“How to Get UP When You’re DOWN”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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“I’d Rather Be Different, Than Die!”

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Numbers 14:24, 26-32, “But My servant Caleb, because he has a DIFFERENT spirit and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land into which he went, and his DESCENDANTS shall possess it…And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, How long will this evil congregation murmur against Me? I have heard the complaints the Israelites murmur against Me. Tell them, As I live, says the Lord, what you have said in My hearing I will do to you: Your DEAD BODIES shall fall in this wilderness—of all who were numbered of you, from TWENTY YEARS OLD AND UPWARD, who have murmured against Me, Surely NONE shall come into the land in which I swore to make you dwell, EXCEPT CALEB son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun. But your LITTLE ONES whom you said would be a prey, THEM WILL I BRING IN and they shall know the land which you have despised and rejected. But as for you, your DEAD BODIES shall fall in this wilderness.” (AMP).

Earlier in Numbers 13 Caleb said to Moses: “…Let us go up at once and take possession [of the Promised Land] for we are well able to overcome it” But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we” And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out…” (Numbers 13:30-33 NKJV).

Notice two attitudes at work:

1…AN ATTITUDE OF DOUBT: Ten of twelve spies came back saying, “It CAN’T be done!” But the majority isn’t necessarily right! Here this, if God promises you something, it’s yours even if you’re in the minority! Don’t let a few foolish, faithless folks who are clothed in fear cause you to forfeit a fruitful future in the land of promise! If it’s only two people out of two-hundred, GO FOR IT ANYHOW! I would rather look silly on the way to obtaining my inheritance, than to look ridiculous walking away from my wealthy place, because of a few fools with a whole lot of Sight, but No Vision, Courage or Tenacity!  The majority report terrified God’s people; which caused them spiritual amnesia. Because, they forgot the last forty years of His Super Natural Provision! But How Is That Even Possible?! How do you forget what the Lord has Already Done?! In other words, how do you panic when you have to go for a physical when God has already healed you in the past? Look at it like this: If nothing is there, You’re Healed! If something is there, He’s Healed You Before, And He’ll Surely Heal You Again! Either Way, How Do You Justify Fear of the Future When He’s Already Fulfilled Promises In Your Past?! Church, Get Your Faith Together! Be People of Courage and Go For It Inspite of the Circumstances, Conditions and even the Company surrounding you! Now, I know that’s a little different than what most people are doing today, but I’d rather be different than die! You see, Fear Will Make You Look Foolish! I’ll Prove It! They were so fearful that they even talked themselves into believing that Egypt (of all places) was actually the land of milk and honey! Listen to what they said: “Is it a small thing that you have brought us up out of a land flowing with milk and honey, to kill us in the wilderness…” (Numbers 16:13 NKJV) Do you know how stupid that sounds? Fools, Egypt was a land of straw and slavery, masters, whips, beatings and bricks, not milk and honey! Never allow your fear of the future to cause you to reconstruct a faulty view of your past! For your greatest blessing is before you, not behind you! And what’s coming will always be better than what’s been! For the Latter house shall be Greater than the Former house! So, what was their problem? They allowed their surroundings to influence them more than what God said! Saints, Don’t Let It Happen To You! Don’t You Ever Allow Intimidation or Imagination To Cause You To Miss Out On God’s Promises For Your Future?! Never Allow What People Say to Alter What God Has Already Said! There Is No Problem That Can Stop the Process of God’s Promises From Coming to Pass In Your Life! I Challenge You to Be Different Than the Doubters! You never want doubt and fear to cause you to say stupid stuff like: “God may have worked miracles in the past, but He doesn’t do it anymore.” Which as a result of this kind of thinking and talking and unbelief, not one of them entered the Promised Land except Joshua and Caleb! So, Which Company Do You Belong To? The ten or the two, the fearful majority or the faithful minority? Think about it: Twelve were sent, and only Two had a good report! Therefore, Your Challenge For The Week Is To Examine The People In Your Circle That Box You In! And When You Locate Them…Break Out The Box! Understand that when you allow people’s distorted thinking to box you in, it will eventually reshape your faith in God! And you’ll find yourself like Israel, going around in the same circles for 40 years going absolutely nowhere! And you know why? Because a box is a coffin, and I’m not ready to die! I Rather Be Different Than Die! Get Out The Box! I know this isn’t the status quo, but like Facebook I have the authority to change my status as often as I want to! Therefore, every day, you  should have a different status! On Monday My Money Is Coming to Me; On Tuesday My Tuition Is Paid In Full; On Wednesday I’m Walking In Wealthy Places of Favor; On Thursday I’m Triumphant Over Every Trick, Trouble and Trial, On Friday My Future Is Fruitful, On Saturday Every Full Scholarship Available Is Hunting Me Down, and On Sunday I’m Shouting Because All Week Long I Broke the Status Quo! Daily Remind Yourself, Get Out the Box! If you have a company of twelve friends and only one has faith, kick the rest to the curb, and drive full force into your fruitful future! Besides, the passenger seat is made for Only One Person anyhow! Therefore, that one person might as well be a person of Faith!  I Warn You: Be Different Or Die!

2…AN ATTITUDE OF FAITH: God said, “But My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land…and his descendants shall inherit it” Do you realize that the company you keep can even hinder the blessings of your household and your posterity?! Read the text: God said, “…AND HIS DESCENDANTS SHALL INHERIT IT” Now, I can’t speak for anybody else, but as for ME, as a wife, oh I will help my husband exam and exonerate (release) some friends! Why? Because My Inheritance Is At Stake! You see, if he hangs around doubtful, faith-faltering, negative, pessimistic, fearful men, that attitude is contagious! And His Infection Can Kill My Inheritance! The Devil Is A Liar! His Present Inner Circle Will Not Choke Out My Future Blessings! Therefore, You Need to Search the Company You Keep Then Hire, Fire, Promote and Demote Accordingly, for You Alone Are The CEO of Your Life and Future! In this day and time everybody’s trying to fit into a mold! But I need to hear you say, “You Didn’t Make Me, You Can’t Mold Me!” I’ve decided to dare to be different! No, I’m not doing what you doing, and going where you going! Why? Because I’ve got a wealthy future of fulfilled promises STANDING before me, and I won’t allow the company I SIT amongst to rob me and leave me for dead in the wilderness, all because I was too fearful to be different! Boxes are coffins, and I’ve got too much to live for to die now! “I Rather Be Different Than Die!” And if So, Then Get Out The Box!

Church, When God Commands You to Go Forth…GO! You are not spineless, nervous, panic-stricken, fearful, timid, nail-biting, anxiety driven cowards! This is the Generation of Courage! Therefore, Possess the Land, Possess Your Promises, and Bless Your Posterity! And what’s “Posterity”? It means “All Future Generations Of People!” It’s Old French Origin “Posterite”, from Latin “Posterus” Simply Means “Following!” All Future Generations Are Depending On You To Get This Thing Right So That They Are Literally Birthed Into Blessings that Are Already Awaiting Their Arrival! So Don’t Let Them Down! There’s a Fruitful Future Following Behind You, Make Sure You Lead Them Straight Into The Promised Land! However, bear in mind: Anytime there’s a Promise Lingering In Your Future this Great, You Better Believe Folks Will Come From Near and Far to Discourage Your Possession! Especially those who are about to die! Don’t Let Them Do It! God Promised It To You And Your God Cannot Lie! “God is not like people. He tells no lies. He is not like humans. He doesn’t change His mind. When He says something, He does it. When He makes a promise, He keeps it” (Numbers 23:19 GWT). So Let Them Talk While You Walk Into the Land of Promise! Listen: When you made the deliberate decision to be different than the rest, God made a decision to deliberately bless you better than the rest! Unfortunately, however, today people so easily flow with the “norm”; they easily “fit in”; they easily “follow the crowd”; they easily stick with the same ole bunch of knuckleheads doing the same ole stupid knucklehead stuff day in and day out. Romans 12:1-2, “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. DON’T BECOME SO WELL-ADJUSTED TO YOUR CULTURE THAT YOU FIT INTO IT WITHOUT EVEN THINKING. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. UNLIKE THE CULTURE AROUND YOU, ALWAYS DRAGGING YOU DOWN TO ITS LEVEL OF IMMATURITY, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” (MSG) Listen: if you’re going to attain this great promise from God than you’re going to have to do something different! And Your Something Different Will Be Something New!” Why? Because It’s A New Day, A New Year, A New Decade, A New Thing And A New Move of God!

 “Behold, I am doing a NEW THING! Now it springs forth; do you not perceive and know it and will you not give heed to it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert?” (Isaiah 43:19 AMP) God says He wants to “…do a NEW THING…” For YOU, so disregard the circumstances and believe the God who cannot lie! “So shall My Word be that goes forth out of My mouth: it shall not return to Me void [without producing any effect, useless], but it shall accomplish that which I please and purpose, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11 AMP) So If God Said He’s About To Do Something New For You, You Better Believe It and Get Ready! The 10 spies who thought the same, died the same! They thought the same thing, they died the same way in the same place! But Caleb, who had a different spirit, thought differently, acted differently, Lived and Attained The Promised Land! All because he dared to be different!

I like the word “different” because it means “not the same as anything else; or to produce and perform something new!” “Then said the Lord to me…I am alert and active, watching over My Word to PERFORM IT” (Jeremiah 1:12 AMP) People of God, Get Your Tickets Quick and Arrive Early For the Show Because the Lord Is About to PERFORM His Word In Your Life Today! Are You Ready For It?

Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall SPRING forth…After feeling like you’ve waited forever, Get Ready, God will move Suddenly and Shift You From Egypt to the Promise Land of Exceeding Abundantly Above All That You Could Ever Ask or Think According to the Power at Work In You! Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall SPRING forth… You’re Heading Into The Right Season! It’s Your Season To SPRING Forth! Therefore, Don’t You Dare FALL Back Into the Wrong Crowd! Remember Anything In The Box Is Dead! And I’d Rather Be Different Than Die!

If you’re not ready you’ll miss the next open door or the next great idea that God has RESERVED just for you! And do you know what the word “Reserved” means? It means “To keep for future use” or my personal favorite “To make pre-determined arrangements to be kept for the use of a particular person”. “Reserved” also means “To retain or hold for an individual who has the right or entitlement to something”! It further means “Funds kept available by a bank, company, or government” not to mention, “An area of land set aside for the access of a particular person”! “Reserved” has a Latin Origin “Reservare” which literally means “To Keep Back”! And what does all that mean? Glad you asked! I don’t care how rough it’s been, how bleak it looks or how discouraged you are! The reality is, God Has a New Thing In Reserve Just For You! You are NOT the same as the rest, you will not die stuck in the box, you will not live by the same status quo, You Are Different! And Because You’re Different, There’s a Blessing Reserved and Waiting for Particular YOU and it Includes Funds and Land That Can Only Be Accessed By YOU Because As A Child of the King, It Is Your Right and Entitlement! I don’t care how many died in the wilderness, this is your new day to do something different so you can live and inherit the promises that you are entitled to because of who you are and who you’re attached to! The Bible says, “…since you are Christ’s family, then you are Abraham’s famous “descendant,” HEIRS according to the covenant promises” (Galatians 3:29 AMP) Do you know what an “Heir” is? An “Heir” means “A Person Legally Entitled to the Property or Rank of Another Upon that Person’s Death” It also means “A Person Who Continues the Work of a Predecessor”. I don’t know about you, but I’m certainly determined to continue the work of my Predecessor Abraham! He Was Continually Blessed and that’s My Job Too…To Be Continually Blessed! Listen: Truth Is, Abraham Is Dead! However, His Covenant Promises to His Heirs Is Very Much Alive! And what Covenanted Promises Are We Inheriting? Glad you asked! “And I (God) will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you [with abundant increase of favors] and make your name famous and distinguished, and you will be a blessing [dispensing good to others] And I will bless those who bless you [who confer prosperity or happiness upon you] and curse him who curses or uses insolent language toward you; in you will all the families and kindred of the earth be blessed [and by you they will bless themselves]” (Genesis 12:2-3 AMP)

Is that all the blessing you get? NO! The Bible goes on to say, Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, I will give this land to your posterity…” (Genesis 12:7 AMP) There’s that word again! And what’s “Posterity”? “To All Future Generations”! Literally meaning  your “Following”! In other words, Every Generation That Follows After You Will Reap The Abrahamic Covenant, Promises, Blessings and Favor! But you got to be different to get it!

Now, if you think that’s awesome, you ain’t seen nothing yet, because your inheritance continues to increase! The Bible further states: …Abram was extremely rich…” (Genesis 13:2 AMP) In Case You Forgot…Caleb, You Are Abraham’s Heirs! And you have no need to be selfish either, because God isn’t going to just bless YOU, but even your “Posterity” (All Future Generations Following)! Listen, If You’re Smart, You’ll Do Something Different and Follow Me! And what does the Bible say about Abraham and His “Posterity” Nephew Lot? Glad you asked! “Now the land was not able to nourish and support them so they could dwell together, for their possessions were too great for them to live together” (Genesis 13:6 AMP) Can you even wrap your brain around the fact that God will so favor you that you have to move because where you are can no longer hold you?! Saints, Pack Your Stuff and Get Ready For a New Move Of God! But remember, you got to be different to get it!

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

Did you pay close attention to the text? Of course you didn’t, because if you did, you would be shouting right NOW!

1…No matter where Abram looked (“…northward…southward…eastward…westward…” God declared “…all the land which you see I will give to you…” Go Ahead…It’s Okay, You Can Shout! And If Anybody Says Anything To You, Just Send Them To Me And I’ll Explain Your Unspeakable Joy! Seriously, Can You Imagine Being So Blessed That No Matter Which Way You Turn You Bump Right Into a Blessing?! Here’s Yet Another Warning Saints: GET READY! Or Should I Say Brace Yourself, Because You’re About To Bump Into A Blessing!

