“No Matter How Long It Takes, WAIT For God!”

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Micah 7:7, “BUT ME, I’M NOT GIVING UP. I’M STICKING AROUND TO SEE WHAT GOD WILL DO. I’M WAITING FOR GOD TO MAKE THINGS RIGHT. I’M COUNTING ON GOD TO LISTEN TO ME” (MSG)

I seem to vaguely remember this old nursery rhyme from when I was a kid. It went like this: “Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?” If you asked my niece that question, she’d probably say, “Real Slow!And maybe that’s why Mary was so contrary! You see, last spring, my niece worked with her Dad to clear a little area in the yard where she could have a vegetable garden. She was all excited about planting seeds in the ground: tomato seeds, green beans, carrots, and lettuce. But then she went out THE NEXT DAY to look at what she had planted. What did she see? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! Then the NEXT WEEK, and the next week, and the week after that. She watered the garden when it didn’t rain. Helped pull up weeds. For the longest time, she went out to that garden to see what was happening and found out…NOTHING WAS HAPPENING – OR SO IT APPEARED! NOW, HAD SHE TRIED TO DIG UP THE SEEDS TO SEE IF ANYTHING WAS HAPPENING, SHE WOULD HAVE RUINED EVERYTHING! But you know the story. It finally happened: The tomatoes and beans and carrots and lettuce finally showed MANIFESTED EVIDENCE, that what LOOKED LIKE NOTHING, WAS ACTUALLY SOMETHING ALL ALONG…IT JUST TOOK TIME!

To everything there is a season, and a TIME for every matter or purpose under heaven…He has made everything beautiful in its TIME.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 11 AMP);

“This vision-message is a witness POINTING TO WHAT’S COMING. IT ACHES FOR THE COMING—IT CAN HARDLY WAIT! And it doesn’t lie. If it seems slow in coming, WAIT. IT’S ON ITS WAY. IT WILL COME RIGHT ON TIME.” (Habakkuk 2:3 MSG).

Listen: No Matter What It Looks Like NOW, Remember It Will Look Even Better LATER! “‘This Temple is going to END UP FAR BETTER THAN IT STARTED OUT, a glorious beginning but an even more GLORIOUS FINISH…” (Haggai 2:9 MSG) And YOU Will Enjoy the Same Awesome Testimony! You Just Have to WAIT For It! No Matter How You Started Out, You Will Have an EVEN MORE GLORIOUS FINISH! But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, PATIENCE (AN EVEN TEMPER, FORBEARANCE), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness.” (Galatians 5:22 AMP). Just Be PATIENT!

Something had been happening all along to those seeds in my nieces garden! AND SOMETHING HAS BEEN HAPPENING ALL ALONG TO THE SEEDS WE’VE PLANTED AS WELL! REMEMBER: JUST BECAUSE WE CAN’T SEE WHAT GOD IS DOING, DOESN’T MEAN HE’S NOT DOING ANYTHING! In fact, that may be something important for you to remember right now. You’ve been praying about that need, that situation, that person for a long time and it LOOKS LIKE NOTHING’S HAPPENING! But the key words to keep in mind are: LOOKS LIKE! When a seed’s been planted, it LOOKS LIKE there’s NOTHING going on for some time, until that plant breaks through and ultimately produces some wonderful fruit!

When a new life has begun in a woman’s body, it doesn’t LOOK LIKE anything’s happened for quite a while. BUT EVERY DAY, THAT LIFE IS GROWING EVEN WHEN WE CANNOT SEE ITS GROWTH, UNTIL IT FIRST RESHAPES THAT MOTHER’S BODY AND ULTIMATELY APPEARS AS THAT PRECIOUS LITTLE BABY BEING BORN! Reminds me of a quote I’ve learned to live by: “Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is Patience.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson). The Bible says it this way: “But if we hope for what is still unseen by us, WE WAIT FOR IT WITH PATIENCE AND COMPOSURE.” (Romans 8:25 AMP).

The problem is that when it LOOKS LIKE nothing’s happening, we tend to say, I’ve got to do something!AND MOST OFTEN, IT’S THE WRONG THING TO DO; MUCH LIKE DIGGING UP THE SEED TO SEE IF IT’S GROWING OR PLOWING UP THE GARDEN BECAUSE IT LOOKS LIKE NOTHING’S HAPPENING!

Example: In 1 Samuel 13, beginning with verse 7, we receive a sobering example of how much we have to lose when we can’t WAIT for God to do it His way! You see, Saul, Israel’s first king, has been told by God’s man Samuel, to go down ahead of him to Gilgal. Samuel assures him that he will surely come down to him to sacrifice burnt offerings…BUT Saul must WAIT seven days UNTIL Samuel comes to him and tells him what he must do. HOWEVER, with the Philistine forces massing against them, the Bible says this, “…Saul remained at Gilgal, and all the troops with him were quaking with fear. He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul’s men began to scatter.” (vss. 7-8 NIV). SAUL PANICKED, AND HE DID WHAT NO KING WAS ALLOWED BY GOD TO DO: HE OFFERED THE BURNT OFFERING HIMSELF AND HE CROSSED A SACRED LINE! The Bible says, “Just as he finished making the offering…”, (hear this), “…Samuel arrived…” (vs. 10). And Samuel asks, “What have you done?…” (vs. 11). 

Saul answers by talking about what “…I SAW”…”I THOUGHT” …” I FELT…” (vss. 11-12 NIV).

Here’s the text in full: “What have you done?” asked Samuel. Saul replied, “When I SAW that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Mikmash,  I THOUGHT, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the Lord’s favor.’ So I FELT compelled to offer the burnt offering.” (NIV)

Three of the greatest keys to blocking God’s blessing that’s trying to spring forth in your life is: YOUR EYES (“I Saw”); YOUR MIND (“I Thought”); AND YOUR EMOTIONS (“I Felt”)!

When Your Something looks like Nothing the last thing you need to do is have BLURRED VISION, IMPURE THOUGHTS AND INTENTIONS AND UNCONTROLLABLE EMOTIONS!

When Your Something looks like Nothing and you’re tempted to do Something about it, Beware of the Dangers of YOUR EYES, MIND AND EMOTIONS and bring them under subjection quickly! 

Why? Look at what the Bible admonishes: 

1…CONTROL YOUR EYES: The Bible says, “For we walk by faith [we regulate our lives and conduct ourselves by our conviction or belief respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, with trust and holy fervor; thus we walk] NOT BY SIGHT OR APPEARANCE” (2 Corinthians 5:7 AMP). “But GOD told Samuel, “LOOKS AREN’T EVERYTHING. DON’T BE IMPRESSED WITH HIS LOOKS and stature. I’ve already eliminated him. GOD judges persons differently than humans do. Men and women LOOK at the face; GOD LOOKS into the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7 MSG). Wisdom Nugget: DON’T LET YOUR PHYSICAL SIGHT, DESTROY YOUR SPIRITUAL VISION

2…CONTROL YOUR MIND: The Bible says, “But whatever comes out of the mouth comes from the heart, and this is what makes a man unclean and defiles [him]. For out of the heart come EVIL THOUGHTS (reasoning’s and disputing and designs) such as murder, adultery, sexual vice, theft, false witnessing, slander, and irreverent speech. These are what make a man unclean and defile [him]…” (Matthew 15:18-20 AMP). “Among these we as well as you once lived and conducted ourselves in the passions of our flesh [our behavior governed by our corrupt and sensual nature], obeying the impulses of the flesh and the THOUGHTS OF THE MIND [our cravings dictated by our senses and our DARK IMAGININGS]. We were then by nature children of [God’s] wrath and heirs of [His] indignation, like the rest of mankind.” (Ephesians 2:3  AMP). Wisdom Nugget: CHOOSING BETWEEN A REPROBATE MIND (Romans 1:28, “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient“) AND A RENEWED MIND (Romans 12:2, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.“), WILL DETERMINE WHETHER YOU CONTINUE TO REIGN OR COME TO RUINS! Bear in MIND, THE CHOICE IS YOURS!

