“Keep Your Hand On Your Sword!”

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“But he stood his ground and fought the Philistines until his hand was weary and STUCK TO THE SWORD. But the Lord accomplished a great victory that day. The troops then returned to Eleazar, but only to plunder the dead.” (2 Samuel 23:10 CEB)

The Message Bible reads like this: “Eleazar son of Dodai the Ahohite was the next of the elite Three. He was with David when the Philistines poked fun at them at Pas Dammim. When the Philistines drew up for battle, Israel retreated. But Eleazar stood his ground and killed Philistines right and left until he was exhausted—BUT HE NEVER LET GO OF HIS SWORD! A big win for God that day. The army then rejoined Eleazar, but all there was left to do was the cleanup.” (2 Samuel 23:9-10 MSG)

Eleazar, one of David’s “…three mighty men…” was the kind of person who simply wouldn’t quit! When the Philistines attacked, we read, “he attacked and killed Philistines until his hand got tired and STUCK TO HIS SWORD…” What a tremendous picture of encouragement for those of us in the midst of battles right now! “…HIS HAND STUCK TO HIS SWORD…” In a nutshell: I simply want you to be encouraged to STICK WITH IT, EVEN IN BATTLE, AND WATCH GOD GIVE YOU A GREAT VICTORY!

However, if on the other hand you unfortunately decide to quit, walk away and throw in the towel, you must ask yourself what more can God do on your behalf? Because the truth is, you can’t Retreat and simultaneously expect Victory! And this is where many of us mess up!

Instead of sticking with it we give up on our children, discard marriages, throw away friendships, quit jobs, drop out of school, close businesses, change churches, etc… instead of being mature enough to stay in it and stick it out! Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. SO DON’T TRY TO GET OUT OF ANYTHING PREMATURELY. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.” (James 1:2-4 MSG) And with Scripture validation, I feel it is within my right to inform you that many of us are Immature, Under-Developed and Lacking in Many areas for no other reason than that we got out of things PREMATURELY!

Imagine what your daughter might have done if you didn’t give up; what might your son have soared in if you hadn’t given up on him; what might your husband have accomplished if you would’ve stuck it out through the rough patches a little longer; what might your wife have become if you would’ve wiped her tears instead of throwing in the towel; what profits might the business have seen had you worked at it just a little harder; what degree would you have by now if you hung in there a few more semesters; what growth might the church have experienced had you stayed on your post instead of switching pews and pulpits?

Sadly, we give up, give out and give in far too quickly and certainly far too often!

We fail to understand that Progression not Perfection is the Ultimate Goal!

Let’s face it, you will experience conflict, crisis, trials, struggles, heartache and heart-break, financial difficulties, set-backs, and the like. That’s all just a part of life! But does that give you just cause and reason to quit? Absolutely Not! After all, look at what Jesus said in John 16:33 in the following translations:

“…In this godless world you will continue to experience DIFFICULTIES….” (MSG);

“…In the world you have TRIBULATION and TRIALS and DISTRESS and FRUSTRATION…” (AMP);

“…While you are in the world, you will have to SUFFER…” (CEV);

“…In the world you’ll have TROUBLE…” (GWT);

“…Here on earth you will have MANY TRIALS and SORROWS…” (TLB).

So where on Earth did we get the false impression and faulty idea that life for the believer is roses with no thorns?! Especially since Jesus Himself forewarned all of us that we would have “…Difficulties…Tribulation…Trials…Distress…Frustration…Suffering…Trouble…and Sorrows…” And yet even knowing this In Advance, we still give up as soon as it looks like the sky no longer has sun, moon, stars, rainbows, and silver linings, and instead it’s just dark, bleak, rainy, cloudy, gloom-filled nights! When did we become so weak, that the only thing we have the strength to do is give up and walk away?!

Can you imagine if you planted a seed today and then went to the garden tomorrow expecting to see growth and since there was none, you uprooted the seed and threw it away! Now imagine doing that every time you don’t See Immediate Manifested Growth in other areas of your life! The Result Would Be That You Would NEVER Produce Anything! Maybe that’s where you are right now…every area of your life is filled with stagnant water and stunted growth. Well, just maybe the problem isn’t it or them, but YOU! Maybe you should stop hindering Manifestation based off your Improper Expectations! Think about it: Even God Uses and Respects Waiting and Time!

“There’s an OPPORTUNE TIME to do things, a RIGHT TIME for everything on the earth: A RIGHT TIME for birth and another for death,
A RIGHT TIME to plant and another to reap,
A RIGHT TIME to kill and another to heal,
A RIGHT TIME to destroy and another to construct,
A RIGHT TIME to cry and another to laugh,
A RIGHT TIME to lament and another to cheer,
A RIGHT TIME to make love and another to abstain,
A RIGHT TIME to embrace and another to part,
A RIGHT TIME to search and another to count your losses,
A RIGHT TIME to hold on and another to let go,
A RIGHT TIME to rip out and another to mend,
A RIGHT TIME to shut up and another to speak up,
A RIGHT TIME to love and another to hate,
A RIGHT TIME to wage war and another to make peace.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 MSG)

There is an OPPORTUNE TIME for Everything Under the Sun! So why are you so Impatient?!

The word “opportune” is defined as “done or occurring at an especially convenient or appropriate time.” Its Latin Origin “opportunus” comes from “ob” meaning “in the direction of” and “portus” meaning “harbor”. It originally described the wind driving towards the harbor, at varying times, hence the meaning “seasonal”. And that’s what we fail to realize before we quit, give up, throw in the towel and walk away! Everything in life is “seasonal”. Good and bad days alike! And “seasonal” is defined as: “fluctuating characteristics depending on varying times of the year.” So, just as we don’t experience Summer all year long, neither do we Experience Winter, Spring or Fall, all year long. The seasons alternate! They do not remain the same. And if you dare learn to apply that principle to friendships and relationships you’ll stop washing your hands of people when all you needed to do was wait for the season to change! Who wants to be in Summer all year long?! And although I think I can find a few people that might like the idea, the rest of the world would hate to miss out on all that the other seasons bring. Winter is pretty cold, but it also brings Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Valentines Day, Gift Exchanges, Family Gatherings Over Large Dinners etc. Meaning even Winter has its’ burdens and blessings! And when you look at it like that, you’ll not seek a divorce because you’re in Winter, instead you’ll look for the blessings that even Winter carries. Then you’ll determine to endure it because there is Always a changing of the seasons! I hope you’re really getting this. Because as a counselor, it’s heart-breaking to listen to story after story of demolished friendships and relationships that only required more communication, openness, laughter, time and a bit more perseverance and patience.

Listen to this true story: Truett Cathy is not only a Committed Christian, but he’s also one of the world’s most successful businessmen. He started Chick-fil-A with one small diner and it grew to more than 1,450 restaurants, making it the second largest quick-service chicken restaurant chain in America. As of September 2007, in Forbes Magazine’s listing of billionaires, Cathy was number 380 in the United States with a net worth of 1.3 billion dollars. And this was achieved even while remaining closed on Sunday’s which is one of the busiest sales days of the week. However, in his autobiography he tells of being so tongue-tied he could hardly put two words together. Then, three weeks after he opened his first store it burned to the ground. And if that’s not bad enough, when he finally got his second store, his brothers, who were his partners, were all killed in a plane crash. People advised him to quit. But instead he decided to trust God and keep trying! As a result his business employs thousands, and feeds millions every day! Truett Cathy took his setbacks and turned them into stepping stones!

And if he can endure THAT…you can endure THIS!

Now to our Scripture: “But he stood his ground and fought the Philistines until his hand was weary and STUCK TO THE SWORD. But the Lord accomplished a great victory that day. The troops then returned to Eleazar, but only to plunder the dead.” (2 Samuel 23:10 CEB); The Message Bible reads: “Eleazar son of Dodai the Ahohite was the next of the elite Three. He was with David when the Philistines poked fun at them at Pas Dammim. When the Philistines drew up for battle, Israel retreated. But Eleazar stood his ground and killed Philistines right and left until he was exhausted—BUT HE NEVER LET GO OF HIS SWORD! A big win for God that day. The army then rejoined Eleazar, but all there was left to do was the cleanup.” (2 Samuel 23:9-10 MSG)

The Scripture in varying translations say Eleazar kept fighting even though he was:

“…weary…” (CEB);

“…exhausted…” (MSG);

“…tired…” (ERV); and

“…cramped…” (GNT).

Yet, despite all of this, even in the midst of battle, HE NEVER LET HIS SWORD GO! In fact, the Scripture says it like this:

“…weary and clung to the sword…” (AMP);

“…weary and stuck to the sword…” (CEB);

“…cramped, yet couldn’t let go of his sword…” (CEV);

“…tired and stuck to his sword…”;

and my personal favorite, “…exhausted – but he never let go of his sword…” (MSG).

Imagine if we followed Eleazar’s example and even though in our friendships and relationships when we become “…weary…exhausted…tired…and even cramped…” we still refuse to “…let go…” instead we “…cling and stick…”

I love the way The Voice translation puts it: “but Eleazar stood his ground. He killed Philistine soldiers that day until his arm grew tired, but he never dropped his sword. The Eternal One gave them a decisive victory that day; and then the people came back, only to pillage the fallen.” (VOICE)

Despite how Eleazar FELT, he still “…stood his ground…” and “…never dropped his sword…” And what was the end result of his determination? Let’s see what the Scripture says:

“The Lord wrought a great deliverance and victory that day…” (AMP);

“…the Lord won an impressive victory that day…” (GWT);

“…the LORD wrought a great salvation that day…” (JUB);

“…the Lord gave him a great victory…” (TLB);

“…A big win for God that day….” (MSG);

“…The Lord saved many of His people that day…” (NLV);

Due to Eleazar’s persistence, determination, perseverance and fight, “…the Lord wrought DELIVERANCE…an IMPRESSIVE VICTORY…and SAVED MANY OF PEOPLE…” And all because one person decided I’m not giving up, giving out or giving in! I’m not quitting, throwing in the towel, or walking away. Instead I’m going to stand, cling, and stick it out despite how I feel, why? Because the Scripture says, “…The Lord won a great victory that day. AFTER IT WAS OVER…” (GNT)

Remind yourself that after this is over, me, my family, my children, my friends, my business, ministry and church will experience Deliverance, Victory and Salvation! And isn’t that worth it to hold on just a little while longer?

Today, Determine to Just Stick It Out! There Will Be Victory After This! But you have to keep your hand on your sword, and what is your sword? “…and the SWORD OF THE SPIRIT, WHICH IS THE WORD OF GOD.” (Ephesians 6:17 AMP)

Now, Eleazar had a physical sword, however, ours is more powerful! It is the very Word of God! And why is it so important that we know that? Because, “…though we walk in the flesh [as mortal men], we are not carrying on our [spiritual] warfare according to the flesh and using the weapons of man.  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,” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5 AMP)

We are not fighting flesh and blood, we are fighting principalities in the spirit! And that requires not a physical sword but a spiritual one, and one that we keep stuck to us like Eleazar’s sword! This is vital because as followers of Christ, we have to fight like He fought, and He fought using the Word of God! “Jesus replied to him, “IT IS WRITTEN AND FOREVER REMAINS WRITTEN, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE BY BREAD ALONE.” (Luke 4:4 AMP); “Jesus replied to him, “IT IS WRITTEN AND FOREVER REMAINS WRITTEN, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD AND SERVE ONLY HIM.’” (Luke 4:8 AMP); “for IT IS WRITTEN AND FOREVER REMAINS WRITTEN, ‘HE WILL COMMAND HIS ANGELS CONCERNING YOU TO GUARD AND PROTECT YOU,’ AND, ‘THEY WILL LIFT YOU UP ON THEIR HANDS, SO THAT YOU DO NOT STRIKE YOUR FOOT AGAINST A STONE.’” JESUS REPLIED TO HIM, “IT IS SAID [IN SCRIPTURE], ‘YOU SHALL NOT TEMPT THE LORD YOUR GOD [TO PROVE HIMSELF TO YOU’” (Luke 4:10-12 AMP) And then what happened? “When the devil had finished every temptation, he [temporarily] left Him until a more opportune time.” (Luke 4:13 AMP)

People of God, this is how we are to fight in the Spirit, with the Word / Sword of God!

However, how can you use a Sword you don’t use?! You can’t use the Word of God against the enemy if you don’t know the Word of God for yourself! Which is why we are admonished to remember: 2 Timothy 2:15, “Study and do your best to present yourself to God approved, a workman [tested by trial] who has no reason to be ashamed, accurately handling and skillfully teaching the WORD OF TRUTH.” (AMP)

What’s the best way to fight a liar? With the truth of course! And what does the Bible say about Satan? John 8:44, “You are of your father the devil, and it is your will to practice the desires [which are characteristic] of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks what is natural to him, for he is a liar and the father of lies and half-truths.” (AMP)

You can slay lying Satan with the truth, but you have to know the truth first in order to do so! And if you are not consistent in personal bible study time; Sunday school; and Bible study, how are you accomplishing this? You can’t wield a sword effectively if you don’t know how to! That’s like giving a baby a loaded gun, it doesn’t know how to use it effectively, but if he keeps picking and poking, eventually he’ll accidentally figure out how to pull the trigger which will be dangerous and deadly to himself and others, and all because he was given a weapon he wasn’t taught how to properly use! You know why? For a baby, it makes sense not to give a loaded weapon. But you’ve been saved how long now? Delivered how long now? Anointed how long now? Gifted how long now? Sitting under the Word of God for how long now? And you’re still haphazardly wielding a powerful sword?!

Please understand how powerful your Sword is: 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) This is a powerful weapon, and it’s at your disposal by your God, and you’re not using it?!

2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is God-breathed [given by divine inspiration] and is profitable for instruction, for conviction [of sin], for correction [of error and restoration to obedience], for training in righteousness [learning to live in conformity to God’s will, both publicly and privately—behaving honorably with personal integrity and moral courage]; so that the man of God may be complete and proficient, outfitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (AMP) God gave you such a powerful weapon to wield that it can be used to hurt your enemy and help you at the same time!

People of God, please hear me, you are already equipped for every battle you’ll ever face in this life, natural and spiritual, and all you have to do is read it, apply it, live it and use it!

The Word of God needs to be so engrafted to you that it seems like another member attached to your body! James 1:21, “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.” (KJV) “Engrafted” means, “to attach to, and become part of.” And doesn’t that sound a lot like Eleazar and his Sword?! He held it so long and tight that it may as well been a second layer of skin. And that’s how the Word of God has to be in your life! Never let your Sword go! Instead, grow with it, study how to use it, but whatever you do, don’t let it out of your hand!

And yes, that means when you’re tired, wearied, frustrated, attacked, treated unfairly, doesn’t matter, keep your sword in hand. Hold it tightly, because the more tightly you hold on to it, the more tightly it will teach you how to hold on to your loved ones, even in bad times, and yet, never let go!

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

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“There’s a Blessing Behind Closed Doors!”

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Psalm 42:1-5, “As the deer pants for water, so I long for you, O God.  I thirst for God, the living God. Where can I find him to come and stand before him?  Day and night I weep for his help, and all the while my enemies taunt me. “Where is this God of yours?” they scoff. Take courage, my soul! Do you remember those times (but how could you ever forget them!) when you led a great procession to the Temple on festival days, singing with joy, praising the Lord? Why then be downcast? Why be discouraged and sad? Hope in God! I shall yet praise him again. Yes, I shall again praise him for his help.” (TLB)

Anyone that knows me knows that I am a bookaholic! I read everything! There is absolutely no time in which there isn’t a book in my hand, on my desk, in my bag, or on my nightstand. I love reading books! And when my daughters were little, I would always make sure that they had reading time at home. They had to read a book, and give me a book report, yes, even as little tots! I always wanted them to be educated, intelligent and in the know. And I made sure that they read everything from Encyclopedias, to Dictionary’s, to Novels, to Magazines and Newspapers. I pushed them hard to read, and to this day, nothing has changed, they still love to read (but for some reason, they refuse to give me book reports any longer) go figure.

Well, unlike many kids today, my children spent a lot of time at the public library. I would take them, they would find their particular book and I would find mine. But there’s one particular memory about our library trips that I remember most. It’s what stirred today’s devotional. Me and the girls, as usual, went to the library, however, this time was different when we got there. Usually, it would be full of parents, guardians and kids, but this time there was no one. And it suddenly dawned on me that this time wasn’t a good time to go. You see, this was the time in which they traditionally conducted their inventory. Yep, what a lousy time to go to a place you really want to be in, but you can’t, because they were shut down to take stock.