2…Not only will Abram receive a “anywhere you look the land is yours” blessing, but God declares, “…I will give to you and to your posterity forever…” Do You Know How Long Forever Is?! It’s defined as “For All Future Time!” and “Continually Without Ever Ceasing”! In other words, you AND all your future generations following you will Forever…For all the time into the Future of Eternity Be Abundantly Blessed, Continually, Without Ever Ceasing! Now, I’ve heard of a Big Blessing, But Only God Can Give You A Blessing So Big That It Outlives You and All Your Future Generations That Aren’t Even Born Yet! That’s What You Call A Radically, Ridiculous, Make No Kinda Sense, I’ll Never Be Able to Explain It Kind of Blessing! Listen, You Are So Favored By God That Not Even TIME Can Stop Your Blessing! Now That’s What You Call a Crazy Blessing! How Can You Be In Time, And Yet Have a Blessing Outside of Time, At the Same Time! Your Blessings Are Absolutely Ridiculous! Your Blessings Are So Big That They Defy Logic! Don’t Make No Sense No Kinda Way! Let folks know, If You Want the Same, Just Do Something Different! Want What I Got, Then Do What I Did, And All I Did, Was Do Something Different!  Go Ahead, It’s Okay…You Can Run Again I’ll Try To Explain To Folks Who Don’t Quite Understand That You’re Being Bombarded With a Blessing That’s Hitting You From Every Direction and Angle! And Believe It Or Not, But That’s Not All! On Top of that “Your Every Direction I Turn” Blessing Is Also Going to Last FOREVER! “For You, O my God, have told Your servant that You will build for him a house (a blessed posterity); therefore Your servant has found courage and confidence to pray before You. And now, Lord, You are God, and have promised this good thing to Your servant. Therefore may it please You to bless the house (posterity) OF Your servant, that it may continue before You forever; FOR WHAT YOU BLESS, O LORD, IS BLESSED FOREVER!” (1 Chronicles 17:25-27 AMP). From Now On You Need to Wake Up In the Morning With This Declaration On Your Tongue: “I’M BLESSED FOREVER!” Yep, with my purple hair, 10 piercings, 20 tattoos, green lipstick, orange shirt, blue pants, red shoes and rainbow socks! Yep, I’m Still Blessed Forever! Don’t judge me, I might be different, BUT I’M BLESSED FOREVER! I may look different from the norm, but I’m blessed forever, I may talk funny, but I’m blessed forever, my friends may look a little quirky, but I’m blessed forever, I may have come from the wrong side of town, but I’m blessed forever, I may be divorced, I may live in the projects, my brother may be jail and my sister on welfare, but here me when I tell you, I’m blessed forever! Remind Yourself: different is the new norm! Because I’m different, I’m blessed FOREVER! But you can only get this type of blessing when you dare to be different, when you break out the box, when you stand away from the crowd, when you break the status quo, when you move from the murmurers, when you follow God fully, when you trust and believe His promises! You Can’t Get Something Different Doing the Same Thing!

3…Then God tells Abram, “Arise, walk through the land, the length of it and the breadth of it, for I will give it to you…” Can You Imagine a “Anywhere I Place My Foot It’s Mine” Blessing?! That sounds a lot like Deuteronomy 11:22-25, “That’s right. If you diligently keep all this commandment that I command you to obey – love GOD, your God, do what He tells you, stick close to Him – GOD on His part will drive out all these nations that stand in your way. Yes, He’ll drive out nations much bigger and stronger than you. Every square inch on which you place your foot will be yours. Your borders will stretch from the wilderness to the mountains of Lebanon, from the Euphrates River to the Mediterranean Sea. No one will be able to stand in your way. Everywhere you go, GOD-sent fear and trembling will precede you, just as He promised” (MSG). Saints, I Challenge You: “Put Your Foot On It!” No Matter How Long or Wide You Walk…The Land Is Yours…Forever! You Better Go To “Sport’s Authority”, “Models”, “Payless”, “Foot Locker”…Somewhere/Anywhere, And Get You A Good Pair a Sneakers And Get To Stepping! Where? IT DON’T EVEN MATTER! THE LAND, IN ALL IT’S LENGTH, IT’S DEPTH, AND WIDTH…ARE YOURS…FOREVER! NOW RUN TELL YOUR HATERS THAT! God Is Giving Me Mountains, Rivers, Seas and Land…FOREVER! No matter what state, city, town, country, it’s mine forever! Deuteronomy 11:24, says: “Every place whereon the soles of your feet shall tread shall be yours…” The word “sole” is defined as the “underside of a person’s foot”. But more importantly, its secondary definition means “One And Only; Belonging or Restricted to One Person or Group” It’s Latin Origin “Sola” Literally Means “Alone”! If I was preaching this, I would tell you to tell somebody, don’t get mad, but this ones for me, alone! If you want the same, be different! Caleb was blessed for having Abraham as his predecessor, he could claim the Abrahamic Covenant Promises and Blessings, which is why Caleb didn’t care about the giants in the land, the promise from Abraham’s posterity that he is attached to as an heir said, One: “Wherever the soles of your feet shall tread shall be yours” and Two: “…GOD on His part will drive out all these nations that stand in your way. Yes, He’ll drive out nations much bigger and stronger than you.” When You’re Different It Don’t Matter! It don’t matter who comes against you, don’t matter who they are, don’t matter what they said, don’t matter what they do, where they come from, what their size is, or who they bring with them to the fight! Just by being different, I don’t even have to fight. I can sit back relax, and enjoy the ride, because God promised me and my posterity, that He alone will drive out all the nations that stand in my way, and He’ll drive out nations much bigger and stronger than me! But You Got To Be Different To Get It! Knowing the promises that were given to your predecessors in the past, is what keeps you focused as you move forward into your future, even when problems arise!

Saints, don’t be like the doubters and die in the wilderness, when you can simply follow God, be different and live in the Promised Land!

Caleb’s…Your Abrahamic Covenant of Generational Promises, Blessings and Favor are Awaiting You! Don’t Die, Be Different and LIVE!

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

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“Don’t Let Comfort Cripple Your Capability!”

dose3

I have quite a few social media sites. With that said, unfortunately, it gives people the misconception that I’m Ms. Technology, when that couldn’t be further from the truth! For instance, as much as I use my cellphone, I know very little about how it really functions, or how to use it to its full capacity. And the reason why? Because outside of making a call, receiving a call, or sending a text, I really don’t care to know much else! However, I’ve come to find out that is to my own loss. You see, truth is, there are so many buttons and gadgets that I really don’t want to take the time to figure out. Honestly, I look at them and simply ignore them. And what makes matters worse is that my phone wasn’t just handed to me. It came in a box with a Manual for Maximum Usage! Have I read the manual? Absolutely not!

Finally, I got tired of everybody telling me how awesome my phone is and all the great things it’s capable of doing. So I enlisted the help of one of my IT guys to pick his brain. And to my amazement, I could not believe all the things I was able to do, that I wasn’t doing, only because I didn’t know that I could! I was so comfortable with what I knew, that I didn’t want to put in the work to find out what I really needed to know. And what I needed to know was that my comfort was crippling my capability! Now, at the click of one button I can access all of my schedules (and finally avoid so many scheduling conflicts because who knew my phone could organize my dates in priority without my help?). With one button I can check all of my email accounts. With one button I could have all of my social media sites on one page. I could even control what goes on in my house, while I’m away, all by my phone! And all of this was at my fingertips, but I was too complacent to grab a hold of its full capability!

Now, let’s see what the Bible has to say about this. Matthew 14:25-29 reads, “And in the fourth watch of the night (3:00-6:00 a.m.) Jesus came to them, walking on the sea.  When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. But immediately He spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I! Do not be afraid!” Peter replied to Him, “Lord, if it is [really] You, command me to come to You on the water.”  He said, “Come!” So Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus.” (AMP).

All the disciples were trying to do is ride out the storm. But Peter suddenly got a glimpse of the power of his Master and of something supernatural he could do if he risked everything on Jesus. And suddenly Peter was doing what people don’t do. He was walking on water!

Jesus may be preparing you to step up to something far more supernatural than you’ve ever been or you’ve ever done before. In fact, if you’re anything like me, He’s made your heart restless for more so you would get out of the boat and start walking toward Him in an exciting new way. Truth is, there are quite a few endeavors that I’ve had my heart set on for quite a while now. And fear and nervousness about stepping into something new, uncomfortable, and unfamiliar is honestly terrifying! But I don’t want to miss a moment because of a minute of insecurity. 

Peter found out that day that if Jesus wants you to do it – no matter how beyond your capability it may be – He will give you whatever it takes to get it done!

A lot of our Christian lives are like my multi-faceted cellphone. We’re settling for a level that is far below where we could be living. We’re looking at all those spiritual buttons and gadgets. Maybe we even know some other people who have already tapped into those capabilities, but we’re settling for a powerless life when Christ in us wants to make our life absolutely powerful. We’re settling for the mediocre when we’re wired for the miraculous.

Who knows what will happen if you finally decide to get out the boat and apply for the mortgage, the business, student or car loan. Who knows what will happen if you finally decide to get out the boat and head that ministry or start a new one. Who knows what will happen if you finally decide to get out the boat and try that, or go there. Truth is, being inside the boat, especially during a storm, seems like the safest, best and most comfortable, and sensible place to be. But if Jesus isn’t in the boat, do you really think it’s the best place to be? If He’s outside the boat, even in the storm, don’t you think it’s better to be where Christ is than where your Cushion is?

You have the Holy Spirit of Almighty God living in you. You have backing you up the authority that Jesus has over everything in this universe. You have Jesus’ resurrection power in your life. Question is: So why aren’t you living like it? Are you settling for only pushing a couple of God’s buttons when there are so many more that could open up a whole new frontier for you?

You need to be reading the Manual. You know that’s the Bible, and you need to be reading it every single day. Not just for theology, not just for a lesson to teach or a Word to preach. But looking for the keys to powerful faith and then using them. And tell the Lord, “Lord, I want the “something more” you’ve made my heart hungry for. Then surrender yourself in a new, fresh way to Him. With all the things that are going on in your life now, update that old surrender. Let go of those areas that you’ve insisted on controlling. Get out of that safe little boat and dare to walk where you’ve never walked before!

Facts: You will never get THERE staying HERE! Selah!

Yes, this requires chance, risks, the probability that it won’t work, even failure. And yet I challenge you to try it anyway!

Think about it: Can you imagine how David’s story would’ve turned out if he stayed in the field with the sheep because he’d become comfortable in what he’s used to doing? What if Abraham decided not to leave his people and country? What if Noah decided he didn’t want to chance looking silly building an ark? What if Moses’ stutter kept his mouth shut? What if Esther thought that she wasn’t good enough since she was an orphan? What if Deborah said ‘no thanks, I’ll just stay in the back since men go in the front’? What if Paul thought his past was too bad for him to have a better future? What if Peter thought his denial would lead to the Lord’s ultimate denial? What if Hannah decided to accept her barrenness as this is just the cards I’ve been dealt? What if Joshua and Caleb agreed that the majority was right? What if Rahab thought my profession will hinder me from protection? What if Mary said the public scandal would be too much for me to bear, kindly use someone else?

Can you imagine the tragedy of having their stories re-written with the pen of fear?

Today, listen to what your manual is telling you: 

Matthew 19:26, “But Jesus looked at them and said, “With people [as far as it depends on them] it is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (AMP);

Matthew 17:20, “for I assure you and most solemnly say to you, if you have [living] faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and [if it is God’s will] it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.” (AMP);

Mark 11:23, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea!’ and does not doubt in his heart [in God’s unlimited power], but believes that what he says is going to take place, it will be done for him [in accordance with God’s will].” (AMP);

Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose—I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.]” (AMP)

Ephesians 3:20, “Now to Him who is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us,” (AMP).

Like my cellphone, when you read the manual, you’ll be amazed at all you’re capable of doing! So stop allowing your comfort to cripple your capability!

The word “cripple” is defined as “unable to walk or move properly through disability or injury; to make someone unable to move or walk properly; to cause severe and disabling damage to something”. And that’s exactly what your comfort is doing! It’s crippling your spiritual walk! When something or someone is cripple, their walk is unsteady and unstable. Reminds me of James 1:8, “being a double-minded man, unstable and restless in all his ways [in everything he thinks, feels, or decides]” (AMP)

You never want fear and comfort to cause you to be unstable, because that will cause you to think ‘I can’t do this’; to feel like ‘I’m not strong enough to accomplish this’; and then make poor decisions like ‘let someone else who is more qualified attempt this.’ 

However, that’s not how your story is going to end! Today is the day you find your courage, your strength and your faith. Today is the day you deliberately decide I’m not staying in this comfort zone any longer. I may fall, I may fail, I may get it wrong, but I won’t get stuck in this place of mediocrity any longer. Today, I’m getting out of the boat! Yes, I know no one has ever done it before; yes, I know it’s safer in the boat during the storm; yes, I know I’m taking a big risk and chance; yes, I know those who are in the boat are probably talking about me making the dumb decision to do something new, uncomfortable, unfamiliar, and different; yes, I know they’re sitting in the boat thinking I’m crazy for even trying this; yes, I know they’re waiting for me to sink so they can say I told you so; yes, I know getting out of the boat to walk on water is strange, nuts, odd, and even dangerous. AND YES, I’M STILL GOING TO DO IT ANYWAY! Selah!

Think of all the inventors and inventions. Can you imagine if they allowed the ridiculousness of doing something different to stop them from trying? We wouldn’t have lights, trains, planes, cars, computers, medicine, washing machines, or cellphones! People on transplant lists would just have to die because who’s crazy enough to try and replace a heart or kidney? 