3…CONTROL YOUR EMOTIONS: The Bible says, “A FOOL EXPRESSES ALL HIS EMOTIONS, BUT A WISE PERSON CONTROLS THEM” (Proverbs 29:11 GWT). “In the end they will be destroyed. THEIR OWN EMOTIONS ARE THEIR GOD, AND THEY TAKE PRIDE IN THE SHAMEFUL THINGS THEY DO…” (Philippians 3:19 GWT). Wisdom Nugget: FULFILLMENT COMES NOT FROM FEELING, BUT FROM FOLLOWING! Look at it like this: THE COAT OF A ROTTWEILER IS SOFT, BUT HAPHAZARDLY REACHING OUT TO FEEL IT, MIGHT RESULT IN YOUR GOING INTO YOUR FUTURE WITH A FEW LESS FINGERS! LIKEWISE, FOLLOWING YOUR FEELINGS IS JUST AS DANGEROUS! DON’T LET YOUR EMOTIONS MAIM YOU! “MAIM” MEANS: “TO WOUND OR INJURE (SOMEONE) SO THAT PART OF THE BODY IS PERMANENTLY DAMAGED!” IN A NUTSHELL: TEMPORARY EMOTIONS CAN PERMANENTLY MAIM YOU! 

Saul messed up with what he SAW, THOUGHT AND FELT, therefore, Samuel informs him, “You have done a foolish thing…You have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. But now your kingdom will not endure…because you have not kept the LORD’s command.” (vss. 13-14 NIV). SAUL FORFEITS THE MAJOR LEGACY OF HIS LIFE BECAUSE OF DISOBEDIENCE THAT DISQUALIFIED HIM; A DISOBEDIENCE THAT CAME BECAUSE HE COULDN’T WAIT FOR GOD TO DO IT HIS WAY! 

INSTEAD, HE OBEYED HIS EYES AND MISSED OUT ON SEEING HIS KINGDOM ENDURE! 

HE OBEYED HIS THOUGHTS INSTEAD OF RESPECTING THE FACT THAT GOD’S THOUGHTS ARE NOT OURS. Isaiah 55:9, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Oftentimes your real sacrifice is in waiting the full seven days, and even when nothing seems to happen, even on the appointed day, WAITING, TRUSTING AND KNOWING THAT GOD DOES NOT FAIL AND DOES NOT LIE, HE WILL PERFORM IT AND I’M GOING TO CONTINUE TO SIT UNTIL HE DOES, is the best thing you could ever do!  

LASTLY, HE OBEYED HIS FEELINGS AND FORFEITED A PROMISED FUTURE! 

HOWEVER, BEFORE YOU POINT YOUR FINGERS AT HIM, KNOW THAT YOU AND I ARE PRONE TO MAKING THAT SAME KIND OF MISTAKE! Nothing seems to be happening, things are starting to fall apart, and it LOOKS LIKE we’re at the point of no return! So we take matters into our own hands and, in so doing, WE RUIN WHAT GOD WAS GOING TO DO! God is so often the God of the eleventh hour! He waits until the moment when everyone will know IT HAD TO BE HIM! He waits so our faith can stretch farther than its’ ever stretched before so He can do greater things for us than He’s ever done beforeGod is working in ways we can’t see, but ultimately something beautiful will be born for all to see! 

In the words of the Psalmist:Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and HE WILL DO THIS…be still before the Lord and WAIT PATIENTLY FOR HIM” (Psalm 37:5, 7). Let God Do It His Way and In His Timing! And no matter how long you have to wait, remember: “God is not a man, that He should tell or act a lie, neither the son of man, that He should feel repentance or compunction [for what He has promised]. Has He said and shall He not do it? Or has He spoken and shall He not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19 AMP). Yes He Will!

People of God, Regardless to what you See, Think or Feel, Your Nothing Has Something…You Just Have To Wait For It! SO WAIT! The Bible Admonishes Us: “WAIT and HOPE for and EXPECT the Lord; be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, WAIT for and HOPE for and EXPECT the Lord.” (Psalm 27:14 AMP).

Some of the most exciting moments in sports are the touchdown or field goal that win the game, especially, when there’s no time left on the clock! That game-winning basket as the final buzzer sounds is unforgettable! The game-winning home run with two out in the bottom of the ninth inning is remarkable! I’ve come to find out that whatever the sport, there is nothing like a sudden victory when victory seemed out of reach! It makes the fans go absolutely ballistic! Which reminds me of a quote I love: I always turn to the sports section first. The sports page records people’s accomplishments; the front page has nothing but man’s failures.” (Earl Warren). Truth be told, it can be real nerve-wracking when you’re behind and time is running out! But it’s an awesome moment when a hero pulls out an unexpected victory…at the last minute! And the longer I walk with this God of ours, the more I’ve come to appreciate Him as the God of the last-second victory, or the God of the eleventh hour, as I’ve called Him so often. The Bible reveals many names by which God wants us to know Him. One that has meant so much to so many for so long is “Jehovah-Jireh”. It means, “The Lord will provide or the Lord will see to my provision.

You may be facing a need or situation right now where that is literally your only hope – that the Lord will provide. Maybe it’s a job, a friend, or much needed finances; maybe it’s the house, the healing, the breakthrough or soundness of mind you need. Well, if that’s the case, today you need to be reminded that we have a rock-solid promise in Philippians 4:19, “And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” (NIV). Understand that this Scripture lets us know that God’s supply has nothing to do with what’s happening in the economy, in the news, at work, or in what your limited resources can or can’t do! It’s all about His UnlimitedGlorious Riches in Christ Jesus account in Heaven, which transcends every limitation earth can provide!

People of God, You Need NOT Attempt to Understand God or His Ways or His Timing, or His Supply. You Need Only to Remember That He Is and Will Always Be…UNLIMITED! Which is why you should never fret over your LITTLE, when you serve such a BIG God! Another quote I love says, “If God were small enough to be understood, He would not be big enough to be worshiped.” (Author Unknown) And the truth of the matter is, you may never understand how God supplies rivers in the desert, but when you’re thirsty, knowing that He can and He will is Enough!  So before you allow your fears to get the best of you, remember: “The Fear of God kills all other fears!

Now to be honest, I believe God often waits a while to meet our needs…On Purpose! Let’s look at Scripture: “A man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany…the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Master, the one you love so very much is sick.” When Jesus got the message, he said, “This sickness is not fatal. It will become an occasion to show God’s glory by glorifying God’s Son.”…Then Jesus became explicit: “LAZARUS DIED. AND I AM GLAD FOR YOUR SAKES THAT I WASN’T THERE. YOU’RE ABOUT TO BE GIVEN NEW GROUNDS FOR BELIEVING. Now let’s go to him.” (John 11:1-4, 14 MSG). So before you panic, know that God always has a reason for allowing you to sit in the waiting room! And His reason is always the same: “…it will become an occasion to show God’s glory by glorifying God’s Son…and…You’re about to be given new grounds for believing…”. Your waiting, while wounded, gives God Glory and Increases Your Faith by giving you New Grounds or New Reasons to Trust Him even at the Eleventh Hour! That’s why you can’t get discouraged because “…it’s usually the last key in the bunch that opens the lock” (Author Unknown)! So, be patient, a door of opportunity is about to open just for you…all you have to do is WAIT!

Philippians 4:19 says He promises to meet all of our needs, But He does Not promise WHEN! See, most of us already know that He can do it, and that He’s promised to do it, but if only He’d share WHEN He’s going to do it, we’d be less likely to flip out when the last grain of sand is found in the hourglass! But then that wouldn’t be considered faith, now would it?! Ramona C. Carroll said it best: “Faith is putting all your eggs in God’s basket, then counting your blessings before they hatch.But unfortunately for many of us, when we get to that last grain of sand, we panic, and come up with desperate and oftentimes ridiculous ways to so-called meet our needs on our own!