Now, before we go on, let’s define this word “inventory”. It means “a complete list of items such as goods in stock or the contents of a building; a quantity of goods in stock.” Its Latin Origin “inventarium” means “a list of what is found”, from “invenire” which means “to discover”. Inventory is conducted to discover what’s good, what’s bad, what’s out-dated, what’s needed, what’s no longer needed, and how much of all of this is present. Inventory is done to find out the cost of the good and the cost of the bad, in stock.

With that in mind, there was one man in history who was called the man after God’s own heart by God Himself. His name was David. It’s this man whose personal spiritual diary is in your possession. It’s called the book of Psalms. One of those is in Psalm 42; it’s a real look inside David’s heart. No pretense, no mask, no phoniness, no cover-up, but the real heart of David.

Psalm 42 beginning at verse 1, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” Then here arises David’s question, “When can I go and meet with God?” Now what’s David’s frame of mind in this Psalm? Well he reveals it in verse 3, “My tears have been my food day and night.He later describes himself as being downcast, and disturbed. In a word David is struggling. In essence, something’s not right. But instead of sinking, he knows the lifeguard to call on for help. He says this in the Psalm, “My soul is downcast within me: therefore I will remember You.

Here, David is much like the library, he’s saying it’s time to close the store and meet with God. It’s time to take an inventory of my life and where I am right now. It’s time to discover what’s good, what’s bad, what’s out-dated, what’s needed, what’s no longer needed, and how much of all of this is present. It’s time to find out the cost of the good and the cost of the bad, I have in stock.

Maybe it’s that time for you too. It’s time to meet with God, let Him close the door (that no man can open) and you take close inventory. Truth is, we can only go but so long without time away from all the other voices. And can we dare be honest? There are a lot of voices. Our spouses, children, family members, coworkers, bosses, clients, church, neighbors, and the list could go on forever. Someone, somewhere is constantly talking to us about something. But with so many voices to listen to from day-to-day, when do you get quiet time just to hear the voice of the Lord? And isn’t that the one voice we can’t afford to ignore?

Life has a strange way of simply spinning out of control without a periodic time of uninterrupted inventory with God. Because, besides listening to all the other voices, we also have jobs, school, responsibilities, appointments, meetings, and once again, the list could go on and on. For instance, there was a time when I was heading out the house for work with a million things on my mind, court dates for work, teaching sessions, leadership workshops, preaching engagements, my mom’s doctor appointments and bills that needed to be paid, on top of handling the household affairs of my own house, and my own doctor appointments etc… All of the distractions didn’t dawn on me until I was almost to work, and a woman on her phone stepped out into the street on a green light and was almost hit by a car. She screamed “Jesus! Thank God I prayed before I left home this morning!” And that’s when it hit me…did I pray this morning? I honestly couldn’t remember. I had so much to do, so many places to be, so many meetings to attend, so many workshops to facilitate, so many decisions to make, I simply couldn’t remember praying before I left home. That’s a rarity for me, since walking around in the quiet of my living-room is my absolute favorite place to pray every morning. But somehow that morning, I didn’t “have time to pray.” But when I finally got to my job, I went in my conference room and just sat quietly for a moment. As ironic, and maybe even comical as it may sound, my silent prayer to God was asking God, “did I pray this morning?” So grateful that He didn’t disconnect His communication with me, because I could clearly hear Him say… “No…” Immediately I wondered what God’s grace, mercy, favor and protection had spared me from, as I walked along the morning without ever asking Him to keep me covered by His blood and by His name? I thought about that woman so distracted by her phone that she almost lost her life getting struck by a car, but even in her distraction, she still remembered that she’d prayed that morning.

I know for most, that sounds tragic coming from a preacher, but it’s my truth. Sometimes I can get so busy (with both the good and the bad) that I don’t take time out for God or even for myself. Even more disturbing is that morning prayer, in particular, is my most favorite. I always come out of morning prayer feeling like a super-hero (don’t laugh!) But I do. I feel like I have God, all His angels, the whole armor of God and the whole host of heaven walking out the door with me to face the day. I feel so inspired, empowered, encouraged, lifted, strong, and yet, I was too busy that day to pray.

I do hope this will encourage and inspire you to re-evaluate (and do a personal inventory) of your life. Go to God like David did, “Lord, when can I meet with You?” God will close the door, and you will have uninterrupted, personal time with your Savior. Which makes me think of the many times in the Bible (Old and New Testament) when a door was closed, there was often a miracle performed on the other side of it. From Noah and Elisha to Jesus and the Disciples, something awesome happens, when doors are closed!

Stores know you can’t really take stock of what you have while you’re still selling and servicing customers at the same time. They have to close the doors. They have to hang out a closed sign to do it. It’s the same spiritually, mentally and emotionally for us. Because it’s hard to really see where you are and where God wants you to be while you’re still meeting all the demands of your daily responsibilities and servicing all the “customers” in your life. It’s hard to know what You need, while simultaneously serving all the needs of others.

But what I’ve learned (albeit the hard way) is that you have to value you enough to ask God to close the door because you need to meet with Him to re-evaluate your inventory.

One of the things I hate the most (especially when it comes to my hair products) is when I go to the beauty supply for something specific (usually something I absolutely love), only to have them tell me “we have to order more”. UGH! Well, Miss, I (like every other woman) knew at 9am this morning that I would be washing my hair at 7pm this evening, and I came in here for the Only shampoo I use! What do you mean, “we have to order more”, or “we’re out of stock”. Either phrase will get you a roll of the eyes or a snap of the neck or worse, a fierce comment! However, that only happens when you over-estimate or under-estimate your stock! And doing inventory is designed to avoid that very thing. But how many times do we all make this mistake in judgment? Either we’re more empty than we thought, or assume we’re more full than we are. Which is why inventory is so vital.

There must be those times when you hang out the closed sign and just say, “I’m all yours, God.” Spend some extended time with your Lord. Remember David’s question: “When can I go and meet with God?” It might be a day; it might be a couple of days or once in a while a longer period of time. And what you do is, just take you, your bible, a pen, and a big notepad to write down what comes to you while you’re listening to the Lord and you can expect Him to fill that pad. He loves when we come to Him with an empty piece of paper, instead of our own full personal agenda.

This is one of the greatest gifts you can give to your spouse; taking over their responsibilities so they can close for inventory. It’s a gift to you too. You get a better husband or wife out of the deal. A son or daughter can offer extra help so their mom or dad could spend this time. A church or a ministry is wise to allow, even to encourage their leaders to stop all the business and running the church machine, and take time out for inventory. Truth is, many marriages, relationships, friendships, businesses, and churches are going under because everyone is too busy to do inventory. You need some quiet time away from it all (and them all) to sit with God and see what’s good, what’s bad, what’s out-dated, what’s no longer needed, what requires more. If not, you’ll find yourself still trying to make deposits in others, when you’re depleted yourself.

In honesty, there are some relationships/friendships/companions we no longer need, and we’re stressed out over their very presence. However, if you took the needed time to sit behind closed doors and talk to God, He would’ve shown you that months even years ago. Many of us have people, places and things that have been long out-dated, and still they’re hanging onto us because we haven’t taken out the necessary time to re-evaluate them, and realize that keeping them is far too costly!

Listen: When you do go meet with God, open up every corner of you to His search light. Psalm 139:23-24, “Investigate my life, O God, find out everything about me; Cross-examine and test me, get a clear picture of what I’m about…” (MSG) You need to ask the Lord to do this for you. That word “investigate” means “to carry out a formal inquiry so as to establish the truth.” Its Latin Origin “investigare” means “to trace out”. When you “trace” something, it means “to find out by investigation”. And there are simply some things in your life that you will never discover need to be removed from your life until the Lord does His own private investigation. It’s not until you sit with the Lord, with your undivided attention, and listen attentively to Him, that you’ll be able to finally trace where your exhaustion is coming from; where your discouragement is coming from; where your depletion is coming from; where your peace, joy and contentment are going. It’s not until then when you’re able to trace where your aggravation is coming from. It takes investigation, and investigation doesn’t happen in 5 minutes. You need time to spend time with the Lord. You’re losing too much sleep, money, sanity and strength. You need to trace the source.

You need to deal with wrong actions, and wrong attitudes that have developed. Stand back with Him and get the big picture again. Then ask Him to help you see each of the key people in your life as He sees them – through His eyes. And when He says he goes…then you let him go! When He says she stays, whether you like it or not, she stays! You need clear and concise guidance and direction, and you can’t get that surrounded by a multitude of noisy distractions!

So how long has it been since you closed for inventory? Are you afraid they’ll get mad? Are you afraid you may miss an opportunity? Are you afraid the time a part will destroy the relationship/friendship? Are you afraid you’ll miss out on money? Are you afraid you’ll lose ‘friends’, posts, likes, and tweets? Are you afraid you’ll lose your seat, title, office and position? Are you afraid you’ll lose your ring and robe? What has you so afraid of temporary closed doors, that will grant you permanent peace? Listen, anytime you spend time with the Lord, you Gain…you never Lose! So anything (or anyone) that falls off in your silence, was a quiet blessing!

God has so much He wants to show you and you need to hear His voice so much. You’ll come out of that seeking time really ready for business again. But first you have to be still and know that He is God. You Have to Take Time to Be Still! Some may not like this, but I’ll say it anyway, you are not that anointed, gifted, talented, important and vital that all of the world and the Kingdom of God will go on hold because of your absence.

Know when you need a Break before you’re Beyond Repair!

Jesus shares these interesting words in Luke 14:28-30, “Is there anyone here who, planning to build a new house, doesn’t first sit down and figure the cost so you’ll know if you can complete it? If you only get the foundation laid and then run out of money, you’re going to look pretty foolish. Everyone passing by will poke fun at you: ‘He started something he couldn’t finish.’” (MSG) You need to have the Lord close doors, and sit you down to do inventory. You need to know if you have all that you need to do and be all that the Lord desires, or are you missing something? And if you are, do you even know what it is? Well, you’ll never know until you sit down and count the cost. Do your inventory before you start the business, open the church, relocate, marry him/her, go to school there, take this job… Can you finish what you started with what you have? And I understand potential and ambition, dreams and desires, but I also understand the importance of time with God to hear His voice and heed is direction. You need to know how much you’ve gained by having her in your life, you also need to know how much you’ve loss by having him in your life. And you’ll never know either without time with God.

I’m a firm believer that God closes doors to force you to turn to Him, so He can finally point you in the direction, to the right door, you should’ve entered. Even David knew that. Because as distressed as he was, he at least knew he needed some time with God. He said, yes, I’m going to praise Him again, but for right now, I need some help with what I’m feeling. So do you, and that’s not a bad thing to admit.

Let God close the door, so you can both sit down and reason together, what’s working and what’s not. Where is the gain and where is the loss? What should be added, what should be taken away? And you can’t sit with God, while you’re busy serving others. You need to put your “closed for inventory” sign up, and let people know, “not today…” You’re not out of commission permanently, you’re just under New Management, and receiving some Over-Due Repairs, and when you open for Business again, this time, you’ll turn a better Profit! Let God restructure and renovate you and your life. Let Him go over the plans and look at the numbers. Let God Handle It, and Take Your Hands Off It. You need a break from being everything to everybody all the time. Let God replenish you. Let God restore you.

Keep in mind: YOU are not the only person people can go to! For instance, there were other libraries I could’ve taken the girls too, and there were other beauty supply stores I could’ve went to. In other words, get rid of your Elijah Complex, You Are Not the Only One God Has Left to Use!

Today, Ask God For a Meeting, and When He Closes the Door, Take Out Your Pen and Pad and Do Some Much Needed Inventory!

Listen to Matthew 6:6:

“But when you pray, go into your [MOST] PRIVATE ROOM, AND, CLOSING THE DOOR, pray to your Father, Who is in secret; and your Father, Who sees in secret, will reward you in the open.” (AMPC)

“But when you pray, GO TO YOUR ROOM, SHUT THE DOOR, and pray to your Father who is present in that secret place. Your Father who sees what you do in secret will reward you.” (CEB)

“When you pray, GO INTO A ROOM ALONE AND CLOSE THE DOOR. Pray to your Father IN PRIVATE. He knows what is done in private, and he will reward you.” (CEV)

“But when you pray, GO AWAY BY YOURSELF, ALL ALONE, AND SHUT THE DOOR BEHIND YOU and pray to your Father SECRETLY, and your Father, who knows your secrets, will reward you.” (TLB)

 “Here’s what I want you to do: Find a QUIET, SECLUDED PLACE so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.” (MSG)

“But you, when you pray, go into YOUR INNER ROOM, CLOSE YOUR DOOR and pray to your Father who is in SECRET, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” (NASB)

“When you pray, go into a room by yourself. After you have shut the door, pray to your Father Who is in secret. Then your Father Who sees in secret will reward you.” (NLV)

BASED ON THESE TRANSLATIONS, HOW IS YOUR BEHIND CLOSED DOORS MEETING SUPPOSED TO BE DONE WHEN DOING INVENTORY WITH GOD?

YOU ENTER YOUR MOST PRIVATE ROOM AND CLOSE THE DOOR; YOU GO TO YOUR ROOM AND SHUT THE DOOR; YOU GO INTO A ROOM ALONE AND CLOSE THE DOOR BEHIND; YOU GO AWAY BY YOURSELF, ALL ALONE, AND SHUT THE DOOR BEHIND YOU IN SECRET; YOU FIND A QUIET, SECLUDED PLACE SO YOU’RE NOT TEMPTED TO ROLE PLAY BEFORE GOD; YOU GO INTO YOUR INNER ROOM AND CLOSE YOUR DOOR; YOU GO INTO A ROOM BY YOURSELF AND SHUT THE DOOR!

IN OTHER WORDS, THIS IS A PRIVATE MATTER BETWEEN YOU AND GOD! NOT YOUR PRAYER CIRCLE, NOT YOUR BFF, NOT EVEN YOUR PASTOR, SPOUSE OR CHILDREN! YOU AND GOD ALONE NEED TO HAVE THIS CONVERSATION AND COMPLETE THIS INVENTORY! SO BY NO MEANS THINK THAT YOU ARE BEING SELFISH, THIS IS ABOUT SELF CARE! AFTER ALL, YOU ARE NO GOOD TO THE BODY OF CHRIST IF YOU CAN’T EVEN TAKE PROPER CARE OF YOUR OWN BODY!

DO NOT TAKE THIS LIGHTLY! LIKE DAVID, SET ASIDE YOUR MEETING TIME WITH GOD, TAKE YOUR PEN AND PAD, AND GET TO WORK! WE HAVE NEED OF A HEALTHY, HEALED AND WHOLE YOU IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD TO AID IN FIXING THIS FRACTURED WORLD!

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: “There’s a Blessing Behind Closed Doors”

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“You’re Too Close to Lose Focus Now!”

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“LET’S KEEP FOCUSED…those of us who want everything God has for us” (Philippians 3:15 MSG)

My mama always said, “You Become Effective By Being Selective!”

It’s human nature to get distracted! Many of us are like gyroscopes, spinning around at a frantic pace but not getting anywhere! Without a clear purpose you keep changing directions, jobs, relationships, churches, etc., hoping each change will settle the confusion or fill the emptiness in your heart. You think, “This time will be different,” but it’s not because it doesn’t solve your real problem—Lack of Focus!

The power of focusing can be seen for instance in LIGHT. With a magnifying glass the rays of the sun can set paper on fire! But when light is FOCUSED even more as a laser beam, it can cut through steel! Just as it is with Light, so it is with LIFE, nothing is as Potent as a Focus! The men and women who make the greatest difference in life are the most Focused! For instance, the Apostle Paul said,I am bringing all my energies to bear on this ONE THING.” (Philippians 3:13 TLB). Paul’s obsession was to make Christ known, and maintaining a Focused Life, allowed him to do just that. So if you want your life to have impact, FOCUS it! Remember: “You Become Effective By Being Selective!” Which means in a nutshell: Stop Dabbling! Stop trying to do it all! Do less in fact. Turn away from even good activities and do only that which matters most. I learned a hard lesson that I hope you’ll learn easy: Never Confuse ACTIVITY With PRODUCTIVITY!