Saints, it’s a new day, a new month and it’s about to be a new year! Don’t you want better next year than this year? Well then, do something better! Do something different! Do something new!

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” (Albert Einstein)

So, this year, stretch yourself; challenge yourself; dare yourself; compete with yourself; push yourself; encourage yourself; motivate yourself!

Remember this: There Is No GROWTH In Comfort Zones; Only Stagnation!

Ronald E. Osborn said, “Undertake something difficult; it will do you good. Unless you try something beyond what you have already mastered, you’ll never grow.

Let’s look briefly at Luke 5:4:

“…Now GO out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.” (NLT); “…PUSH out into deep water, and lower your nets for a catch.” (ISV)

The word “Go” in its simplest form means “To Move To Or From a Place” And that’s what you need to do if you are going to get what you’ve never gotten before! You’re going to have to Move From Where You Are and Move Towards Where You Need To Be! You Can’t Get It Standing Still or Staying Where You Are! Your Destiny Is Not On a Shallow Shore, It’s Out In The Deep Sea, So Get Up Off Your Hind Parts and GO! Move Out Into the Deep!

The word “Push” in its simplest form means “To Exert Force So As To Move From and Move To.” Listen, You Are Not Going to Get This Passively! You are going to have to Exert Force! Which is why Comfort Zones are so Dangerous! They make you Complacent! And worse yet, they make you Stagnant!  

The word “Complacent” means “Smug and uncritically satisfied with oneself or one’s achievements” Which is why so many miss out on greater blessings because they’ve become so satisfied with where they are currently and what they’ve achieved and attained thus far! It’s Latin Origin “Complacere” means “To Please”. And that’s all they did, was reach a certain goal, and sit back with the 3rd place ribbon in their hands and never getting back in the next race to try for the number one slot! Don’t Do It! Don’t Become Complacent! There Is Far Too Much MORE For You To Attain, But You’ve Got to Believe You Can and Then Exert Force to Attain It!  

The word “Stagnant” means “Motionless and often having an unpleasant smell as a consequence.” Don’t Let This Happen To You! Stagnant Water Stinks because it goes No Where! So animals in particular, go to the bathroom in Stagnant Water! And any waste just lying around gets stuck in Stagnant Water furthering its Awful Smell! Warning: Gossip Garbage Is Dumped In the Lives of Stagnant People! After All, They’re Going No Where and Doing Nothing and So Everyone with Everything and Anything Just Dumps and Deposits! On the other hand, When You’re Moving You Have No Time For Mess! So Don’t Just Stand There…MOVE…AND LAUNCH OUT INTO THE DEEP!

You’ve been HERE too long, today you’re moving over THERE!

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” (Neale Donald Walsch)

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

“The hardest thing to do is leaving your comfort zone. But you have to let go of the life you’re familiar with and take the risk to live the life you dream about.” (T. Arigo)

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

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

“Like fish in a bowl, we often just accept it for what it is and always has been, unaware that there’s an entire ocean of possibility out there.” (Kacey Cardin)

“If we are not a little bit uncomfortable every day, we’re not growing. All the good stuff is outside our comfort zone.” (Jack Canfield)

“Do one thing every day that scares you.” (Eleanor Roosevelt)

“The sooner you step away from your comfort zone, you’ll realize that it really wasn’t all that comfortable.” (Eddie Harris, Jr.)

“Don’t be afraid to give up the good and go for the great.” (Steve Prefontaine)

“Life’s like working out; there’s no pain in the comfort zone, but is that really where you want to live?” (Robin Sharma)

“If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.” (Thomas Jefferson)

“If we all did the things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves.” (Thomas Edison)

“God does not begin by asking us about our ability, but only about our availability, and if we then prove our dependability, He will increase our capability.” (Neal A. Maxwell)

“Don’t limit yourself to someone else’s opinion of your capabilities. Be you. Dream, plan, execute!” (Dr. Steve Maraboli)

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: “The Christmas Guest That Will NEVER Leave!”

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“Overcoming the Fear of…’What If?'”

What If

Proverbs 15:15, “All the days of the desponding and afflicted are made evil [by anxious thoughts and forebodings], but he who has a glad heart has a continual feast [regardless of circumstances].” ( AMP).

The word “foreboding” is defined as “fearful apprehension.” The word “apprehension” means “fearful anticipation.” And “anticipation” means “to look forward to; to be aware of (a future event) and prepare for it.” How sad to say that far too often, we as believers, find ourselves foreboding. We walk around with a ‘fearful apprehension, anticipating and looking forward to future events that we’ve already deemed unfavorable for us, and then we even go so far as to prepare for the absolute worst scenario (which however, rarely happens).’ Reminds me of the quote: “Most of the things you worry about NEVER happen.” (Author Unknown).

Which is why I rather follow the advice of Joseph Hall, he quoted, “He that taketh his own cares upon himself loads himself in vain with an uneasy burden. I will cast all my cares on God; He hath bidden me; they cannot burden Him.” Sounds a lot like Scripture to me! “Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.” (1 Peter 5:7 AMP) The word “cast” has several definitions, however, the one I love most means “to assign, allocate, discard, and shed.” Furthermore, the word “Assign” means to “transfer to someone else”. Its Latin Origin “assignare”, from “signare” literally means “to sign”. And who has officially signed His name to your cares? Just one name, JESUS! “…By the name of JESUS CHRIST OF NAZARETH, the One you killed on a cross, the One God raised from the dead, by means of his name this man stands before you healthy and whole. JESUS is ‘the stone you masons threw out, which is now the cornerstone.’ Salvation comes no other way; NO OTHER NAME HAS BEEN OR WILL BE GIVEN TO US BY WHICH WE CAN BE SAVED, ONLY THIS ONE.” (Acts 4:8-12 MSG). JESUS has the Authority by His Name to Carry Any Concerns or Cares You Cast On Him! So Why Are You Still Carrying Them?! In addition, that word “shed” means to “allow to fall off; to discard; to get rid of; to take off; to cast or give off; to separate, to divide; to scatter.” With that said, what I love most about ‘shedding’ is that we can learn a lot about it from animals. Think about it: Have you ever seen a cat or dog gather up and save the fur it ‘sheds’, so it can keep it and reapply it later? Absolutely not! Just the thought of it sounds silly, and so does the fact that you keep reapplying what God keeps ‘shedding’ from your life!

Listen, When You Give it to God, Don’t Be an Indian-Giver as They Use to Say When I Was a Kid! Don’t Give it to Him, Then Take it Back! That’s Stealing! Remember: He Has Officially Signed His Name to Your Cares, They Now Legally Belong to Him! Therefore, Why Do You Keep Stealing Them Back?!

Lastly, the word “cast” is defined as “a bandage stiffened with plaster, molded to support and protect a broken limb.” How amazing, when you “cast” it protects until it heals! So what are you going to do today? Cast Your Cares On God, for He Will Protect You From Them as You Heal!

“For the despondent, every day brings trouble; for the happy heart, life is a continual feast.” (Proverbs 15:15 NLT)

The word “despondent” is defined as “to be in low spirits from loss of hope or courage.” Its Latin Origin “despondere” literally means “to give up and abandon.And isn’t that what we do when life becomes too much? We get low in our spirit, we lose hope and courage, and eventually give up and abandon our faith as faulty.

Listen to this: An old sea captain once asked a naval student how he’d handle a sudden storm. “I’d throw out an anchor, sir,” he replied. “But WHAT IF another storm approached?” asked the captain. “Then I’d throw out another anchor,” he said. “And WHAT IF storms just kept coming?” the old man asked. “I’d keep throwing out anchors,” said the student. “Hold on, son,” said the captain, “where are you getting all those anchors?” “From the same place you keep getting all those storms, sir,” came the reply!

Can you imagine if we would become so convinced, fully persuaded, and secure in our faith, that despite the ferocious storms of life, we simply keep ourselves anchored in God? Let’s take a peek into a stormy situation with the Apostle Paul, The Bible reads, “We came under the lee of the small island named Clauda, and managed to get a lifeboat ready and reef the sails. But rocky shoals prevented us from getting close. We only managed to avoid them by throwing out drift ANCHORS…On the fourteenth night, adrift somewhere on the Adriatic Sea, at about midnight the sailors sensed that we were approaching land. Sounding, they measured a depth of 120 feet, and shortly after that ninety feet. Afraid that we were about to run aground, they threw out four ANCHORS and prayed for daylight.” (Acts 27:16-17; 27-29 MSG). I love the fact that Paul and the crew, continuously threw out Anchors! And when the storms of life rage in your life you need to make sure you remain Anchored in God the same way!

Now before you go and physically buy a million Anchors as a symbol of strength and encouragement in God, let me finish the story about Paul’s storm! The Bible says, “At daybreak, no one recognized the land—but then they did notice a bay with a nice beach. They decided to try to run the ship up on the beach. They cut the ANCHORS, loosed the tiller, raised the sail, and ran before the wind toward the beach. BUT WE DIDN’T MAKE IT. STILL FAR FROM SHORE, WE HIT A REEF AND THE SHIP BEGAN TO BREAK UP.” (Acts 27:39-41 MSG). Now I know you must be thinking, “What kind of encouragement is that?!” “I get the anchors and still end up shipwrecked?” LOL! Yep! But don’t lose hope just yet, read on, “…Paul…gave orders for anyone who could swim to dive in and go for it, and for the rest to grab a plank. Everyone made it to shore safely.” (Acts 27:42-44 MSG). You see, you can quote all the Scriptures in your Bible Vocabulary, you can have mountain moving faith, be anchored in God and still sink the ship! However, don’t miss the blessing, the Bible yet says, “…EVERYONE MADE IT TO SHORE SAFELY.” It was uncomfortable, it wasn’t easy, it wasn’t the desired way for this to work out. YET, they survived the storm and made it out safely! Listen: No matter how severe the storm, always remain anchored in God (no foreboding, no despondency, no loss of hope, faith and courage). Just cast it all on God, anchor your faith and trust in Him and His plan and purpose, then watch Him bring you through and bring you out safely on the other side of it all! Your hair may not be perfect, your makeup will not be flawless, you will not want to sing all the encouraging hymns, you will not want to run, jump, dance or praise, but you will make it out and be grateful, despite what the storm did to your looks!!!

Let’s go a little further: When you’re in the thick of things, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the storm that’s raging inside you and start listening to the “WHAT IF’S”. Can we be honest? “WHAT IF the check doesn’t come on time…WHAT IF the stock loses value…WHAT IF my mate walks out…WHAT IF the job closes down…WHAT IF the scholarship doesn’t come through…WHAT IF I can’t afford this house or this car…WHAT IF the test results are bad…” The list is endless! And because Satan knows that “…fear hath torment…” (1 John 4:18), he’ll keep pouring on the WHAT IF’S endlessly!

You see, if he can’t get you puffed up through pride, he’ll try to bring you down through fear! It’s one of his best tools! However, you don’t have to allow his tools to work on you! Paul says, “Leave no [such] room or foothold for the devil [give no opportunity to him].” (Ephesians 4:27 AMP) That word “foothold” is defined as “a place where a person’s foot can be lodged to support them securely.” However, the second definition is the one I want to highlight, it means “a secure position from which further progress may be made.” Do you not understand that the enemy doesn’t need to come in and invade your entire life? All he needs is an entryway. Just a small space big enough to put his foot, so he can step in your life and instead of you trampling him underfoot, he now has the opportunity, invite and advantage to trample you!

Don’t let fear win! Satan will use fear to torment you, but God has a tool of His own, and His works much better! Listen to 1 John 4:18…again…in full: “There is NO FEAR in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love TURNS FEAR OUT OF DOORS AND EXPELS EVERY TRACE OF TERROR! For FEAR BRINGS WITH IT THE THOUGHT OF PUNISHMENT, AND [SO] HE WHO IS AFRAID HAS NOT REACHED THE FULL MATURITY OF LOVE [is not yet grown into love’s complete perfection.]” (AMP). You see, the WORK OF PERFECT LOVE IS STRONGER THEN THE TOOL OF FEAR! And you my friend are indeed PERFECTLY AND GREATLY LOVED! “For God so LOVED the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16). The Amplified Bible says it like this: “For God so GREATLY LOVED and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.” (AMP).

Another Scripture I love is Romans 5:8, “But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” However, I love The Message Bible translation: “Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready. He presented Himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn’t been so weak, we wouldn’t have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put His love on the line for us by offering His Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to Him.” (MSG)

Another of my favorites is, John 15:13, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.The Amplified Bible says it like this: “No one has greater love [no one has shown stronger affection] than to lay down (give up) his own life for his friends.” (AMP)

You Need Not Allow Satan to Torment You With Fear, Not When You Are So Greatly and Perfectly Loved By God! Rest On That and Sleep Well Tonight, Because His Love is a Very Peaceful Pillow!

In addition, you should Always Remember Jesus’ Words: “Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]” (John 14:27 AMP). Likewise, Remember our opening text, Proverbs 15:15, “All the days of the desponding and afflicted are made evil [by anxious thoughts and forebodings], BUT he who has a glad heart has a continual feast [regardless of circumstances].” (AMP). You are not to operate out of fear, forebodings, despondency, intimidation, or anxious thoughts, but you are to have “…a glad heart…[REGARDLESS OF CIRCUMSTANCES].” That word “Circumstance” is defined as “unforeseen events outside one’s control.” And as scary as that may be for you, there are a few Scriptures that should bring you immediate comfort as soon as you start to allow circumstances to scare you:

Philippians 4:6-7, “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.” (MSG);

Matthew 11:28-30, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (MSG);

Psalm 139:1-16, “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.” MSG);

Hebrews 13:5, “…be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]; for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]” (AMP)

If That Doesn’t Comfort You, Regardless of  Your Current Circumstances, Nothing Else Will!

