at people to ‘go to hell’, but do they really know what Hell holds for them? Do they know that Satan is waiting for another notch on his belt? No, but we know! And we didn’t escape his grasp because we’re perfect and wonderful and good, it was only by grace and mercy that we got by and got out! Someone, somewhere, at some point in time told us about Jesus and saved our lives! How can we not love the lost the same way and help save theirs?              

Where are the Christians who will say with Jesus and Paul Alike, I’m Here For Lost People, Not Just to Sit In My Comfort Zone Among Those Who are Already Found?Where are the Churches who will Not Just Aim Their Resources at Watering God’s People, But Who Will Risk Their Buildings and Their Reputations, and Even Their Budgets and Lives to Build a Bridge to Their Lost Community? Not Just to be a Place to Take Care of the Already Rescued, But To Be a Life Saving Station For Their Community!  

It’s Time to Stop Beautifying Our Buildings and Take Our “Beautiful Feet” (Isaiah 52:7), to the Homeless Shelters and Give Them a Makeover With the Message of Love From Our Savior Who Has Promised to “Beautify the Meek With Salvation” (Psalm 149:4).  

Instead of Fish/Chicken Dinners to Purchase a Church Van, why not take the Dinners free of charge to the Park Bench where a man sleeps on an empty stomach because there’s nowhere else to go?!  

Instead of Another Fashion Show, why not a Coat Drive?!  

Instead of praising God for the Healing that has taken place In Your House of Worship, why not take that Testimony to the Hospital and Hospice where all Hope has Vanished that God can still Heal?!   

Instead of rejoicing over God curbing your shoe shopping fetish, why not take the deliverance testimony to the  ones who have no strength left to continue the battle against their addictions?!               

People of God, let’s move past the Sprinklers We Receive from Within Our Local Assemblies, and Go Out Into the Desert Places Where Many Are Both Naturally and Spiritually Dying!  Let’s Supply Natural Food and Quench Spiritual Thirst at the Same Time! After All, It’s the Expectation Our Savior Has for His Sheep! 

When he finally arrives, blazing in beauty and all his angels with him, the Son of Man will take his place on his glorious throne. Then all the nations will be arranged before him and he will Sort The People Out, much as a Shepherd Sorts Out Sheep and Goats, putting sheep to his right and goats to his left. “Then the King will say to those on his right, “Enter, You Who Are Blessed By My Father! Take What’s Coming to You in this kingdom. It’s Been Ready For You Since the World’s Foundation. And here’s why: I Was Hungry and You Fed Me, I Was Thirsty and You Gave Me a Drink, I Was Homeless and You Gave Me a Room, I Was Shivering and You Gave me Clothes, I Was Sick and You Stopped to Visit, I Was In Prison and You Came to Me.’ “Then those ‘Sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, What Are You Talking About? When Did We Ever See You Hungry and Feed You, Thirsty and Give You a Drink? And When did We Ever See You Sick or in Prison and Come to You?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m Telling the Solemn Truth: Whenever You Did One of These Things to Someone Overlooked or Ignored, That Was Me—You Did It To me.’ “Then he will turn to the ‘goats,’ the ones on his left, and say, ‘Get Out, Worthless Goats! You’re Good For Nothing But the Fires of Hell. And why? Because—I Was Hungry and You Gave Me NO Meal, I Was Thirsty and You Gave Me NO Drink, I Was Homeless and You Gave Me NO Bed, I Was Shivering and You Gave me No Clothes, Sick and in Prison, and You NEVER Visited.’ “Then those ‘goats’ are going to say, “Master, What Are You Talking About? When Did We Ever See You Hungry or Thirsty or Homeless or Shivering or Sick or in Prison and Didn’t Help?’ “He will answer them, “I’m Telling the Solemn Truth: Whenever You Failed To Do One of These Things to Someone Who Was Being Overlooked or Ignored, That Was Me.’ “Then Those ‘Goats’ Will Be Herded To Their Eternal Doom, But the ‘Sheep’ To Their Eternal Reward.” (Matthew 25:31-46 MSG).               

Saints, We’ve Saturated Ourselves Long Enough! Today Let’s Determine to Leave From Within the Four-Walls of the Church, and Saturate the Dry Places of a Dying People in the Four-Corners of the Earth!  

I have other sheep that are not in this sheep pen. I must bring them together too, when they hear my voice. Then there will be one flock of sheep and one shepherd.” (John 10:16 CEV). 

Enough of Drowning Christians in a Thirsty World! Let’s go find the rest of our Shepherd’s sheep and bring them into the safety of the family fold. 

John 3:16-18, “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.” (MSG) 

Proverbs 11:30, “The fruit of the [consistently] righteous is a tree of life, And he who is wise captures and wins souls [for God—he gathers them for eternity].” (AMP)

Acts 13:46-47, “But Paul and Barnabas didn’t back down. Standing their ground they said, “It was required that God’s Word be spoken first of all to you, the Jews. But seeing that you want no part of it—you’ve made it quite clear that you have no taste or inclination for eternal life—the door is open to all the outsiders. And we’re on our way through it, following orders, doing what God commanded when he said, I’ve set you up as light to all nations. You’ll proclaim salvation to the four winds and seven seas!” (MSG)

1 Corinthians 9:19-23, “Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized—whoever. I didn’t take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I’ve become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life. I did all this because of the Message. I didn’t just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it!” (MSG) 

Acts 3:19-23, “Now it’s time to change your ways! Turn to face God so he can wipe away your sins, pour out showers of blessing to refresh you, and send you the Messiah he prepared for you, namely, Jesus. For the time being he must remain out of sight in heaven until everything is restored to order again just the way God, through the preaching of his holy prophets of old, said it would be. Moses, for instance, said, ‘Your God will raise up for you a prophet just like me from your family. Listen to every word he speaks to you. Every last living soul who refuses to listen to that prophet will be wiped out from the people.’” (MSG)

Matthew 9:35-38, “Then Jesus made a circuit of all the towns and villages. He taught in their meeting places, reported kingdom news, and healed their diseased bodies, healed their bruised and hurt lives. When he looked out over the crowds, his heart broke. So confused and aimless they were, like sheep with no shepherd. “What a huge harvest!” he said to his disciples. “How few workers! On your knees and pray for harvest hands!” (MSG)

Luke 10:1-2, “Later the Master selected seventy and sent them ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he intended to go. He gave them this charge: “What a huge harvest! And how few the harvest hands. So on your knees; ask the God of the Harvest to send harvest hands.” (MSG)

“The mark of a great church is not its Seating Capacity, but its Sending Capacity.” (Mike Stachura)

“If you are more concerned about politics than saving souls, then you may be a Citizen of the wrong Kingdom.” (Joby Martin)

“At the end of the day, the biggest obstacle to evangelism is Christians who don’t share the Gospel.” (Albert Mohler)

“Whatever we do, we must not treat the Great Commission like it’s the Great Suggestion.” (Charles R. Swindoll)

“Evangelism is not so much about reminding people about how lost they are. But how loved they are.” (Randall Worley)

“Emergency vehicles demand access because human lives are at stake. Evangelism demands the same priority, for the same reason.” (Ray Comfort)

“Everyone has a pulpit to speak from. A pulpit is your sphere of influence. Your platform. Use it and proclaim Jesus.” (Greg Laurie)

“We Christians sometimes think we need a plan for evangelism. I don’t think Jesus had an evangelism plan. I think He just interacted with the people He came in contact with.” (Matt Diaz)

“If you had the cure to cancer wouldn’t you share it? You have the cure to death, get out there and share it.” (Kirk Cameron)

“The way you store up treasure in heaven is by investing in getting people there.” (Rick Warren)

“Evangelism is just one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread.” (D.T. Niles)

“We must be global Christians with a global vision because our God is a global God.” (John Stott)

“I would sooner bring one sinner to Jesus Christ than unravel all the mysteries of the divine Word, for salvation is the one thing we are to live for.” (Charles Spurgeon)

“Evangelism is not a professional job for a few trained men, but is instead the unrelenting responsibility of every person who belongs to the company of Jesus.” (D. Elton Trueblood)

“Evangelism is hard, but watching people you love go to Hell is harder!” (Author Unknown)

“Discipleship is a lifestyle filled with relationships; a life of pouring yourself out for others.” (Author Unknown)

“Any method of evangelism will work – if God is in it.” (Leonard Ravenhill)

“Someone asked will the heathen who have never heard the Gospel be saved? It is more a question with me whether we…who have the Gospel and fail to give it to those who have not…can be saved.” (C.H. Spurgeon)

“Effective Evangelism depends on faithful proclamation of the Word. God will prepare the soil and bring forth the fruit. We must be faithful to plant the seed.” (John MacArthur)

“Every Christian is either a Missionary or an Imposter.” (Charles Spurgeon)

“Our responsibility is to get God’s Word to their ears. Only God can get the Word from their ears to their heart.” (Albert Mohler)

“We are not cisterns made for hoarding, we are channels made for sharing.” (Billy Graham)

“I have never known a man who received Christ and ever regretted it.” (Billy Graham)

“Evangelism is not an option for the Christian life.” (Luis Palau)

“Evangelism is not salesmanship. It is not urging people, pressing them, coercing them, overwhelming them, or subduing them. Evangelism is telling a message. Evangelism is reporting good news.” (Richard Halverson)

“It is clear you don’t like my way of doing evangelism. You raise some good points. Frankly, I sometimes do not like my way of doing evangelism. But I like my way of doing it better than your way of not doing it.” (D.L. Moody)

“Spend more time in study and prayer. That’s the secret of successful evangelism.” (Billy Graham)

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

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“Sisters, Don’t Miss Your Boomerang Blessing!”