Poet William Matthews wrote, “One well-cultivated talent, deepened and enlarged, is worth a hundred shallow faculties. The first law of success in this day when so many things are clamoring for attention is Concentration—to bend our energies to One point, and to go directly to that point, looking neither to the right nor to the left.

Focus doesn’t come easily or naturally, it’s a Discipline that must be practiced Daily!

Paul told Timothy to Focus on his strengths:That special gift…you were given…keep that dusted off and in use.” (1 Timothy 4:14 MSG). Focused people don’t hide their weaknesses or excuse them; instead they focus on their strengths!

There’s a story about a couple who decided to build a farm. Then they began to argue. The wife wanted to build the house first. The husband wanted to build the barn first to house the animals. They went back and forth until finally the man said, “Look, we have to build the barn first—because the barn will enable us to build the house, the garage, the silo, the kid’s swing set, and everything else!” In other words, When You Focus on Putting FIRST Things FIRST, Everything Else Falls Into Its Proper Place Automatically!

Anthony Campolo says, “What you commit yourself to, will change what you are and make you into a completely different person. The future conditions you, not the past. What you commit yourself to become, determines what you are—more than anything that ever happened to you yesterday. Therefore, I ask you, ‘What are your commitments? Where are you going? What are you going to be? Show me somebody who hasn’t decided, and I’ll show you somebody who has no identity, no personality, and no direction.

Focusing on weaknesses instead of strengths is like having a handful of coins, a few made of gold, the rest of tarnished copper, and setting aside the gold coins to spend your time shining the copper ones in hopes of making them more valuable. Think about it: No matter how long you spend polishing tarnished copper coins, they’ll never be worth what the gold ones are! So, Stay Focused on your God-given strengths! That is an investment that will yield great dividends!

Another way to look at it is this: Why focus on the many that were called, instead of the important few that are chosen?! Remember: “You’ll Become Effective By Being Selective!” So make sure your selections today are those Few things and people that Matter Most!

“Do not swerve to the right or the left.” Proverbs 4:27 NIV

Bear this in mind, Focus does 3 things for you:

(1) IT KEEPS YOU ON TARGET: We find ourselves pulled in a dozen different directions, spending much of our time and energy on things we don’t really care about. Author Don Marquis put it this way: “Ours is a world where people don’t know what they want, and are willing to go through hell to get it.” The Bible says: “Let your eyes look straight ahead…Do not swerve to the right or the left.” (Proverbs 4:25-27 NIV) Focused People Develop a Discipline that helps them to Stay On Target Without Swerving to the Right or the Left! Distractions Invite Detours From Your God-Given Destination! So, Stay Focused!

(2) IT INCREASES YOUR ENERGY: Attempting everything, like attempting nothing, will suck the life right out of you! Focus gives you energy. Admiral Richard Byrd, the Polar explorer, said, “Few men come anywhere near exhausting the resources dwelling within them. There are deep wells of strength that are never used.One of the reasons those wells go untapped is Lack of Focus. The mind doesn’t reach toward achievement until it has clear objectives. Focused People have Learned to Focus All of Their Efforts Into One Thing or One Direction, which in Return Replenishes the Energy and Strength that was Zapped from Multiple Activities that didn’t Produce an Ounce of Productivity! All you desire will come together once you stop letting everyone and everything pull you apart!

(3) IT LIFTS YOU: It’s been said thatthe world stands aside to let anyone pass, who knows where he or she is going.In a sea of mediocrity, just knowing what you want to do and making an effort to pursue it, distinguishes you from almost everybody else. Henry David Thoreau asked, “Do you ever hear of a man who had striven all his life faithfully and singly toward an object, and in no measure obtained it? If a man constantly aspires, is he not elevated?Just by striving to become better than you are, you become elevated—even if you don’t accomplish all of what you desire, and even if others don’t step aside for you. By trusting God and aiming higher, you move to a higher level—Regardless. Staying Focused Isn’t All About Elevating to Another Level, Another Position, Another Title. Staying Focused Gives You The Best and Highest Level of Elevation There Is…Which is Simply Becoming a Better You Today Than You Were Yesterday, and a Better You Tomorrow Than You Were Today! Now That’s What You Call a Worthy Elevation!

Acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3:6).

When it comes to staying focused, keep in mind these 3 additional notes:

(1) FOCUSED PEOPLE ALWAYS LOOK FOR A BETTER WAY: What got you where you are, won’t necessarily get you where you need to be. A family who moved into a new neighborhood got a late start one morning. As a result their 6-year-old missed her school bus. Though it would make him late for work her father agreed to take her to school if she gave him directions. After 20 minutes of going in circles they finally arrived at the school, which turned out to be only a few blocks away from where they lived. Steaming, her dad asked why she drove him all over the place when the school was so close to home. “We went the way the school bus does,” she said. “That’s the only way I know.” Focused People Don’t Get In a Rut, Nor Do They Get Stuck and Stagnant! They Continuously Reinvent Themselves and How They Do Things. They Grow and Change Constantly! They Don’t Regress, They Progress! They’re Forever Moving Forward Looking to Do Better In 2020 Than They Did in 2010! If Everything You Do Is Still Done the Same Way and The People You Are Around Are Still the Same People, You My Friend Are In Serious Danger of Never Becoming Better!

(2) FOCUSED PEOPLE CONCENTRATE A LITTLE HARDER AND A LITTLE LONGER: Hall of Fame baseball player Hank Aaron said, “What separates a superstar from the average ballplayer is that he concentrates just a little bit longer.Focused thinking is the ability to remove distractions and mental clutter so that you can concentrate with clarity. Examine Your Thoughts, Examine Your Emotions, Examine Your Speech, Examine Your Attitude, Examine Your Heart, Examine Your Habits and Certainly Examine Your Associations and Immediately Remove Anything or Anyone That Clutters Your Clarity or Breaks Your Concentration! Keep In Mind: Folly and Focus Can’t Dwell In the Same Place!

(3) FOCUSED PEOPLE MAKE COMMITMENTS, NOT EXCUSES: A sign on the desk of an officer at the Pentagon read: The secrecy of my job does not permit me to know what I’m doing.It’s a cute joke, but not so cute when it’s true. When you don’t know what you’re doing, you become frustrated and end up failing. That’s why praying and getting direction from God, is critical for every area and aspect of your life.Do not swerve to the right or the left”, says the Scripture.  To ’Swerve’ means ‘to make an erratic deflection from an intended course.In other words, your lack of focus, when heading in the direction of your destiny will cause you to ’swerve– or stray from the intended course God has set for your life. Which is why you must always remember: In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (NIV). And when He does—STAY FOCUSED!

“No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I FOCUS on this ONE THING: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.” (Philippians 3:13 NLT)

The poorest man in the world is not the one without money, he’s the one without a vision for his life. But Vision requires Focus. When you’re spread too thin you become mediocre at everything and excellent at nothing! Failure always results from saying yes to too many things. Because something is good doesn’t mean it’s right for you. When your plate’s full doing what God has given you to do, learn to say no to everything else! “No” doesn’t mean never, it just means “not now.” If you try to fight on every front you’ll wear yourself out and fail to win where it counts most. Fighting a battle without spoils is like pouring water on a burning shack. Unless somebody’s life’s in danger it’s probably not worth fighting for. Conserve your energy for when something important is at stake!

Know that you’ll always lose when you: Fight the wrong battle; Fight at the wrong time; Fight when you shouldn’t be involved; Fight because you need to win in order to feel good about yourself; Fight, though the battle has been lost, but your pride won’t let you swallow it! Learn to Stay Focused on your goals. Keep your eyes on the prize that God has set before you. And be warned: If the enemy can’t defeat you, he’ll distract you with side issues or disqualify you by getting you to make bad decisions. Either way, he wins and you lose! 

No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I FOCUS on this ONE THING: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.Notice 3 more things about Focused people:

(1) FOCUSED PEOPLE DON’T LIVE IN THE PAST: Too many of us yearn for the past and get stuck in it! Instead, we should learn from the past and let go of it. Elbert Hubbard wrote, “A retentive memory may be a good thing, but the ability to forget is a token of greatness. Successful people forget. They’re running a race. They can’t afford to look behind. Their eye is on the finish line. They’re too big to let little things disturb them. If anyone does them wrong, they consider the source and keep cool. It’s only the small people who cherish revenge. Be a good forgetter…success demands it.

(2) FOCUSED PEOPLE DON’T THINK ABOUT THE DIFFICULTIES, BUT THE REWARDS: If you dwell on the difficulties too long you’ll start to develop self-pity instead of self-discipline. As a result you’ll accomplish less and less. By focusing on results you’ll stay encouraged. Make Christ your example.He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross BECAUSE OF THE JOY HE KNEW WOULD BE HIS AFTERWARDS.” (Hebrews 12:2 TLB).

(3) FOCUSED PEOPLE CHOOSE THEIR FRIENDS CAREFULLY: Here are 5 types of people you’ll encounter: 1) REFRESHERS—who strengthen your faith and energize you; 2) REFINERS—who sharpen you and clarify your vision; 3) REFLECTORS—who mirror your energy, neither adding to nor subtracting from it; 4) REDUCERS—who try to diminish your goals and efforts to their comfort level; and 5) REJECTERS—who don’t understand you or what God’s called you to do. At some point in time you will have to encounter all five of these people! So, remain Focused and you’ll stay grounded; the praise of others is less likely to go to your head, and the negative impact of your critics will be minimized!

“Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee.” (Genesis 12:1 NLT)

I use to wonder why God would take people like Moses, or Abraham away from their familiar environments, after He called them. Uprooting them from family and friends to use them for greater works. But the more I look at where I was, where I’m at, and where I’m going, the more I understand why God does such a thing as this. The harsh reality is, there are many limits put on us By Our Very Own Loved Ones! Especially those that have watched us come up and fall down many times before. Often, their perception of us distorts our vision and causes us to doubt ourselves, God, and even the planned purpose He has for us. But what we must remember is, whenever someone says you can’t do it or be it, they are a liar! Because the Bible Clearly Declares,I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” {Philippians 4:13} Understand that too often people will speak into your life, according to what THEY were able or NOT able to accomplish for their own. They will judge you based on what they could or Moreso, what they couldn’t do themselves. But Listen: A vision is only seen by the bearer of it and because you were selected to bear it, it is therefore invisible to others. In actuality, they only get to see the back of it, after the glory of it has passed by, (Exodus 33:12-21) That’s why folks get mad with you, because they want to see the personal face-to-face of your vision, but have to settle for the hind parts instead! So prepare yourself, because when you’re chosen by God to carry out a vision, not everyone’s going to understand what you’re doing or why.  So they’ll label you based on the outside, because they don’t have inside access! Don’t let them shift your focus because they can only see the container and not the contents! 

And they said one to another…this dreamer cometh…let us slay him…and we shall see what will become of his dreams.” {Genesis 37:19-20} Listen: Don’t feel bad when you don’t have a lot of friends and family around, or when people abandon you and walk away. Count it all joy, because those that God wants in your life will never leave and those that are from Him will never lead you astray. Friends and family are good to have, but many times God removes them so prepare yourself for it. Don’t fight it. Stop holding folks hostage in your life that need to be set free! Allow God to add and subtract what’s best for your multiplication! There’s so much more to you than meets the eye, so surround yourself with people that can see past your appearance. If you just Stay Focused, you’ll say like Joseph,…Don’t you see, you planned evil against me but God used those same plans for my good…” {Genesis 50:20} Need I remind you, Joseph didn’t say that to enemies, or even friends, but to FAMILY!

Isn’t this the carpenter?” {Mark 6:3} Please be careful around those who love to say, “I knew you when…” in an attempt to label or limit you. When David volunteered to fight Goliath his faith was an embarrassment to his big brother Eliab, an officer in King Saul’s army. Think of Eliab’s position, “If my little brother wins, everybody will ask, ‘How come you couldn’t do it—big brother?’” Beware: your decision to step out and follow God will put pressure on others around you! And the first place you’ll feel it will be amongst those closest to you, especially if your calling sets you apart, and takes you higher than them! The Bible records that Eliabburned with anger at [David] and asked, ‘Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the desert? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is” (1 Samuel 17:28). Take Note: Before David could overcome Goliath, he had to overcome the thoughts and opinions of those around him, especially his family. And you will too! Look at the life of Jesus. When He went back to His hometown they said,What’s this wisdom…given him,…he even does miracles! Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son…they took offence at him. Jesus said to them, ‘Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor.’ He could not do any miracles there, except lay His hands on a few sick people and heal them…he was amazed at their lack of faith.” (Mark 6:2-6)

Bottom line: Don’t allow those “who knew you when”, to hinder where you’re going! Neither friend, family or foe! STAY FOCUSED!

“…Stay close to the king wherever he goes.” (2 Chronicles 23:7 NIV)

Commercial flying can be a real adventure. Like the day Pastor Ron booked a last-minute flight to the Northwest to support some Native American friends who had just lost their young son. He was supposed to fly into Spokane, Washington, but fog shut it down and he was diverted to another airport for the night. So, the airline put him up in a hotel overnight and promised they’d do their best to get him to Spokane the next morning. Pastor Ron knew if he didn’t get to the reservation that next day, he would have missed what he was going for. He really needed the real scoop on whether or not his plane was going to get into Spokane. Thankfully, from a casual conversation at the hotel, he knew who the captain was. So that next morning, as he waited around trying to get some word on the fate of his flight, he saw the captain headed for a pay phone in the airport. He made sure he got close to the captain; he was calling to check the current Spokane weather. Then, as he walked over to the gate agents in charge of his flight, Pastor Ron overheard him say, “Well, we’ll try Spokane, but I think there’s only a 20% chance we’ll get in. We’ll probably end up back in Denver where we started.” Well, that inside information helped Pastor Ron pursue alternatives – one of which got him where he needed to be, when he needed to be there.

There was one reason Pastor Ron knew where to go – He Stayed Close to the Captain. Actually, that’s how all of us are going to know what we’re supposed to do and where we’re supposed to go – and that’s by Staying Close to the Captain of our flight; Staying Close to Captain Jesus!

There are eight words in 2 Chronicles 23:7 that I’ve actually typed out and posted on my wall at work. These eight words remind me of the secret of knowing and doing what God has planned in any given situation. In this chapter, a coalition of military and spiritual leaders is working to put the rightful king on the throne in Judah – even though he’s only a boy. The temple staff, the Levites, are given a straightforward assignment, and here are those eight words,Stay close to the king wherever he goes.That’s our assignment, too. And when we fulfill this assignment, we’ll be led naturally and supernaturally – into the next steps we’re supposed to take. Just like that day at the airport when Pastor Ron got his direction just by staying close to the captain. He had the information Pastor Ron needed, but he never would’ve known that information Except For His Proximity to the One Who Knew. It’s like that with knowing God’s Will for our lives. It’s not your cleverness in figuring it out; It’s Your Closeness to the God Whose Will You’re Looking For! That’s actually the Focus of John 10, which describes us as sheep following our Shepherd. Jesus said,My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27) NIV. See, it’s about being where you can hear His voice – not figuring out some spiritual jigsaw puzzle called “The Will of God.”

If you’re needing to know God’s direction right now, don’t focus so much on figuring out The Plan. Focus on staying close to the Man, to Jesus, whose plan it is. Living in God’s Will isn’t supposed to be this stressful spiritual mystery game. Relax and do the things that get you really close to the person Who is the Pilot of your earth-journey. Or in the words of the Bible, “Stay close to the King … wherever He goes!“ Unfortunate in this day and time of the church, too much attention is being Focused on Fleshly Leadership! But God’s Word still declares:You can’t depend on anyone, not even a great leader. Once they die and are buried, that will be the end of all their plans. The LORD God of Jacob blesses everyone who trusts Him. God made heaven and earth; He created the sea and everything else. God always keeps His word. {Psalm 146:3-6 CEV}. Stop focusing on the arm of flesh, for it will fail you every time. Instead, Stay Focused on Your Captain, Your Leader, Your King, Whose Word Never Fails! Knowing With Assurance that Once He Gives You Direction, You Are Guaranteed to Make it to Your Intended Destination!

It is indeed my prayer that you will now set your heart, mind and spirit to the things of God and the Will of God for your life, and that you will allow nothing and no one to distract you or deter you from destiny, Not Even You! People of God, Stay Focused and Finish Strong! Because You’re Too Close to Manifestation to Lose Sight of the Vision Now!