Another note on the word “Circumstance”, Its Latin Origin “Circumstantia”, from “Circumstare” literally means “Encircle (to surround) or Encompass (to surround and have or hold within)”. I know circumstances can make you feel just like that, Completely Surrounded With No Way Out! However, For the Believer, There’s Safety, Even When You’re Surrounded!The Lord’s people may suffer a lot, but He will ALWAYS bring them SAFELY through.” (Psalm 34:19 CEV).

Not to mention another of my favorites. I like to call it my 91 for my 911, Listen to the Call: Psalm 91,You who sit down in the High God’s presence, spend the night in Shaddai’s shadow, Say this: “God, You’re my refuge. I trust in You and I’m SAFE!” That’s right—He rescues you from hidden traps, shields you from deadly hazards. His huge outstretched arms protect you—under them you’re PERFECTLY SAFE; His arms fend off all harm. Fear nothing—not wild wolves in the night, not flying arrows in the day, Not disease that prowls through the darkness, not disaster that erupts at high noon. Even though others succumb all around, drop like flies right and left, no harm will even graze you. You’ll stand untouched, watch it all from a distance, watch the wicked turn into corpses. Yes, because God’s your refuge, the High God your very own home, Evil can’t get close to you, harm can’t get through the door. He ordered His angels to guard you wherever you go. If you stumble, they’ll catch you; their job is to keep you from falling. You’ll walk unharmed among lions and snakes, and kick young lions and serpents from the path. “If you’ll hold on to Me for dear life,” says God, “I’ll get you out of any trouble. I’ll give you the best of care if you’ll only get to know and trust Me. Call Me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times; I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party. I’ll give you a long life, give you a long drink of salvation!” (MSG).

People of God, I know Circumstances can be draining, and Life’s Storms can be overwhelming, however, you are so perfectly and greatly loved by God that He’s given you Word on top of Word on top of Word of His Promises to You that He’s Got You! So, no fear, no worry, no fret, no torment, no foreboding, no despondency. Just faith, hope, courage and reliance on God! Stop letting the “What If’s” beat you down, and instead turn the tables and beat them down not with “WHAT”….but with “WHO”! Remember: JESUS has officially and legally signed His name to all your cares, concerns and even to your What If’s! They belong to Him, they are no longer your property! So no more stealing and no more trespassing! Let God’s Hands Handle It!

“May God himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you together—spirit, soul, and body—and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ. The One who called you is completely dependable. IF HE SAID IT, HE’LL DO IT!” (1 Thessalonians 5:24 MSG)

“Fear can paralyze us and keep us from believing God and stepping out in faith. The devil loves a fearful Christian.” (Billy Graham)

“Fear arises when we imagine that everything depends on us.” (Elisabeth Elliot)

“A perfect faith would lift us absolutely above fear.” (George Macdonald)

“Hope is the only thing stronger than fear.” (Author Unknown)

“Never let fear drown the dreams God placed in your heart for He will make those dreams come true.” (Author Unknown)

“Outside the Will of God, there’s nothing I want. Inside the Will of God there’s nothing I fear.” (A.W. Tozer)

“I’m not afraid of the devil. He can’t handle the One to whom I’m joined.” (A.W. Tozer)

“Unbelief is based in fear. Belief is a necessity for God to operate and function in your life.” (Creflo A. Dollar)

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” (Nelson Mandela)

“With the power of God within us, we need never fear the powers around us.” (Woodrow Kroll)

“We fear men so much, because we fear God so little.” (William Gurnall)

“I will not fear, for You are with me and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.” (Thomas Merton)

“Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.” (Francis Chan)

“The only God-ordained fear is the fear of God, and if we fear Him, we don’t have to fear anyone or anything else.” (Mark Batterson)

“Fear of the devil is nonsense. Fear of demons is foolish. The Spirit of God anointing the Christian heart makes the soul impregnable to the powers of darkness.” (John G. Lake)

“Meet your fear with faith.” (Max Lucado)

“There is no greater terror than the fear of death. But, as a Christian, you are learning to die daily. Thus, when the actual time comes for your spirit to leave your body, you will have already gained the victory over its sting.” (Alicia A. Willis)

“The phrase ‘do not be afraid’ is written in the Bible 365 times. That’s a daily reminder from God to live every day being fearless.” (Author Unknown)

“Your limits are liars. Your fears are thieves.” (Robin Sharma)

“The enemy will try to use fear to paralyze the anointing from activating in your life. Confidence does not tolerate fear. Your past is irrelevant to God, He is concerned about your future.” (Bill Winston)

“Fear tolerated is faith contaminated.” (Kenneth M. Copeland)

“There is no room for fear. You have the Almighty God with you and on your side.” (Lisa Osteen Comes)

“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek. (Author Unknown)

“The one place where the Christian can be naked without fear is in the Presence of Christ.” (R.C. Sproul)

“God created you on purpose, for a purpose – and He never wants fear of the unexpected to hold you back.” (Author Unknown)

“Fear is born of Satan.” (AB Simpson)

“Replace your Fear of What If with Faith in I Am.” (Author Unknown)

“If I could hear Christ praying for me in the next room, I would not fear a million enemies. Yet distance makes no difference. He is praying for me.” (Robert M. Mccheyne)

“Choose faith instead of fear and life will become a lot more fun.” (Dave Willis)

“Fear God and your enemies will fear you.” (Benjamin Franklin)

“Your excuses are just the lies your fears have told you.” (Robin Sharma)

“Can you imagine a life with no fear? What if faith, not fear, was your default reaction to threats?” (Max Lucado)

Mark 5:36, “Overhearing what was being said, Jesus said to the synagogue official, “Do not be afraid; only keep on believing [in Me and my power].” (AMP)

Psalm 34:4, “I sought the Lord [on the authority of His word], and He answered me, And delivered me from all my fears.” (AMP)

Proverbs 29:25, “The fear of man brings a snare, But whoever trusts in and puts his confidence in the Lord will be exalted and safe.” (AMP)

Romans 8:14-15, “For all who are allowing themselves to be led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading again to fear [of God’s judgment], but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons [the Spirit producing sonship] by which we [joyfully] cry, “Abba! Father!” (AMP)

Isaiah 44:2, “This is what the Lord who made you And formed you from the womb, who will help you says, ‘Fear not, O Jacob My servant; And Jeshurun (Israel, the upright one) whom I have chosen.” (AMP)

Isaiah 41:10, “‘Do not fear [anything], for I am with you; Do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, be assured I will help you; I will certainly take hold of you with My righteous right hand [a hand of justice, of power, of victory, of salvation].’” (AMP)

Isaiah 41:13, “For I the Lord your God keep hold of your right hand; [I am the Lord], Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’” (AMP)

Psalm 27:1, “The Lord is my light and my salvation—Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the refuge and fortress of my life—Whom shall I dread?” (AMP)

Psalm 118:6, “The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can [mere] man do to me?” (AMP)

2 Timothy 1:7, “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity or cowardice or fear, but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of sound judgment and personal discipline [abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control].” (AMP)

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

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“If You Don’t Like What You See, Change It!”

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The Bible’s story is one of Change from Genesis, the book of “Beginnings,” to Revelation, where God Himself says: “…Behold, I make all things New…” Therefore, whatever your situation is today, Change Is Possible Through Him!

It doesn’t matter where you are, you are nowhere compared to where you can go.” (Bob Proctor).

However often you’ve repented, confessed and tried changing, God Can Change What You Can’t – And Make the Change Last!

The Scripture is Still True: “Now Unto HIM That Is ABLE…” (Jude 24). The word “Able” means “Having the Power, Skill, or Means To Do Something; or to be Skillful and Competent”. Its Latin Origin “Habilis” literally means “Handy”. Therefore, Regardless to How Long You’ve Been Like This, or “Its” Been Like This, Your God Is Able to Change You and “It” For the Better, For Good! How? Because He Has the Power To Do It, He Has the Skill To Do It, He Has the Means To Do It, And He Is Competent Enough To Do It! So, Put It In His Hands, Because He Is ‘Handy’ Enough to Handle It! It’s Time For You to Change, No More Excuses!

I love Bikram Choudhury’s point of view on Change, he said: “Never too old, never too bad, never too late, never too sick to start from scratch once again” So I Reiterate, No More Excuse! It’s Time For You to Change!

However, Change Requires Understanding Certain Principles. Let’s see what they are:

1. YOU DON’T NEED TO CHANGE OTHERS IN ORDER TO CHANGE YOUR LIFE:I’d be happier if only he’d stop…”; “Things won’t improve for me until she starts…Such beliefs make you focus on the Problem and Not the Solution, Ignore Realistic Options and Feed Depression! Therefore, follow the admonition of the Word of God:Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best YOU CAN WITH YOUR OWN LIFE” (Galatians 6:4-5 MSG). Instead of trying to change others, which only produces Resistance and Resentment, Let God Show YOU What YOU Need To Do Differently To Improve YOUR Handling Of The Problem! You See, When You Stop Doing What Doesn’t Work and Change Your Reactions to the Problem, Others Often Change Spontaneously!In a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks” (Warren Buffett). You’re Getting Nowhere Trying to Patch Up the Leaks In Other People’s Lives/Boats! Instead Reserve That Energy and Be More Productive By Changing Your Own Boat and Saving Your Own Life! Sometimes, you have to step back even from those whom you love and let them handle their own life, as you get a handle on yours. Galatians says to carefully explore who you are and the work you have been given and sink yourself into that, not into them! Work on becoming the person God has intended you to be and the works that He has entrusted to your hands to fulfill. That alone will keep you busy for a lifetime! Instead of concentrating on them, concentrate on you and make improvements on your own building. Does your attitude need adjusting, your faith need increasing, your hope need refreshing, your trust need deepening? Does your habits and addictions need to be addressed? Does your marriage or family or children have issues that you’ve unsubscribed from because you keep renewing the issues from everyone else’s lives and crisis? Can you become a better believer, leader, spouse, coworker or boss? Does your prayer life need improving and your consecration need more consistency? Do you need to add more time to your Word study? Are you flowing or stagnant in your anointing? Are your gifts stirred up and set on fire or just dashed in ashes? In other words, we are all a work in progress, but you’ll get stuck in your progress if you keep comparing yours to theirs, or trying to fix theirs instead of your own. You’ve been given this one life, make it the best it can be, which will never happen if you’re constantly working overtime to change them and theirs, but taking vacation, sick, personal and comp days when it’s time to change you and yours! REMEMBER: YOU DON’T NEED TO CHANGE OTHERS IN ORDER TO CHANGE YOUR LIFE!

2. TRUE CHANGE BEGINS BY ADDRESSING YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD: Bitterness and Frustration over problems just result in distancing from God, leaving you to handle the issue in your own strength. Surrendering to Him Changes You Fundamentally, Challenging Pride, Envy, Resentment, Fear, Dishonesty, and the like…Which Are All Characteristics of Poor Life Management!Let’s take a good look at the way we’re living and reorder our lives under God…” (Lamentations 3:40 MSG). With…our lives under God…,we’re more Honest, Self-Aware, Able to Perceive Realistically; We’re Respectful, and Prepared to Become A Better Person! But This Requires You To Tighten Your Relationship With The Lord! You Need Him Near For The Change To Take Place But You Have To Keep In Mind: Come Near To God, And God Will Come Near To You…” (James 4:8 NCV). Did you recognize the order of Nearness? The Responsibility Falls On YOUR Shoulders FIRST!Come Near To God…and AFTER you do…God Will Come Near To You…You See, The Only Thing Holding Up Your Process of Change, Is Your Procrastination to Come Near To God FIRST!  If you want Him to Come Near and Change You, You’ve FIRST got to Come Near Him In Communion!  So, Renew Your Relationship With Him, FIRST, and He Will Do The Rest! So many have made their relationship with God out to be a 911 distress call only! That’s the basis of their communication. They get in a jam, and cry out to God. Is that wrong? Of course not. But it is if it’s the only time in which you do! Imagine being married, but the only time you speak to your spouse is when you’re in a jam! The only time you spend time with your spouse is so they can get you out of the trouble you got yourself into. What if the only intimacy you have with your spouse is when there’s a crisis? Exactly how long do you think this marriage is going to survive such a one-sided damaged relationship? Well, God is the very same way! He values relationship. After all, He gave us the life, death and life again of His only begotten Son for no other reason than so He could develop a relationship with us as His children also. Therefore, don’t you think that a relationship with Him is going to require more than a ‘help me God’ conversation? A relationship with God is talking to Him; listening to Him; complimenting, praising and worshiping Him. It’s trusting Him, and having faith in Him. It’s leaning on Him when you know there’s no other way for you to remain on your feet. It’s loving on Him, consistently. It’s faithfulness and unconditional love. It’s lovingly mentioning His name, and letting everyone know that you belong to Him alone. When is the last time you romanced God that way? If you had to stop and think about it, your relationship with God needs some immediate repair work done! God doesn’t want to change you from a distance, He desires an up close and personal relationship, so, how near (or far) have you allowed yourself to become? Selah…REMEMBER: TRUE CHANGE BEGINS BY ADDRESSING YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD!