Again, let’s look at Scripture: “Sarai, Abram’s wife, hadn’t yet produced a child. She had an Egyptian maid named Hagar. Sarai said to Abram, “GOD has not seen fit to let me have a child. Sleep with my maid. Maybe I can get a family from her.” Abram agreed to do what Sarai said.’ (Genesis 16:1-2 MSG). And believe it or not, nations are still paying for that ridiculous attempt at helping God out”! Too often we abandon our trust in God because, He’s – if we dare be honest—TAKING TOO LONG! Even the Psalmist knows what this feels like: “Please, God…Treat me nice for a change; I’m so starved for affection. Can’t you see I’m black-and-blue, beat up badly in bones and soul? GOD, HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE FOR YOU TO LET UP? Break in, GOD, and break up this fight; if you love me at all, get me out of here. I’m no good to you dead, am I? I can’t sing in your choir if I’m buried in some tomb!” (6:1-5 MSG). See, you’re not the only one who wants to stamp “Federal Express” or “Overnight Delivery” on God! But such actions take us right out of the Will of God and aborts what God was going to birth on our behalf if we would’ve trusted Him enough to wait the full 9 months!  “But those who WAIT for the Lord [who EXPECT, look for, and HOPE in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired.” (Isaiah 40:31 AMP).

Now, it’s in Genesis 22, where we find that God is known as Jehovah-Jireh for the very first time. We can learn a lot from how He worked that day for Abraham. See, Abraham had, by faith, obeyed God’s direction to take the son God had once promised to him, climb Mt. Moriah with him, and sacrifice his son there; as God (the Father) would do Himself one day with Jesus (His Son). Believing that God will somehow provide something he can’t imagine, Abraham yet promises his servants that both he and his son Isaac will return from the mountain. Genesis 22:10 says his faith and obedience went so far that “he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.” At that very LAST MOMENT, God stopped him and showed Abraham a ram, stuck in a thicket, who would be sacrificed instead of his son. And the Bible says, “So Abraham called that place, ‘The Lord Will Provide.’Remember: Jehovah-Jireh – often steps in right on time, which is usually—when there’s no time left! Which reminds me of a quote I love, “Faith isn’t faith until it’s all you’re holding on to.” (Author Unknown)

God loves to come through for us when there is absolutely no place else that answer could come from, and there is no time left on the clock. It’s 11:59! The buzzer is about to sound! But that’s when God shows up with His provision, at a time and in a way that will blow you away, give Him all the glory, and show people around you the greatness and faithfulness of your God! Then it’s only natural that you’ll experience a whole new level of faith in Him and worship for Him! God’s last-minute victories are some of the most awesome moments of your life! So don’t lose faith now! Faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time.” (Oswald Chambers). Keep in mind: The greater the need, the later the hour, the more amazing God’s work on your behalf! That’s why you need to determine to be like your sports heroes and hang in there until the end of the game! And when God steps in and grants you a last-second victory, before the last grain of sand falls in the hourglass, remember, like the sports fans, go absolutely ballistic…in praise, worship and thanksgiving!

Will the wait be easy? Absolutely not, in fact it’s one of the hardest things to do! But remembering that God watches over His Word to perform it (Jeremiah 1:12); remembering that God does not and cannot lie (Numbers 23:19); remembering that God keeps His Word and every promise He makes (Isaiah 55:11), certainly makes the wait a little easier! And yes, I understand that the mortgage is over-due; the tuition seems impossible to pay; the car note is about to turn into a bus pass; the doctors may as well sign your cause of death certificate; the marriage is on life-support; the job is strangling your sanity or the lack of one is strangling your empty bank account. And yet, I still say wait on God and watch Him work, even at the 11th hour! He’s done it before, and He can and will do it again! Don’t lose heart, patience, peace, joy or faith. God sits too high to let His people down! Hold on and hang in there, before the last grain of sand falls, God will step in with a last minute miracle!

“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” (Philippians 4:6-7 MSG);

“All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.” (Romans 8:22-25 MSG);

“Be still and rest in the Lord; wait for Him and patiently lean yourself upon Him; fret not yourself because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked devices to pass.” (Psalm 37:7 AMP);

“So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 MSG)

“How we handle the journey will determine the destination.” (Billy Cox)

“When it looks like nothing is happening, God is at work.” (Bishop James R. Chambers)

“Patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting.” (Joyce Meyer)

“Our willingness to wait reveals the value we place on what we’re waiting for.” (Charles Stanley)

“Sometimes we don’t understand why we are waiting. Often it is because God has something great in store, it’s just not the right time.” (Joel Osteen)

“No matter how long it takes, when God works, it’s always worth the wait.” (Author Unknown)

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

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“Small…BUT…Significant”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now, back to our little friends…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A paraphrase of the story goes like this:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Feel free to also join us at: http://www.selfcarewithdrshermaine.blogspot.com Today’s Lesson: “Stress Management Tips From Around the World”

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“Big Man, Big Head, Big Fall!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Feel free to also join us at: http://www.selfcarewithdrshermaine.blogspot.com Today’s Lesson: “Male Breast Cancer Awareness”

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“Delegation Empowerment!”

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Proverbs 2:6, “For the Lord gives Wisdom; From His mouth come Knowledge and Understanding” (NKJV)

To succeed in life and leadership you must do these three things:

1.       Decide What’s Important: The story’s told of a family who moved to the country to get away from the city. They decided to raise cattle so they bought a ranch. One day a friend visited them and asked what they’d named the new ranch. Dad said, “I wanted to call it The Flying-W, but Mom wanted to call it The Suzy-Q. Our son likes The Bar-J, but our daughter preferred The Lazy-Y. So we compromised and called it The Flying-W, Suzy-Q, Bar-J, Lazy Y Ranch!” The friend asked, “How are your cattle doing?” Dad replied, “We don’t have any. They didn’t survive the branding”! Sounds comical, but truth is Indecision Is Dangerous! Therefore, the first thing you need to do then is Decide! The word “Decide” means “To resolve in the mind as a result of consideration; to settle (as an issue or contest), or to give a judgment concerning a legal case.” It’s Latin Origin “Decidere” means “Determine” from “Caedere” which means “To Cut”. In other words, when you make a Decision it’s similar to cooking beef…you don’t throw the whole cow on the fire! You “Decide” what portion you want, and “Cut” that away and cook that Only! Likewise, make a clear decision about what you want in life, and then cut away time to focus on that Only! After all, it’s better than Dividing up your time among several things that don’t matter to you, only to end up Multiplying your headaches as a result! Thereforedecide what’s important to you! And when it comes to ministry, seek God’s Wisdom; Knowledge and Understanding for Direction and Guidance. Let God tell you what is for your hands alone, and what can be handed to others. Because it’s vital to your obedience that you don’t confuse the two. Numbers 18:5-7, “…The work of the priesthood is my exclusive gift to you; IT CANNOT BE DELEGATED – anyone else who invades the Sanctuary will be executed.” (MSG) You see, there are some assignments that cannot be delegated (no matter what your position, title or authority may be). Remember, everything we do is as unto the Lord, because we are always ultimately working for the Lord. Therefore, you need to decide which things remain with you and which can be given away! In the case of the priesthood, God let them know, this is non-negotiable, delegate it and someone is guaranteed to die! Which lets us know that not all things can be delegated. Therefore, we need God’s direction so we don’t lose our own life and blessings, nor cost someone else theirs! Those things that are non-negotiable become a part of your priority listing. If it can be negotiated and you can (without disobedience) delegate them elsewhere, do so! If not, you’ll find yourself with a full agenda that has no room for God or His blessings on your life. And if you should find that you’re that busy, you’re too busy! Take some time this week to sit down and decide what stays on your to-do-list and what can be reassigned to someone else. You don’t want your busyness to cost you God’s best! Remember the story above, the whole purpose of the ranch was for them to have cattle. But all the cattle died because they couldn’t survive the branding of such a long name from a group of people who didn’t sit down and decide what was best. Don’t kill off your blessings for the same reason.