“If your parents ever measured you as a child, they had you stand against a wall, and made a little pencil mark on the wall to show your growth. They did not measure you against your brother, or the neighbor’s kids, or kids on TV. When you measure your growth, make sure to only measure your today self by your past self. If you compare your relationships, your success, or your anything against anyone else, you are not being fair to you. Everyone has a different path, a different pace, and different challenges to face along the way.” (Doe Zantamata)

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

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“Your Giant Will NEVER Be Bigger Than Your God!”

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1 Samuel 17:48-51, “That roused the Philistine, and he started toward David. David took off from the front line, running toward the Philistine. David reached into his pocket for a stone, slung it, and hit the Philistine hard in the forehead, embedding the stone deeply. The Philistine crashed, facedown in the dirt. That’s how David beat the Philistine—with a sling and a stone. He hit him and killed him. No sword for David! Then David ran up to the Philistine and stood over him, pulled the giant’s sword from its sheath, and finished the job by cutting off his head. When the Philistines saw that their great champion was dead, they scattered, running for their lives.” (MSG)

One of the funniest things in the world to me is listening to a child’s perspective. After all, the world looks a little different through five-year-old eyes. Chase was five and he was the grandson of one of my dear friends. One day little Chase was out with his Mom, and they drove past this construction site and saw one of those giant cranes. Well, Chase got completely wide-eyed as he watched the humongous mechanized monster moving things around so powerfully! And then finally, in total amazement, he tried to find a way to express how big that crane looked to him. Here’s what he said: “Mommy, it’s bigger than God!

Which is the thought that brings us to 1 Samuel 17:33. Here, we’re watching the army of Israel being totally intimidated by Goliath, the Philistine giant/bully. Yet David, is this little guy who wants to go out and fight him! But Saul, the king, replies in verse 33, “…You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight him. For you are [only] a young man and he has been a warrior since his youth.” (AMP). And then in Verse 37, David says, “…The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and may the Lord be with you.” (AMP)

So by the time we get to verses 45-47, David Charges the Giant! David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.  This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give all of you into our hands.” (NIV).

Now, the Israeli army looked at Goliath and said like Chase, “He’s bigger than God!” And therefore, they retreated!

David seemed like the least likely person to take on the giant, but he was the only person there who believed that God was bigger than the giant!

So David, it says, “…ran quickly toward the battle lines to meet him.” (NIV).

The Jews of Moses’ day and Joshua’s day? Well, they made the same mistake when they measured the challenge in front of them. They looked at the Promised Land and they saw walls, and cities, and warriors that were bigger than they were. Listen to Numbers 13:31-33,But the others said, “We can’t attack those people; they’re way stronger than we are.” They spread scary rumors among the People of Israel. They said, “We scouted out the land from one end to the other—it’s a land that swallows people whole. Everybody we saw was huge. Why, we even saw the Nephilim giants (the Anak giants come from the Nephilim). Alongside them we felt like grasshoppers. And they looked down on us as if we were grasshoppers.” (MSG).

The Contemporary English Version reads: “But the other men replied, “Those people are much too strong for us.”  Then they started spreading rumors and saying, “We won’t be able to grow anything in that soil. And the people are like giants.  In fact, we saw the Nephilim who are the ancestors of the Anakim. They were so big that we felt as small as grasshoppers.” (CEV)

They had men say in essence, “God’s Bigger Than Giants!” But unbelief won the day, and so the people got to spend 40 years wandering in the wilderness as a result! Listen to Numbers 32:10-13, “The Lord became very angry.  And he said that no one who was twenty years or older when they left Egypt would enter the land he had promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. NOT ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE BELIEVED IN THE LORD’S POWER, EXCEPT CALEB AND JOSHUA. They remained faithful to the Lord, but he was so angry with the others that he forced them to wander around in the desert forty years. By that time everyone who had sinned against him had died.” (CEV)

“It’s bigger than God!” That’s what unbelief says. It’s what worry is saying. It’s what fear is saying. It’s what discouragement is saying. We don’t really believe that theologically, but practically we seem to. We get beaten by the walls, beaten by the giants and the obstacles, because we think, “This one’s pretty big, maybe too big for God!”

But do you really want to miss the Promise because you doubt God’s Power? Do you really want to die in fear, because you didn’t live in faith? I think not!

So, what’s the big thing that’s making you afraid, making you discouraged? “These bills are bigger than God.” Really? “This crisis is bigger than God.” Is it? Really? “This pain, this illness, this family problem; it’s bigger than….” Oh, forget it! It’s nowhere near bigger than God! Nothing is! Compared to YOU, the challenge or the obstacle is huge. But what are you going to compare to GOD, who created and controls a hundred billion galaxies and everything in them? Why don’t you measure your monster next to Him? You’ll find your fear turning to faith and your stress melting into peace!

Where is your child-like faith, to replace your child-like fear? Why are you responding like little Chase, who doesn’t know any better? To him, everything is huge, even a machine compared to God, appeared (in his little mind) as bigger than God. However, you know better, so why is this your response and reaction?

You’ve seen God heal, you’ve seen God deliver, you’ve seen God save, you’ve seen God do the impossible, you’ve seen God turn it around in your favor. So why do you doubt Him now? You’ve seen God keep a roof over your head, clothes on your back, food on the table, clothes in the closet. So why do you doubt Him now? You’ve seen God protect you and provide for you. So why do you doubt Him now? What the doctors said before didn’t stop God from being God…what stops Him now? You’ve seen God grant you a job, a paycheck, insurance, transportation. So why do you doubt Him now?

People of God, we need to learn how to measure our giants by the size of our God, not our God by the size of our giants! After all, what can be measured against God?

Psalm 146 reads, “Hallelujah! O my soul, praise God! All my life long I’ll praise God, singing songs to my God as long as I live. Don’t put your life in the hands of experts who know nothing of life, of salvation life. Mere humans don’t have what it takes; when they die, their projects die with them. Instead, get help from the God of Jacob, put your hope in God and know real blessing! God made sky and soil, sea and all the fish in it. He always does what he says – he defends the wronged, he feeds the hungry. God frees prisoners – he gives sight to the blind, he lifts up the fallen. God loves good people, protects strangers, takes the side of orphans and widows, but makes short work of the wicked. God’s in charge – always. Zion’s God is God for good! Hallelujah!” (MSG)

Now, that’s how we need to view our God! Bigger Than All Things! Always in Charge no matter what becomes out of Control in our lives! Listen, there is absolutely nothing that God can’t do except lie and fail! So why are you allowing circumstances to crush your faith?

And I’ll be the first to tell you, this is not what I’ve read, but what I’ve lived. I know what it feels like to feel as though your marriage struggles are bigger than God; bills are bigger; the diagnosis is bigger; the pain is bigger; the enemies attack is bigger; the lack of employment is bigger; the lack of money is bigger; the lack of food and shelter is bigger. Been there! And I know first-hand the response on both sides. I know what it feels like to experience all of those things and feel as if God has forgotten you or that your situation is so big that God has to figure out a solution to your problem. And I can tell you personally, thoughts like that only bring about fear, worry, lack of sleep, loss of hair, loss of peace and joy, high blood pressure and the like. In other words, it does not help, it only hurts! But, I’ve also grown, matured and developed into a woman of faith. I learned to trust God to handle what I can’t get a grip on. And I’ve watched Him supersede even what I asked of Him in prayer. I learned how to look at obstacles, trials and struggles as only another means of increasing my faith, challenging my hope, and building my trust, dependence and reliance on Him. I learned that my hardships and hard times were only teaching me to do more than read the Scriptures, but to apply them, live them and walk in them. You can’t walk by faith while standing still in comfort. Stretched faith comes from uncomfortability and unfamiliarity! Listen to James:

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

Tests, Challenges, and Pressures, Work FOR You, Not AGAINST You!

Truth is, if many of us weren’t tested or challenged to endure hardship and pressure, our faith would remain the size of a mustard seed for the entirety of our Christian Walk! And is mustard seed faith bad? Absolutely not! Listen to Matthew 17:20, “Because you’re not taking God seriously,” said Jesus. “The simple truth is that if you had a mere kernel of faith, a poppy seed, say, you would tell this mountain, ‘Move!’ and it would move. There is nothing you wouldn’t be able to tackle.” (MSG) How awesome is that?!

But, should we stay at the same mustard seed size of faith? I think not!

Romans 1:16-17, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation [from His wrath and punishment] to everyone who believes [in Christ as Savior], to the Jew first and also the Greek. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed, both springing from FAITH AND LEADING TO FAITH [DISCLOSED IN A WAY THAT AWAKENS MORE FAITH]. As it is written and forever remains written, “THE JUST AND UPRIGHT SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.” (AMP)

Mustard seed faith is awesome! However, it’s a SEED for a reason! The word “seed” is defined as “a flowering plant’s unit of reproduction, capable of developing into another such plant; the beginning or process of something which continues to develop and grow; to stimulate growth and development; designed to produce and reproduce; to stimulate more of; offspring.” Some of its related words are: “fountain; spring; well; beginning; birth; genesis; inception; launch; onset; outset; start; threshold; creation; permeate.” And that last word “permeate” is defined as “to spread throughout; to pervade.” Its Latin Origin “permeare” means to “pass through.” In other words, your mustard seed faith should never remain stagnant as just a mustard seed. It’s a seed for a reason. It’s supposed to reproduce; develop; grow; continue; permeate and spread throughout! It’s supposed to pass through from one capacity to another. And if the Scripture says, “…there’s nothing you wouldn’t be able to tackle”, and that’s just with mustard seed faith, imagine what else you would be able to handle with increased faith? In addition, what else would you believe God for if you increased in faith? Maybe then when the bills come in you won’t lose your mind; maybe then when the doctor gives you a report, you’ll still believe the report of the Lord; maybe then when your marriage looks like it’s going down for the last time, it will go another round; maybe then when your children look as if their leaving the faith you’ve taught them, you’ll trust that what you’ve trained them, will not be forgotten; maybe then a layoff will cause you to take a leap of faith instead of lagging behind in fear.

So, are you encountering something really big right now? Well, be awed, but not by what’s big, but by your God who’s bigger! That’s what our little friend saw, something that was bigger than he was so he thought it was bigger than God is. Not So! Nothing and No One is, nor will ever be! That’s where we take heart and courage! Even when something is bigger than you, it’s never bigger than God (who is also IN you!) 1 John 4:4, “Little children, you are of God [you belong to Him] and have [already] defeated and overcome them [the agents of the antichrist], because HE WHO LIVES IN YOU IS GREATER (MIGHTIER) THAN HE WHO IS IN THE WORLD.” (AMPC)

No matter what you face today, it cannot defeat you! Like David, no matter how Goliath came at him, nor what he came at him with mattered. David knew he had the upper hand, because He had the Hand of God to hand him his enemies Head! 1 Samuel 17:48-51, “That roused the Philistine, and he started toward David. David took off from the front line, running toward the Philistine. David reached into his pocket for a stone, slung it, and hit the Philistine hard in the forehead, embedding the stone deeply. The Philistine crashed, facedown in the dirt. That’s how David beat the Philistine—with a sling and a stone. He hit him and killed him. No sword for David! Then David ran up to the Philistine and stood over him, pulled the giant’s sword from its sheath, and finished the job by cutting off his head. When the Philistines saw that their great champion was dead, they scattered, running for their lives.” (MSG)

People of God, You Serve a Big God, No Matter How Big the Battle is You’re Facing! Like David, You Will Win! But You Have to Remember to Increase Your Faith and Believe That When God Says I Got You, He’s Got You! Hebrews 13:5-6, “…God assured us, “I’ll never let you down, never walk off and leave you,” we can boldly quote, God is there, ready to help; I’m fearless no matter what. Who or what can get to me?” (MSG)

How dare we ever fear anything when God is bigger than everything, AND, He’s Promised to NEVER let us down or walk off and leave us?! God is ready to help you, so you need to live fearless, after all with God in you and with you, “Who Or What Can Get to You?!”

Don’t make the mistake of missing a miracle because you let something loom larger in your heart than the awesome God of the creation, the awesome God of the cross, the awesome God of an empty tomb, the awesome God of second chances; the awesome God of the universe; the awesome God that’s living in you and coming back for you! After all, if the cross, nails, thorns, spear, death, hell and the grave couldn’t stop or hinder God, what makes you think the gas and water bill that you can’t pay right now can?!

People of God, be encouraged today knowing that there is nothing too Big or too Hard or too Impossible for Your God to Handle! It Is Well, Because With God, We Win, No Matter What!

Romans 8:31-39, “So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? AND WHO WOULD DARE TANGLE WITH GOD BY MESSING WITH ONE OF GOD’S CHOSEN? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture: They kill us in cold blood because they hate you. We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one. None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—ABSOLUTELY NOTHING CAN GET BETWEEN US AND GOD’S LOVE BECAUSE OF THE WAY THAT JESUS OUR MASTER HAS EMBRACED US.” (MSG)

FRIENDS, BE ENCOURAGED! YOUR GIANT WILL NEVER BE BIGGER THAN YOUR GOD!

Jeremiah 32:17, “O Lord God! You have made the heavens and earth by your great power; nothing is too hard for you!” (TLB)

“The giant in front of you is never bigger than God who lives in you.” (Christine Caine)

“Focus on giants, you stumble. Focus on God, your giants stumble.” (DayStar)

“God will not allow any person to keep you from your destiny. They may be bigger, stronger and more powerful, but God knows how to get you to where you’re supposed to be.” (Spiritual Inspiration)

“Start calling yourself healed, happy, whole, blessed, and prosperous. Stop talking to God about how big your mountains are, and start talking to your mountains about how big your God is.” (Spiritual Inspiration)

“Make God bigger than your ‘what-if’s” (Christine Caine)

“Face the giants in your life, slay them and move on. Do not be daunted by the mistakes and failures in your life.” (Bishop T.D. Jakes)

“All David had was faith and a rock and he defeated a giant. All you need is faith in the Rock to defeat yours!” (Daystar)

“Sometimes God will put a Goliath in your life, for you to find the David within you.” (Author Unknown)

“King Saul thought Goliath was too big to fight, David thought he was too big to miss!” (Author Unknown)

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

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“How to Establish Quiet Time With God?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s a simple formula for developing a habit:

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

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

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

(4) RELY ON THE POWER OF GOD: When all is said and done, you must realize you’re in a spiritual battle and that you can only succeed by the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. So pray that God will strengthen you. Depend on Him to help you develop Quiet Time habits for His Glory.Call to Me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own.” (Jeremiah 33:3 MSG).

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

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

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

When you engage in this kind of prayer, You Don’t Give Up!

Every time I enter a new struggle and it gets long and hard, to the point it wearies me, I read Luke 18:1-5. Also [Jesus] told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not to turn coward (faint, lose heart, and give up). He said, In a certain city there was a judge who neither reverenced and feared God nor respected or considered man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, Protect and defend and give me justice against my adversary. And for a time he would not; but later he said to himself, Though I have neither reverence or fear for God nor respect or consideration for man, YET BECAUSE THIS WIDOW CONTINUES TO BOTHER ME, I WILL DEFEND AND PROTECT AND AVENGE HER, LEST SHE GIVE ME INTOLERABLE ANNOYANCE AND WEAR ME OUT BY HER CONTINUAL COMING…” (AMP).

My prayer for you today, is that God will mold you into Disciples of Earnest Prayer. I pray that you will develop the characteristic of persistence and tenacity. And regardless to the situation or circumstance, you will not give up, give in or give out!

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

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

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

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

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“Let’s Just Kiss and Say Goodbye”

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Ruth 1:14, “Then they wept aloud again; and Orpah KISSED her mother-in-law [GOODBYE]…” (AMP)

One of the great things about being a 70’s baby is great music! My mom and dad were huge on parties and music! One of my dad’s favorite songs (and if he was smart, only I know this and not my mom), was the song, “Kiss and Say Goodbye” by the Manhattans. Here’s the lyrics:

“Kiss And Say Goodbye”: “This has got to be the saddest day of my life. I called you here today for a bit of bad news. I won’t be able to see you anymore. Because of my obligations, and the ties that you have. We’ve been meeting here every day. And since this is our last day together, I wanna hold you just one more time. When you turn and walk away, don’t look back, I wanna remember you just like this. Let’s just kiss and say goodbye. I had to meet you here today. There’s just so many things to say. Please don’t stop me ’till I’m through, this is something I hate to do. We’ve been meeting here so long, I guess what we done, oh was wrong. Please darling, don’t you cry, let’s just kiss and say goodbye. Many months have passed us by (I’m gonna miss you) I’m gonna miss you, I can’t lie (I’m gonna miss you) I’ve got ties, and so do you, I just think this is the thing to do. It’s gonna hurt me, I can’t lie, maybe you’ll meet, you’ll meet another guy. Understand me, won’t you try, try, try, try, try, try, try. Let’s just kiss and say goodbye. (I’m gonna miss you) I’m gonna miss you, I can’t lie (I’m gonna miss you) Understand me, won’t you try (I’m gonna miss you) It’s gonna hurt me, I can’t lie (I’m gonna miss you) Take my handkerchief, wipe your eyes (I’m gonna miss you) Maybe you’ll find, you’ll find another guy (I’m gonna miss you) Let’s kiss and say goodbye, pretty baby (I’m gonna miss you) Please, don’t you cry (I’m gonna miss you) Understand me, won’t you try (I’m gonna miss you) Let’s just kiss and say goodbye.”