3. YOU MUST BE WILLING TO CHANGE UNCONDITIONALLY: In the early stage of therapy, counselors bump into theChange-If syndrome. The client sees change as a strategy of give-to-get:I’ll change if they are willing to do…If not, I won’tWith God, your reward for changing is intrinsic. You get the joy of His approval, plus all the benefits that follow from being a Changed Person! This includes God’s Gift of…salve to put on your eyes, so you can see” (Revelation 3:18 NIV). The ability to see things clearly will enable you to understand the problem and deal with it effectively, Regardless of What Someone Else Does, or Doesn’t Do! You Have to Want Change For Yourself, And Not Based On Anyone Else’s Actions, or Lack Thereof! So, Just In Case They Don’t Get Any Better Keep in mind:Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together” (Marilyn Monroe). Whether the Friendship or Relationship Stays Intact Or Not, You Need to Make the Decision to Change Yourself, For Yourself, Unconditionally! Think about it, what if they decide they are very comfortable with their dysfunction and see no need nor reason to change, does that mean you’re supposed to stay the same too? Absolutely Not! If your friendSHIP or relationSHIP or leaderSHIP has been damaged, and water is leaking everywhere and it’s about to sink, do you stay in the boat with them because you’ve both been in this same boat with each for such a long time? Or, do you make the executive decision that something needs to change, and quickly?! When a lifeboat comes alongside you and they say, ‘you can go ahead if you want to, I’ll stay right here, nice and comfortable where I’ve always been’, do you sit back down and remain in a dysfunctional dingy or do you leave them to their craziness and get out into that available lifeboat, even if it means the saving of your own life and the loss of theirs, at their own hands? It may sound harsh, but you can’t live your life boxed into the decisions of how others have decided to live theirs. Love you unconditionally enough to change you, even if they remain the same. REMEMBER: YOU MUST BE WILLING TO CHANGE UNCONDITIONALLY!

4. YOU MUST ACCEPT THE TRUTH THAT CHANGE MEANS LETTING GO OF THE PAST: Whatever You Cling To Ultimately Controls You! If the offense resulted from your actions, or the loss from your poor judgment, Confess It To God, Receive Forgiveness and Leave It At the Cross! If it was the other person’s fault, but you’ve held onto it because you think you’re the innocent party anddeserve your pound of flesh,Remember: the Freedom and the Options You Miss Are Too High a Price For the False Comfort of Being Right!Be kind and compassionate to one another, Forgiving each other, just as in Christ God Forgave You” (Ephesians 4:32 NIV) Or better yet, another translation says it like this:Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive One Another As Quickly And Thoroughly As God In Christ Forgave You” (MSG). This will Release You From the Chains of Resentment and Give You Back Your Future! If You’re Bound by Chains of Regret Over “coulda, shoulda, woulda,” God Stands Ready to Make Your Future Better Than Your Past Could Ever Have Been (Joel 2:25, “I’ll Make Up For The Years…” MSG). Dr. Maya Angelou clearly agreed because she said:Someone was hurt before you, wronged before you, hungry before you, frightened before you, beaten before you, humiliated before you, raped before you…YET, Someone Survived…You Can Do Anything You Choose To Do And you can choose to ask God to help you change so He can make up for the years! Please, Choose to Change Your Cold, Unforgiving Heart, and Enjoy a Better Life! Keeping in mind:Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward” (C.S. Lewis). Far too many waste years of their lives pointing fingers, laying blame, making excuses and justifications, giving reasons, but never changing. Today is the day where you break this bad habit! Whether it happened 30 seconds, minutes, weeks, months, or years ago, let it go! The forgiveness is for you not for them! It’s so you can finally be free from your emotional prison that’s causing you to go mentally insane! Do your part of asking for forgiveness, and extending forgiveness, then leave the rest in God’s hands as you change what He’s strengthened your hands to handle! REMEMBER: YOU MUST ACCEPT THE TRUTH THAT CHANGE MEANS LETTING GO OF THE PAST.

5. CHANGE MEANS ACCEPTING RISK: Your anxiety will kick in and say,What if I don’t get the job? What if the economy fails? What if I make the effort to change but they don’t?We like ironclad guarantees. The predictable always feels less threatening than sticking our necks out! But the Price of Our Security Often Means Remaining Stuck With the Status Quo! Sometimes Your Greatest Risk Is Taking No Risk At All! God Often Requires You to Leave the Path That Feels and Looks Safe, For the One That Feels and Looks Risky! Why? Because:NOW FAITH is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses” (Hebrews 11:1 AMP). Your Faith Is Full-Proof Assurance, God’s Confirmation, the Title Deed Guaranteeing That the Change You Want Will Take Place If You Act On It!Nothing diminishes anxiety faster than action” (Walter Anderson). “Change in its simplest definition meansTo Make Or Become DifferentThat’s all God is looking for you to do! Take a Risk and Do Something Different! After all, all that you have been doing up til now hasn’t worked, so What Have You Got To Lose? Ask yourself,If I Dare to Change, What Could I Finally Gain?” Because: “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten” (Tony Robbins) Break out of that neat little box with the bow that you’ve trapped yourself in all these years. For once, don’t follow the crowd! Don’t do what everyone is telling you, you ought to do. Seek God, hear what He has to tell you, then follow His lead! Let 2019 be the year you take a risk on YOU! You’ve spent enough of your years taking risks on everybody else and their lives, families, businesses, education, ministries, churches, vision, goals, and dreams. This time is your time to take a risk on you! REMEMBER: CHANGE MEANS ACCEPTING RISK!

6. CHANGE WILL HAPPEN IF FAILURE IS NOT ALLOWED TO STOP YOU: Fear of Failing Often Stops Us From Trying, Yet Many of God’s Best People Experienced Failure On Their Way to Success! Consider Abraham, Moses, Elijah, David, etc…All of Them Succeeded Only AFTER Dealing With Personal Failure! Indeed, the Richest, Most Profound Change Often Happens AFTER We’ve Tasted Failure! Until then we tend to be cocky and of not much use to God! Peter failed the Lord miserably, and at the most crucial moment (Matthew 26:50, 72,…some men came forward, took hold of Jesus, and arrested him…Again Peter denied it and swore with an oath, “I don’t know the man!”  GWT). But even after that, Peter grew, becoming Christ’s Choice to Lead His Newly Empowered Church On the Day of Pentecost, Winning Three Thousand Souls (See Acts 2)! So Don’t Let Failure Stop You! You Can Change! Even the Apostle Paul went from beating Christians to becoming one and leading many!Here is the test to find whether your mission on earth is finished. If you’re alive, IT ISN’T!” (Richard Bach) Yes, Even After All Your Failures, You Too Can Still Change! You’re not too old; it’s not too late; and you haven’t messed up too bad! God can bring recovery out of your ruins if only you’d trust Him! REMEMBER: CHANGE WILL HAPPEN IF FAILURE IS NOT ALLOWED TO STOP YOU!

In a Nutshell: You’ve been this way long enough! Therefore, no more excuses, reasons or justifications! Today simply determine to Change Your Life For the Better! REMEMBER: IF YOU DON’T LIKE WHAT YOU SEE, CHANGE IT!

“Your Life Does Not Get Better By Chance, It Gets Better By Change” (Jim Rohn)

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at, change.” (Wayne Dyer)

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” (Socrates)

“I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.” (Jimmy Dean)

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” (George Bernard Shaw)

“Change can be scary, but you know what’s scarier? Allowing fear to stop you from growing, evolving and progressing.” (Mandy Hale)

“Growth is painful. Change is painful. But nothing is as painful as staying stuck somewhere you don’t belong.” (Author Unknown)

“Don’t be afraid to change. You may lose something good but you may gain something better.” (Author Unknown)

“Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me.” (Carol Burnett)

“The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future by merely changing his attitude.” (Oprah Winfrey)

“Life has no remote. Get up and change it yourself.” (Author Unknown)

“The 3 C’s of life: Choices, Chances, Changes. You must make a choice to take a chance or your life will never change.” (Author Unknown)

“Small changes eventually add up to huge results.” (Author Unknown)

“Embrace change. True success can be defined by your ability to adapt to changing circumstances.” (Connie Sky)

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” (Rumi)

“You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” (John Maxwell)

“Change is hard because people overestimate the value of what they have and underestimate the value of what they may gain by giving that up.” (Author Unknown)

“You can’t change how people treat you or what they say about you. All you can do is change how you react to it.” (Author Unknown)

“Nothing Changes If Nothing Changes.” (Author Unknown)

“The key to change is to let go of fear.” (Rosanne Cash)

“If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.” (Gail Sheehy)

“Changing the world begins with the very personal process of changing yourself. The only place change can begin is where you are, and the only time you can begin is always now.” (Author Unknown)

“Change is hard at first, messy in the middle, and gorgeous at the end.” (Robin Sharma)

“If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.” (Author Unknown)

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

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“When Life Knocks You Down, Kneel at the Throne of Grace”

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Hebrews 4:13, And not a creature exists that is concealed from His sight, but all things are open and exposed, naked and defenseless to the eyes of Him with Whom we have to do.”  (AMP)             

Pastor Craig shared the following: “The barber shop I used to go to was definitely a man’s world, and you got far more than just a haircut when you went there; you also got an ear full. See, something happens when men sit down in a barber’s chair. It’s as if they were administered truth serum, and they start to suddenly talk openly about their relationships, marriage, kids, health issues, and job frustrations, whether you want to hear it or not. The same happens in bars, too, or so I’ve been told. The barber, the bartender, and even the beautician, they all seem to be like “Safe” people that you can sort of unload on. Unfortunately, however, they can listen, but they usually can’t help very much. Understanding this, makes it clear to me that there’s something in all of us that’s looking for somewhere we can really let out what we’re always holding in. You need it; I need it too. It’s Called A Safe Place

Well, Hebrews 4:13-16 declares, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. Therefore, since we have a great High Priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we possess. For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have One who has been tempted in every way just as we are yet was without sin. Let us then approach the Throne of Grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Now, that’s what you call a Great Passage of Scripture!

All of us carry a heart full of emotions that we sometimes don’t feel “Safe” to share. But, we need to. If we don’t, they just boil up inside, and often they boil over out of us and Unintentionally Hurt People! Especially Those Whom We Love Dearly!

You see, instead of “Safely” exposing them, we cover them, we mask them, we redirect them. Why? Well, we’re afraid that the person’s attitude, the one we’ll tell, might change if they know what we Really feel, what we Really did, what we Really said, what we Really thought, or who we Really are!

Truth is, there’s this little boy or girl inside all of us that’s sometimes insecure and scared, AND Well Covered up! And unfortunately, the older we get, the more Skillful we become at knowing how to Better cover it up with our mask! We get a fresh haircut or a fresh hairdo, put a smile on our face and simply sayNothing’s wrong, don’t worry about me, I’ve got it all together. I’m fine“. And yet there’s this deep anger or hurt inside that we don’t want anyone else to see, and it hurts. There’s fear, there’s doubt, there’s an agonizing struggle with some sin, or secret longing or long ago unhealed physical, spiritual, mental or emotional wound, that has Never been attended to or treated. Well, if that’s you, here’s some good news just for you: GOD ALREADY KNOWS!

That’s what this passage says. In one translation it actually reads, “Everything is naked and open before Him.In other words, we can’t under any circumstance surprise Him! You don’t go to Him and tell Him your struggles only to hear Him say, “Oh, you’re kidding! Really? I didn’t know that.” Because, HE ALREADY KNOWS! And since He already knows the deepest secrets of your soul, HE’S THE BEST SAFE PLACE TO UNLOAD!

So stop suffering in silence, and go ahead and tell Him!

Tell Him about the affair, tell Him what you stole or what was stolen from you, tell Him about your insecurity or deep hurt. Tell Him how you Really feel about what she said or what he did. Tell Him about your loneliness, emptiness and feelings of low self-worth.

You can’t shock Him! He Already Knows! You’re not telling Him to INFORM Him, you’re telling Him to FREE YOURSELF!

And you don’t have to worry about having it all together before you go to tell Him either! He Already Knows this thing has torn you to pieces! So you can be scared there, you can be wounded with Him, you can be weak, you can be wiped out. You can be vulnerable and unsure of yourself. In His presence, FOR ONCE you don’t have to have it all together!

You don’t have to look good. You don’t have to be in control. You don’t have to have your tie straight, and your dress pressed. You don’t have to have a smile on your face and eloquent words on your lips. You don’t have to walk confident! You don’t have to wonder if He’s going to turn His back on you.

Because no matter what you say to Him, HE ALREADY KNOWS!

Telling Him about your sin doesn’t sever you from being a Son of God, nor does telling Him about your dirt disinherit you as a Daughter of the King!

Believe it or not, even the Most Elaborate of Palaces Collect Dust and Dirt! So your rubbish doesn’t remove your Royal Status in the Kingdom! SO TAKE A LOAD OFF AND TELL HIM! HE’S YOUR SAFE PLACE!

The tragedy is we often don’t take advantage of this opportunity for openness with God. Instead we come to Him all wrapped up in some kind of religious prayer talk with all of our ‘thus, ye, thou and saith’! We dress up our hurt and skirt the real issues!

Matthew 6:2-5, “When you do something for someone else, don’t call attention to yourself. You’ve seen them in action, I’m sure—‘playactors’ I call them—treating prayer meeting and street corner alike as a stage, acting compassionate as long as someone is watching, playing to the crowds. They get applause, true, but that’s all they get. When you help someone out, don’t think about how it looks. Just do it—quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way your God, who conceived you in love, working behind the scenes, helps you out. [ Pray with Simplicity ] “And when you come before God, don’t turn that into a theatrical production either. All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, hoping for stardom! Do you think God sits in a box seat?” (MSG)

Matthew 6:9-13, “The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don’t fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply. Like this: Our Father in heaven, Reveal who you are. Set the world right; Do what’s best— as above, so below. Keep us alive with three square meals. Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others. Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil. You’re in charge! You can do anything you want! You’re ablaze in beauty! Yes. Yes. Yes.” (MSG)

Do not come before God in prayer play-acting! This is the time not for a character-role, but for your real life self to come before your God to talk…naked and unashamed! This is the time to give God all of your honesty, with no fluff wording!

We refuse to put the right name on what we’re feeling, because it might scare us to call it what it Really is. But you can’t get delivered until you can define your hurt!