2.       Prioritize Your Time: Too many of us are like the store owner who got so busy trying to keep the place clean that he forgot to open the front door! Again, it sounds comical, but the reason he was in business was to serve customers and make a profit, not get distracted by secondary things. Therefore, base your life’s decisions on your Priorities! And if you need help figuring out what they are, ask God: “For the Lord gives Wisdom; from His mouth come Knowledge and Understanding”. You don’t want to end up like the store owner, who has a clean store and No Customers…Which Translates No Profit! So, Prioritize What Is Important Then Focus Your Attention On That! And Don’t Get Distracted In the Details Of Things That Don’t Matter! Proverbs 4:23-27, “Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts. Don’t talk out of both sides of your mouth; avoid careless banter, white lies, and gossip. Keep your eyes straight ahead; IGNORE ALL SIDESHOW DISTRACTIONS. Watch your step, and the road will stretch out smooth before you. Look neither right nor left; leave evil in the dust.” (MSG) That word ‘ignore’ is defined as, ‘to intentionally disregard; to fail to consider something as significant.’ That’s the tunnel vision you have to have when it comes to fulfilling your priorities. You need to learn how to intentionally disregard all sideshow distractions and focus on what God assigned your hands to do. When something is designated a priority it means it’s more important than anything else. Therefore, you can’t afford to be distracted from your priority since it’s the most important thing on your agenda! Your priorities need to be carried out by you, but what falls low on the totem pole of the to-do-list, can be delegated to others! Again, I admonish you, do not confuse what is your priority, with the things that are merely options that can be delegated to others.

3.       Learn To Motivate Yourself: Truth is, most times, nobody else will! Think about it: When tragedy struck his life, we read: “…David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David STRENGTHENED HIMSELF IN THE LORD HIS GOD” (1 Samuel 30:6 NKJV). You need to learn how to do that too. Encourage Yourself! Truth is, life has a way of hitting you below the belt…so you have to learn how to recover and do so quickly! And many days your recovery will be lonesome. But you ever notice when someone has had surgery and they take them into the recovery room, the doctor or nurse will tell you not to stay too long or there’s no point in you staying at all? They’re just going to rest or sleep the rest of the night anyway. Well, when you go through something traumatic and you’re upset because no one is there, take heart, you’re just in recovery! Of course it’s not fun having to be in something or deal with something on your own, but it’s a part of your process of healing and recovering. Don’t fight it. Use that alone time as Quiet Time to get your second wind from having the wind knocked out of you! It’s your time to re-inflate yourself and bounce back, but it’s often best done alone. Jude writes, “But you, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost” (Jude 20). To succeed in life you must learn to encourage yourself, by building up yourself in the faith (which is your foundation) and praying in the Holy Ghost (which is your strength and power)! Yes, it knocked the wind out of you, but the Holy Ghost will breathe on you again and You Will Bounce Back! You cannot be in leadership and always need someone to hold your hand; wipe your tears; fight your battles; pat you on the back; give you kind words of encouragement etc. Motivating yourself and encouraging yourself is a priority that you should never attempt to delegate to anyone else, it is your responsibility alone!

Now, I know you’re probably asking “what has this all got to do with Delegation?” Well, to be honest, you have to do Your Part First before you can delegate anything to anyone else! Which means you need to Decide what your Priorities are (make a decision);  then schedule your time for what’s Important to you and don’t get deterred or Distracted by minor details; then when you run into Discouragement along the journey (and you will, because we all do), you must learn how to Encourage Yourself in the Lord! In other words, do what YOU have to do FIRST! Then DELEGATE everything else!

Matthew 25:14-18, “It’s also like a man going off on an extended trip. He called his servants together and DELEGATED responsibilities. To one he gave five thousand dollars, to another two thousand, to a third one thousand, depending on their abilities…” (MSG) You are not God, you can’t be everywhere at the same time, doing everything for everybody! God never assigned that task to you! What He has entrusted to your hands to handle, handle it, and nothing more! The rest should be delegated responsibilities to others depending on their abilities. Which also means, as a leader, you need to know those you work with! You need to know their strengths and weaknesses so when it’s time to delegate, you’re not wasting a year trying to figure out who should receive what. In the story, the man was going off on an extended trip. He called his servants together and delegated responsibilities to each according to their ability. But what you should take note of is that he didn’t need to have a meeting with them; he didn’t call for a board or committee decision; he didn’t need to pray, fast and shut in for 40 days and nights to figure out who to delegate what to. He knew his people and what they could and could not handle. As a leader, you need to remember that prior to delegation!

Now to the part of Delegation! You’re going to wear yourself out – and the people, too. This job is too heavy a burden for you to handle all by yourself” (Exodus 18:18 NLT) President Reagan said, “Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority, and don’t interfere as long as the policy you’ve decided upon is being carried out.Yet in our eagerness to please God we take on responsibilities that are “…too heavy…to handle…by [ourselves]”

For example, Moses was spending every waking minute listening to complaints from long lines of people. Finally his father-in-law said, “You’re going to wear yourself out – and the people too,” and advised him to appoint capable leaders to “help…carry the load, making the task easier for you” (vs. 22). It was a win-win solution; the people got help faster, and Moses became a better efficient effective leader. And what was the solution that brought this to pass? DELEGATION! You see, Moses had his part to play, and others had theirs too! Likewise, you need to prioritize your life in the same manner. Decide What You Need To Do, Then Delegate The Rest…and in the words of President Reagan…”Don’t Interfere”! Micro-managing people is just as wasteful of a time as an unnecessarily overloaded schedule!

One Bible teacher writes, “One of our greatest challenges…is determining what God DOESN’T want us to do! We love God, we love His people, and we see many needs. But sometimes good intentions cause more harm than good…When you become aware of a need, don’t automatically assume God wants YOU to meet it!  The only reason to perform ministry is when God clearly tells you it’s His Will. If you’re overwhelmed…you’re probably doing more than God asked. Therefore, pray about the assignments you take on, so you don’t rob yourself and others of God’s best.

I remember counseling a leader in church that said she was just exhausted! She said I have no time or energy…I just run from one thing to the next! So I asked her what do you do? Well, she gave me an ear-full! She’s the women’s ministry director, the Sunday school superintendent, an ordained Elder, youth leader, choir director, Pastor’s secretary and part of the hospitality and ushers ministries! I asked how large is your church? She said it’s approximately 250 people. I said wait a minute there’s over 250 people in that church from Sunday to Sunday and yet YOU are the ONLY one doing all of this? She said yes, after 10 years of this I guess it’s finally time to ask for some help! I must be real honest with you all, and don’t judge me either, but I could’ve slapped sister-girl silly! I couldn’t think of a prayer, a scripture, or an encouraging word to give her. Everything in my head said just tell her the truth…THE PROBLEM’S NOT THE CHURCH, THE PROBLEM IS YOU! Seriously, who in their right mind would juggle all of that when there is obviously ample help that was never sought out! And then the bells went off! And I realized who she was…she was ME! I remembered wearing more hats than all the hat stores on the east coast combined! And Never Once Asking For Help!  Just aggravated, stressed, miserable in ministry and not happy at all in life in general! But I was Busy…Needed…Helpful…Useful…Important…But Overwhelmed, Overloaded and Struggling!