Now, the lyrics have nothing to do with Naomi, Ruth and Orpah, but it was indeed a song I heard played so much growing up, that I could swear to someone my parents wrote it! And when I read Orpah during my devotion time, it honestly was the song that popped into my head. I thought, truth is, for some people in our lives, it really is time to simply Kiss and Say Goodbye.

Ruth told Naomi, “where you go I will go.” And to be honest, you can spend your life anywhere with anybody doing anything, then suddenly meet someone and sense that there is a connection between you. It comes so natural that they become a part of your life, attached as permanently as your hand is attached to your arm. It’s what made Elisha quit farming and follow Elijah, an eccentric prophet; it’s why Timothy hung out with Paul, an old man soon to be executed. You know intuitively, “I won’t reach my destiny without you in my life.” Looking back you realize if you hadn’t met that certain person, or taken that phone call, added that Facebook friend, or read that email, you wouldn’t be where you are today. Truth is, so many people in our lives have played such major roles in helping us to become the greater person we’ve become, that it’s hard to even fathom life without them. It’s what kept Ruth attached to Naomi, even at the most miserable of times. Inspite of death, loss, famine, and the struggle to begin again, Ruth stayed. And man did her decision pay off! She meets and marries Boaz, and produces a great seed in Obed. Naomi is provided for and gets a fresh start at life. She can finally leave the “Mara” (bitterness) feelings behind her, a new and great day has indeed come. And all because Ruth remained. And it doesn’t make Ruth good or bad, it’s just that her Character was not finished in the Role it would Play in Naomi’s Story.

On the other hand, “Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye”. Now, Orpah’s leaving didn’t make her a bad person; it just meant her role in the story was over. Likewise, we need to learn how to recognize when somebody’s part in our story is over, otherwise we’ll kill ourselves constantly trying to raise the dead.

David pleaded with God for his newborn baby’s life. 2 Samuel 12:16-17, “David therefore appealed to God for the child [to be healed]; and David fasted and went in and lay all night on the ground.  The elders of his household stood by him [in the night] to lift him up from the ground, but he was unwilling [to get up] and would not eat food with them.” (AMP). But, when the child died, he had to accept that there was nothing more he could do, so he, “…got up from the ground, washed, anointed himself [with olive oil], changed his clothes, and went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. Then he came [back] to his own house, and when he asked, they set food before him and he ate.” (12:20 AMP).

I can tell you from experience, one of the greatest things you can do for your body, soul, spirit, heart, emotions and peace of mind, is to acknowledge when something in your life is over! I learned (and the hard way, might I add), that if God means you to have it, He’ll give it to you.  Psalm 84:11 declares, “For the Lord God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right.” (NLT). If you’re supposed to get it, God will give it to you! James 1:17 confirms, “But whatever is good and perfect comes to us from God…” (TLB) The Message Bible says it like this: “So, my very dear friends, don’t get thrown off course. Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light. There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle. He brought us to life using the true Word, showing us off as the crown of all his creatures.” 16-18 MSG). Saints, if it was good for you, perfect for you, desirable for you, or beneficial for you, God would have given it to you! If He hasn’t, trust His decision. He’s a Father who will always do what is in His children’s best interest.

So, if you’ve tried to make it work and it hasn’t, accept His will in the matter. Get up, go to the mall, buy yourself a new outfit, treat yourself out to a good meal; whatever you do, just keep living! Never beg anyone to stay with you against their will, be it a relationship, friendship, or business/ministry partner. Their leaving is no accident; it just means God has something bigger, better and greater in store for you (and possibly them too), so trust Him and move forward!

Sometimes, like it or not, people will leave your life. And there will also be times when you’ll have to make the decision to leave theirs. Listen to this:

Genesis 13:1, “So Abram left Egypt…and Lot was still with him…” (MSG).

Then read Genesis 13:14-17, “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.” (MSG)

Did you read the good news I read? “AFTER LOT SEPARATED FROM HIM…” then the Bible says, “…GOD SAID TO ABRAM…” After Lot left, God spoke to Abram some of the most awesome promises in Scripture. Literally, nowhere could Abram turn, and not bump into a blessing! North, South, East, and West…Abram Would Be Prosperous! BUT, God only spoke this, AFTER LOT LEFT!

I know it’s hard when the person you love leaves, but sometimes in order for God to give you what He’s had on reserve for you, you have to release them first! Sometimes that will be a family member, a friend, a business associate, a ministry colleague. Sometimes the length of time together will be decades, years, months, weeks, days, or even mere hours, minutes and seconds.  But when God says it’s time to let go, Let Them Go! Will it be easy? Absolutely not! Will it be impossible? Absolutely not! It will hurt, you may cry, you’ll experience regret, but you will continue to live on.

What’s Coming Is Better Than What’s Been. That’s something I need you to hold on to. God’s best for you is not behind you, but before you. However, if you keep holding onto your past, you’ll never be able to grab a hold of the great future God has in store for you.

More people will come, and yes, more people will leave as well. Your life is the ink in God’s pen, He’s the author writing a beautiful story, full of drama, action, suspense, comedy, romance, and the like. But you have to remember that it’s His pen, His story, His characters. You have to learn to be okay with the characters He brings to life, and the ones He allows to die off.

In closing, my favorite time of year is Autumn. I love everything about it! The weather is perfect, the scenery is beautiful, the clothing shifts and has such warm colors, the scents change to more apples, pumpkin, cinnamon, and cocoa. It’s my absolute favorite season! But there’s more to it than that for me. You see, Autumn is also a time when things change, get fickle, and fall off!

Therefore, in your Fall seasons in life, you better prepare yourself to let some shady, fickle folks fall!

And don’t complain when they fall off either! Fall is the season in which things, and people, are supposed to fall off! Can we keep it simple? When leaves fall, we rake ‘em up, put ‘em in a bag, tie it up, and sit it out for the garbage. We do not, however, attempt to pick ‘em up, and put ‘em back on the tree! See, when folks start falling off, you need to rake ‘em, bag ‘em, tie ‘em and put ‘em out for the garbage! Understand that the reason you keep failing your fall exam is because you keep trying to pick ‘em up and put ‘em back!  The key to passing the test is, in the fall, let ‘em fall!

There’s two animals that possess a characteristic I love. And that’s Cats and Dogs. They do something fairly regular, that I’ve learned to do fairly regular myself, they shed. Now, the word “shed” means “to allow to fall off; to discard; to get rid of; to take and cast off”. Its Old English Origin means to, ‘separate or divide’.

See, cats and dogs don’t shed, and attempt to put back on, what fell off! And neither should you! You need to get serious enough about your purpose and accept the fact that anyone that fell down, wasn’t strong enough to hold you up in the first place; anyone that separated, wasn’t faithful enough to remain in covenant; and anyone that divided was subtracted because they couldn’t add or multiply anything worthwhile to your life anyhow! I’m warning you, in the fall, let ‘em fall!

Proverbs 30:25 says: “…they prepare their meat in the summer…” Don’t miss it: They gather in the summer, they drop things that are not a necessity in the fall, so they have what they need, their meat, in the winter! Let me help you, the reason you have nothing in your hands in the winter, is because you gathered everybody in the summer, but you didn’t let none of them non-essential folks go in the fall! And now, in the dead of winter, you have no meat in your hands, cause you still trying to hold up those you should’ve let down! I’m warning you, in the fall, let ‘em fall! 

You’re suffering because you’re trying to carry junk food into a winter season that requires Meat! The Bible says, “…they prepare their MEAT in the summer.” Listen to me real good, your next season Requires MEAT! In the words of the Apostle Paul, “But strong MEAT belongeth to them that are of full age…” (Hebrews 5:14). Your next level is a level of maturity and growth, a level of tenacity and stamina, a level where your childish things have been put away! A level of blessings and promise, a level of break-through’s and victory! But only MEAT is strong enough to sustain you at such a level! Might I give you some valuable advice worthy to be followed? Before your next Promotion get rid of those still wearing Pampers! Before your next Degree get rid of those still Drooling! Before your next Baptism get rid of those still wearing Bibs! Before your next Calling get rid of those still Crying in Cribs! Before your next Revelation get rid of those still shaking Rattles! Before your next Touch get rid of those still Teething, because this next level Requires Those That Can Chew and Digest MEAT! Only MEAT is strong enough to sustain you in the season of winter! Therefore, you’ve got to let some folks go! I’m warning you, in the fall, let ‘em fall! Why? Cause my destiny’s at stake; my calling is on the line; my purpose is trying to press through; my vision is getting clearer and I’m in the 9th month of birthing what’s in my belly! I can’t risk going without in the winter because I didn’t forfeit in the fall! I’m warning you, in the fall, let ‘em fall!

Never allow the Immaturity of your Company to Compromise the Growth of your Calling! 

And be bold enough to tell them the truth! It’s because of where I’m going that I can’t take non-essentials with me. See, when it came time for the sacrifice, it was only between Abraham and Isaac, he told the servants to stay where they were! What’s about to take place don’t involve you! And you need to do the same! Only take those who are essential to the process, provision, promise and promotion of your next season! No non-essentials allowed! 

Well then, just for clarity, who are the non-essentials I can’t take with me? Glad you asked! You can’t take folks still fighting over he said she said nonsense. You can’t take folks still sucking their teeth, rolling their eyes, pointing their fingers and folding their arms! You can’t take folks looking like preaching prostitutes. You can’t take folks who still get provoked into foolishness! You can’t take folks still cussing, crying and complaining! You can’t take folks who fight more than they fast, play more than they pray and worry more than they worship!  

Jealous and envious folks are non-essentials; gossipers and back-biters are non-essentials; lazy sluggards are non-essentials; prayerless, faithless, powerless, wordless folks are non-essentials! Look around today at the company you keep and ask yourself a vital question: Are they non-essentials? Because if they’re non-essentials they can’t go where you’re going! 

Remind yourself: I can only take essential folks because they’re strong enough to handle the winter! They know how to stay on fire when the winds are blowing, the temps are dropping, the rain is freezing and no matter where you go, it’s bitter cold everywhere! You see, winter folks know how to struggle and endure; how to get provision in poverty; how to cry and not quit; how to pause and not give up; how to take a break and not breakdown! Winter folks can handle when it gets dreary, lonely and cold, without becoming desperate, bitter and weak! That’s why they’re essential! You can only take essential folks who understand that your purpose is coming with provision, but it’s coming in the winter! So prepare yourself to let ‘em fall, in the fall!  

Don’t get upset when your Orpah kisses you and says goodbye. It’s her time and season to leave. And you can’t get what’s rightfully yours from God, until she’s left. Make today the day you Kiss and Say Goodbye to your Orpah! The summer will come to a close, then fall will fastly approach and winter will be on its heels! So, begin your spring cleaning TODAY! 

Make sure you make every necessary change in each of the right seasons.

“Some people are going to Leave, but that’s not the End of your Story. That’s the End of their Part in your Story.” (Author Unknown)

“Sometimes you have to accept that people’s part in your story is over.” (Author Unknown)

“The best part about your story is that the next page is blank and you get to write it.” (Chris Butler)

“When people want to go, let them go. Your destiny is never tied to anyone who leaves you, and it doesn’t mean that they are bad people. It just means that their part in your story is over.” (Author Unknown)

“I’m the author of my story and I’m not finished writing yet.” (Author Unknown)

“When writing the story of your life, don’t let anyone else hold the pen.” (Harley Davidson)

“Part of being the heroine in your own life is accepting the bad with the good. Not dodging it or covering it up or glossing over it to make it look prettier. I think it’s a lot braver to talk about your doubts and fears instead of act like everything is perfect. Life without both joy AND sadness is a life without balance.” (Mandy Hale)

“Sometimes the people you wanted as part of your whole story are only meant to be one chapter.” (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: “20 Stress Relieving Foods to Try if You’re Feeling Anxious”

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“Small…BUT…Significant”

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Proverbs 30:24-28, “Four things are among the SMALLEST on earth, BUT they are extremely wise: Ants as creatures aren’t strong, BUT they store away their food in the summer. Badgers as creatures aren’t powerful, BUT they make their homes in the rocks. Locusts don’t have a king, BUT they march together in ranks. You can catch lizards in your hand, BUT they are in kings’ palaces.” (CEB)

As a kid, and as an adult, I’ve always loved cartoons! And particularly as a tomboy, I loved “The Transformers”, and my favorite was Bumblebee! Bumblebee (one of the Transformers main characters) was SMALL, BUT, eager and brave! You see, Bumblebee acts as a messenger and a spy. And due to his small size, he dares to go where others can’t and won’t. He idolizes the bigger Autobots, especially Optimus Prime and Prowl, and strives to be accepted. He is the most energy efficient and has the best vision of all the Autobots. He can go underwater for reconnaissance and salvage missions. Although physically the weakest Autobot, his stealth more than compensates for this inadequacy. This battle-tested robot was the first autobot to forge an alliance with the humans. He is a very close ally to human Spike Witwicky, often seen as an underdog and not the biggest bot he has more courage than any soldier from Cybertron. As the most trusted lieutenant of Optimus Prime, he’ll do whatever it takes to protect earth and its’ people.

Now, for someone like me who is 5 foot 2 inches, you may understand why I love Bumblebee so much! Yes, he’s SMALL, looks for acceptance from his bigger bots, he’s often seen as the underdog, and has some inadequate moments. BUT, he’s one of the most effective because of what others may deem as his disadvantage, actually works for him. Because he’s so SMALL, he can be the messenger who’s always on a mission, with the sharpest vision, to go undetected in enemy territory, places where others can’t or won’t go! He’s SMALL yes, BUT also brave, eager and stealth! I love that word “stealth”, it has various definitions, but the one I like most states, “intended not to attract attention.” Some of its synonyms are, “behind-the-scenes; hush; private; secret; undercover; confidential; classified; unadvertised; and unexposed”. Can you imagine if we had believers today who could complete their mission and assignment for God, “behind-the-scenes; privately; in a confidential, unexposed, unadvertised manner that doesn’t need to attract attention to itself?” But that’s Bumblebee, completing the mission is the main thing, not becoming the main thing!