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Exodus 1:15-21, “Finally, the king called in Shiphrah and Puah, the two women who helped the Hebrew mothers when they gave birth. He told them, “If a Hebrew woman gives birth to a girl, let the child live. If the baby is a boy, kill him!” BUT THE TWO WOMEN WERE FAITHFUL TO GOD AND DID NOT KILL THE BOYS, even though the king had told them to. The king called them in again and asked, “Why are you letting those baby boys live?” They answered, “Hebrew women have their babies much quicker than Egyptian women. By the time we arrive, their babies are already born.” GOD WAS GOOD TO THE TWO WOMEN BECAUSE THEY TRULY RESPECTED HIM, AND HE BLESSED THEM WITH CHILDREN OF THEIR OWN. The Hebrews kept increasing.” (CEV)

A paraphrase of the story goes like this:

Come Quickly! It’s almost time!Gathering the folds of her long robe in her well-worn hands, Shiphrah hurried through the door. Her eyes narrowed and adjusted to the relative darkness inside the home. Light from a small oil lantern cast the shadow of two women on the wall. One squatted in a corner, knees bent, as another woman hunched beside her. “A fresh cloth, Shiphrah!” one of the shadows barked. “I can see the head!” Puah always was the bossier of the two women. You see, they were midwives by training and friends by choice. So, Shiphrah obediently brought the strips of cloth to Puah. It was an ordinary day, or so you would think. After all, women birthed babies into the world all the time. But, come to find out, today was different. This baby was different; it was a boy. And the king of Egypt made his order crystal clear: If it is a girl, let her live. If it is a boy, kill him. The problem in a nutshell was this, the strength of the Hebrews threatened Pharaoh and intimidated him. Therefore, he would quell their numbers with his murderous plot and keep their supposed rebellion at bay. But, if the women had obeyed him, what would that make them? Murderers too? Shiphrah and Puah did not discuss Pharaoh’s orders openly. Silently, they worked alongside each other, except for the routine bedside manner required at each birth. However, every time, when it became clear they would have to make a decision, their minds raced through their options. To disobey the highest authority meant certain death. After all, Pharaoh was willing to slaughter innocent children; certainly two midwives meant nothing to him. If they did their job, someone would die, but they would live another day. The dilemma tugged at their hearts each time they pondered their duties. The God of the Hebrews had made Himself real to them in ways they could not explain. They feared Pharaoh, but they revered God. And just then, right in the middle of their pondering, an agonized scream, followed by a loud sigh, snapped both women to attention. It was time! “Push! Push!” they responded in unison. Their final decision obviously being made.

These two women absolutely amaze me because of the deadly decision they made in helping out another woman to birth a child; and then the follow-up deadly decision of allowing what that woman birthed, to live! And yet, sadly to say, you can’t find women today in the church willing to help each other out, and in this case, there is no life or death decision that needs to be made. The only decision is, do I help my sister? And the obvious answer is, YES! These women put their very lives on the line to help this woman birth what was inside of her. I wonder how many great things have yet to be birthed because we as women have sat on the sidelines refusing to help our sisters birth their purpose because of our own feelings of competition, comparison, jealousy, envy, intimidation and the like. How many businesses have yet to be birthed because she’s waiting for us to help her; how many gifts are remaining stagnant and under-developed because she’s waiting for us to help her; how many opportunities have passed her by while she was waiting for us to help her; how many ministries are halted because she’s waiting for us to help her? How many books are left unwritten; songs left unsung; dances left unperformed; higher education left unreached; growth left stunted; sermons left unpreached; lessons left untaught, and all because our sisters are simply waiting for us to help her. How many women have their purposes unfulfilled because their waiting for their sisters to lend them a helping hand?

But instead, we allow our own inadequacies and deficiencies to cause us to keep to ourselves, focusing solely on accomplishing our own goals and agendas, and finishing our own to-do-lists.

We have no idea of the awesome things locked up inside of our sisters, because we’re more concerned for our own welfare then hers. So many are too afraid that if we help her, she’ll take my position, my place, my favor, my praises from the people, my chair, my role, my title. But that’s not to be our concern. Our concern is to turn this world upside down while simultaneously building the Kingdom of God up! And that means using every part in the Body of Christ. Using every skill, every talent, every gifting, and every ounce of anointing. We are to benefit others, not ourselves.

These two women had a choice to make with grave consequences. Do we obey Pharaoh or God? And in the end, they decided their fear of Pharaoh would not hinder their faithfulness to God. I wonder as women, are we more focused on Pharaoh or God? Have we become so fearful of what others will say or do, that we’ve allowed that to supersede what God has said we are to do? We are to be helpers one to another, yet in the time when our sisters need us most, we clock out and leave for the day.

Exodus 17:10-13, “Joshua led the attack as Moses had commanded, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur stood on the hilltop. The Israelites out-fought the Amalekites as long as Moses held up his arms, but they started losing whenever he had to lower them.  Finally, Moses was so tired that Aaron and Hur got a rock for him to sit on. Then THEY STOOD BESIDE HIM AND SUPPORTED his arms in the same position until sunset.  That’s how Joshua defeated the Amalekites.” (CEV) Can you imagine the tremendous victories our sisters would attain if we simply stood beside her and supported her the same as Aaron and Hur did for Moses? Not standing beside her to be seen when she’s doing something awesome, so our face can get in the picture or our name on the same line of accolade as hers. But I’m talking about showing up when she’s in the heat of battle, worn, bruised, weary, tired, and about to drop her hands…and then you step beside her and offer her the support she so desperately needs. You see, they were able to defeat the Amalekites, because when their brother became tired, they stepped in to support him. Likewise, don’t allow Satan to have victory over your sister, when you’re close enough to step in beside her and support her, even in the midst of battle.

Galatians 6:2, “Carry one another’s burdens and in this way you will fulfill the requirements of the law of Christ [that is, the law of Christian love].” (AMP) When you help your sister to carry her burdens, you fulfill the requirement of the law, and become the evidence of Christian love. Help is a sign of Love. Don’t tell your sister you love her, but don’t help her, because then you’re a liar.

1 John 4:19-21, “We, though, are going to love – love and be loved. First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first. If anyone boasts, “I love God,” and goes right on hating his brother or sister, thinking nothing of it, he is a liar. If he won’t love the person he can see, how can he love the God he can’t see? The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to love both.” (MSG) Don’t put yourself in a position to have God Himself call you a liar! You can’t say you love Him, but won’t help and love Her!

Hebrews 13:16, But don’t forget to help others and to share your possessions with them. This too is like offering a sacrifice that pleases God.” (CEV) Now many of us ladies, will (even in our highest of heels) run around the church offering God a sacrifice of praise (and that’s wonderful). But what about helping your sisters, which is also a sacrifice to God, and one that pleases Him. Believe it or not, but you don’t please God by hooping, hollering, running, leaping, jumping, spinning, or singing the best or dancing the most choreographed. No, you please God by faith and help. So if asked, could you honestly say that you’ve been pleasing God by your service and sacrifice for your sisters?

John 15:13, The greatest way to show love for friends is to die for them.” (CEV) Now, this is interesting because the two midwives weren’t even friends of this dear sister, and yet they laid their lives on the line for this woman. And some of us have ate, praised, worshiped, prayed, and even went to school and shopping with the women sitting next to us week after week, and still we won’t lay down a muffin to call her and see if she’s okay. Yet, the two midwives risked their lives. Can you really say you love your sisters when you don’t even help them?

Proverbs 3:27-29, “Never walk away from someone who deserves help; your hand is God’s hand for that person. Don’t tell your neighbor “Maybe some other time” or “Try me tomorrow” when the money’s right there in your pocket. Don’t figure ways of taking advantage of your neighbor when he’s sitting there trusting and unsuspecting.” (MSG) Do you see just how vital your helping hand is? It is the equivalent to being God’s Hand! And last I checked, God has never made excuses for not helping us, so why are we (made in His image and likeness) making excuses for not helping our sisters out? We’re not supposed to tell her some other time, or maybe tomorrow, after all, God doesn’t do that to us when we need help. When your sister needs you, be there, no excuses!