That’s when the words came to ask her if she could take just one thing on her long To-Do-List and say that’s the one thing I love doing everyday…that’s the one thing I couldn’t live without doing…what would it be? And you would never guess! What she loved the most…Wasn’t Even On Her To-Do-List! You see, the church had a weekly newsletter, and she loved to write! Yet, she never once handed in any of her writings to the newsletter! She said she was always too busy, she never had the time!  Well, after meeting with her and her Pastor, we had an idea (well, technically, I had the idea, the pastor was heartbroken, but he was at least humble enough to accept some helpful input and insight). My suggestion? Pull her out of everything she was doing and put her on the newsletter committee ONLY.
Well, 2 years later she is now the editor and writer of the newsletter, has her own ministry staff and her first book of poetry will be out this Fall! She said something that I hold dear to this day, she said: “I never knew peace was so simple to attain…its simply found in the passion of performing your purpose”.

People of God, that is my prayer for you today! That you stop being busy and start being productive in your purpose!

Jon Walker states: “Imagine if God created you to be the Michelangelo of this age, but you stayed so busy doing all kinds of things – good things – that you never got around to painting and sculpting. You’d end up missing the best because you got distracted chasing the good. What a disappointment…for God…and all the people who would have been blessed if you’d stayed focused on your original purpose.

Saints, Do What YOU Need to Do Then Learn to Delegate the Rest! Release the Burdens God never meant you to carry, and focus on what He called you to do! There’s No Greater Joy and No Greater Peace! Delegation is Not Succumbing to  Weakness, it’s Embracing the Strength of Others to Help Strengthen You!

“The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.” (Theodore Roosevelt)

“If you delegate tasks, you create followers. If you delegate authority, you create leaders.” (Craig Groeschel)

“If you want your business to grow, delegation will be your salvation.” (Julian Hall)

“Delegating work works, providing the one delegating works, too.” (Robert Half)

“The inability to delegate is one of the biggest problems I see with managers at all levels.” (Eli Broad)

“The first rule of management is delegation. Don’t try to do everything yourself because you can’t.” (Anthea Turner)

“You can do anything, but you can’t do everything.” (David Allen)

“Deciding what NOT to do is as important as deciding what TO DO.” (Jessica Jackley)

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

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“The Benefit and Blessing of Circumcision!”

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Joshua 5:8, “And after the whole nation had been Circumcised, they remained where they were in camp Until They Were Healed.” (NIV)

BEFORE the nation of Israel could go into the Promised Land…THEY HAD TO BE CIRCUMCISED FIRST! 

Circumcision is Painful, Bloody, and Personal…However, For the BELIEVER…SPIRITUAL CIRCUMCISION IS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY! 

God REQUIRES each of us to be Circumcised IN HEART BEFORE we are allowed to enter and receive the blessings that await each believer in the Promised Land!

Circumcision can often be very Painful But it’s always Purposeful! 

Circumcision requires cutting off our old way of life! 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior], he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come [because spiritual awakening brings a new life].” (AMP); Romans 6:4, “We have therefore been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory and power of the Father, we too might walk habitually in newness of life [abandoning our old ways].” (AMP) I reiterate, circumcision requires cutting off our old way of life! And when you look at circumcision in the Natural, what is Cut Away is neither Kept, Reused, or Put Back In Place! IT’S COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY DISCARDED…NEVER TO BE REATTACHED AGAIN!

Can you imagine if we had our LIFESTYLES CIRCUMCISED…TO THE EXTENT THAT NOTHING THAT WAS CUT AWAY EVER REATTACHES AGAIN??!!

CAN YOU IMAGINE HAVING THAT NASTY ATTITUDE CIRCUMCISED THAT IT NEVER REATTACHES AGAIN?! THAT DISOBEDIENT NATURE CIRCUMCISED THAT IT NEVER REATTACHES AGAIN? THAT LUSTFUL SPIRIT CIRCUMCISED THAT IT NEVER REATTACHES AGAIN? THAT PERVERSE MOUTH CIRCUMCISED THAT IT NEVER REATTACHES AGAIN? THAT BOASTFUL, PRIDEFUL, ARROGANT, CONCEITED, ENTITLED DEMEANOR CIRCUMCISED THAT IT NEVER REATTACHES AGAIN?! THOSE CORRUPT COMPANIONS, ASSOCIATES AND FRIENDS CIRCUMCISED THAT THEY NEVER REATTACH AGAIN? THAT JUDGMENTAL, CRITICIZING, CONDESCENDING, BELITTLING BEHAVIOR CIRCUMCISED THAT THEY NEVER REATTACH AGAIN?! THAT HABIT/ADDICTION CIRCUMCISED THAT IT NEVER REATTACHES AGAIN? WHAT WOULD THE CHURCH LOOK LIKE IF THAT BACKBITING, SLANDERING, GOSSIPING, LYING, RUMOR FILLED TONGUE WAS CIRCUMCISED, NEVER TO REATTACH AGAIN?! WHAT IF JEALOUSY, COVETING, ENVY, COMPARING, AND COMPETING WERE CIRCUMCISED, NEVER TO REATTACH AGAIN?! WHAT IF BITTERNESS, ANGER, SPITE, MALICIOUSNESS, UNFORGIVENESS, AND HATRED WERE CIRCUMCISED, NEVER TO REATTACH AGAIN?!

PEOPLE OF GOD, THAT’S THE PURPOSE OF CIRCUMCISION (SPIRITUALLY AND NATURALLY)…IT IS PURPOSED TO CUT AWAY WHAT’S NOT NECESSARY SO THAT IT’S NEVER ALLOWED TO REATTACH AGAIN!

And Despite What You’ve Heard, Circumcision, Both Natural and Spiritual, Is NOT Gender Specific! Both Males and Females Have Been Circumcised (HOWEVER, I BELIEVE THE LORD’S PREFERENCE (According to the Word of God) IS MEN NATURALLY, AND MEN AND WOMEN SPIRITUALLY …READ YOUR BIBLE SAINTS!)

SO, HAS YOUR LIFE BEEN CIRCUMCISED YET?! Have you finally made the decision to get rid of some UNNECESSARY Stuff (WHICH INCLUDES PEOPLE, PLACES, THINGS, CONDUCT, BEHAVIOR, THOUGHTS, DEEDS, SPEECH ETC…)? Have You Matured Enough To Go Without the Stuff You Should Be Without In the First Place!?  

And bear in mind, just as a natural circumcision takes time to heal, so does a spiritual one! Truth is it’s not easy having God cut away some stuff and people that have been attached to us for a very long time. And it doesn’t even matter if we already know they’re poisonous, toxic and infectious, they’ve been attached to us too long for them to easily be detached without wound or pain! So, when you’re ready to reap the promises of God for your life, and you finally make the decision to be circumcised, you will need time to heal. Which is why like the children of Israel, we must WAIT UNTIL WE ARE HEALED BEFORE WE GO FORTH INTO THE PROMISED LAND! 

If we launch out too early, we will not only be Ineffective but we may Risk Infection and Disease and will not be at our Full Capacity! You see, Circumcision opens you up to Vulnerability and Pain, two things none of us like to be in! And when you think about (I pray you can handle this) but Circumcision is in a very Private Area, and not just Private, But Vital to Life! It’s an Organ Where LIFE Itself Is Produced! It All Starts Right There! Yep, I Said It…Nicely! This Very Place Will Release a Seed for Something to Be Birthed (9 Months Later) So It Is Indeed the LAST Place You Want Infected! Hello! 

Remember what the Bible says about the Israelites: “And after the whole nation had been Circumcised, THEY REMAINED WHERE THEY WERE IN CAMP UNTIL THEY WERE HEALED” – Joshua 5:8 (NIV) You Can’t Go Forth Until You’ve Been Circumcised and Healed! You Have to Stay Right Where You Are! Yes they had the place of promise before them, but they couldn’t attain it: “…UNTIL THEY WERE HEALED”! And You Are No Different! Yes, God has Great Things To Be Produced From Your Loins, but BEFORE He Does, You Will Be Circumcised, Then Made to Wait Right Where You Are (In a Vulnerable and Painful Place) Until You Are Healed!