As Leaders, we often times do great damage to our churches when we push people to keep on pressing through instead of sitting down and re-evaluating themselves and their issues!

We want them to constantly scream Victory, Praise, Warrior, Restored, when in actuality, we need them to be honest that when they go home (after the music has stopped, the sermon is over and the anointed atmosphere has lifted) the truthful words they speak are Defeated, Exhausted, Depressed, Scared, Insecure, Confused, Worried and Suicidal.

Church, we can’t keep slapping Scriptures and Spiritual Words on Everything!

People need a “Safe” place to unload their stuff! And sometimes their stuff is not going to sound all that pretty or powerful! Only the TRUTH will set them free, so if we keep teaching them how to Masquerade behind church lingo or church activity, they will forever be BELIEVERS IN BONDAGE!

It’s high time we stop coming to God all dressed up! After all, we’ll Always be “…naked and open before Him!…” says the Scripture! No matter what Steve Harvey original or Rhinestone (suit, shoes, hat and pocketbook to match) that we come dressed or MASKED in, He Already Knows what we really look like! So let’s start our praying where we Really are; not where we should be, or where we think, others think, we should be. When you come Real, open, honest and naked, something supernatural always happens! You go to the Throne of Grace and you get mercy and grace to help you in your time and hour of need!

I’m one of those teachers who love to use analogies, so let’s try this: Stacy needs $100, I have $100 to give her, I just need to know WHERE SHE’S AT so I can bring it to her. I ask Stacy where she is, she says 200 Clinton Street, but she’s actually at 100 Clinton Street! Does Stacy get what she needs? NO! Was what she needed available to her? YES! What was the one and only problem? STACY WASN’T HONEST ABOUT WHERE SHE REALLY WAS! Likewise, you’ll NEVER be able to get the healing, deliverance, and peace you need until you can talk to God and tell Him EXACTLY WHERE YOU ARE! And sometimes exactly where you are will sound like this:

‘I’m terrified about this diagnosis’; ‘I’m frustrated about taking all of these pills’; ‘I’m in so much pain, why can’t the doctors figure out what’s wrong with me?’; ‘I’m confused about whether to stay in this marriage or finally file for divorce’; ‘I don’t know what else to do about my children, my daughter is flunking out of school, and I have no idea what I’ll do if my son comes home talking about another baby mama’; ‘They’ve laid off almost everyone in my department, what will I do if I’m next?’; ‘I’m about to default on my mortgage’; “I don’t know how to recover from this loss or heal from this grief”; ‘Tuition just went up again’; ‘The car won’t start’; ‘My parents are getting older and their health is failing, and there’s only me’; ‘I’m tired, weary, lonely, ashamed, angry, bitter, resentful, exhausted’; ‘I can’t cry another tear’; ‘Will I pass this exam’; ‘What will I put on the table for dinner with no food in the fridge?’

And beyond the physical, some of your bigger struggles behind where you Really are, are spiritual, and sound like this:

‘What’s the point of praying since God isn’t listening?’; ‘What’s the point of asking when I always get a ‘no’, what’s the point of seeking when I remain lost, what’s the point in knocking when the door Never opens for me?’; ‘My faith is on empty’; ‘My hope has become helpless’; ‘My strength has weakened’; ‘My praise has been on pause for a little while now’; ‘My worship can’t get one hallelujah out anymore’; ‘The more I try to walk by faith, my feet keep stumbling in fear over all I see’; ‘The sermons are always about blessings, breakthrough, healing, deliverance, promises, promotion, joy and peace, so what’s the point of me listening, since that’s a Word that’s never for me and my household?’; ‘I can’t remember the last time I had the slightest desire to read the Bible’; ‘All of my songs have turned to sighs’.

Truth is, telling God the truth about where you Really are, can be the most painful conversation you’ll ever have in your life. But if you are to be set free, you have to be honest, even when honesty cuts like a knife! In a nutshell: Stop saying I’m Fine when you’re actually Falling Apart! Only the TRUTH will set you Free! So tell God the Truth! ALL OF IT! It will open up that diseased area in your life to God’s healing power. Then you can finally start to become what you ought to be, because you finally started admitting what you’re not! In other words, don’t act like you’re whole when you’re not, be honest and finally be whole, FOR REAL!

So who needs the barber, or the beautician, or the bartender to confess to? We’ve got a Savior, and He knows you, and He feels with you, and He’s walked your trail. He alone is the “Safe” place to unload the deepest secrets of your soul. You need not carry the weight of the world on your shoulders, not when He’s given you this command and promise: Casting the WHOLE of your care [ALL your anxieties, ALL your worries, ALL your concerns, once and for ALL] on HIM, for HE cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.” (1 Peter 5:7 AMP). Did you get all of that? God doesn’t just want you to give Him what happened yesterday, but you are to cast the WHOLE of your care, ALL of it on HIM! God is waiting for you to tell Him everything! He wants to be your personal confidant! ‘Confidant’ is defined as, ‘a person in whom one confides.’ And ‘confide’ is defined as, ‘to tell someone about a secret or private matter in confidence.’ Its Latin origin ‘confidere’ literally means, ‘to have full trust.’ And what does the Bible admonish us about Trust? 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! Run from evil! Your body will glow with health, your very bones will vibrate with life…” (MSG) And how do you get all of that? By TRUSTING GOD! God desires to be the confidant that you confide in. He desires to be the one you tell all of your secrets to (even the dirty ones that no one but the ones you did dirt with know about). He desires to be the person you trust with your private matters in complete confidence. He places no conditions or stipulations on what you can tell Him! He wants the WHOLE of it, He wants ALL of it, so why are you holding it all to yourself?!

God isn’t telling you to only tell Him the good stuff either! He’s telling you to tell Him about all the anxieties, the worries, and the concerns! In fact, He doesn’t just want you to tell Him, but He wants you to CAST them ALL on Him! That word ‘cast’, is defined as, ‘to throw forcefully; to discard; to shed’ Listen, God isn’t looking for you to approach Him with eloquent words, and hands lifted up in adoration. NO! He’s saying, ‘I won’t take it personal, just throw it all at Me, even if you have to do so forcefully, I can take it, I can handle it!’ Your job is to ‘discard’ (‘to get rid of what is no longer useful or desirable; to reject’); and to ‘shed’ (‘allow to fall off; discard; get rid of; take off; cast or give off; separate; divide; scatter’) So, why is all of that stuff still in your possession?! When God Himself said, to cast it, discard it, and shed it! 

People of God, you are carrying weight God never gave you. You are carrying burdens that God is waiting for you to hand over to Him. You are trying to figure out stuff with your finite mind, when you have an infinite God shaking His head wondering how much longer is My child going to suffer and struggle needlessly as if I were absent, and not present?!

In Case You Forgot: You are NEVER Alone!

Hebrews 13:5, “Let your character or moral disposition be free from love of money [including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions] and be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]; for He [God] Himself has said, I WILL NOT IN ANY WAY FAIL YOU NOR GIVE YOU UP NOR LEAVE YOU WITHOUT SUPPORT. [I WILL] NOT, [I WILL] NOT, [I WILL] NOT IN ANY DEGREE LEAVE YOU HELPLESS NOR FORSAKE NOR LET [YOU] DOWN (RELAX MY HOLD ON YOU)! [ASSUREDLY NOT!]” (AMP)

Did You Read That? “…for HE [GOD] HIMSELF HAS SAID…” He Didn’t Send a Prophet, He Didn’t Send a Prayer Team, He Didn’t Have Anyone to Preach It or Teach It and Hope You Get It! NO!  “…for HE [GOD] HIMSELF HAS SAID…” HE LOVES YOU SO MUCH THAT HE’S SPEAKING DIRECTLY TO YOU HIMSELF! AND WHAT DOES HE HAVE TO SAY THAT’S SO SUPER IMPORTANT THAT HE WON’T LET ANYONE SPEAK ON HIS BEHALF? HE SAYS TO YOU…TODAY:

“…I WILL NOT IN ANY WAY FAIL YOU NOR GIVE YOU UP NOR LEAVE YOU WITHOUT SUPPORT. [I WILL] NOT, [I WILL] NOT, [I WILL] NOT IN ANY DEGREE LEAVE YOU HELPLESS NOR FORSAKE NOR LET [YOU] DOWN (RELAX MY HOLD ON YOU)! [ASSUREDLY NOT!]”

That’s a Whole Lot More Than Just: “I’m your boy, I got your back or I’m here for you girl”! GOD HIMSELF SAYS, REPETITIVELY MIGHT I ADD, I WILL NOT IN ANY WAY FAIL YOU, NOR GIVE YOU UP, NOR LEAVE YOU WITHOUT SUPPORT, NOT IN ANY DEGREE, I WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU HELPLESS, I’LL NEVER FORSAKE YOU, I’LL NEVER LET YOU DOWN, I’LL NEVER RELAX MY HOLD ON YOU!

The Common English Bible says it like this: “…GOD HAS SAID, I WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU OR ABANDON YOU” (Hebrews 13:5 CEV) I Don’t Know About You, But I Love to Hear God Say NEVER! “Never” is defined as “At No Time In the Past, Present or Future; Not On Any Occasion; Not Ever; Not At All; Absolutely Not; Not to Any Degree or Extent; Certainly Not; Surely Not; In No Case; By No Means”

In other words, No Matter What You Have to Go to God and Tell Him, He Will NEVER: “At No Time In the Past, Present or Future; Not On Any Occasion; Not Ever; Not At All; Absolutely Not; Not to Any Degree or Extent; Certainly Not; Surely Not; In No Case; By No Means” FORSAKE, ABANDON OR LEAVE YOU!!! IF THAT’S NOT LOVE, I DON’T KNOW WHAT IS! WITH A PROMISE, GUARANTEE, DECLARATION, DECREE LIKE THIS, WHAT’S KEEPING YOU FROM GOING TO GOD HONEST AND OPEN FEELING COMPLETELY SAFE TO TELL HIM EVERYTHING?! YOU MAY NOT BE ABLE TO GO TO ANYONE ELSE NAKED AND NOT ASHAMED, BUT WHEN YOU COME TO GOD, NO COVER-UP IS NEEDED! YOUR FIG LEAVES CAN STAY ON THE TREE!

Listen: He cares for you, He’s concerned about you, ALL OF YOU, even your secret sins and struggles don’t diminish His devotion! So, Unload on Him Today, He’s Strong Enough to Carry It and You! He Is Your Safe Place!

You who sit down in the High God’s presence, spend the night in Shaddai’s shadow, Say this: “GOD, YOU’RE MY REFUGE. I TRUST IN YOU AND I’M SAFE!” (Psalm 91:1-2 MSG).

“Get on your knees and ask for the blessings of the Lord; then stand on your feet and do what you are asked to do.” (Gordon B. Hinckley)

“Every great movement of God can be traced to a kneeling figure.” (D.L. Moody)

“If weak in prayer, we are weak everywhere.” (Leonard Ravenhill)

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: “Top Muscle-Building Moves for Men”

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“Don’t Let a Dark Past Dim Your Bright Future!”

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1 John 1:5-7, “This, in essence, is the message we heard from Christ and are passing on to you: God is light, pure light; there’s not a trace of darkness in Him. If we claim that we experience a shared life with Him and continue to stumble around in the dark, we’re obviously lying through our teeth – we’re not living what we claim. But if we walk in the light, God Himself being the light, we also experience a shared life with one another, as the sacrificed blood of Jesus, God’s Son, purges all our sin.” (MSG)

So, anyone that really knows me knows, I Hate Scary Movies! It’s just not my thing! And truth is, the reason I hate them, is my own fault! You see, there were some pretty scary (in my opinion) movies when I was younger (there was, Friday the 13th; the Exorcist; Carrie; the Shining; Halloween; the Lost Boys, the Omen, the Texas Chainsaw Massacre; Child’s Play; Nightmare on Elm Street; Hellraiser). But what got me in trouble was the first scary movie I watched (that I was told by my parents specifically NOT to watch, and that was Cujo!) Now, in my little head, I didn’t get the big deal, after all, it was just a crazy movie about dog, right? I mean how bad could it be?! Well, can I tell you, I swore off all dogs after that movie! In fact, I watched it and refused to go anywhere near my own dog anymore! In the end, I was grounded and sent to bed. Oh sure, Mom and Dad thought I could watch that kind of movie and drift right off to sleep in la la land. But that was NOT my sweet, peaceful night at all! The problem is, adults don’t believe what kids know to be the awful truth – that there are monsters in your closet at night! And in my case, the monster was on four legs, named Cujo and was waiting in my closet for me to go to sleep! But my parents expected me to close my eyes and just start having sweet dreams? Come on!

Actually, I really had nothing to fear from those monsters that lived in my overactive imagination. But then there are real monsters that a lot of us have locked in a closet somewhere in our heart: the secret pain, the secret sin, the secret darkness of that unforgiving heart. They’re like vampires. They live in the darkness. But as I came of age, I discovered that they start to lose their power when you drag them into the light.

My parents were indeed upset that I disobeyed them and watched a movie they forbade me to see. But they also loved me too much to let me have nightmares. And so, they took a flashlight from the garage and turned it on (in my closet). Believe it or not, but knowing that as long as that light was on, the dark monsters couldn’t get me, gave me a pretty good night’s rest!

However, when it comes to life’s experiences with pain, I’ve found that getting rid of my ‘monsters’ wasn’t as easy or as simple as turning on a flashlight. The monsters of molestation, rape, domestic violence, health battles, homelessness, and the like didn’t exactly go away as quickly as the flip of a light switch for me. Nor did they for my friend Tynelle.

Tynelle, was abandoned, often physically abused by a drunken father, and cocaine addicted mother. Then she was horribly betrayed by her sister’s boyfriend. She trusted him so much as the brother she never had, and yet he sexually violated her. It was the final chapter in a story that told her a cruel lie, “Tynelle, you are worthless.” A story line that brought her to the brink of suicide not once, but three times. She took pills the first time, slit her wrists the second, and the third time she held a gun to her own head literally.