Which reminds us a lot of our small friends in Proverbs 30:24-28:

First thing that is addressed is their size, “SMALLEST on earth”. And the word “small” is defined as “lacking in strength; minor in influence, power or rank; operating on a limited scale; little or close to zero in an objectively measurable aspect (as quantity); made up of few or little units; of little consequence; limited in degree; and reduced to a humiliating position.” How would you like to be defined and described in such a manner? Truth is, many of us are defined and described just like that, by varying people, for varying reasons, and many of those have nothing to do with our height, just how people in their opinions view us. Listen to some of its synonyms, “dwarfish; half-pint (actually, I’ve been called that); little; pint-size; shrimpy; subnormal; toylike; undersized; runtish; runty; stunted; inappreciable; little bitty; microscopic; mini; minuscule; teensy-weensy; meager; poor; scant; scarce; deficient inadequate; insufficient; lacking; and wanting.” Well, aren’t we off to a fine start? Doesn’t this just make your confidence shoot through the roof? Okay, so maybe not! But it does bring to mind someone…David. Samuel is sent to anoint the next king, and he comes to Jesse’s boys. Take a listen, “When they arrived, Samuel took one look at Eliab and thought, ‘Here he is! God’s anointed! But God told Samuel, “Looks aren’t everything. Don’t be impressed with his looks and stature. I’ve already eliminated him. God judges persons differently than humans do. Men and women look at the face; God looks into the heart…Jesse presented his seven sons to Samuel. Samuel was blunt with Jesse, ‘God hasn’t chosen any of these.” Then he asked Jesse, ‘Is this it? Are there no more sons?’ ‘Well, yes, THERE’S THE RUNT. But he’s out tending the sheep.’ Samuel ordered Jesse, ‘Go get him. We’re not moving from this spot until he’s here.’ Jesse sent for him. He was brought in, the very picture of health – bright-eyed, good-looking. God said, ‘Up on your feet! Anoint him! This is the one.” Samuel took his flask of oil and anointed him, with his brothers standing around watching. The Spirit of God entered David like a rush of wind, God vitally empowering him for the rest of his life…” (1 Samuel 16:6-13 MSG)

Well, there’s that wonderful description again, “RUNT”, after all who wouldn’t want to be defined in such a way? In fact, “Runt” is defined as “an animal unusually small of its kind; the smallest of a litter of pigs; small in stature.” Yep, that sounds as attractive as they come! And yet, I love this story of David, because the very ones that were first choice among people, were not even considered an option with God! He didn’t care what any of them looked like, nor their stature. It was His heart he was looking for, and He found it in the chest of a RUNT! David wasn’t the people’s choice, but he was indeed God’s ONLY choice. And before you start beating up on yourself, or if you’ve already started, you will stop today! Stop worrying about what people think, say or feel about you! Even if you had bald patches, acne, over or under weight, missing teeth, cross-eyes, big ears, small stature with long arms, a limp and a stutter, if you dare to have a heart that beats for God, You are His ONLY Choice no matter how many options present themselves! You may not be in the in-crowd; the inner-circle; or the clique. You may actually live in a one room, take the bus and flip burgers and still I tell you, if you dare to have a heart that beats for God, You are still God’s ONLY Choice! And His Choice Without Any Comparison or Competition! People have popularity contests, Not God! People care about positions, Not God! People care about appearance, Not God! You can be the smallest thing in the back looking after the sheep, and all will go on pause until your presence has arrived upfront! Don’t allow people’s opinions to make you think you are not God’s Best Option! “Opinion” is defined as “a general view, an appraisal formed in the mind of another about a particular matter, a feeling, a sentiment, perception, assumption, presumption, idea, thought, observation, guess hunch, theory, suggestion, angle, outlook, perspective, a point of view that’s not necessarily based on fact or knowledge; and an estimation of quality of worth.” Now, did you find anywhere in that thesis of opinion, anything that states Fact or Truth? Absolutely Not! Know why? Because people’s opinions are not Proof of what is Fact or Truth! It’s nothing more than their estimated guess! Only What God Says, Thinks and Feels Concerning You Matters and Counts as Proof of What is Fact and Truth!

So, today, you will stop viewing yourself through the distorted vision of people who can’t see your true worth and value! Think about it, if David had to base his worth and value on the opinions of Samuel, his brothers, his daddy Jesse, his wife Michal or even Goliath, he would’ve become a human groundhog, and dug himself in a hole never to appear without permission! You are not bound by public opinion!

Now, back to our little friends…

“Four things are among the SMALLEST on earth, BUT they are extremely wise: Ants as creatures aren’t strong, BUT they store away their food in the summer. Badgers as creatures aren’t powerful, BUT they make their homes in the rocks. Locusts don’t have a king, BUT they march together in ranks. You can catch lizards in your hand, BUT they are in kings’ palaces.” (CEB)

Now, grant it, our little friends are the “…the SMALLEST on earth…” However, they are also, “extremely wise…” So wise in fact that the ants aren’t strong, the badgers aren’t powerful, the locust have no king and the lizard is small enough to hold in your own hand! Let’s be honest, nothing about our little friends makes us feel that great! I mean, would you want to be described as not strong; not powerful; having no leader and small enough to squish in someone’s hand?! And yet, even with characteristics such as these, the Bible says the ant is still wise enough to store his food in summer, knowing that winter is coming (he’s not strong, but he’s wise). The badgers aren’t powerful (and yet they have the wisdom to build their homes in rocks, so when they are under attack, if they can’t fight, they can hide well). The locust have no leader, no king, no one to give them direction and order, and yet they march together in ranks (we can’t even get preachers to work together in the pulpit, nor the saints in the pews). And then there’s the lizards, small enough to be found in the palm of a hand, but instead they are wise enough to make their way into king’s palaces. They may not sound like bears, lions and tigers, oh my, but they will not be robbed of what they do possess! SMALL, yes, BUT still they build, they have structure and strategy, they can function without having any one particular ruler in charge, they aren’t slumming it in shacks, they’re in palaces, they know how to work around changing seasons, and yet, we can’t get a group of 5 believers to function to this degree!

As God isn’t moved by public opinion, appearance, stature, or even low self-esteem, neither should you be! Listen to Saul, “Pardon me, sir,” Saul replied. “I’m from the tribe of Benjamin, the SMALLEST in Israel, and my family is the LEAST important of all the families of the tribe! You must have the wrong man!” (1 Samuel 9:21 TLB) Have you ever felt like that? I know I have…and sometimes I still have my moments. God, you do know you’re talking to Shermaine right? You want me to work on what? Be a part of what? With who? God, you do realize I’ve battled addictions, I was molested and raped, I had 2 children out of wedlock, oh by the way, did I mention the multiple suicide attempts, being kept in the psych ward and the abortion? God, you do know I wasn’t raised in church right? You do remember the times I’ve cussed, drank, smoked, partied, fought, and lied? God, you do realize I’ve committed sins today, known, unknown, deliberate, accidental? And you still want me to put on a robe, attach a collar, grab a bible, stand before Your people in a pulpit and preach a gospel about You!? God, you do know you’re talking to Shermaine right?

You may laugh, and it is indeed quite comical at times, but it’s my truthful conversations with God. There are days when I feel like He’s got amnesia and doesn’t remember who He’s talking to when He sends Me of all people on an assignment about Him and for Him! It’s then that I have my “Saul Selah’s”, I pause and unfortunately think about all my wrongs, habits, addictions, sins, mistakes, failures and the like. I recall where I come from and what I did and still do and again feel compelled to ask, “God, you do know you’re talking to Shermaine right?”

Therefore, please believe me, I know what it feels like to have those moments of inadequacy, insignificance, insufficiency and inability. And it certainly doesn’t help to have people give their uninvited opinions about God’s choice in you. However, I’ve also learned lessons from Zaccheus that have encouraged me over the years, and I hope they encourage you likewise.

Luke 19:1-10, “Then Jesus entered and walked through Jericho. There was a man there, his name Zacchaeus, the head tax man and quite rich. He wanted desperately to see Jesus, but the crowd was in his way—he was a SHORT man and couldn’t see over the crowd. So he ran on ahead and climbed up in a sycamore tree so he could see Jesus when he came by. When Jesus got to the tree, he looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, hurry down. Today is my day to be a guest in your home.” Zacchaeus scrambled out of the tree, hardly believing his good luck, delighted to take Jesus home with him. Everyone who saw the incident was indignant and grumped, “What business does he have getting cozy with this crook?” Zacchaeus just stood there, a little stunned. He stammered apologetically, “Master, I give away half my income to the poor—and if I’m caught cheating, I pay four times the damages.” Jesus said, “Today is salvation day in this home! Here he is: Zacchaeus, son of Abraham! For the Son of Man came to find and restore the lost.” (MSG)

This man wanted to desperately see Jesus, however, he was too SHORT, and couldn’t see over the crowd. He devices a plan to climb a tree, he’s noticed by Jesus, Jesus is to be his guest in his home. And you would think all of this is absolutely phenomenal, until public opinion starts talking out of turn again… ““What business does he have getting cozy with this crook?” There will always be people that have distorted vision when it comes to you. They can see your past crystal clear, your present is blurry, and when it comes to your future, they have a combination of cataract and glaucoma in their natural and spiritual eyes! They can see nothing good, even in the fact that Jesus invited Himself to YOUR house! Now, if you think about it, Jesus had a lot of options, after all, there was a crowd present, and one so large in size that Zacchaeus had to climb in a tree just to see Him! But Jesus CHOSE Zacchaeus over anyone else! He CHOSE a SHORT, rich, tax man, sitting in a tree, over “…EVERYONE WHO SAW THE INCIDENT…” God will Deliberately Choose Underqualified You, Over Someone Else’s Overqualified Ego! They may not like it, but Zacchaeus was deliberately chosen by Jesus to receive salvation and restoration. And likewise, He’s still choosing the underdogs to overachieve! Don’t assume He will pass you by because of public opinion. He may simply be waiting for you to distinguish yourself from the crowd! 

God cares about All of us, the Least, the Last, the Lonely and the Left Out! (Thanks Bishop James R. Chambers). And He’s not in the least bit intimidated or concerned about our misfitted selves: Jacob was a cheater; Peter had a tempter; David had an affair; Noah got drunk; Jonah ran from God; Paul was a murderer; Gideon was insecure; Miriam was a gossip; Martha was a worrier; Thomas was doubtful; Sarai was impatient; Elijah was moody; Moses stuttered; Zacchaeus was short; Abraham was old; Lazarus was dead; Rahab was a prostitute; Timothy had stomach troubles; Isaiah preached naked; Leah had weak eyes; Joseph was abused; Samson was a womanizer; Naomi loss 2 sons and a husband; Job went bankrupt; the Disciples fell asleep in prayer; Judas betrayed Jesus for some change; Saul was mentally unstable; the Samaritan woman had far too many men!

And still, God used every last one of them! And with all your issues, He has yet to unsubscribe! In fact, He renews day by day! You are no exception, no matter where you come from, where you are, what you did, who you did it with, how many times you’ve repented, God still loves you! Even in those moments when you feel small, inadequate, insufficient, insignificant, or unimportant. God sees you when you see nothing good in yourself!

Genesis 16:13 says, “The Lord talked to Hagar. She began to use a new name for God. She said to Him, “You are ‘God Who Sees Me.’” She said this because she thought,’ “I see that even in this place God sees me and cares for me!” (ERV)

Believe it or not, as SMALL as you think you are, God still sees you and cares about you! Hagar at the moment wasn’t in a good place, but even she was able to say, “…even in this place God sees me and cares for me”. No matter where you are in life in this moment in time, God sees you and cares for you. Others may overlook you, under-estimate you, devalue you, but to God, you mean much! And the next time you don’t think so, remember the price His Son paid Just for You! Remember the Gifts in 1 Corinthians 12, where even the ones deemed the least, the lowly and the insignificant, were actually among the most prized and valued! And so are you! Like my friend Bumblebee, you may lack in some areas, after all, we ALL do, no matter how perfect we attempt to appear! Yet, God can still use you; God has need of you; you are important and visible to God. Don’t short-change yourself! You are still His disciple, His Son, His Daughter, His Temple, His Love, His Craftsmanship, His Workmanship. And above All, You were Worth Saving, Healing, Delivering, Redeeming, Justifying, and even Worth a Round-Trip Ticket For Jesus to Come Again, Just For You! Sounds like you’re pretty significant to me!

You’ve spent enough time talking down to yourself; talking yourself out of stuff, even the very things God desires you to do; you’ve looked in the mirror and picked yourself apart over and over again. You talked about dropping out of school, losing the car, the house and the spouse, you’ve talked enough about not being good enough. You’ve taunted and provoked yourself to bitterness. Today, Enough is Enough! You are Valuable, Important, Significant and Necessary! There’s a place in the Kingdom that no one can take because it’s yours! Own your worth! And even if you’re a little short-stack like me, God still sees you. You never go unnoticed by Him! Every moment of your life, even before your life began, has been visible in the eyes of God, and valuable to the heart of God.

Psalm 139, “God, investigate my life; get all the facts firsthand. I’m an open book to You; even from a distance, You know what I’m thinking. You know when I leave and when I get back; I’M NEVER OUT OF YOUR SIGHT. You know everything I’m going to say before I start the first sentence. I look behind me and YOU’RE THERE, then up ahead and YOU’RE THERE, TOO—Your reassuring presence, coming and going. This is too much, too wonderful—I can’t take it all in! Is there anyplace I can go to avoid Your Spirit? TO BE OUT OF YOUR SIGHT? If I climb to the sky, YOU’RE THERE! If I go underground, YOU’RE THERE! If I flew on morning’s wings to the far western horizon, YOU’D FIND ME IN A MINUTE—You’re already there waiting! Then I said to myself, “OH, HE EVEN SEES ME IN THE DARK! At night I’m immersed in the light!” It’s a fact: darkness isn’t dark to You; night and day, darkness and light, they’re all the same to You. Oh yes, You shaped me first inside, then out; You formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank You, High God—You’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation! You know me inside and out, You know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, YOU WATCHED ME grow from conception to birth; ALL THE STAGES OF MY LIFE were spread out before You, The days of my life all prepared BEFORE I’D EVEN LIVED ONE DAY. Your thoughts—how rare, how beautiful! God, I’ll never comprehend them! I couldn’t even begin to count them—any more than I could count the sand of the sea. Oh, let me rise in the morning and live always with You!…” (MSG)

Little itty-bitty you are so significant to God that He Always Sees You! He raises and lowers the sun, moon and stars, rotates the earth, sets boundaries for waters, seas, and oceans, He keeps His breath in every being and His air filling the atmosphere always…and still…it’s YOU He Keeps a Watchful Eye On Always! Remember that the next time you feel you’re too small to be significant!

One of my favorite quotes says, “If you think you’re too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito.” (Anita Roddick) 🙂

Be Encouraged Today, You May Be Small…BUT…You Are Still Significant!

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

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“BUT GOD!”

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1 Chronicles 28:2-3, “Then David the king rose to his feet and said, Hear me, my brethren and my people. I MYSELF INTENDED to build a house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the Lord, as a footstool for our God, and I prepared materials for the building. BUT GOD said to me, You shall not build a house for My Name [and Presence], because you have been a man of war and have shed blood” (AMP).

“…I MYSELF INTENDED…BUT GOD…”

Vincent’s passion for ministry led him to the Belgian coalfields where he preached to miners, tended the injured, fed the hungry and earned a place in the people’s hearts. His church was filled to capacity with those eager to learn about Jesus. But his superiors weren’t happy because Vincent wore cast-offs, lived in a shack and gave his salary to the people. You look worse than the people you came to teach,” they said. “Wouldn’t Jesus have done the same?” Vincent asked. His bosses disagreed and he was dismissed from the ministry. He was hurt and angry; his only desire had been to build a church that glorified God, so why hadn’t God let it happen? Then one day he watched an old miner struggling beneath a load of coal. Moved by the sight he began to sketch the bowed figure. And although he didn’t realize it at the time, he’d discovered his Real calling. The young preacher who was rejected by his denomination eventually became an artist the world will long remember: Vincent van Gogh!

With that thought, how do you react to the “…BUT GOD…” interruptions in your life? Do you fuss and fume, or do you look for His hand in them? Understandably, Vincent was not happy at all that the one thing he desired to do, he could no longer do. Why? Because God had a different set of plans! And can you imagine what the world of art would be like without Vincent van Gogh? Can you imagine the void from his absence in artistry? There’s a quote I’ve recently come across that states: “Sometimes, the Interruption is the Assignment.” But let’s be honest, who do you know of that gets excited about interruptions? After all, its very definition states: “to stop the continuous progress of; to break the continuity of something.” Its Latin Origin ‘interrumpere’ literally means, ‘to break.’ And if it’s two things we do not like, it’s to be interrupted and to be broken! But oftentimes that’s when God does His best work in our lives. One, when we’re interrupted, because we have a tendency to be busy little beavers working on dam’s God never assigned us to build! And two, we also have a tendency to be arrogant when we have it supposedly altogether! So God interrupts and breaks us so He can get our hands on the right blueprints for building and so we can be made humble before He honors us! Saints, I encourage you to learn how to embrace both interruptions and brokenness, for in them lies God’s greatest plans, purpose and direction!

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)

Proverbs 16:3, “Commit your works to the Lord [submit and trust them to Him], And your plans will succeed [if you respond to His will and guidance].” (AMP)

Our plans will always work, when they’re rightly aligned with His Plans and Purpose!

Proverbs 19:21, “Many plans are in a man’s mind, But it is the Lord’s purpose for him that will stand (be carried out).” (AMP)

Truth is, all of us will experience “…BUT GOD…” moments in life. I wanted to marry that man/woman…BUT GOD! I wanted to go to that school…BUT GOD! I wanted to accept that job…BUT GOD! I wanted to purchase that house…BUT GOD! I wanted to start that business…BUT GOD! I wanted to have a baby…BUT GOD! I wanted to start a church…BUT GOD! I wanted to relocate…BUT GOD! I wanted to throw in the towel and call it quits…BUT GOD! So, how do you handle the “…BUT GOD…” interruptions in life?