When a Circumcision takes place, the doctors give clear instructions on what to wash with, how often, what cream to use, what to do for the pain etc…and if you’re smart, You Will Follow the Doctors Orders! The very same with a Spiritual Circumcision, Yes It Is Going to Hurt, Some of the Things and People He’s Going to Cut Away Have Been Attached For a Very Long Time And Many of Those Attachments Have Been Private, So When He Removes Them, It Is Going to Hurt, But It Won’t Hurt Always! However, In the Meantime, After He Cuts Things/People Away (That You Don’t Need Anyway) and you Follow His Instructions on How to Recover, Your Painful Experience Will Be But a Memory As You Enjoy the Promised Land!

BUT…YOU HAVE TO BE CIRCUMCISED, STAY WHERE YOU ARE, AND HEAL…FIRST!

Pay attention to the text: “And after the whole nation had been Circumcised, THEY REMAINED WHERE THEY WERE IN CAMP UNTIL THEY WERE HEALED” – Joshua 5:8  (NIV) You don’t get to say, ‘Lord I’ve been Circumcised and all is well! I’m better now, I’m delivered now.’ NO! You have to remain right where you are UNTIL YOU ARE HEALED!

In other words, you don’t get PROMOTED WHEN CIRCUMCISED! YOU REMAIN RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE! GOD IS NOT TAKING ANYMORE LIP SERVICE FROM HIS PEOPLE! THIS TIME, TO ATTAIN THE PROMISE YOU ARE GOING TO GO THROUGH THE PAIN OF CIRCUMCISION…AND THEN YOU’RE GOING TO SIT RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE UNTIL YOU’RE HEALED AND COMPLETELY DELIVERED! Can you imagine if as Leaders we endured this, and made sure others endured it as well?! Remain Where You Are Until You Are Healed! Do You Know How Many Compassionate, Humble Folks Would Then Make Up the Church Body?! Instead of the Highly Decorated Peacocks We Have Poised In the Pews and Pulpit?!

Here’s another reason why waiting until you are completely healed and delivered is so important: The people of Israel fought ONLY 2 BATTLES when they were coming out of Egypt. However, in the Promised Land they fought 39 BATTLES! Wait For It…

You see, far too many in the church believe once we get to the promise or promised land that we get the glad, glads, and it’s happy go lucky every day! We’ll have no more problems, no more headaches, no more struggles, no more trials! ALL OF THAT IS A LIE THAT SHOULD NEVER BE TOLD…NO MORE!

TRUTH IS: ISRAEL FOUGHT MORE AND TOUGHER BATTLES IN THE PROMISED LAND THEN THE ONES GETTING TO IT! THAT’S WHY YOU NEED TO MAKE SURE YOU ARE CIRCUMCISED…FIRST! AND THEN WAIT AND MAKE SURE YOU ARE COMPLETELY HEALED AND DELIVERED (REATTACHING NOTHING THAT WAS SEVERED!) BECAUSE YOU WILL NEED YOUR FULL STRENGTH FOR THE BATTLES THAT LIE AHEAD IN YOUR PROMISED LAND!

Each of us must be Prepared to enjoy the benefits of living in the Promised Land. And that Preparation Is Spiritual Circumcision! However, we must also be Prepared to wage war against the enemy of our souls. Therefore, make sure the Lord has provided the needed healing to your circumcision experience before you enter the Promised Land!

I find it so amazing that Natural Circumcision Meant So Much In the Old Testament, but in the New Testament, For Believers, Paul Pays Natural Circumcision No Mind and Instead He Talks About the Circumcision of the Heart! He Goes Through Colossians, Galatians and Romans talking about the Pointless Need of Natural Circumcision but of the Value and Importance of Spiritual Circumcision of the Heart. There has to be something to it don’t you think?!

“Look out for those dogs [Judaizers, legalists], look out for those mischief-makers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh. For we [Christians] are the true circumcision, who worship God in spirit and by the Spirit of God and exult and glory and pride ourselves in Jesus Christ, and put no confidence or dependence [on what we are] in the flesh and on outward privileges and physical advantages and external appearances—…” (Philippians 3:2-4 AMP)

“In Him also you were circumcised with a circumcision not made with hands, but in a [spiritual] circumcision [performed by] Christ by stripping off the body of the flesh (the whole corrupt, carnal nature with its passions and lusts). [Thus you were circumcised when] you were buried with Him in [your] baptism, in which you were also raised with Him [to a new life] through [your] faith in the working of God [as displayed] when He raised Him up from the dead.” (Colossians 2:10-12 AMP)

Today, ask God to perform a Spiritual Circumcision on Your Heart! Ask Him to Remove Anything and Anyone that Serves No Purpose to Your Growth In Him! And When He Removes It and Them, Don’t Attempt to Reattach Either One!

You Have a Promise Land and Bigger Battles Ahead of You, You Can’t Afford to be Unprepared! So Be Brave and Ask God to Use the Sword of His Word and Cut You…TODAY!

“For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12 AMP)

The Message Bible reads like this: “God means what he says. What he says goes. His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey. Nothing and no one is impervious to God’s Word. We can’t get away from it—no matter what.” (Hebrews 4:12-13 MSG)

People of God, it is Vital that you have your Heart Circumcised. God has so much in store for you that will only benefit and bless you once you’ve detached unnecessary people, places and things. Let nothing and no one come between you and what God has already gotten ready for you. Remember: God is only removing people, places and things that are non-essential to your journey, life, ministry, calling, promise and purpose.  So make absolutely no attempts to hold onto what God’s hands have already determined you do not need. He has a plan and a promise just for you, but you’ve got to be prepared to receive it, and the only way that will happen, is through circumcision. Don’t miss your blessing, don’t miss your promise! Let it and them go, today, and let neither one return!

Joshua 5:8, “When they had completed the circumcising of the WHOLE NATION, they stayed where they were in camp until they were healed.” (MSG)

Something else that’s important to note is that the WHOLE NATION was circumcised. It’s not enough for you alone to endure this process, but everyone attached to you must as well. Which means it’s important to make sure that your home and your church family are all walking through the process of circumcision. Since all with you are going into the promise and promised land with you, you need to make sure that the Whole House has been Cut, Healed, Ready to Enter the Promised Land and Ready to Fight Even Greater Battles! Mom and Dad, it’s not enough that only you have been delivered, but your children need deliverance too! Pastor and Leaders, it’s not enough that only you have been cut, made to wait, endure healing and get ready to enter the promised land! No, the Whole House needs to be on the same page!

Joshua 24:15, “…but as for me AND MY HOUSE, WE will serve the Lord.” That’s not singular, that’s plural! Meaning everybody in the house will have to follow the same house rules! We all get circumcised, we all have to stay right where we are until we are healed, then we all will go into the promised land, fight and win! This is a collective effort, not an individualized event! And so your prayer life will change. Because it has to shift from ‘me, my, mine, and I’ to ‘us, we, and the whole house!’

Joshua 5:8-9, “And the Lord said to Joshua, “Today I have ended your shame of not being circumcised.” So the place where this was done was called Gilgal (meaning, “to end”), and is still called that today. After the ceremony the entire nation rested in camp until the raw flesh of their wounds had been healed.” (TLB) Another good thing to note, is that regardless to who you were, or what you did, or where you were, the shame is gone after the process of circumcision has been completed! They were circumcised in Gilgal! It was the circumcision to end the shame of their painful past! Gilgal means to end, or roll away! As painful as your circumcision will be, it serves a greater purpose than just pain! It closes the door on the past! It ends the shame of what was, and prepares you for what is to come! So, don’t under-estimate your process of circumcision! It is a good thing that shall work in your favor!

And don’t rush the process either! Yes it’s a painful time, place and process, but it’s also a place where God grants you rest until your wounds have healed! Which means, when your circumcision is complete, don’t rush to start the business, open a new church, buy a house or car, and seek to enter ministry or elevate in it! This is not about any of that! This is your time to let the people, places and things God severed from you, heal. You can’t cut away from flesh and not give it time to heal! You need the memories to heal, you need the what if’s to heal, you need the regrets to heal, you need the pain to heal. So don’t rush the process, let God do the cutting, and you do the waiting while healing.