Thank God, Tynelle came across some wonderful people who led her to Jesus who did what no one and nothing else could do, He saved her! However, there was a few ‘monsters’ left living in her closet; bitterness, anger, mistrust, fear of rejection, not to mention, hatred that she harbored in her heart. Now, all of her feelings and emotions were understandable. But unforgiveness never hurts the person we refuse to forgive. No, instead it eats us alive and, strangely, it ties us to the very person we can’t stand!

Like so many of us who have had to endure mistreatment in whatever form, many of us did like Tynelle and stuffed it in the closet. But there is where it grows into a monster of ungrieved grief, unrepented sin, and unforgiven hurt; a monster that morphs into all kinds of anger, rage, depression and self-loathing.

SIDEBAR: I love plants as much as my mom did (okay, maybe not quite as much as she did), but I do love them. I have one in my office that my boss gave me years ago. At that time, it was the only plant I had in my office. I would water it, and make sure it was placed in a safe location where no one could cause any damage to it. It was absolutely a beautiful plant. But as the weeks went by I noticed it started to look as if it were dying, and it was. I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong and so I asked my boss to take a look at it. I told him I was doing everything you’re supposed to do to keep a plant alive. What he said still helps me today, he said: “If you want it to grow, you have to move it from that dark corner and bring it into the light.” Sounds simple enough. But the way it helped me besides helping my plant, was I’ve learned that if I’m going to heal from hurt, I can’t keep hurt tucked away in a dark corner somewhere. I have to physically bring it out of a dark place and bring it into the light. When I brought my plant into the light it began to heal and grow. When I brought my hurt, pain, discouragement, disappointment, and past into the light it healed and I grew. But it took me to physically move my plant, and to physically move my pain. And it’s going to require you to likewise physically move what’s hurting you to a place where it can heal. Those monsters of yours need to be brought out of the dark and into the light, it’s the only way to get rid of them. Now, before you think my plant was an easy task, let me be the first to tell you, it was not. From the floor to about my shoulder was its height (and I’m only 5 foot 2 inches by the way) so that gives you an idea of how big my ‘little’ potted plant was! Moving it took hard work, and moving my hurt was even harder work. But it needed light, and so did I, so a move had to take place!

Remember This: “Nothing Happens Until Something Moves!” (Albert Einstein)

Listen to our text again:

1 John 1:5-7, “This, in essence, is the message we heard from Christ and are passing on to you: God is light, pure light; there’s not a trace of darkness in Him. If we claim that we experience a shared life with Him and continue to stumble around in the dark, we’re obviously lying through our teeth – we’re not living what we claim. But if we walk in the light, God Himself being the light, we also experience a shared life with one another, as the sacrificed blood of Jesus, God’s Son, purges all our sin.” (MSG)

Once you’ve made the decision to make Jesus Lord of your life, you have LIGHT! And in Him there’s not a trace of darkness! But in us, oh yes indeed there is. That’s why it’s so important to take our darkness to Him. After all, why should we keep stumbling around in the darkness of hurt, heartache, let-downs and disappointments when we can simply come to Him so that His light can outshine our darkness? Why dwell in the darkness of sin, when we can dwell in the light of our Savior?

And just as moving my plant required work, so does walking in the light of God requires work. The Scripture says, “…But if we WALK in the light…”Walk” is present tense. Meaning, this is a daily requirement! In order for this to work, I have to walk, every day. I have to make a deliberate decision to come out of darkness and into His marvelous light. Be warned, this will not be easy, and you’re not going to feel like doing it all the time. But if you are to grow and heal, it is a necessity. When you look at 1 John, it reveals to us that walking in the light brings us out of darkness; brings us into admittance and acceptance; it brings us into a wonderful shared bright light of life with other believers not to mention it grants us a clean slate by purging all our sins. And all we have to do is bring our darkness to His light.

John 8:12, “Jesus once again addressed them: “I am the world’s Light. No one who follows Me stumbles around in the darkness. I provide plenty of light to live in.” (MSG) Therefore, I must ask, why are you living in darkness when you can live in perpetual light? That word “perpetual” is defined as “never ending or changing; occurring repeatedly; seemingly continual.” Its’ Latin Origin ‘perpetualis’, from ‘perpetuus’ literally means “continuing throughout.That’s what you could have if you’d simply bring your darkness to His Light! He Himself is LIGHT! And therefore He promises that if you follow Him, you won’t stumble around any longer in the darkness. And aren’t you finally tired of stumbling around in the darkness? Every time you hear a particular song; see a specific scene in a movie; or hear someone’s voice that sounds like theirs, you return to that dark place, when you could live in the perpetual, never ending, light of the Lord!

NOTE: Once You Start Living in the Light, You’ll Stop Letting Darkness Visit!

Jesus provides plenty of light to live in, what better motivation than that to move out of darkness?

My pastor said something one Sunday that blessed me tremendously. He said, “if the dark cloud you’re under doesn’t move, then YOU move.” And that’s something I’m encouraging you to do today. YOU MOVE! Remember: “Nothing Happens Until Something Moves” (Albert Einstein). And oftentimes that ‘something’ is YOU! So, why live in that darkness a moment longer than you have to? Remember the hard truth is, sometimes you can move IT, and sometimes you simply have to move YOU! Which may require a great deal of separation! Like, moving from those contacts, connections, phone calls, text messages, pictures and emails. Move from that place, from that thing, from that person. Move from re-imagining memories in a prettier light than they actually were. Move from those feelings, that conversation, move from repetitive bad decisions and choices. Move your dark into His light.

Today: Take all of your Monsters out of your Past Closet, and put them in your Prayer Closet instead! Take the regret, the remorse, the bitterness, the anger, the hatred, the revenge, the unforgiveness. Take the broken heart and the broken spirit. Take the fractured mind and the bruised ego. Take what they said and what they did. Even take the part you played in your own self-inflicted pain. Take it all to Him. There is no greater Light than the Lord!

1 Peter 2:9-10, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation, a [special] people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies [the wonderful deeds and virtues and perfections] of Him WHO CALLED YOU OUT OF DARKNESS INTO HIS MARVELOUS LIGHT. Once you were not a people [at all], but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” (AMP). God Himself Called You Out of Darkness, So Why Are You Still Trying to Live There?

Don’t you see that inspite of where you’ve been, what you’ve done and what was done to you, He yet calls you Chosen; a Royal Priesthood; a Consecrated Nation; a Special People; His Own Possession. As dark as you were, He still called you out of darkness!

People of God, He Called You OUT…So Why Are You Allowing Your Past to Keep You IN?!

Despite the Mess, you have since received Mercy, so why not live in it?

That same text in the Message Bible reads like this: “But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do His work and speak out for Him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference He made for you – from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.” (MSG) That’s talking about YOU! The night-and-day difference that God desires to make in your life if only you’ll simply move your feet! Walk out of darkness and into His marvelous light…and all of this awaits YOU! No More Rejection, Just Acceptance. And All You Have to Do is WALK!

And just in case you need DIRECTIONS for your walk, here they are: “BY YOUR WORDS I CAN SEE WHERE I’M GOING; THEY THROW A BEAM OF LIGHT ON MY DARK PATH. I’ve committed myself and I’ll never turn back from living by Your righteous order. Everything’s falling apart on me, God; put me together again WITH YOUR WORD. Festoon me with Your FINEST SAYINGS, God; teach me YOUR HOLY RULES. My life as close as my own hands, but I don’t forget what you have REVEALED. The wicked do their best to throw me off track, BUT I DON’T SWERVE AN INCH FROM YOUR COURSE. I inherited YOUR BOOK ON LIVING; it’s mine forever – what a gift! And how happy it makes me! I concentrate on doing EXACTLY WHAT YOU SAY – I always have and always will.” (Psalm 119:105-112 MSG) That’s how you govern your walk in the light, you use the Word of God as your lamp! It’s your map, your GPS to guide you out of darkness and into light!

Listen, you’ve been under that dark cloud long enough! You’ve been scared of those monsters in that dark closet long enough! Today is a new day, and one in which you need not give old days the opportunity to rob you of. Whatever happened, happened. You can’t undo it; you can’t change it; you can’t go back and alter some of the details of it. But you can decide today, that I’m not going to give another moment to those monsters. My body, soul, spirit, heart, mind and emotions deserve to live in light. I deserve peace, joy, laughter, unconditional love and complete healing and wholeness, and I’ve decided it will start today!

Now, remember, sometimes that will require you to delete the photos, messages and contact information. It may require you to stop talking to that person, or going back to that place. Because you can’t ask God to bring you into the light while you bring darkness with you, still clutched tightly in your hands! No, you have to make the deliberate decision to loose your grip on darkness and let it go! 2 Corinthians 6:14-18, “…How can you make a partnership out of right and wrong? That’s not partnership; that’s war. Is light best friends with dark? Does Christ go strolling with the Devil? Do trust and mistrust hold hands?…” (MSG) The answer, NO! So you cannot ask God to bring you out of darkness, when you refuse to let darkness go! Know today that you can’t take that dark past with you into a bright future!

Whatever your ‘monsters’ are, bring them out of your past closet of darkness and into your present prayer closet of light. You’ve dealt with enough torment, torture, self-doubt and self-pity. You’ve been under that dark cloud far too long. You’ve cried long enough; been depressed and discouraged long enough; you’ve been lonely, angry and bitter long enough; you’ve replayed their role in your drama long enough; you’ve renewed the issues to your past publications long enough. You’ve complained and talked about it long enough. Do some spring cleaning during this summer season! Clean all that old junk out of your closet! Stop allowing hurt to hang around in your closet! Those skeletons in your closet don’t pay rent, and yet you’ve been paying a great price for them to live there, free of cost to them, hefty cost for you! Today serve them their eviction notice, pack them up and put them out!

Bigger, better and greater are waiting for you, just around the bend! Today, determine to make it your turn to change direction! Stop going backwards and start moving forward! Don’t allow that dark past to dim your bright future! Shine His Light on Your Dark Monsters and Finally Be Free From What’s Hiding in the Closet!

John 8:32, “And you will know the truth [regarding salvation], and the truth will set you free [from the penalty of sin].” (AMP)

1 John 1:9-10, “If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just [true to His own nature and promises], and will forgive our sins and cleanse us continually from all unrighteousness [our wrongdoing, everything not in conformity with His Will and purpose]. If we say that we have not sinned [refusing to admit acts of sin], we make Him [out to be] a liar [by contradicting Him] and His Word is not in us.” (AMP)

“Don’t get stuck in your past, use it to fuel your future.” (Pinterest)

“The only way to get over the past is to leave it behind. If you spend your time re-living moments that are gone forever, you might miss out on the special moments that are yet to come.” (Pinterest)

“Don’t let past relationships and old mistakes ruin your future. Don’t let someone or something that didn’t make it in your life continue to hurt you. If you do, you’re still giving a portion of your life to something that no longer exists – it’s like letting your happiness slip into a black hole. Learn the lesson, release the pain, and move on. Scars remind us of where we have been, not where we are headed.” (LessonsLearnedInLife)

“Being stuck in the past is like walking forward with your back facing the front. You’ll always miss out on what’s in front of you.” (Pinterest)

“You can get over a broken past if you decide to believe that there’s nothing in your past that can keep you from having a great future.” (Joyce Meyer)

“Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could’ve been any different.” (Oprah)

“If you want to get over a problem, stop thinking about it. Your mind affects your mouth and your mouth affects your mind. It’s difficult to stop talking about a situation until you stop thinking about it.” (Joyce Meyer)

“Sometimes you have to make peace with your past in order to keep your future from becoming a constant battle.” (Susan Gale)

“Sometimes we get so addicted to murmuring about the past and blaming the past for everything that we miss our whole future. You’re not going to enjoy your future, and you’re not going to enjoy your right now, if all you can do is be guilty and ashamed and afraid of your past.” (Joyce Meyer)

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

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Special Word “POSSESSION!”

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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.”

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

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: “Common Household Hazards”

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“Calling All Caleb’s, Let’s Do This!”

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Numbers 13:30, “Caleb interrupted, called for silence before Moses and said, “Let’s go up and take the land – now. WE CAN DO IT.” (MSG)

Looking over the course of my life I realized that just about everything I’ve done and accomplished, came through risk. Even my love of teaching came through risk. You see, I was a Minister-in-Training and one of the responsibilities was to teach. The problem? I wasn’t raised in church and had no experience teaching, especially of all things the Bible! Truth is, I was still trying to teach it to myself! But there was no way around this whole teaching thing, not if you were going to be in leadership. And it’s not the teaching alone that was terrifying, but the thought of the students not liking me or worse, not understanding what I was teaching. And to make matters worse, I was a bit self-conscious because I had horrible acne, a chipped tooth and the podium was almost as tall as I am (so, even if they could hear me and understand me, could they see me?)! I was worried, scared and quite insecure about my appearance, about my knowledge of what I was teaching etc. There was this one line that rang over and over in my head, ‘I don’t think this is a good idea.’ And if that wasn’t bad enough, the only advice my leader gave me was ‘there’s no reward without risk. Just give it a chance. You’ll never know if you never try.’ Needless to say, I’ve been teaching ever since! But how did that first session go? Absolutely horrible! LOL! I forgot everything but my name! But my leader kept pushing me week after week. ‘You can do this…you’ll stumble, fall, cry, get a badly bruised ego, but you’ll also dust off, get back up and keep walking…trust me, you’ll get there.’ Guess what? It worked! It was worth the risk! Because now, I have the limitless opportunity to travel anywhere and teach, train, develop, lead…to prepare curriculum’s, seminars and workshops. In church, at work, in schools. And all because the reward was worth the risk. I would never be able to do what I do now, if I didn’t take the risk then.