Let’s take a listen in and see if David has some advice for us: David said, “I…intended to build a…home for the ark…BUT GOD said…’ Your son Solomon…shall build My house” (1 Chronicles 28:2-6 NASB). Now, I can’t speak for you, but if I were David, I would’ve been a bit upset. Can I be truthful with you?! God, this is me, David, King David at that! I’m Your friend! I’m the Anointed One! I’m the one You sought after and declared to all that I Have a Heart After You! How can You skip over me and give this assignment to someone ‘less qualified than’ me? And for Solomon? He’s my son and all, and that’s wonderful, but he’s young and inexperienced, and You’ve never said about him the things You’ve said about me. Surely, I’m more qualified than he, surely I would make a better architect than he? Why am I, of all people receiving a “…BUT GOD…”?

However, when God nixed his plans, David didn’t respond as I may have, instead, he immediately followed his “…BUT GOD…” with a “…YET GOD…” and declared, “YET, the Lord, the God of Israel, chose me from all the house of my father to be king over Israel forever. For He has chosen Judah to be a leader; and in the house of Judah, my father’s house, and among the sons of my father He took pleasure in me to make me king over all Israel” (1 Chronicles 28:4 NASB)

You see, instead of complaining about what he DIDN’T get to do, David rejoiced in how God had ALREADY blessed him by promoting him from herding sheep to leading the Israelite nation! Amazing! But isn’t perspective and gratitude two things that can make all the difference?! It’s not about how we see it, it’s about looking at everything through God’s Perspective!

I wonder if we were asked would we be able to say we respond to our “…BUT GOD…” moments with a “…YET GOD…” declaration? Instead of murmuring and complaining, comparing and competing, David celebrates what the Lord has already granted him. Going forward, will you mature to David’s level of leadership and trust God’s plan, even when it differs from the one you intended? You see, the word ‘intended’ means ‘planned.’ Therefore, it’s not like David was sitting on his hands and just making wishes, goals, aims and hopes. When he says ‘he intended’, it means he already made plans. Listen to the text again: “…I MYSELF INTENDED to build a house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the Lord, as a footstool for our God, and I PREPARED MATERIALS FOR THE BUILDING. BUT GOD…” This wasn’t a let’s see what happens, this was a watch and see what happens. David wasn’t passive or lazy or procrastinating, no, he intended for his plans to come to pass for he already started making preparations! So, what do you do when you’re not simply sharing a good idea moment, but your BUT GOD, steps in when you’ve calculated all the numbers, you’ve assembled the team, you’ve drawn up the blueprints, you already know what it’s going to be named and the completion date is already scheduled in ink in your mind. Until God Steps In And Interrupts Your Process, Progress and Plans with a BUT GOD moment! How do you handle it?!

Well, while you think that over, let’s look at another “…BUT GOD…” Interruption:

Beloved, my whole concern was to write to you in regard to our common salvation. [BUT] I found it necessary and was impelled to write you and urgently appeal to and exhort [you] to contend for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints [the faith which is that sum of Christian belief which was delivered verbally to the holy people of God].” (Jude 1:3 AMP).

Jude’s WHOLE CONCERN was to write one thing, BUT he found it more necessary and impelling to write urgently about something else. You see, BUT GOD moments aren’t just from God. When you learn to align your faith and hearing and godly wisdom with God, there are some thing’s where your spirit will put a pause on your plans! When you learn how to move according to God’s purpose and plans you can stop yourself and say, ‘I know I desired to do that, and there was nothing wrong with it, but there is an urgency in my spirit to do this instead.’ You’ll learn how to sharpen your perspective to such a degree that you’ll input BUT GOD moments in the middle of your own plans!

Max Lucado writes, “I awoke early one morning for a meeting…[and] spotted a bag of cookies. Our daughter had attended a bake sale so I thought she must’ve set them out for me. I ate one…interesting texture…I ate a second…with coffee it made an interesting option. I grabbed a third for the road, and would have grabbed the fourth but only one remained. Later my wife phoned, ‘Looks like someone’s been in the bag.’ ‘It was me,’ I admitted. ‘I’ve had better breakfast cookies but those weren’t bad.’ ‘Those weren’t breakfast cookies,’ she replied, ‘they were homemade dog biscuits!’ His response? ‘All day when I scratched my belly, my leg kicked…not to mention my new found interest in fire hydrants!’ Moral of the Story: I SHOULD’VE CONSULTED THE MAKER FIRST BEFORE BECOMING A PARTAKER!

As comical as that may sound, it is actually the truth for many of us. We just make choices without ever considering the consequences. And honestly the consequences wouldn’t be so harsh if we first consulted God before making our choices!

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)

In Max Lucado’s story, could you imagine how different this scenario could’ve gone, had he FIRST asked permission to take what didn’t belong to him in the FIRST place? And even if he thought it was for him, how bad could it have hurt to simply ask “are these for me”? Because the Bible does not lie: “There is a way which SEEMS right to a man and APPEARS straight before him, but at the end of it is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12 AMP). Often many of us suffer because we chose what SEEMED and APPEARED right! But had we asked God for clarity, we would have SEEN it for what it really was, a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing! God alone can see clearly behind the mask, the makeup and the materials! You simply cannot hide behind the disguise of someone who is the creator of Discernment! So why not ask Him first?! Which is why the Bible says, “[Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight” (Philippians 2:13 AMP). It’s not your work, it’s His Work In You that brings Him Good Pleasure and Satisfaction and Delight! We have a bad tendency to get this backwards!

When you sense “A Hold” in your spirit, it’s more than likely God Himself trying to get your attention! Remember: He promised to, “…guide you along the BEST pathway for your life…advise you and watch over you.” (Psalm 32:8 NLT). Did you catch that? When God guides you, you will always be found traveling down the BEST pathway for your life! Not so-so, not alright, not pretty good, but when God guides, you only go down the BEST road! Who would be foolish enough to go at it alone when this is the promise from God Himself? The Worse Thing You Can Do Is Ignore The Best Advice, Which Is Following God’s Guidance!

Remember: Jude said, “I wanted very much to write you about salvation…BUT I felt the need to write…about something else.Jude wanted to dedicate his epistle to one topic, BUT GOD had other plans! And as you well know, you cannot alter God’s Plan! And as great as His plans are, who would want to?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.” (Jeremiah 29:10-11 MSG). I reiterate, who would dare mess up plans like those?

A century ago F.B. Meyer wrote, “Are you in difficulty about your way? Go to God…get direction from the light of his smile or the cloud of his refusal…wait there silent and expectant, though all around you insist on immediate decision or action – the Will of God will be made clear; and you’ll have a new conception of God.If only we’d finally learn the benefit and blessing of going to God for direction, and sitting quietly and patiently until we receive it…

Which reminds us a lot of Proverbs 16:9, “You may make your plans, BUT GOD directs your actions” (GNT). Those “…BUT GOD…” moments are everywhere! That’s why it’s so important that you don’t take a step in ANY direction without FIRST receiving God’s DIRECTIONS!

It’s said when Columbus set out he didn’t know where he was GOING, when he arrived he didn’t know where he WAS, and when he returned he didn’t know where he’d BEEN! Truth is, from time to time we all need help knowing which direction to go; such as whether or not to relocate, take a certain job, or commit to a particular relationship. Which is why the Scripture says, “We should make plans – counting on God to direct us” (Proverbs 16:9 TLB).

Proverbs 3:5-12, “Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to God…” (MSG)

Here’s an example, BEFORE making his decision, the Bible says, “…David ASKED THE LORD, “SHOULD I GO UP…” (2 Samuel 2:1 NLV). Now, that’s what you call a Wise Man! Might I ask, do you do the same? Do you ask or “Inquire” of the Lord? That word “Inquire” means “to ask for information.” Its Latin Origin “Inquirere”, from “Quaerere” literally means “Seek”. And what does the Bible say about “Seeking”? “BUT SEEK (AIM AT AND STRIVE AFTER) FIRST OF ALL HIS KINGDOM AND HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS (HIS WAY OF DOING AND BEING RIGHT), AND THEN ALL THESE THINGS TAKEN TOGETHER WILL BE GIVEN YOU BESIDES” (Matthew 6:33 AMP) I would definitely, without a doubt, say that often we go wrong because we don’t First Seek God for the Right way to go!

And why is it so important that we go to God first for direction? Because, truth is, you never know what God will do, say or think because the Scripture holds true: This plan of mine is not what you would work out, neither are my thoughts the same as yours! For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than yours, and my thoughts than yours.” (Isaiah 55:8-9 TLB).

Which is why we should further follow the advice found in the book of Jeremiah: “ASK ME and I will tell you some remarkable secrets about what is going to happen here” (Jeremiah 33:3 TLB). And what’s the benefit of ASKING? The Bible says, “ASK, AND YOU WILL BE GIVEN WHAT YOU ASK FOR. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7 AMP)

People of God, if you would simply ASK GOD, you may better understand the BUT GOD and therefore render to Him a YET GOD trust that has no room for fear, doubt, panic, worry, fret, unbelief or hurry!

Ask God so He can direct you! And how does He direct us? In a variety of ways, but here’s 3 in a nutshell:

1…HIS WORD: “Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. LET THE WORD OF CHRIST—THE MESSAGE—HAVE THE RUN OF THE HOUSE. GIVE IT PLENTY OF ROOM IN YOUR LIVES. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.” (Colossians 3:15-17 MSG). One author writes: “The Bible is to God what a surgical glove is to a surgeon. He reaches through it to touch deep within you.” But that requires reading it, personalizing it, and acting on it. And often the reason we stay in the stuff we’re in so long is because we don’t turn to the Word of God which is the instrument He uses to get us out! “He sends forth His Word and heals them and rescues them from the pit and destruction” (Psalm 107:20 AMP). We could get out of a world of trouble, if only we’d get into the Word of God!

2…PRAYER AND LISTENING FOR HIS VOICE: Jesus said, “My sheep listen to My voice. I know them and they follow Me.” (John 10:27 CEB). And Isaiah adds, “And if you leave God’s paths and go astray, you will hear a voice behind you say, “No, this is the way; walk here.” (TLB). Can you imagine being so loved by God that He watches everywhere you go, and even when you go wrong, His voice is right there telling you how to get right back on track? Psalm 119:9-16, “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). If you want to stay on Track, Follow carefully the Directions of the Map of God’s Word! I would even dare say that we often travel down the wrong path so long, not because God isn’t speaking and giving us direction, but because we’re simply not listening! James 1:19, “Understand this, my beloved brothers and sisters. Let everyone be quick to hear [be a careful, thoughtful listener], slow to speak [a speaker of carefully chosen words and], slow to anger [patient, reflective, forgiving];” (AMP). And what’s the best way to listen for His voice, PRAYER! “Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” (Philippians 4:6-7 MSG).

3…WISE COUNSEL: “Without good direction, people lose their way; the more wise counsel you follow, the better your chances” (Proverbs 11:14 MSG); “Where there is no counsel, purposes are frustrated, but with many counselors they are accomplished” (Proverbs 15:22 AMP). Believe it or not, but others have sat where you are currently seated: “Remember your leaders who taught you the Word of God. Think of all the good that has come from their lives, and follow the example of their faith” (Hebrews 13:7 NLT). In other words, is your business floundering? Then talk to a successful businessperson. Are you experiencing a mid-life crisis? Before doing something you’ll regret, ask for help. Is your marriage failing? Then talk to a couple who’ve sat where you’re sitting, but they are standing strong now. Are your kids straying? Then talk to someone who knows what it feels like to see your kids go astray, and then return back to the path in which they were trained upon. Are your finances a mess? Then talk to someone who has managed to become financially secure and debt free. Are you insecure? Then talk to someone who can teach you about self-confidence. Believe it or not, but you are not the first one, the only one, or the last one! God has done it before and He will do it again. But you’ll never know that if you don’t talk to Wise Counselors!Fools are headstrong and do what they like; wise people take advice” (Proverbs 12:15 MSG).

Remember: Life comes with a lot of “…BUT GOD…” moments, but when you grow in God, increase your prayer life, maintain your faith, refresh your hope, diligently study the Word of God, obey the voice of God, seek God for direction, trust and follow the plan, purpose and Will of God and surround yourself with wise counselors, you’ll become just like David, and find a “…YET GOD…” and be greatly encouraged even through your “…BUT GOD…” moments!

Psalm 73:26, “My flesh and my heart may fail, BUT GOD is the rock and strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (AMP)

Romans 5:8, “BUT GOD clearly shows and proves His own love for us, by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (AMP)

2 Chronicles 20:15, “He said, “Listen carefully, all [you people of] Judah, and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and King Jehoshaphat. The Lord says this to you: ‘Be not afraid or dismayed at this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, BUT GOD’S.” (AMP)

 “You may feel lost and alone, BUT GOD knows exactly where you are, and He has a good plan for your life.” (Author Unknown)

“Sometimes my plans fail, BUT GOD always gives me a better option.” (Author Unknown)

“You may have weaknesses, BUT GOD has strength. You may have sin, BUT GOD has grace. You may fail, BUT GOD remains faithful.” (Author Unknown)

“When we have nothing left, BUT GOD, we discover that God is enough.” (Author Unknown)

“The Bible is not man’s word about God, BUT GOD’S Word about man.” (John Barth)

“Sin does not stop God’s grace from flowing, BUT GOD’S grace will stop sin.” (Joseph Prince)

“My philosophy is: Life is hard, BUT GOD is good. Try not to confuse the two.” (Anne F. Beiler)

“People may do you wrong, BUT GOD will be your vindicator. Situations may look impossible, BUT GOD will do the impossible.” (Joel Osteen)

“Man gives you the award, BUT GOD gives you the reward.” (Denzel Washington)

“BUT, GOD knows best, I concluded.” (Anne Bronte)

“You may not understand it. It may not seem fair, BUT GOD knows what He’s doing.” (Author Unknown)

“BUT GOD is when God backspaces over a period and makes it a comma.” (Author Unknown)

“Things change, people change, places change, careers change, BUT GOD will never change!” (Author Unknown)

“The enemy will try to label you with everything you’ve done wrong. BUT GOD labels you forgiven, redeemed, and restored.” (Joel Osteen)

“Evil may have its hour, BUT GOD will have His day.” (Fulton J. Sheen)

“The devil is busy BUT GOD is busier. Always remember that God is in control.” (Lynette Lewis)

“It may look impossible, BUT GOD can do the impossible. Just because you don’t see anything happening doesn’t mean God is not working.” (Joel Osteen)

“The world changes constantly and dramatically, BUT GOD, His commandments, and promised blessings do not change. They are immutable and unchanging.” (Elder L. Tom Perry)

“When you have nothing left BUT GOD, you have more than enough to start over again.” (Mother Teresa)

“I’ve been let down, and knocked down, BUT GOD has never failed to help me up again.” (Author Unknown)

“The stars may fall, BUT GOD’S promises will stand and be fulfilled.” (J.I. Packer)

“Circumstances may appear to wreck our lives and God’s plans, BUT GOD is not helpless among the ruins. God’s love is still working. He comes in and takes the calamity and uses it victoriously, working out His wonderful plan of love.” (Eric Liddell)

“It’s true my father abused me and didn’t love and protect me the way he should have, and at times it seemed no one would ever help me and it would never end. BUT GOD always had a plan for my life, and He has redeemed me.” (Joyce Meyer)

“The facts may tell you one thing. BUT GOD is not limited by the facts. Choose faith in spite of the facts.” (Joel Osteen)

“Good is not always God’s Will, but God’s Will is always good.” (Watchman Nee)

“You don’t have to respond to those who attack, belittle, or insult you. You may not see it, BUT GOD is dealing with them. If they persist, He will arrange their harvest in such a way that they’ll know it’s because of what they did to you.” (Hart Ramsey)

“Life may not be fair, BUT GOD is always faithful.” (Toby Mac)

“I got to that desperate place where nobody could help me BUT GOD.” (Cheryl James)

“People are fickle. They’ll love you today, and leave you tomorrow. BUT GOD made you a promise that He’ll never leave you or forsake you. That you can bank on!” (Marvin Sapp)

“Man plans, BUT GOD arranges.” (Thomas A. Kempis)

“No matter what may be happening today, God has good things in store for your future! It may not be easy to see now, BUT GOD has already lined up a new beginning, new friendships and new opportunities just for you.” (Joel Osteen)

“When our deepest desire is not the things of God, or a favor from God, BUT GOD Himself, we cross a threshold.” (Max Lucado)

“God loves you simply because He has chosen to do so. He loves you when you don’t feel lovely. He loves you when no one else loves you. Others may abandon you, divorce you, and ignore you, BUT GOD will love you always. No matter what!” (Max Lucado)

“We can’t always see where the road leads, BUT GOD promises there’s something better up ahead we just have to trust Him.” (Author Unknown)

“Bottom Line: God will not allow any person to keep you from your destiny. They may be bigger, stronger, or more powerful, BUT GOD knows how to shift things around and get you to where you’re supposed to be.” (Joel Osteen)

“Your miracle may be taking a long time. BUT GOD did not bring you this far to leave you.” (Toby Mac)

“Trust God to make a way. Sometimes we can only see what’s in front of us, BUT GOD sees the big picture.” (Author Unknown)

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

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“7 Practical Life-Application Lessons From the Cross”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Practical Life Applications:

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

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

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

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

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“God is On the Move!”