And please don’t think of your process of circumcision as a horrible place either! In Gilgal, yes, there was the pain of circumcision. However, don’t forget some of the other things that transpired in Gilgal. It was also the place of the first encampment of the Israelites west of the Jordan River where a monument was erected to commemorate their passage across the Jordan River! Joshua 4:19-24, “This miracle occurred on the 25th of March. That day the entire nation crossed the Jordan River and camped in Gilgal at the eastern edge of the city of Jericho; and there the twelve stones from the Jordan were piled up as a monument. Then Joshua explained again the purpose of the stones: “In the future,” he said, “when your children ask you why these stones are here and what they mean, you are to tell them that these stones are a reminder of this amazing miracle—that the nation of Israel crossed the Jordan River on dry ground!  Tell them how the Lord our God dried up the river right before our eyes and then kept it dry until we were all across! It is the same thing the Lord did forty years ago at the Red Sea!  He did this so that all the nations of the earth will realize that Jehovah is the mighty God, and so that all of you will worship him forever.” (TLB). It was also the place where the Passover was kept: Joshua 5:10, “While they were camped at Gilgal on the plains of Jericho, they celebrated the Passover during the evening of April first.” (TLB); it was also the place where their first king was crowned and altars were built and sacrifices offered 1 Samuel 11:15, “So they went to Gilgal and in a solemn ceremony before the Lord they crowned him king. Then they offered peace offerings to the Lord, and Saul and all Israel were very happy.” (TLB); it was also the place of the school of the prophets: 2 Kings 4:38-40, “Elisha now returned to Gilgal, but there was a famine in the land. One day as he was teaching the young prophets…” (TLB); in addition, it was the place where the Tribe of Judah escorted King David and the very place Joshua conquered!

In other words, don’t get stuck in this temporary place! You are not going to stay here forever! But also, know that God has done some amazing things even in painful places! Don’t despise your place of Gilgal, it’s painful, but it’s purposeful! It won’t last forever, it’s the place of your healing, it’s the place of your resting, it’s the place where your past shame comes to an end, and most important, it’s the place that will lead you into your promised land and victorious battles! There are benefits and blessings to the process of circumcision, you just have to endure the painful waiting period of healing in order to get them! My suggestion? Endure Your Process of Circumcision!

Jeremiah 4:4, “Circumcise (dedicate, sanctify) yourselves to the Lord and remove the foreskin [sins] of your heart, Men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, Or else My wrath will go forth like fire [consuming all that gets in its way] And burn and there will be no one to quench it, Because of the evil of your acts.” (AMP)

Deuteronomy 30:6, “And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the hearts of your descendants [that is, He will remove the desire to sin from your heart], so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul, so that you may live [as a recipient of His blessing].” (AMP)

“Without this heart attitude it is exceedingly difficult for us to accept the circumcision of the flesh. Every affection, desire, thought, knowledge, intent, worship, and work of the flesh must go to the cross.” (Watchman Nee)

People of God, Do Not Despise Your Painful Process of Circumcision in the Place of Gilgal (the Place Where You Get Cut, You Wait, You Heal, and the Pain Comes to an End Before You Enter Your Promise Land!) Don’t Despise Gilgal, Embrace it, it’s the Place That Will Lead You to Your Promised Land!

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

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“You Need Free-Throw Focus”

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Philippians 3:15-16, “So let’s keep FOCUSED on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, GOD WILL CLEAR YOUR BLURRED VISION—YOU’LL SEE IT YET! Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it.” (MSG)

My dad was indeed crazy about sports, particularly baseball, football and basketball. He had his favorite teams, and you could hear him from miles away as he rooted for his best! And truth is, much like my dad, just about all American’s are pretty passionate about their sports too. Now, if my dad had to pick just one sport as a favorite, he would hands down choose baseball. However, my nephew would, without a doubt, vote for basketball as the most exciting sport of all time. And basketball action is pretty physical. It’s constantly changing, it’s intense, it’s unpredictable. And even though I know little of nothing about the sport, I’ve watched enough to know about this one thing. You see, there’s this one point where it does slow down a little, much to the relief of the players I’m sure. But if a player is fouled by someone from the other team, he gets to shoot one or two FREE THROWS.

And that down time is a time when nobody on the court is bothering you or trying to defend against you, no one is touching you, bumping you, or blocking you. Actually I really shouldn’t say no one’s bothering you, especially if you’re the visiting team. Because when you’re facing that basket trying to make your free throw, you’re also facing all the local fans who, of course, want you to miss! They’re jumping up and down, they’re making noise, they’re waving their arms, and they’re waving signs in your face. Which means, if you’re going to try to score some points with this free throw, you’ve got to seriously CONCENTRATE. The word “Concentrate” is defined as “to focus all one’s attention or mental effort on an object or activity.” Its Latin Origin comes from “Con” (meaning ‘together’) and “Centrum” (meaning ‘center’). To concentrate is therefore to bring all of your mental effort together to focus on the one thing that is necessary, that which is the center of your attention. Sounds a lot like David and Paul doesn’t it? Psalm 27:4, “I’m asking God for ONE THING, ONLY ONE THING: To live with Him in His house my whole life long. I’ll contemplate His beauty; I’ll study at this feet” (MSG); Philippians 3:13, “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider that I have made it my own yet; but ONE THING I DO: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the [heavenly] prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (AMP). Can you imagine being that single-minded? Better yet, can you imagine trying to be that single-minded when attempting to make a free throw shot while everyone is attempting to do whatever it takes to throw you off your game?!

In fact, I didn’t know there’s even an actual name for it in basketball, they call it “FREE THROW DISTRACTIONS.” And it’s pretty big and sometimes very hilarious and other times quite disturbing. You see, it’s when you have fans that will wear weird and outrageous outfits, make faces, scream, taunt, provoke, make crazy sounds, even take off their clothes, and all of it just to make you lose your CONCENTRATION! Their only goal is to make sure you don’t make yours!

Now, let’s be honest. Many of us have distractions we face daily, but can you imagine having a whole stadium of people attempting everything in their power to distract you? And all of this effort just because they want to see you lose!

This thought brought to mind Hebrews 10:32-38, here’s what it says: “But remember the earlier days, when, after being [spiritually] enlightened, you [patiently] endured a great conflict of sufferings,  sometimes by being made a spectacle, publicly exposed to insults and distress, and sometimes by becoming companions with those who were so treated.  For you showed sympathy and deep concern for those who were imprisoned, and you joyfully accepted the [unjust] seizure of your belongings and the confiscation of your property, conscious of the fact that you have a better possession and a lasting one [prepared for you in heaven].  Do not, therefore, fling away your [fearless] confidence, for it has a glorious and great reward.  For you have need of patient endurance [to bear up under difficult circumstances without compromising], so that when you have carried out the will of God, you may receive and enjoy to the full what is promised. For yet in a very little while, He who is coming will come, and will not delay. But My righteous one [the one justified by faith] shall live by faith [respecting man’s relationship to God and trusting Him]; And if he draws back [SHRINKING IN FEAR], My soul has no delight in him. BUT OUR WAY IS NOT THAT OF THOSE WHO SHRINK BACK TO DESTRUCTION, but [we are] of those who believe [relying on God through faith in Jesus Christ, the Messiah] and by this confident faith preserve the soul.” (AMP)

This passage from the Bible suggests an idea that’s pretty common in modern athletics. You hear this word a lot – FOCUS. And it’s not focusing in good times, but focusing in hard times! Times when you’re attacked, taunted, provoked, and even insulted! The word “focus” has many definitions, but the one I like is “to pay particular attention to.Just like that basketball player. He’s got to focus on making that basket; what it takes to sink it when you’ve got a thousand nuts out there trying to get you to look somewhere else. That player has all kinds of sights and sounds trying to get his attention. But he’s got to tune it all out. His eye is fixed on the basket. To attain his goal, he has to Pay Particular Attention!