Romans 15:1-2, “Those of us who are strong and able in the faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is most convenient for us. Strength is for service, not status. Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, “How can I help?” (MSG) Your strength is not for you…it’s for her! It’s for service, not for status! We have to reach a place where we stop asking “How can this help ME?” and instead ask “How can this help HER?”

1 John 3:17, “This is how we’ve come to understand and experience love: Christ sacrificed His life for us. This is why we ought to live sacrificially for our fellow believers, and not just for ourselves. If you see some brother or sister in need and have the means to do something about it but turn a cold shoulder and do nothing, what happens to God’s love? It disappears. And you made it disappear.” (MSG) Can you imagine having a Heavenly Father who loves us so much that He would sacrifice the life of His Only Begotten Son…and then WE turn our backs on our sisters in need? The Bible says we make God’s love disappear by such an action. Do you really want to be found guilty of such a horrendous act?

Philippians 2:1-4, “If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.” (MSG) There simply is no clearer Scripture for us to get it through our thick skulls that it is not about us! We are to remember our sisters by forgetting ourselves long enough to help her out! The two midwives did it! And what did God do for them? The Bible says, “…God was good to the two women because they truly respected Him, AND HE BLESSED THEM with children of their own…” (CEV)

This was the boomerang effect! These two women helped a woman to birth her child, and in the end, God gave them children of their own! Maybe the very thing that you’re waiting for God to do for you, He’s waiting for you to do for someone else…First!

“Boomerang” has often been defined in a negative sense. However, it is also defined as “a curved club that can be thrown so as to return to the thrower; to come back or return.” It is in essence to throw something out that comes back to you. And that doesn’t always have to be a bad thing! For example, if you want love to be returned to you, send it; if you want help to be returned to you, send it; if you want kindness, forgiveness, and encouragement to return to you, send it! Send out what you want to be returned, that’s what happened to these midwives. They helped a woman birth her child and in return God gave them their own children! They sowed good seed, and therefore reaped a great harvest! The Bible don’t lie: Galatians 6:7-8, “Don’t be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others—ignoring God!—harvests a crop of weeds. All he’ll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God’s Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life.” (MSG)

They helped to sow a life, and they reaped a life!

“…And because the midwives honored God, God gave them families of their own.” (MSG);

“…And because the midwives feared God [with profound reverence], He established families and households for them.” (AMP);

“…And because the midwives revered God, He gave them children of their own.” (TLB)

These women helped one woman birth one child, and in return, God gave them Families (Plural) and Children (Plural) of their own. You can’t out-give or out-do God! The boomerang effect hit these women’s lives and not only did the child live, not only did they receive children and families of their own, but the Israelites continued to Increase and Grow Stronger! That’s what happens when you help someone else, without regard for a selfish hidden agenda!

Therefore, today ladies, let’s make a deliberate decision to look out for our sisters. Let’s not be and do as the world does. But let’s set the standard for dignity, grace, elegance, character and integrity. Let’s show the world what Women of God look like, sound like, and act like. Let’s help our sisters where their families are concerned, where their health is concerned, where their finances are concerned, where their mental, emotional and spiritual needs are a concern. Let’s be there to not only pray FOR but to pray WITH our sisters. Let our presence make an impact in such a tremendous way that our sisters look forward to seeing us (especially in battle, because she knows she has a ride-or-die sister by her side). Let’s talk up our sisters instead of talking them down. Let’s not be the owners of the gossip and rumor mill, and instead be the newspaper journalist that shares daily articles about our sister’s goodness, greatness and effectiveness. When others close a door in her face, let’s be the women who open the window and let down a rope! When others throw bricks at her, let’s be the women who show up on the construction site and help her build bridges to get over it and go on! Let’s pat her on the back, without stabbing her in it. Let’s sit behind her, instead of trying to sit in front of her. Let’s be her cheerleading corner when others want her to lose. While others may push her down, let’s be the women who pull her up! While others may try to burn her at the stake, let’s be sacrificial sisters who lay across the fire and put it out. When others attempt to say something negative about her, let’s say something positive. Let’s be the Cover-Girls who Cover Her!

And what happens when we do all of this? The Boomerang Effect Returns to US!

Focus on Looking out for your sister, and you’ll See bigger, better and greater blessings coming your way in return!

“I’m obsessed with seeing women encourage, support, and empower other women. It’s my favorite. We need more of it.” (Author Unknown)

“One woman can make a difference, but together we can rock the world.” (Author Unknown)

“Behind every successful woman is a tribe of other successful women who have her back.” (Author Unknown)

“There is a special place in hell for women who do not help other women.” (Madeline Albright)

“You can always tell who the strong women are. They are the ones you see building one another up, instead of tearing each other down.” (Author Unknown)

“I always believed that one woman’s success can only help another woman’s success.” (Gloria Vanderbilt)

“And one day she discovered that she was fierce, and strong, and full of fire. And that not even she could hold herself back because her passion burned brighter than her fears.” (Mark Anthony)

“Think like a Queen. A Queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another steppingstone to greatness.” (Oprah Winfrey)

“Little girls with dreams become women with vision.” (Author Unknown)

“Supporting another woman’s success will never dampen your own.” (Author Unknown)

“It’s about women helping women and women doing things together and supporting each other.” (Diana Burch)

“When women support each other, incredible things happen.” (Author Unknown)

“Amazing things happen when women help other women.” (Kasia Gospos)

“No matter where you are in life, inspire and empower the women around you. Success is sweeter when shared.” (Author Unknown)

“Women are the largest untapped reservoir of talent in the world.” (Hillary Clinton)

“A strong woman looks a challenge dead in the eye and gives it a wink.” (Gina Carey)

“A woman who walks in purpose doesn’t have to chase people or opportunities. Her light causes people and opportunities to pursue her.” (Author Unknown)

“No country can ever truly flourish if it stifles the potential of its women and deprives itself of the contributions of half of its citizens.” (Michelle Obama)

“Women are the real architects of society.” (Harriet Beecher Stowe)

“A woman is like tea bag – you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water.” (Eleanor Roosevelt)

“As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.” (Dr. Maya Angelou)

“You can break down a woman temporarily but a real woman will always pick up the pieces, rebuild herself and come back stronger than ever.” (Author Unknown)

“The most common way women give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” (Alice Walker)

“Real Queens Fix Each Other’s Crowns.” (Author Unknown)

“Being powerful is like being a lady, if you have to tell people that you are, you aren’t.” (Margaret Thatcher)

“She Believed She Could, So She Did!” (Author Unknown)

“Strong women wear their pain like they do stilettos. No matter how much it hurts, all you see is the beauty of it.” (Author Unknown)

“The success of every woman should be the inspiration to another. We should raise each other up. Make sure you’re very courageous; be strong, be extremely kind, and above all be humble.” (Serena Williams)

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: “Stress Management Tips From Around the World”

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“Big Man, Big Head, Big Fall!”

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2 Chronicles 26:11-18, “On the military side, UZZIAH had a well-prepared army ready to fight. They were organized by companies under the direction of Jeiel the secretary, Maaseiah the field captain, and Hananiah of the general staff. The roster of family leaders over the fighting men accounted for 2,600. Under them were reinforcement troops numbering 307,000, with 500 of them on constant alert—A STRONG ROYAL DEFENSE AGAINST ANY ATTACK. Uzziah had them well-armed with shields, spears, helmets, armor, bows, and slingshots. He also installed the latest in military technology on the towers and corners of Jerusalem for shooting arrows and hurling stones. HE BECAME WELL KNOWN FOR ALL THIS—A FAMOUS KING. Everything seemed to go his way. BUT then the strength and success went to his HEAD. ARROGANT AND PROUD, HE FELL. One day, contemptuous of God, he walked into The Temple of God like he owned it and took over…” (MSG)

More than likely you’ve heard many nursery rhymes growing up. Either your parents have shared them with you or you’ve shared them with your children. Some of the most popular ones are: “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”; “Three Little Kittens”; “Three Blind Mice”; “This Little Piggy”; “Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe”; “Row Row Row Your Boat”; “Rock-a-Bye Baby”; “Rain Rain Go Away”; “Pop Goes the Weasel”; “Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater”; “Old Mother Hubbard”; “Mother Goose”; “Mary Mary Quite Contrary”; “Mary Had a Little Lamb”; “London Bridge is Falling Down”; “Little Bo Peep” and the list can go on forever! However, there is one particular nursery rhyme that crossed my mind today: “Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpy Dumpty had a great fall; all the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again.”