So, what rewards are you missing out on in life, because you’re too afraid to take the risk?  

Well, how about we start with the definition of ‘risk’? It’s defined as, “a situation involving exposure to danger, injury or harm; the possibility that something unpleasant will happen; the possibility of loss.” Its’ French Origin ‘risque’, from its Italian Origin ‘risco’ literally means ‘danger.’ And a few synonyms are ‘hazard; pitfall; threat; and trouble.’ Trust me, I hear you screaming, ‘that’s why I’m not risking it!’ Oh, but that’s where you’re wrong my friend.

Truth is, anything worth having is worth the risk to get! And yes, that risk will include putting you in situations that can be dangerous (after all, you may fall on your face in front of everybody); the risk can cause injury and harm (especially to your ego, conceit, arrogance, high-mindedness and pride); something unpleasant can happen (you can forget the words, freeze up, stutter, faint, be talked about, gossiped about); you may even encounter loss (especially of the security you had in your comfy, comfort zone); it may be hazardous (because you just may find out that those in your circle were the very ones keeping you boxed in); you may even come across a pitfall (which is defined as ‘a hidden or unsuspected danger or difficulty; a covered pit for use as a trap.’ Yep, the very ones who give you the opportunity may actually be setting you up for a great, unsuspected fall); you may actually experience threats (especially if you happen to become better than the others who just knew you’d try, fail and give up…but you didn’t! And so you will have to deal with the oppression that comes with every opportunity.); and lastly, you will have some trouble (after all, did you really think you’d achieve something great without it?)

Yes, my friend, you will have to risk it to get it, but once you do, you’ll realize it was worth it!

Remember this: You Can’t Attain What You Don’t Go After! And when what you’re going after is Big, you’ll always be tempted to let Small stumbles stop you dead in your tracks! Don’t You Dare Let It Happen!

You press forward no matter what! Even if the risk means you have to change your circle of friends; you have to try something new or do something different. It’s worth the risk to get all God has for you and to become all that God has called you to be!

There was this striking poster on the wall. It showed two mountain climbers near the peak of this Alpine mountain, straining to reach the top. But it was the inscription that impressed me most. It read: “Conquest without risk is a triumph without glory.” That’s pretty good.

Now, that doesn’t just apply to reaching the top of a mountain. In fact, it pretty much describes everything worth doing in life. No risk, no meaningful conquest – a triumph without glory. Low risk – low return. High risk – high return. It’s a principle that defines Spiritual Greatness or Spiritual Mediocrity.

Whether it’s a relationship, a job, a career, a ministry, a church, a business, you will encounter risk before reward! Which is what we learn from in our lesson today.

In Numbers 13, the conquest was not a mountain; it was the taking of the Promised Land that God had promised. And if you take a moment to think about that, you’ll realize just how ridiculous we can be when it comes to taking a risk. God Himself promised them the Promised Land. So, how could they allow risk to scare them from what God promised them?

Numbers 23:19, “God is not man, one given to lies, and not a son of man changing his mind. Does he speak and not do what he says? Does he promise and not come through?” (MSG)

Listen to varying translations of this Scripture:

“God isn’t a man that he would lie, or a human being that he would change his mind. Has he ever spoken and not done it, or promised and not fulfilled it?” (CEB);

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

“God is not a man; he will not lie. God is not a human being; his decisions will not change. If he says he will do something, then he will do it. If he makes a promise, then he will do what he promised.” (ERV);

“God is not like people, who lie; He is not a human who changes his mind. Whatever he promises, he does; He speaks, and it is done.” (GNT);

“God is not a human being, and he will not lie. He is not a human, and he does not change his mind. What he says he will do, he does. What he promises, he makes come true.” (NCV);

“God is not a man, that He should lie. He is not a son of man, that He should be sorry for what He has said. Has He said, and will He not do it? Has He spoken, and will He not keep His Word?” (NLV)

Now, how could anyone with this level of Character and Integrity be doubted? How can anyone who serves this God, be fearful enough to forfeit a fruitful future that was guaranteed to be theirs? But can we honest? Are we really any different? That job would have been ours, if we didn’t talk ourselves out of going for it. Didn’t think we were qualified (and sometimes we weren’t, however, if God says go for it, not even that should stop you)! Who knows the house you would already own if you weren’t so sure that your credit score alone was the guaranteed deal breaker. God doesn’t need your credit score to get you to the goal! Who knows what you’d be driving if only you would have trusted God. Who knows who you would be married to, if you only trusted God, heard and heeded His voice, instead of the internal clock in your head telling you to grab Bubba over there because at 30 he’s the best shot you’ve got. Who knows the grants and scholarships that passed you by because you didn’t think you had what it took for them to come your way. Who knows how well that business would be doing today if only you would have trusted God with the blueprints instead of handing them over to your fears to redesign. Who knows where the church or ministry would be if only you would have believed God when the battle raged instead of retreating and running away.

People of God please commit this to memory: God doesn’t make promises He can’t keep! So if He said it’s yours, it’s yours! And that holds true no matter what you see, what you hear, or what they say or what they look like! God keeps His promises; He keeps His Word; He fulfills it and makes it come true, so why are you doubting? Why are you stagnant? Why are you fearful? Why are you not moving forward? Why are you not trying it? Why are you scared? Why are you not taking the risk?

Listen: They were guaranteed the promise of the Promised Land! Problem? It was currently inhabited by fierce people who, of course, didn’t plan to hand it over. And whether or not they would ever experience all God had for them depended on whether or not they would trust Him enough to take some big risks. Now whether or not you experience all God has for you may depend on that same thing.

So, are you willing to trust God with what He promised you even if you’ll have to take some big risks in the process? Are you willing to risk being talked about, walked away from, laughed at? Are you willing to risk having to endure the uncommon, the unfamiliar and the uncomfortable? Are you willing to take the risk that small minds will attempt to shake your confidence and faith in achieving the big dreams that God said can and will become your reality? Are you willing to risk having to go alone? Are you willing to risk going without the full insight to how God is going to make this thing happen? Are you willing to take the risk to go to the bank, to walk into the dealership, to meet with the loan officer, to apply to the school, to show up for the interview, to write the book, to buy that property or that land? Are you willing to take the risk of being misunderstood? Are you willing to take the risk of looking misplaced for the moment? Are you willing to take the risk?

Twelve scouts had explored the land of Canaan, and they reported back on the fabulous beauty and bounty they found there. But ten of those scouts chose to focus on the risks, two on the Lord who had promised them this land. It boiled down to an exchange like this, recorded in Numbers 13, beginning with verse 27, “This was their report: “We arrived in the land you sent us to see, and it is indeed a magnificent country—a land ‘flowing with milk and honey.’ Here is some fruit we have brought as proof. But the people living there are powerful, and their cities are fortified and very large; and what’s more, we saw Anakim giants there!  The Amalekites live in the south, while in the hill country there are the Hittites, Jebusites, and Amorites; down along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea and in the Jordan River Valley are the Canaanites.” But Caleb reassured the people as they stood before Moses. “Let us go up at once and possess it,” he said, “for we are well able to conquer it!” “Not against people as strong as they are!” the other spies said. “They would crush us!” So the majority report of the spies was negative: “The land is full of warriors, the people are powerfully built, and we saw some of the Anakim there, descendants of the ancient race of giants. We felt like grasshoppers before them, they were so tall!” (TLB)

Now, they brought back fruit (Proof) that the land (God Promised to be Theirs) was indeed Flowing With Milk and Honey. And still, in the face of all of this, the Scripture says, “…So the majority report of the spies was negative.” How do you hold the proof in your hand and still say with your mouth, we can’t handle it?! The Proof Was Already in Your Hand! It’s Prosperous and it’s Promised to Us! And yet they forfeit! That’s like receiving a paid in full mansion, your name only on the deed, nothing owed out of your pocket, the keys in your hands, but you spend 40 years standing on the stoop looking at a door you never open to fully possess what’s already yours!

Keep in mind, anytime you’re about to make a positive change, someone will come with a negative report! The choice is yours believe it, or believe God. My suggestion? Believe God!

Isaiah 55:8-11, “…For as the sky soars high above earth, so the way I work surpasses the way you work, and the way I think is beyond the way you think. Just as rain and snow descend from the skies and don’t go back until they’ve watered the earth, Doing their work of making things grow and blossom, producing seed for farmers and food for the hungry, So will the words that come out of my mouth not come back empty-handed. They’ll do the work I sent them to do, they’ll complete the assignment I gave them.” (MSG)

When God sends His Word on Assignment it has no other option than to Fulfill the Assignment! Therefore, you have nothing and no one to worry about when God gives you a Promise! Not the naysayers, not the negative report, not the disapproving stares, or the discouraging words. Nothing can stop what God starts!

Philippians 1:6, “I’m convinced that God, who began this good work in you, will carry it through to completion on the day of Christ Jesus.” (GWT)

God has proven Himself trustworthy to Carry to Completion what He Began! In a nutshell: Nothing and No One Can Stop What God Starts! Now, all you need to do is be just as “Convinced”! The word “convince” means “to cause to believe firmly in the truth of something; to persuade to do something.” Its’ Latin Origin ‘convincere’ literally means ‘to overcome, to demonstrate’, from ‘vincere” which means “to conquer.” Listen, if you’re going to get what God’s got for you, it will take risk, but you will reap a reward! And all you’ve got to do is be convinced that what He promised will come to pass! You’ve got to believe firmly in the Truth, regardless of the Facts! Yes, there were Giants (Facts), but they could never be bigger than God (Truth)! That’s why we are to walk by FAITH, not by Sight! Let your Spirit lead you, not your Senses! Because often when God is about to do something BIG, your senses tell you to Shrink back! Don’t You Dare Do It!

Now, as for them, you probably know the result. The people followed the lead of the ten scouts who said, “The risks are too great.” And they never saw the Promised Land! Be careful who you listen to, who you trust, who you share your vision, hopes and dreams with. Everyone will want to reap the rewards with you, but very few will want you to take the risk, and even fewer will take the risk with you! Caleb says, “yes, let’s do this, we got this, we can do this, we can conquer this”, yet the naysayers respond like this:

“So those men gave a report that discouraged the people…” (ERV)

“So they brought to the people of Israel a bad report…” (ESV)

“So they spread a false report among the Israelites…” (GNT)

“So they began to spread lies among the Israelites…” (GWT)

“They spread scary rumors among the People of Israel…” (MSG)

“So they brought the people of Israel bad news…” (NLV)

When you’re getting ready to take a big risk and get what God’s got for you, look out for people like this! Those who will attempt to discourage you, give you a bad or false report, lie to you, spread rumors of fear and bring you bad news! These are dream killers, and destiny destroyers, avoid them at all costs, or you’ll pay a pretty penny in missing out on the Promises of God for your life!

Unfortunate as it may be, they chose what was safe, and they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. They could have had wonderful; instead, they lived and died in the wilderness! Many of God’s children over the years have made that same tragic miscalculation. And they have lived that same tragic result. Do you really want that to be descriptive of you?

Right now God may be asking you to follow Him into something risky. To obey Him is going to mean taking a financial risk, or a geographical risk, a social risk, doing something that’s way beyond your comfort zone. Something out of the norm and status quo. But when you get serious about obedience to God and the promises of God, usually such a thing involves risk. But the great danger is not in obeying God’s “risky” leading; it is in not obeying because you won’t risk it at all! You’ll miss the top of the mountain if you listen to every little molehill murmurer along the way. You’ll miss the best that God has for you. You’ll miss the Promised Land. Are you really willing to risk that?

Maybe you’re all settled in at your little base camp at the bottom of the mountain. You’re safe, but you’ll never see the view from the top if you stay where you’ve always been. You’ve been stuck there long enough, it’s time to move on before you miss out.

Dream big; broaden your vision; enlarge your territory; go further; reach higher! They’ve got Giants, but you’ve got God, it’s a Fixed Fight and you’ve got the Fruit in Hand to Prove it! Trust God and Take the Risk, the Reward Reaped Will be Well Worth it!

“It is better to make a thousand failures than to be too cowardly to ever undertake anything.” (Clovis G. Chappell)

“You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.” (Christopher Columbus)

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” (T.S. Eliot)

“Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.” (John D. Rockefeller)

“If you are not willing to risk the Usual you will have to settle for the Ordinary.” (Jim Rohn)

“There can be no great accomplishment without risk.” (Neil Armstrong)

“If it’s still in your mind, it is still worth taking the risk.” (Paulo Coelho)

“I believe that one of life’s greatest risks is never daring to risk.” (Oprah Winfrey)

“If we walk away from risk to keep ourselves safe, we will waste our lives.” (John Piper)

“A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.” (William Shedd)

“And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight inside the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” (Anais Nin)

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” (Author Unknown)

“Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure…than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.” (Theodore Roosevelt)

“Risk more than others think is safe; Care more than others think is wise; Dream more than others think is practical; Expect more than others think is possible.” (Cadet Maxim)

Much Love, Dr. Shermaine #EnjoyTheRead #BeInspired #BeEncouraged #BeEmpowered #BeChallenged #SowTheRiskReapTheReward
Feel free to also join us at: http://www.selfcarewithdrshermaine.blogspot.com Today’s Lesson: “Eat Healthy, Stay Fit and Live Well Over 50!”

“Don’t Miss Your Turn!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Much Love, Dr. Shermaine #EnjoyTheRead #BeInspired #BeEncouraged #BeEmpowered #BeChallenged #ItsYourTime2Turn
Feel free to also join us at: http://www.selfcarewithdrshermaine.blogspot.com Today’s Lesson: “Foods That Lower and Raise Your LDL ‘Bad’ Cholesterol”