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Psalm 68:7-10, “God, when you took the lead with your people, when you marched out into the wild, Earth shook, sky broke out in a sweat; God was on the march. Even Sinai trembled at the sight of GOD ON THE MOVE, at the sight of Israel’s God. You pour out rain in buckets, O God; thorn and cactus become an oasis For your people to camp in and enjoy. You set them up in business; they went from rags to riches.” (MSG)

Narnia was a mythical land, created by C. S. Lewis, where the animals talk and where four children experience this series of incredible adventures. The seven-part series, “The Chronicles of Narnia,have long fascinated children and adults alike.

And then came Disney’s movie version of the first Narnia story, “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe,and it was a blockbuster. In the story, the wardrobe is the closet through which the children discover Narnia. The witch is the evil ruler of the land. She’s creating an endless winter where it is “always winter but never Christmas.” And the lion is Aslan, the great son of the Emperor from across the sea. He is, in C. S. Lewis’ imagery, the Christ-figure of Narnia. As the children begin to experience the icy and dangerous world that Narnia has become under an evil ruler, one of the animals announces that there is hope on the horizon. Hope turns out to be five words: “ASLAN IS ON THE MOVE“. Indeed, he was, and Narnia would soon be set free because of it!

Five words may explain the strange stirring that you’ve been feeling in your spirit lately. Five words may mean hope for you. And what are those five words? “GOD IS ON THE MOVE!

The One of whom the Bible says: “…the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has Overcome and Conquered…” (Revelation 5:5 AMP). And today, I’ve come to encourage you to know, that GOD IS ON THE MOVE in your personal life as well! And His move is about to set you free!

What He’s moving to do, is pictured in Exodus 3:7-10. God is speaking to Moses from an amazing burning bush in the wilderness. And He says, “…I have in fact seen the affliction (suffering, desolation) of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters (oppressors); for I know their pain and suffering.  SO I HAVE COME DOWN TO RESCUE THEM FROM THE HAND (POWER) OF THE EGYPTIANS, and to bring them up from that land to a land [that is] good and spacious, to a land flowing with milk and honey [a land of plenty]—to the place of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite.  Now, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me; and I have also seen how the Egyptians oppress them.” (AMP)

And that’s exactly what God is doing in your life as well! He’s heard your cry, plea, suffering, pain, depression, discouragement, hurt, loneliness, abandonment, abuse, and HE’S ON THE MOVE to Get to You So He Can Rescue You From What’s Holding You in Bondage!

Truth be told, many of us feel this way. Feel as though we’ve been locked up in this prison of pain for so long, and we’ve cried out to God for so long, and nothing has happened for so long, and therefore we tend to be deceived into thinking that God has forgotten to come and see about us. We look around us and it appears as if the Hand of the Lord is moving so graciously and quickly in the lives of others, but when it comes to OUR personal life, it’s like He’s allergic and can’t come near!

However, before you beat up on yourself, I want you to know that your feelings are not crazy, sinful, or outrageous, they are simply real! And if you ever take a moment to quietly sit and read through the Psalms you will be tremendously amazed by the emotions of David. He was indeed a man after God’s own heart, but he certainly didn’t hide his heart or his feelings from God either, and neither should you. It takes nothing away from you as a Child of God, to cry out in desperation for your Father’s help. After all, isn’t that what natural children do…naturally? As soon as a child is in pain, hurting, suffering or scared, be it mom or dad, but one of their parents is guaranteed to hear and heed their holler for help! Therefore, this is your reminder that it’s alright to be real, even if that “real” happens to be “real” hurt, real angry, real miserable, real lost and real confused. No matter how much it hurts, or how bad it hurts, or how long it’s been hurting, God wants your Hurt to Call out to Him for Help! He’s Always Ready, Willing and Able to Rescue His Children!

You see, when God starts moving, He’s actually on a rescue mission every time! In fact, the name Mary and Joseph were to give God’s Son was, “JESUS”, literally meaning “JEHOVAH RESCUES.Matthew 1:21, “She will give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus [HE SAVES], because he will save his people from their sins.” (GWT). The Living Bible says it like this, “And she will have a Son, and you shall name him Jesus (MEANING ‘SAVIOR’), for he will save his people from their sins.” (TLB) What I love most is the statements: “…BECAUSE HE WILL…”; and “…FOR HE WILL…” Meaning, this is not something you have to worry about because, HE IS ON THE MOVE TO RESCUE AND SAVE YOU! And what I love about one of the definitions of the word “Will” is “expressing facts about ability and capacity” In other words, it’s a FACT that God CAN and WILL SAVE and RESCUE YOU! He has the ABILITY and the CAPACITY to do so! It is without question!  That alone, should encourage you to know that even if it hasn’t happened yet, oh, it WILL happen!

The problem with us though is that we call out the name of our problems, circumstances, situations, troubles and struggles, MORE than we call out the name JESUS! But why in the world should we do that? I mean, knowing that His name means He Saves and Rescues, why are we calling out the name of what we’re drowning in instead of calling on the name of the Lifeguard that Walks on Water to Pull Us Out!

Isaiah 43:1-4, “But now, God’s Message, the God who made you in the first place, Jacob, the One who got you started, Israel: “Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called your name. You’re mine. When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you. WHEN YOU’RE IN ROUGH WATERS, YOU WILL NOT GO DOWN. When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end—Because I am God, your personal God, The Holy of Israel, your Savior. I paid a huge price for you: all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in! That’s how much you mean to me! That’s how much I love you! I’d sell off the whole world to get you back, trade the creation just for you.” (MSG).

I don’t care how much your mama, daddy, spouse or children love you, NO ONE LOVES YOU MORE THAN JESUS! AND NO ONE WILL GO TO THIS EXTREME TO KEEP YOU SAFE BUT HIM! SO WHY CALL ON EVERYBODY AND EVERYTHING ELSE, WHEN ALL YOU NEED TO DO IS CALL ON JESUS…THE ONE WHO SAVES AND RESCUES?!

Every time we say “Jesus,” we’re saying why He came – To Rescue!

In Moses’ day, God was coming down to rescue His people from slavery in Egypt. Today, God comes down to rescue people from the bleakness and the bondage’s of a life lived outside of His purposes; the kind of “my way” living that the Bible calls sin. Sin robs this life of its meaning and joy, and it condemns us to the death penalty of an awful eternity. Jesus came like the rescuers went into the fallen towers on that dark September 11. He risked His life to save us from a deadly situation from which we could never save ourselves. And He’s on the move right now, and He’s got rescue on His mind! And He’s heading your way! No matter how rough it’s been, or how “…ROUGH THE WATERS, YOU WILL NOT GO DOWN” Because when they LIFTED HIM UP, HE DREW YOU TO HIMSELF! IN LIFTING HIM UP, YOU WERE LIFTED UP TOO! That’s why you have no need to walk around with your head bowed down, your shoulders slumped, your back bent, or your tears falling, JESUS IS ON THE MOVE, and Heading in Your Direction!

I know many of you are saying, ‘but you don’t know how bad it is, or how long it’s been this bad’; ‘you don’t know how long I’ve waited, cried, bargained, and all I heard from Heaven was Silence’; ‘you don’t know how far behind the mortgage and rent are; how late the car note and insurance is; how much the tuition has increased to.’ ‘You don’t know what the doctor diagnosed; what the lawyer said; or what the job did to my life when they went out of business.’ ‘You don’t know the level of life support my marriage is on; you don’t know how hard I’ve prayed for my children who were raised in church, but now run from God.’; ‘You don’t know how suicidal I feel; how much medicating I do (whether alcohol, pills, food, sex etc…)’ And you are absolutely right, I don’t know. But I do know WHO does, and He’s Not Leaving You Stuck Here! He’s On the Move IN, and Because of it, You’re On the Move OUT! Which is why I love today’s text so much:

Psalm 68:7-10, “God, when you took the lead with your people, when you marched out into the wild, Earth shook, sky broke out in a sweat; God was on the march. Even Sinai trembled at the sight of GOD ON THE MOVE, at the sight of Israel’s God. You pour out rain in buckets, O God; thorn and cactus become an oasis For your people to camp in and enjoy. You set them up in business; they went from rags to riches.” (MSG)

Let’s look at this text in parts:

“God, when you took the lead with your people…”: Isn’t it amazing that even when we don’t go to God, HE COMES TO US? How encouraging to know that no matter what, He refuses to leave us where we are. And while we’re calling on psychics, horoscopes, and our friends (who are sinking in the same boat of debt and discouragement as we are), He’s on the move taking the lead to come and see about His followers. I’m so grateful that God doesn’t wait on me! He initiates and makes the first move and gives the most effort to reach and rescue little ole me. If you didn’t feel special before today, you should certainly feel special now!

“…when you marched out into the wild…”: I love that God loves me so much that He’ll risk anything to rescue me! He’ll march out into the wild, just to win me! That word “wild” is defined as “of animals or plants living or growing in the natural environment (not domesticated or cultivated)” Well, that definition I knew, but looking further at more definitions, I found “wild” to also mean “desolate-looking; uncontrolled; unrestrained; and dangerous” And yet, God doesn’t care! I’m important, I’m worth it, I’m loved enough for Him to risk any danger just to rescue me! I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling more and more special as the verses go on!

“…Earth shook, sky broke out in a sweat…”: Listen, when God enters your life, everything and everyone in your life better beware! Can you imagine that all because “God Was on the MOVE” The Earth shook and the sky began to sweat! Well, the devil and his imps and any enemies you may have picked up along life’s journey better know that God is On the Move in Your Life, and if they do not mean you well, they might want to leave you alone right about now! This is not a game to God by any means. He loves us enough to come and get us, and anyone around us causing harm is about to shake and sweat!

“…God was on the march…”: I love the word “march” (and not just because I’m a March baby) but more so because of its definition: It means, “to walk in a military manner; to proceed quickly and with determination; to take part in an organized procession to make a protest.” I reiterate, God is Playing No Games! He’s coming in military style to go to war…OVER YOU! And He’s not dragging His feet either, He’s moving quickly and with determination to get you out of whatever you’re in! He’s protesting your imprisonment of pain. You can’t stay there! He’s dressed, armed and ready to do battle, and win! So even when you experience those moments when you think no one loves you enough to fight for you, know that God is not included in that number! He Will March In and Fight For You Because the Battles Not Yours Anyway…It’s the Lord’s!

“…Even Sinai trembled at the sight of GOD ON THE MOVE, at the sight of Israel’s God…”: Can you imagine a MOUNTAIN trembling because of the SIGHT of God On the Move?! “Trembling” is defined as “to shake involuntarily with quick, short movements, as from fear; weakness; to quake or quiver;” Something as Big as a Mountain even Trembles at the Sight of God On the Move! Once again, everything and everyone in your life, will tremble with excitement or fear, at the Sight of God On the Move in Your Life! How Powerful For Everything to Be Affected When God Moves! And so will your emotions, finances, marriage, children, job, dreams, etc…they will all be Moved by the Move of God in Your Life!

“…at the sight of Israel’s God…”: What excites me about this part is how repetitively Israel messed up with God, and still He came to their rescue over and over again! Which is of great encouragement to you and I, as we’ve messed up with God multiple times as well. And yet, as many times as we’ve gotten it wrong, He still exercises His right to rescue us! We’ve had to go in a 40-year circle due to our disobedience, bad choices, and the like, and still God Has Not Forgotten About Us! He’s still Israel’s God, and He’s still ours!

“…You pour out rain in buckets, O God; thorn and cactus become an oasis For your people to camp in and enjoy. You set them up in business; they went from rags to riches”: As empty and depleted as we’ve felt, God is about to March and Move On Our Behalf to Pour Out Buckets of Blessings! Even though we’ve been suffering in the Desert of Despair, Depression and Discouragement, yet God is about to Bathe Us in Living Waters! We’re about to be immersed in an Oasis of Healing Waters. And we won’t be there for 2 minutes either. We’re going to “…CAMP IN AND ENJOY…” And He doesn’t stop there!  But as broke, bankrupt and in debt as we’ve been, He’s about to “…SET US UP IN BUSINESS; WE’RE GOING FROM RAGS TO RICHES”

Listen, I get it, I know it’s been a rough time, a hard time, a time of hardship, trial and struggle. But be encouraged, GOD IS ON THE MOVE, AND HEADING IN YOUR DIRECTION! IT WON’T STAY LIKE THIS AND NEITHER WILL YOU! YOU WILL MOVE FROM HERE AS SOON AS GOD MOVES! You’ve cried, prayed, fasted, read the bible, pleaded with heaven, summoned all the angels, and still nothing has happened…UNTIL NOW! But Now Is Your Time of Transition!

The word “transition” is another one of my favorite words. By definition it means, “the process of changing from one state or condition to another.” And that perfectly defines you today my friend, you are transitioning! God is on the move, heading in your direction to make a change in your life for the better! You’ve settled and suffered here for far too long, and now it’s time to change and transition out of this mess into your miracle!

Remember, Every Time You Call On the Name Jesus, You Call On the Savior’s Help and Rescue! So don’t throw in the towel and give up! NO! Remember, We Walk By Faith, Not By Sight. So no matter what you see, remember what His Word has said: Psalm 68:7-10, “God, when you took the lead with your people, when you marched out into the wild, Earth shook, sky broke out in a sweat; God was on the march. Even Sinai trembled at the sight of GOD ON THE MOVE, at the sight of Israel’s God. You pour out rain in buckets, O God; thorn and cactus become an oasis For your people to camp in and enjoy. You set them up in business; they went from rags to riches.” (MSG)

Let Nothing and No One Move You Anymore From This Day Forward! The only important move for you to keep in my mind is the Movement of God…because It’s Coming…And So Is He! Right to Your Rescue!

Be Encouraged, GOD IS ON THE MOVE…AND HEADING IN YOUR DIRECTION!

“God is constantly on the move. I cannot stay where I am and follow God at the same time; responding requires movement.” (Margaret Feinberg)

“Do not ask God to guide your footsteps if you’re not willing to move your feet.” (Pinterest)

“Sometimes God closes doors because it’s time to move forward. He knows you won’t move unless your circumstances force you. Trust the transition. God’s got you!” (Pinterest)

“God is on the move to rescue people from misery to everlasting happiness, which can only be found in Him.” (John Piper)

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

“God has great things in store for us, but we have to keep moving forward to get where He wants us to be.” (Pinterest)

“Today is a new day, so rise up and move forward into the victory God has prepared for you.” (Joel Osteen)

“God was on the move; God is on the move; and God will always be on the move. Those who walk with God and listen to God are also on the move. Reading the Bible so we can live it out today means being on the move always. Anyone who stops and wants to turn a particular moment into a monument, as the disciples did when Jesus was transfigured before them, will soon be wondering where God has gone.” (Scot McKnight)

“Great moves of God are usually preceded by simple acts of obedience.” (Steven Furtick)

“You have been assigned this mountain to show others it can be moved.” (Pinterest)

“Sometimes our lives have to be completely shaken up, changed, and rearranged to relocate us to the place we are meant to be.” (Pinterest)

“Perfect faith is not faith that moves God. Perfect faith is faith that moves us to trust God when He doesn’t seem to be moving.” (Andy Stanley)

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

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