But Wait! I thought Humpty Dumpty was just a nursery rhyme. You know, the big egg who sat on a wall, but had a great fall. But as it turns out, Humpty has got a lot of company these days from men sitting on a high wall, and smashed by a big fall!

Take one of the world’s most powerful financial figures, for example, in a $3,000-a-night Manhattan hotel suite one night, and then the next night, in a tough New York jail. He stood accused of serious sexual violation of a hotel maid. Now, those accusations had to be proven in court, but they did resonate with a reputation for mixing power with sexual aggression.

But then that story isn’t what we want to focus on. That’s just the latest of many high-profile stories of a powerful man who has taken a precipitous (‘dangerously high or steep; hasty; sudden and dramatic’) Humpty Dumpty crash! You can think about athletes, politicians, financial high-rollers, and yes, even prominent men in ministry!

Now, at the root is a time-bomb mindset identified by a man who knows this scenario all too well–Tiger Woods. After his darkest secrets spilled out of the closets for all the world to see, here’s what he said: “I convinced myself that normal rules didn’t apply. I felt I had worked hard my entire life and deserved to enjoy all the temptations around me.” Now, listen to his key phrase: “I felt I was entitled.

The word “entitlement” is defined as “to give someone a right to do or have.” In a nutshell, entitlement is the gateway to moral disaster. Entitlement says, “My position means the rules don’t apply to me. I have a right to go out of bounds.” You know, in 2 Chronicles 26:16, the Jewish king Uzziah had led his nation to a new pinnacle of greatness, all the while, he was deeply reliant on God UNTIL the Bible says, “He became successful” and “pride became his downfall.” The Amplified Bible says it like this: “But when Uzziah became strong, he became so proud [of himself and his accomplishments] that he acted corruptly, and he was unfaithful and sinned against the Lord his God…” (AMP)

He walked into the temple and began to take privileges that God had clearly given only to His priests. And like Icarus flying too close to the sun, Uzziah came crashing down.

Even the great King David must have felt that he’d won so many victories and done so much good that, well; he was entitled to sex with the wife of a trusted friend. However, his life was never the same: 2 Samuel 12:15-18, “After Nathan went home, God afflicted the child that Uriah’s wife bore to David, and he came down sick. David prayed desperately to God for the little boy. He fasted, wouldn’t go out, and slept on the floor. The elders in his family came in and tried to get him off the floor, but he wouldn’t budge. Nor could they get him to eat anything. On the seventh day the child died…” (MSG)

It’s just all too easy to succumb to that feeling of entitlement, especially when you’ve escalated in rank, order and position. Some feel entitled because of the position they’ve achieved, or some because of the pressures they face: “If you only knew what I’m going through….I deserve this…I need this…” And even some because of the pain they’re going through. It can be a high-flying leader, a lonely wife, a much-loved pastor, or a very busy, very tired man. Entitled to some relief, some attention, some affection, some stolen pleasure, some reward, a spiritualday offif you will. And it is those detours at Entitlement Junction where lives and families and reputations and ministries are ripped apart.

In this day and age of the church, every other day it seems you hear of someone else with a ring, robe, cross, church, position, title, chair, elevation etc. However, the danger is that titles have a tendency to make one feel entitled, even to the things and people they know not to touch. Everyone is important, powerful, anointed, gifted and the like. Everyone is walking around with 20 people following behind them wiping their sweat, pouring their tea, carrying their bible, chauffeuring them around as if they can’t get in their own car and drive from one location to the next. The church has become full of stages, performances, shows, roles, and characters with no Character.

You can’t find humility, servanthood, or anyone willing to work behind the scenes, because they’re all too busy fighting for the starring role and lead! Pride has become prevalent and even acceptable as we make failed attempts to cover it up withself-confidence”.

However, God really is “no respecter of persons.Romans 2:9-11, “If you go against the grain, you get splinters, regardless of which neighborhood you’re from, what your parents taught you, what schools you attended. But if you embrace the way God does things, there are wonderful payoffs, again without regard to where you are from or how you were brought up. Being a Jew won’t give you an automatic stamp of approval. God pays no attention to what others say (or what you think) about you. He makes up his own mind.” (MSG); Acts 10:34-36, “Peter fairly exploded with his good news: “It’s God’s own truth, nothing could be plainer: God plays no favorites! It makes no difference who you are or where you’re from – if you want God and are ready to do as he says, the door is open. The Message He sent to the children of Israel – that through Jesus Christ everything is being put together again – well, He’s doing it everywhere, among everyone.” (MSG);

In other words, as entitled as you may think you are, God doesn’t think so! So whatever pedestal you’ve put yourself on or allowed others to put you on, get off it before God helps you down! Proverbs 16:18, “First pride, then the crash – the bigger the ego, the harder the fall.” (MSG).

And, as Warren Wiersbe says, “A lifetime of obedience will not buy you one hour of disobedience.” Just ask King David. God made it clear “your sin will find you out.” Why? Because He loves you too much to let you keep getting away with what will ultimately destroy you. And sad to say, but we really don’t have leaders who are correcting, we just have leaders who are covering! And as my mother always said, “what’s covered won’t heal.” Sounds like she paraphrased that from Proverbs 28:13, “He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But whoever confesses and turns away from his sins will find compassion and mercy.” (AMP).

Brothers, you don’t need anyone else giving you pats on the back, you need to instead surround yourself with those who will give you a swift kick in the behind when you’re heading the wrong way and doing the wrong thing! You need a brotherhood that will be the epitome of James 5:16, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another [your false steps, your offenses], and pray for one another, that you may be healed and restored. The heartfelt and persistent prayer of a righteous man (believer) can accomplish much [when put into action and made effective by God—it is dynamic and can have tremendous power].” (AMP)

Listen, can you imagine how things would have turned out for Uzziah had he had another brother give him a swift kick when he needed it? He wouldn’t have ended up with a Humpty Dumpty irreparable crash! And the worse part isn’t that he fell, but that his fall was so great that he wasn’t able to recover from it. Reminds us a little of King Saul:

1 Samuel 13:8-14, “Now Saul waited seven days, according to the appointed time which Samuel had set, but Samuel had not come to Gilgal; and the people were scattering away from Saul.  So Saul said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the peace offerings.” And he offered the burnt offering [which he was forbidden to do].  As soon as he finished offering the burnt offering, Samuel finally came; Saul went out to meet and to welcome him. But Samuel said, “What have you done?” Saul said, “Since I saw that the people were scattering away from me, and that you did not come within the appointed time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Michmash,  therefore, I said, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not asked for the Lord’s favor [by making supplication to Him].’ So I forced myself to offer the burnt offering.”  Samuel said to Saul, “You have acted foolishly; you have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God, which He commanded you, for [if you had obeyed] the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever.  But now your kingdom shall not endure. The Lord has sought out for Himself a man (David) after His own heart, and the Lord has appointed him as leader and ruler over His people, because you have not kept (obeyed) what the Lord commanded you.” (AMP).

One bad decision, one act of disobedience and Saul lost everything forever! Men of God, surely you don’t want this to be your testimony!

Which is why it’s a must that you build walls high around the places where you’re most vulnerable. And fall to your knees in repentance where you’ve strayed out of bounds before any more damage is done.

1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation [regardless of its source] has overtaken or enticed you that is not common to human experience [nor is any temptation unusual or beyond human resistance]; but God is faithful [to His word—He is compassionate and trustworthy], and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability [to resist], but along with the temptation He [has in the past and is now and] will [always] provide the way out as well, so that you will be able to endure it [without yielding, and will overcome temptation with joy].” (AMP). Make one of your simple 911 prayers, “Lord, in the midst of this temptation, bring back to my remembrance that you’ve already provided me with a way of escape. Grant me the discernment to see it and the wisdom to take it, NOW!”

Don’t allow pride, temptation, or disobedience to be your downfall! Because as much as we like to teach and preach the “fluff” messages that God will restore all things, truth is, sometimes that is not the case. Humpty Dumpty NEVER recovered! Remember? “Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpy Dumpty had a great fall; all the king’s horses and all the king’s men COULDN’T put Humpty together again.” I reiterate, Humpty Dumpty NEVER recovered and neither did Uzziah or Saul, and David barely made it by!

Brothers, don’t take your chances! Don’t assume that you are simply entitled to do whatever you want to do, for that is far from the truth. Your every choice comes with a consequence, and some of those consequences are not temporary. Therefore, never get so caught up in who you are or who you think you are. Never become so consumed by your accomplishments or their accolades and applause. After all, even Jesus had those cry out Hosanna and Crucify Him in the same breath! Never become so big-headed that you become hard-hearted. Uzziah did and look what happened to him: 2 Chronicles 26:16, “But then the strength and success went to his head. Arrogant and proud, HE FELL.” (MSG). Other translations read like this:

“Uzziah became proud of his power, and this led to his DOWNFALL…” (CEV);

“But when Uzziah became strong, his pride caused him to be DESTROYED…” (ERV);

“But when he was strong, he grew proud, to his DESTRUCTION…” (ESV);

“But when he became powerful, his pride DESTROYED him…” (GWT);

“But when he became strong, he grew arrogant and it led to his own DESTRUCTION…” (HCSB);

“But when Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his RUIN…” (NCV);

“But when he became strong, Uzziah’s heart was so proud that his actions were SINFUL…” (NLV)

And he had no one to blame for his own self-destruction but himself! James 1:13-15, “Don’t let anyone under pressure to give in to evil say, “God is trying to trip me up.” God is impervious to evil, and puts evil in no one’s way. The temptation to give in to evil comes from us and only us. We have no one to blame but the leering, seducing flare-up of our own lust. Lust gets pregnant, and has a baby: sin! Sin grows up to adulthood, and becomes a real killer.” (MSG)

Men of God, don’t let this happen to you! Always remain humble and obedient and use godly wisdom for every decision. And before every choice, weigh out the consequences. Remembering that although some may be temporal, others will be permanent and eternal and unable to be undone. In doing this, you won’t end up the Big Man Whose Big Head Caused Him a Big Fall!

“Most of the trouble in the world is caused by people wanting to be important.” (T.S. Eliot)

“The truth is hard to swallow when you’re choking on your pride.” (LiveHappyNow)

“God sends no one away empty except those who are full of themselves.” (Dwight L. Moody)

“Arrogance is the camouflage of insecurity.” (Tim Fargo)

“Arrogance is out of fashion. It is just a façade used by the ego to hide your most authentic you.” (Roxana Jones)

“Pride will cost you Everything but leave you with Nothing.” (Author Unknown)

“Arrogance requires advertising. Confidence speaks for itself.” (TheGoodVibe)

“Arrogance is just insecurities playing dress up.” (Author Unknown)

“I wish you self-esteem so high that you’re humble.” (Author Unknown)

“Knowledge makes people humble and arrogance makes people ignorant.” (Author Unknown)

“Arrogance is an unhealthy ego in need of repair.” (Thomas Faranda)

“Nothing sets a person so much out of the devil’s reach as humility.” (Jonathan Edwards)

“Swallow your pride. You will not die. It’s not poison.” (Bob Dylan)

“When one lives attached to money, pride or power, it is impossible to be happy.” (Pope Francis)

“For pride is a spiritual cancer; it eats up the very possibility of love, or contentment, or even common sense.” (C.S. Lewis)

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: “Male Breast Cancer Awareness”

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“Trials Train You to Fight!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

BUT, unfortunately…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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“How God Makes a BIG Ego…small”

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Genesis 11:1-9, “Now the whole earth used the same language and the same words.  And as men traveled in the east, they found a valley in the land of Shinar and made their home there.  They said to one another, “Come, let us make blocks and burn them until they are hard.” They used blocks for stone, and tar to hold them together.  Then they said, “Come, let us build a city FOR OURSELVES, with a tower that touches the heavens. Let us make a name FOR OURSELVES, or else we may be sent everywhere over the whole earth.” Then the Lord came down to see the city and the tower that the sons of men had built.  And the Lord said, “See, they are one people, and they all have the same language. This is only the beginning of what they will do. Now all they plan to do will be possible for them.  Come, let Us go down and mix up their language so they will not understand what each other says.”  So the Lord sent them everywhere over the whole earth. And they stopped building the city.  So the name of the city was Babel, because there the Lord mixed up the language of the whole earth. The Lord sent the people everywhere over the whole earth.” (NLV)

Key Verse: Genesis 11:4, “Then they said, “Come, let us build a city FOR OURSELVES, with a tower that touches the heavens. Let us make a name FOR OURSELVES, or else we may be sent everywhere over the whole earth.” (NLV) 

Louis Sullivan, the inventor of the modern skyscraper, said, “The tall building…should be a proud and soaring thing that makes a powerful appeal to the architectural imagination.

Well, today, many WOMEN embody the same spirit of Pride and Self-Sufficiency that is represented in the lofty towers that make up our cities. Unfortunate as it may be, many Bible toting, Scripture quoting WOMEN of God are Focused on Personal Perfection MORE THAN Pleasing the One Whom They Call Their “Personal Lord and Savior”.

Truth be told, there is a Multitude of Women who seek the pinnacle of age-defying beauty through creams, procedures or surgeries. Some even become obsessed with fashion or feel that they must conform to some media-driven image. Now, it’s one thing for the “World” to act in such a manner, but when the “Church” behaves in such a manner it Delivers a Critical Blow to the Conduct that is Called “Christ-Like”!  And as Women of God, We are Never Called to Compromise or Conform! Romans 12:1-2, “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” (MSG)

However, as women, we’ve become so diligent in working on our outer man that the inner woman of God is slowly decaying! Yes, our make-up is flawless, our hair doesn’t have a strand out of place, our clothes have every “known” name across the country, our smiles are picture perfect, our speech drips with honey-flavored eloquence, we’ve mastered poise and yet we’ve become a slave to pretense!

We “look” so much the “part” that we no longer even know how to end the “scene” of “playing church” when Sunday’s “role” is over. And then matters are made worse because others believe the “role” of religion we “play”, and so they give us “standing ovations, grand applause, beautiful flowers thrown at our feet,” compliments instead of criticisms and pats on the back instead of swift kicks in the behind! Our egos are stroked while our spirits are struggling to survive the strangulation of conformity! Who we are is slowly dying because we continue to breathe life into who we “pretend” to be!

“God, Church and Hell are all real. People claim they love God, but is God in them? They go to church to play church. But if you go to hell will you still be playing?” (Author Unknown)

I don’t think we’re fully aware, ladies, of the dangers of “playing church”. We can pretend all day long here on earth, but there comes a day of reckoning, and God is not going to ask about who and what you pretended to be, but who you really are and what you really did! 2 Corinthians 5:9-10, “But neither exile nor homecoming is the main thing. Cheerfully pleasing God is the main thing, and that’s what we aim to do, regardless of our conditions. Sooner or later we’ll all have to face God, regardless of our conditions. We will appear before Christ and take what’s coming to us as a result of our actions, either good or bad.” (MSG) You have to get yourself together in this life, because the afterlife is too late! When you play with church, and play with your soul, you’re playing with your eternity! Today is the day we take off all the masks and stop with the pretense and get real! It’s time to work on ourselves, instead of simply covering up an ugly construction site of sin and foolishness. We’ve pretended to be healed, whole, saved and delivered for long enough. It’s time to get ourselves right before that last trumpet sounds! This is NOT a dress rehearsal! There are no shows and curtains in heaven waiting for you to come out playing a character instead of actually possessing Character! 

But what you will have to embrace is that once you’ve pretended for so long, the real you gets lost! And people become comfortable and familiar with who you’ve pretended to be all this time. So it will not be an easy or quick process to unveiling the real you! But if you are to please God, it is a must!  

You see, gradually, over time, it becomes easier and easier to build monuments to ourselves. After all, as the famous ad says to women, “Because, I’m Worth It”. Well, the builders of the tower of Babel shared a key aspect of Sullivan’s vision of the tall building: PRIDE! And they had one purpose: TO BUILD A NAME FOR THEMSELVES! They wanted to claim glory that rightly belonged to God Alone – but after all, they ‘were worth it’ too, right?

However, the longing to climb higher than God didn’t begin in Babel. Before time began, Lucifer said, “…I will RAISE MY THRONE ABOVE THE STARS OF GOD; I will SIT ENTHRONED ON THE MOUNT OF ASSEMBLY, on the UTMOST HEIGHTS OF MOUNT ZAPHON” (Isaiah 14:13 NIV). And to this day, we still have women who are doing whatever it takes to raise themselves up to sit enthroned amongst the assembly and be treated as Queens of the utmost heights of elevations, promotions, titles and positions, rings, robes, and royal seating in the sanctuary!

So you see, it didn’t begin with Babel, BUT, it didn’t end with Babel, either.

Here’s a little history for you. The pyramids of Egypt proclaim the power of the rulers buried beneath them. Many lives were lost in the building of the pyramids, “collateral damage” to the princes who built them. Often Egyptian slaves were killed when their masters died and were buried alongside them. But just as the Egyptian kings sacrificed everything to their own legacy, women often sacrifice the good of those around them for fleeting recognition, not to mention the humble spirit God desires. The rulers of ancient Egypt were not all-powerful – they died the deaths of mere men. So, don’t you dare be deceived, your soul will not be saved by flawless skin or the perfect career any more than the towering mountains of stone raised over the mummies of kings saved them!

Women of God, it’s one thing to have pride in yourself, your appearance and even your accomplishments. However, you must never let your pride get out of control. Don’t be like those who attempted to “BUILD FOR THEMSELVES” and “MAKE A NAME FOR THEMSELVES”! Truth is, It’s Not About You! Your Talent, Gifts, Skill-Set, Anointing etc…are for the Building of the Kingdom of God, Not a Personal Cathedral to You! Building a Legacy is not about Your Name being left behind for generations after you to talk about! A Legacy has Purpose; It Has Action! Legacy is for People who have Done Something! Your name on a building is useless, if what you Did wasn’t useful! Sisters, let your work speak for you, it has a loud and powerful voice that will not and cannot be silenced! 

However, you have to put in the work! And that work is not FOR you, it’s FROM you! It’s to build a better generation (not so you can take credit for it) but simply because you care about what the Lord’s heart desires. Every time Jesus came into a person’s life (even if it was briefly passing through it) their life was made better. They were made better. Ladies, if you want your name to say something, let it say Character; Integrity; Sincerity; Excellence; Modesty; Dignity; Help; Support. Let your name say something about what you Do for Others (that you look for no recognition or credit for). 

Women of God, the best handiwork is when your left hand doesn’t know what your right hand is doing! “Our fingerprints don’t fade from the lives we touch.” (Judy Blume) Which means we have to stop taking up so much of our time daily applying makeup and masks, so that we can put our hands to better use, as in touching the lives of others and leaving that as our legacy! Ego’s and pride have had us to focus on ourselves long enough!

Also, be careful not to lose yourself trying to find yourself in places God never intended you to be! Hint: lofty, high places certainly is not it! If you want to really find yourself, just locate the places your God has been (after all, you were made in His image and likeness). Remember, He dwells in Humility; He hangs around the Poor and Meek; He lends a Helping and Healing hand to those who are hurting and struggling. He’s aiding the bound to become free; He’s feeding the hungry and clothing the naked. He’s providing shelter for the homeless and a protective hedge for those under attack. 

Believe it or not, the real Heights are when you delve into the Depths of despair to help someone who cannot help themselves!

In closing, I understand the commercial ad “Because, I’m Worth It”. But that is a motto for the World! When it comes to Believers, our Motto is more like “Because, He’s Worth It!”  

So, what do you take pride in? What keeps you from glorifying God? Has your focus become self-absorbed? Have you become self-glorifying? If so, the solution to the problem is simple: Whatever is keeping you from God, give it to Him for His glory! Let your relationship with Jesus be the source of your significance. 

The Word of God does not lie, when you humble yourself Before God, He Will Lift You Up! However, a high ego will bring you down mighty low! 

“…Come, let Us go down and mix up their language so they will not understand what each other says.”  So the Lord sent them everywhere over the whole earth. And they stopped building the city.  So the name of the city was Babel, because there the Lord mixed up the language of the whole earth. The Lord sent the people everywhere over the whole earth.” (NLV)  

Don’t allow your pride and ego to steal your voice! There’s so much for you to speak into the lives of the current and future generations that you can’t afford to let your ego ‘babble’ your purpose. These were a people that were sent by the Lord everywhere over the whole earth. But what purpose did it serve them, since their language was mixed up and served nothing of value to themselves or to those generations to come. You have an opportunity to be sent to all the corners of the earth. In fact, you have that as a command!

Acts 1:7-8, “He told them, “You don’t get to know the time. Timing is the Father’s business. What you’ll get is the Holy Spirit. And when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be able to be my witnesses IN JERUSALEM, ALL OVER JUDEA AND SAMARIA, EVEN TO THE ENDS OF THE WORLD.” (MSG) 

Matthew 28:19-20, “Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train EVERYONE YOU MEET, FAR AND NEAR, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.” (MSG) 

Mark 16:14-16, “Still later, as the Eleven were eating supper, he appeared and took them to task most severely for their stubborn unbelief, refusing to believe those who had seen him raised up. Then he said, “GO INTO THE WORLD. GO EVERYWHERE and announce the Message of God’s good news TO ONE AND ALL. Whoever believes and is baptized is saved; whoever refuses to believe is damned.” (MSG)

You can either maintain your ego and cause God to send your babbling, unproductive self all over the globe, or you could humble yourself and cause God to send you all over the globe fulfilling His Will and Purpose, however, the choice is always YOURS! You can have a global ministry that takes you all over the globe filled with purpose, or a global ministry that takes you all over the globe and it’s pointless.  

Proverbs 18:21, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it and indulge it will eat its fruit and bear the consequences of their words.” (AMP) So, what are you going to allow your ego to use your words for, death or life? Because as you go day-by-day in your work for the Lord, you will daily have to make that decision. And your ego or humility is the determining factor as to which it will be. 

Women of God, there’s nothing wrong with building, but it has to always keep God in proper perspective with every brick! Proverbs 16:3, “Roll your works upon the Lord [commit and trust them wholly to Him; He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His Will, and] so shall your plans be established and succeed.” (AMPC) 

The danger for the people in our text was that they were focused on building for themselves and they failed. Just think of what you could accomplish and succeed at if only you’d keep the Lord as your tunnel vision focus?! Remember, no matter how the Lord chooses to use YOU, it is always about HIM! Don’t let your ego rob you of a great work you can accomplish for God. There are people who have need of you and all that God put in you. Don’t let your ego be the roadblock that keeps you from going forward into a fruitful destiny. Keep the Lord at the center, and everything else around you will fall into place and, “…so shall your plans be established and succeed.” Instead of “…and they stopped building the city…”  

Reflection Questions:

  1. What kind of “towers” have you built? (your business, your career, your talents, your ministry etc…) Who really gets the glory from your labors, you or God?
  1. Would those who know you best, say you are Selfless or Selfish?
  1. If you had to be truthful with yourself, would you honestly say you are Selfless or Selfish?
  1. How much time do you spend on beautifying your inner man compared to the time you spend beautifying your outer man?
  1. How would you honestly handle working hard behind the scenes, and yet never having your name come up in the credits?
  1. When is the last time you did something good for someone who still has no idea it was you?
  1. Do you ever find yourself in comparison and competition with the “image of beauty” in the world? How do you handle it?
  1. What does the word Legacy mean to you?
  1. If there were only 3 things that someone would be able to share as your lasting legacy, what would those 3 things be?
  1. If you were to be known for a specific Fruit of the Spirit, which would it be and why?

Psalm 86:8-10, “There is no one like You among the gods, O Lord. And there are no works like Yours.  All the nations You have made will come and worship before You, O Lord. And they will bring honor to Your name.  For You are great and do great things. You alone are God.” (NLV);

Proverbs 18:10-12, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower. The man who does what is right runs into it and is safe. The rich man’s money is his strong city, and he thinks it is like a high wall. The heart of a man is proud before he is destroyed, but having no pride goes before honor.” (NLV);

Matthew 23:12, “The person who thinks he is important will find out how little he is worth. The person who is not trying to honor himself will be made important.” (NLV)

1 Peter 3:1-6, “The same goes for you wives: Be good wives to your husbands, responsive to their needs. There are husbands who, indifferent as they are to any words about God, will be captivated by your life of holy beauty. What matters is not your outer appearance—the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear, the cut of your clothes—but your inner disposition. Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in. The holy women of old were beautiful before God that way, and were good, loyal wives to their husbands. Sarah, for instance, taking care of Abraham, would address him as “my dear husband.” You’ll be true daughters of Sarah if you do the same, unanxious and unintimidated.” (MSG)

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

Titus 2:1-6, “Your job is to speak out on the things that make for solid doctrine. Guide older men into lives of temperance, dignity, and wisdom, into healthy faith, love, and endurance. Guide older women into lives of reverence so they end up as neither gossips nor drunks, but models of goodness. By looking at them, the younger women will know how to love their husbands and children, be virtuous and pure, keep a good house, be good wives. We don’t want anyone looking down on God’s Message because of their behavior. Also, guide the young men to live disciplined lives.” (MSG)

Proverbs 14:1, “The wise woman builds her house [on a foundation of godly precepts, and her household thrives], But the foolish one [who lacks spiritual insight] tears it down with her own hands [by ignoring godly principles].” (AMP)

Proverbs 3:13-18, “You’re blessed when you meet Lady Wisdom, when you make friends with Madame Insight. She’s worth far more than money in the bank; her friendship is better than a big salary. Her value exceeds all the trappings of wealth; nothing you could wish for holds a candle to her. With one hand she gives long life, with the other she confers recognition. Her manner is beautiful, her life wonderfully complete. She’s the very Tree of Life to those who embrace her. Hold her tight—and be blessed!” (MSG)

“The one sole thing in myself in which I glory is that I see in myself nothing in which I can glory” ~ Catherine of Genoa

“Swallow your pride occasionally, it’s non-fattening!”  ~Author Unknown

“A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small bundle.”  ~Benjamin Franklin

“Humility is to make a right estimate of one’s self.”  ~Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“It is far more impressive when others discover your good qualities without your help.”  ~Author Unknown

“It is always the secure who are humble.”  ~Gilbert Keith Chesterton

“Few are humble, for it takes a self-esteem few possess.” ~Robert Brault

“We come nearest to the great when we are great in humility.”  ~Rabindranath Tagore

“Nobody stands taller than those willing to stand corrected.”  ~William Safire

“One learns to ignore criticism by first learning to ignore applause.”  ~Robert Brault

“Don’t look for more honor than your learning merits.”  ~Jewish Proverb

“The man who thinks he can live without others is mistaken; the one who thinks others can’t live without him is even more deluded.”  ~Hasidic Saying

“When someone sings his own praises, he always gets the tune too high.”  ~Mary H. Waldrip

“None are so empty as those who are full of themselves.”  ~Benjamin Whichcote

“People that put themselves above others will fall longer and harder.”  ~Gina Lindley

“When science discovers the center of the universe, a lot of people will be disappointed to find they are not it.”  ~Bernard Baily

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

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“Only Fools Refuse God’s Wisdom!”

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Joshua 9:14-15, “So the men [of Israel] took some of their own provisions [and offered them in friendship], and [FOOLISHLY] did not ask for the counsel of the Lord. Joshua made peace with them and made a covenant (treaty) with them, to let them live; and the leaders of the congregation [of Israel] swore an oath to them.” (AMP)

It was an amusing billboard actually; a cartoon drawing of a wide-eyed, bewildered-looking squirrel, holding a broken cable in his paws. The sign that came with it simply read, “Call before you dig”, and gave a toll-free phone number. Well, I’ve come to discover that many utility workers have this problem and have it quite often. You see, squirrels start digging into the wires and they cut right into the utility workers power lines and cables. Lines which could very easily be gas lines, phone lines, or cables. And in the process, the happy diggers make a big mess for the utility company and their customers. A mess that could have easily been avoided had they asked about the dangers before they started digging. Now, squirrels may not know any better, but sadly neither do most people!

Which is why it really is a good idea to check with the people ‘in the know’ before you just start plowing ahead! It’s our failure to check with the Person who’s really ‘in the know’ that explains many of our costly mistakes, that have caused some of the biggest messes in our lives, and in the lives of all those connected to us!

Warning: People CONNECTED to You are EFFECTED by You…For Good or Bad!

Consider the example in Joshua 9:14-15. The Jews have been winning one victory after another over the Canaanites as they took possession of the Promised Land that God was giving them. Now, they are about to come upon Gibeon, one of the royal cities of Canaan. The Gibeonites have heard about the fall of the other cities the Jews have gone against. They know they’re going down next unless they can trick God’s people somehow into making a peace treaty with them, which seems unlikely in light of the fact that God’s Orders are to remove every tribe from the land and Not to coexist with them!

But the Gibeonites are shrewd. They sent a delegation to see Joshua, with donkeys loaded with cracked wineskins and worn-out sacks. They wore patched sandals and old clothes, and they carried dry and moldy bread with them. The whole scam was to make it LOOK LIKE they were from far away and that they had come on a long journey. Here’s how Joshua and his men decided what to do with these Gibeonites, The Bible says, “The Israelites sampled their provisions (so they made sure the bread was really dry and moldy) BUT THEY DID NOT INQUIRE OF THE LORD. Then Joshua made a treaty of peace with them to let them live, and the leaders of the assembly ratified it by oath.” (NIV)

Do you know, within days, the Jews learned that the Gibeonites weren’t from far away; in fact, they were from close by. But because they had been tricked into this treaty, they could not, by honor, remove them as God had originally commanded. As a result, the hands of the Jews were tied for years to come, and the treaty actually sparked a major battle with other armies. How did this mess happen? Well, in a nutshell, they didn’t call before they dug, much like the squirrels! They decided on the basis of what SEEMED right to them, but they made the fatal mistake so many of us have made so many times before –THEY DIDN’T CHECK WITH HEAVEN…THEY DIDN’T CHECK WITH GOD! And so they blew it! And so do we!

Listen to the text in varying translation:

“The Israelites TRIED some of the food, BUT THEY DID NOT ASK THE LORD IF HE WANTED THEM TO MAKE A TREATY.” (CEV);

“The men of Israel wanted to know if these men were telling the truth. So they TASTED the bread – BUT THEY DID NOT ASK THE LORD WHAT THEY SHOULD DO.” (ERV);

“The Israelites ACCEPTED some food from them, BUT DID NOT CONSULT THE LORD ABOUT IT.” (GNT);

“Joshua and the other leaders finally believed them. THEY DID NOT BOTHER TO ASK THE LORD BUT WENT AHEAD AND SIGNED A PEACE TREATY…” (TLB);

“So the Israelites EXAMINED their food, BUT THEY DID NOT CONSULT THE LORD.” (NLT);

“The men of Israel LOOKED them over and ACCEPTED the EVIDENCE. BUT THEY DIDN’T ASK GOD ABOUT IT.” (MSG);

“The men BELIEVED the EVIDENCE they were shown, BUT THEY DID NOT ASK THE LORD ABOUT IT.” (GWT);

Now, this is where many of us mess up and get messy! Like the Israelites, we’ll try it; take some; taste it; sample it; exam it, believe it, and even eventually accept it…but what we fail to do is to ask God what to do about it and with it! The Israelites (like many of us) were cautious, they checked out what was presented to them, however, the final decision was not theirs to make (and not ours either)!

“The Israelites took some of their supplies, BUT THEY DIDN’T ASK FOR ANY DECISION FROM THE LORD.” (CEB)

And can we be honest? We Get in the Worst Predicaments Because We Forget God Knows Best!

The decision was the Lord’s to make! They were to consult Him. And even with the decisions He allows us to be a part of, we are still to consult the Lord! And it’s not because they didn’t know any better, so they don’t even have that as a justifiable excuse and neither do we!

James 1:5, “If any of you lacks wisdom [TO GUIDE HIM THROUGH A DECISION OR CIRCUMSTANCE], he is to ask of [our benevolent] God, who gives to everyone generously and without rebuke or blame, and it will be given to him.” (AMP)

When God Himself is telling you to use His Wisdom, only a Fool would refuse!

God is there to Help, not to Hinder us! But He’s not rudely forcing Himself on us either! But He’s laid out for us the safest way to travel if only we’d adhere to it! Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart AND DO NOT RELY ON YOUR OWN INSIGHT OR UNDERSTANDING. IN ALL YOUR WAYS know and acknowledge and recognize Him, and HE will make your paths straight and smooth [REMOVING OBSTACLES THAT BLOCK YOUR WAY].” (AMP) Do you realize just how smooth this journey of ours could be if only we’d humble ourselves enough to follow His lead? We wouldn’t even have to worry about the bumps in the road along the way because He promises to “…remove obstacles that block our way.” But no, we insist on doing things our own way! And what is the result of that decision?

Proverbs 16:25, “There’s a way that looks harmless enough; look again – it leads straight to hell.” (MSG) Surely that’s the destination you were hoping to reach, right?

Don’t you see, we’re much like the Israelites, as soon as something (or someone) APPEARS to be alright; APPEARS to check out; APPEARS to be on the up-and-up, we jump head long into a mess with eyes wide open! All we know is that it “…LOOKS HARMLESS ENOUGH…” but so does she (until you get married to her and her $100,000.00 debt); so does he (until his perfect tall, dark and handsome exposes you to an STD); so does that church (but little do you know they’re only concerned with the prosperity of your pockets and not the prosperity of your soul); so does that business (until you find out the under-handed methods they use to keep it afloat)! What am I saying? Ask God Before You Decide It or They Are Really the Answer You Were Looking For! This could literally save your very life!

Think of all the divorces that could have been avoided had the individuals sought the Lord FIRST! When our children messed up, imagine how quickly they could have cleaned up, if we FIRST helped them God’s way instead of ours! The many soul ties that would never have tangled up your peace of mind if only you’d sought the Lord’s decision in the matter, FIRST! How many broken hearts that would not have needed years to mend, if only we sought the Lord FIRST. Many of us would not have to start over (for the 97th time, just this week) if only we’d sought the Lord FIRST! So much unnecessary pain, so many unnecessary complications and difficulties and conflicts, and all because of our failure to seek God’s direction FIRST!  And in this day and time of read your horoscope; find your inner-self; reach for a higher power; let them read your palm; check out the tarot cards; let the soothsayers soothe you; (You Need to Know to Seek God FIRST!)

Isaiah 8:19-22, “When people tell you, “Try out the fortunetellers. Consult the spiritualists. Why not tap into the spirit-world, get in touch with the dead?” Tell them, “NO, WE’RE GOING TO STUDY THE SCRIPTURES.” People who try the other ways get nowhere – a dead end! Frustrated and famished, they try one thing after another. When nothing works out they get angry, cursing first this god and then that one, looking this way and that, up, down, and sideways – and seeing nothing, a blank wall, an empty hole. They end up in the dark with nothing.” (MSG)

And why would anyone want to waste time on such Foolishness when you have direct access to the Wisdom of God? That’s Who you seek…FIRST! When you’re wondering which direction and what to do, seek God FIRST! Jeremiah 33:3, “This is God’s Message, the God who made earth, made it livable and lasting, known everywhere as God: “Call to Me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own.” (MSG) With that as your best option, how could you chose anything different? You do not have to figure out life on your own (and thank God, because clearly WE are not good at decision making on our own)! And who cares, since we can simply call to our Father and He will answer His children with marvelous things that we don’t have to keep digging to find on our own!

Isaiah 65:24, “I will answer them before they even call to Me. While they are still talking to Me about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers!” (TLB) Why try to figure out something God has already figured out? All you have to do is ask Him for the answer!

However, truth is, we neglect to check with God for many reasons. We’re in too big of a hurry, we’re feeling pressured by other people, we compromise for the sake of convenience, or we just plain know how we want it to be and we stubbornly blaze ahead with our own will. Sometimes, we may even be doing God’s thing, but it’s not God’s time or it’s not God’s way. Which is why it’s so vital that we “lean not on our own understanding,” which can only see part of the picture. When you consult with the Lord, you’re getting direction from the only One who can see the whole picture. That’s why counsel before decisions is so important! Proverbs 15:22, “Refuse good advice and watch your plans fail; take good counsel and watch them succeed.” (MSG)

Listen, in 2 Chronicles 18:4, King Jehoshaphat gave King Ahab this advice before he went running off into battle: “…FIRST, seek the counsel of the Lord.” (NIV) Here’s a few additional translations:

“…Please inquire FIRST for the Word of the Lord.” (AMP);

“…Inquire FIRST, I pray you, for the Word of the Lord today.” (AMPC);

“…FIRST, let’s see what the Lord has to say.” (CEB);

“But FIRST let’s ask the Lord what to do.” (CEV);

“But FIRST let’s ask the Lord for advice.” (ERV);

“…“But FIRST, find out what the Lord’s Word is in this matter.” (GWT);

“…But FIRST let’s consult the Lord.” (GNT);

“…However, let’s check with the Lord FIRST.” (TLB);

“…BUT BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING, ASK GOD FOR GUIDANCE.” (MSG);

“…But FIRST we should ask if this is the Lord’s Will.” (NCV);

Are you starting to see the clear picture now? There’s a plan in place, however, Jehoshaphat (the wise leader) says, FIRST, let’s inquire of the Lord; let’s see what the Word of the Lord is for today; let’s see what He has to say; let’s ask Him what we should do; let’s ask for His advice; let’s find out what He has to say about this particular matter; let’s consult Him; let’s see if this is even His Will; BEFORE WE DO ANYTHING…LET’S ASK GOD TO GUIDE US! Yet, even with all of that admonishment, in the end, King Ahab didn’t, and because he didn’t, he died in that battle!

Do I dare ask how much money you would not have lost if you sought God FIRST? How much of your integrity, dignity and character would still be intact if you sought the Lord FIRST? How many mistakes and missteps could you have avoided if only you asked if this or they were in His Will for your life? Maybe you wouldn’t have lost the job, the house, the car, the career, the ministry or church, if only you would have asked God for His Guidance, before deciding to Go Your Own Way…Only to Have Crashed Over the Cliff Where He Already Had Warning Signs in Place!

And LEADERS, this is dangerous for us as well, listen to the text again in closing: “JOSHUA AND THE OTHER LEADERS finally believed them. They did not bother to ask the Lord but went ahead and signed a peace treaty…” (TLB);

Leadership Means We’re Responsible For Everyone On Board, Whether We Sail Safely, or Sink Fatally. Which is why we (above all people) ought to use the Wisdom God has made available to us to lead people according to His Word, Way and Will…and NOT That of Our Own! Because in the end, these LEADERS made a decision (WITHOUT GOD) that affected the WHOLE CONGREGATION. And if we dare make the wrong decision, the Body of Christ, as a whole, is damaged. Because you can’t hurt your pinky and the rest of your hand not know what happened. And in the Body of Christ, whatever we do in the Body, affects the whole body. So let’s start today by asking the Lord to lead and guide us in the way we should go, not in the way we want to go. Let’s ask the Lord for His decision, His Word, His Will, His Way, and His Timing.

Why? Because we can avoid a lot of problems and a lot of pain if only we’ll instinctively check with God FIRST. Let’s stop being like squirrels on power lines, digging in and causing disruption to everyone and everything. Let’s decide today to stop making messy decisions!

I share this because we’ve entered another New Year. We have much indeed to be grateful for. However, this is also the time and season when everyone wants to be something new, try something new, go somewhere new. And nothing is wrong with New, when it’s the Lord’s doing: Isaiah 43:18-21, “This is what God says…Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’M ABOUT TO DO SOMETHING BRAND-NEW. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?” (MSG) God doesn’t need your New Years’ Resolutions! If something is to be New, let Him do it instead of you attempting to experiment with it! Let God change it; alter it; move it; or send it…not you trying to make things (you want, but may not need) to happen!

This year, make one resolution only…SEEK GOD FIRST! Don’t go grabbing shovels and seeking new land, and start digging where God never intended you to. Wait! Seek His Counsel, whether it’s for marriage; a relationship; a friendship; a job offer; a school choice; a career move; leaving or starting a church; or going to the store to make a purchase…Wait On the Lords’ Timing and Direction and You’ll Never Be Steered Off Course!

Think about it, haven’t we already made the foolish mistake of making decisions without the Lord’s consult and wisdom? And as bad as those choices and consequences turned out to be…do you really want a New Year, with the same Old You, making all the same old errors…again? Of course not. So this year, if it’s the Last thing you do…SEEK THE LORD FIRST…Before You Start Digging and Deciding!

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.” (MSG)

Psalm 37:23-24, “The steps of a [good] man are directed and established by the Lord when He delights in his way [and He busies Himself with his every step]. Though he falls, he shall not be utterly cast down, for the Lord grasps his hand in support and upholds him.” (AMPC)

REMEMBER: ONLY FOOLS REFUSE GOD’S WISDOM!

Psalm 14:1, “The [spiritually ignorant] fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, they have committed repulsive and unspeakable deeds; There is no one who does good.” (AMP)

Romans 1:22, “Claiming to be wise, they became fools,” (AMP)

Proverbs 18:2, “A [closed-minded] fool does not delight in understanding, But only in revealing his personal opinions [unwittingly displaying his self-indulgence and his stupidity].” (AMP)

Proverbs 9:8, “Do not correct a scoffer [who foolishly ridicules and takes no responsibility for his error] or he will hate you; Correct a wise man [who learns from his error], and he will love you.” (AMP)

Proverbs 26:4, “Do not answer [nor pretend to agree with the frivolous comments of] a [closed-minded] fool according to his folly, Otherwise you, even you, will be like him.” (AMP)

Proverbs 1:7, “The [reverent] fear of the Lord [that is, worshiping Him and regarding Him as truly awesome] is the beginning and the preeminent part of knowledge [its starting point and its essence]; But arrogant fools despise [skillful and godly] wisdom and instruction and self-discipline.” (AMP)

Proverbs 29:11, “A [shortsighted] fool always loses his temper and displays his anger, But a wise man [uses self-control and] holds it back.” (AMP)

Proverbs 13:20, “He who walks [as a companion] with wise men will be wise,
But the companions of [conceited, dull-witted] fools [are fools themselves and] will experience harm.” (AMP)

Proverbs 12:16, “The [arrogant] fool’s anger is quickly known [because he lacks self-control and common sense], But a prudent man ignores an insult.” (AMP)

Proverbs 12:18, “There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword,
But the tongue of the wise brings healing.” (AMP)

Ecclesiastes 7:9, “Do not be eager in your heart to be angry, For anger dwells in the heart of fools.” (AMP)

Ephesians 5:15-16, “Therefore see that you walk carefully [living life with honor, purpose, and courage; shunning those who tolerate and enable evil], not as the unwise, but as wise [sensible, intelligent, discerning people], making the very most of your time [on earth, recognizing and taking advantage of each opportunity and using it with wisdom and diligence], because the days are [filled with] evil.” (AMP)

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

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