The Bible says, “We have a race marked out for us.The Lord has set the course for your life. You’ve got gifts to use for Him, you’ve got people to influence for Him, you have work to get done for Him, you have days that are yours with which to glorify Him and keep striving toward His prize. All that matters is getting to that finish line. Truth is we should all want to have Paul’s testimony: 2 Timothy 4:7, “I have fought the good fight. I have Completed the race. I have kept the faith.” (GWT). That word “complete” is defined as “having run its full course; finished; to the greatest extent or degree; total.” It’s Latin Origin “Complere” literally means “to fill up, finish, and fulfill.” And isn’t that what every believer wants? To fulfill the Will of God for their life? Well, it’s possible, it’s doable, you just have to concentrate and focus and you’ll finish your fulfillment! Will it be easy? Absolutely not! But it will most certainly be worth it to hear: Matthew 25:21, “…Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful and trustworthy over a little, I will put you in charge of many things; share in the joy of your master.” (AMP). Listen, the Lord has indeed promised to do His part, Philippians 1:6, “I am convinced and confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will [continue to] perfect and COMPLETE IT until the day of Christ Jesus [the time of His return].” (AMP). But in the words of the Apostle Paul, we have our part to do as well: “…I have FINISHED the work I was to do…” (NLV). To finish well, you need to focus well!

Now, the player who has to make this free throw shot has a lot coming at him and all at the same time! There’s a lot that could blur his vision, cloud his judgment, shift his focus, and cause him to lose his concentration. After all, that player could look at the crowd. He could look at the competitors all around him. He could look at all the signs that say ‘MISS IT!’ But a champion, of course, always focuses on the upward goal. What he has to do is more important than what others around him are trying to do to him.

Now, if we are to all be honest, truth is, we all fight with distractions every day! It’s easy to have your attention drawn away to a problem person, or your finances, or making more money, or a thousand little annoyances. You can be distracted by temptation, or as I often am, by an overwhelming “to do” list. And dare we mention television, phones, and social media? Even in church we can get so caught up in positions, protocols and programs that we never focus on fulfilling our purpose. But that’s the goal of distraction, to cause you to retract from forward progression. In fact, the word “Retract” means “to draw or be drawn back; to withdraw; to go back on.” Its Latin Origin “Retrahere” literally means “to draw back.” And is there danger in being distracted to the point of going backwards? Absolutely! Just take a look at Luke 9:62 in a few translations:

“But Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back [to the things left behind] is fit for the kingdom of God.” (AMP);

“Jesus answered, “Anyone who starts plowing and keeps looking back isn’t worth a thing to God’s kingdom!” (CEV);

“Jesus said, “Anyone who begins to plow a field but looks back is not prepared for God’s kingdom.” (ERV)

“Jesus said, “No procrastination. No backward looks. You can’t put God’s kingdom off till tomorrow. Seize the day.” (MSG)

“Jesus said, “Anyone who begins to plow a field but keeps looking back is of no use in the kingdom of God.” (NCV)

 “But Jesus told him, “Anyone who lets himself be DISTRACTED from the work I plan for him is not fit for the Kingdom of God.” (TLB)

Listen: You cannot afford to be drawn back, go back, procrastinate or allow yourself to be distracted from your assignment, ministry, race, work, calling or purpose! It makes you unfit, unfocused and ultimately unfulfilled! You can’t make the mark while aiming at everything but the mark! If you ever take the time to look at the faces of the athletes when they’re on the line and focused on making their free throw shot, you will be amazed at the intensity of their stare, focus and concentration. And even though their free throw shot is important to them in that moment, surely you know we have a mark to make that’s a tad bit more important! We have to finish what our Father assigned to our hands to do!

1 Corinthians 3:9-15, “For we are God’s fellow workers [His servants working together]; you are God’s cultivated field [His garden, His vineyard], God’s building. According to the [remarkable] grace of God which was given to me [to prepare me for my task], like a skillful master builder I laid a foundation, and now another is building on it. But each one must be careful how he builds on it, for no one can lay a foundation other than the one which is [already] laid, which is Jesus Christ. But if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will be clearly shown [for what it is]; for the day [of judgment] will disclose it, because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality and character and worth of each person’s work. If any person’s work which he has built [on this foundation, that is, any outcome of his effort] remains [and survives this test], he will receive a reward. But if any person’s work is burned up [by the test], he will suffer the loss [of his reward]; yet he himself will be saved, but only as [one who has barely escaped] through fire.” (AMP) The Message Bible says it like this: “Who do you think Paul is, anyway? Or Apollos, for that matter? Servants, both of us—servants who waited on you as you gradually learned to entrust your lives to our mutual Master. We each carried out our servant assignment. I planted the seed, Apollos watered the plants, but God made you grow. It’s not the one who plants or the one who waters who is at the center of this process but God, who makes things grow. Planting and watering are menial servant jobs at minimum wages. What makes them worth doing is the God we are serving. You happen to be God’s field in which we are working. Or, to put it another way, you are God’s house. Using the gift God gave me as a good architect, I designed blueprints; Apollos is putting up the walls. Let each carpenter who comes on the job take care to build on the foundation! Remember, there is only one foundation, the one already laid: Jesus Christ. Take particular care in picking out your building materials. Eventually there is going to be an inspection. If you use cheap or inferior materials, you’ll be found out. The inspection will be thorough and rigorous. You won’t get by with a thing. If your work passes inspection, fine; if it doesn’t, your part of the building will be torn out and started over. But you won’t be torn out; you’ll survive—but just barely.” (MSG)

2 Corinthians 5:10, “For we [believers will be called to account and] must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be repaid for what has been done in the body, whether good or bad [that is, each will be held responsible for his actions, purposes, goals, motives—the use or misuse of his time, opportunities and abilities].” (AMP)

That’s Why You Need to Maintain Your Free-Throw Focus! Not Only Do You Have a Work to Complete For God, But It Will Be Inspected By God! Concentrate!

But, maybe your attention is drawn to this or that conflict or to something you’re afraid of, or something you’re worried about. Whatever it is, it’s yelling, “Look at me instead!“, and sadly, many of us do to our distraction and demise. Truth is, we have thrown away enough days by letting ourselves become frustrated, allowing ourselves to worry and panic and feel sorry for ourselves. What’s the answer then? Here we go again, FOCUS, FOCUS, FOCUS! It begins when your day begins. You fill up with Jesus in the waking moments. That’s a conscious choice you make. You listen to worship music, Christian radio, go to Christian websites. You take time to listen to the Lord in His Word and prayer, and then you refocus on Him several times during the day DELIBERATELY. Stop allowing the crowd to shift your focus! Whether it’s on the job, in the home, in business or in the church, keep your focus!

Refocus on Jesus and His assignment and purpose for your life because He’s holding you accountable for the work!

All the distracters will always be there waving, shouting, and screaming for your attention. But a champion knows they’ve got to make the difference. They’ve got to make the basket. They’ve got to make the goal. And the only way to do that is to focus and refuse to be distracted.

Make sure your eyes are stubbornly focused on the Christ who is Lord over every distraction!

You know, I’ve come to realize just this year, in the last few days that sometimes it’s okay to be stubborn. You see, “Stubborn” is defined as “determined not to change one’s attitude or position; difficult to move.” And that’s exactly what we need to be, so stubborn in focus that we’re determined not to change our attitude or position. So stubborn, that no matter what they do or attempt to do to distract us, we will not be moved! Let this year be the year that you plant your feet and refuse to be moved by distractions (whether they come from people, places, or things). Remember, you can’t make the shot if you keep shifting your sight to look at distraction!

1 Chronicles 29:14-19 says, “…And give my son Solomon an uncluttered and FOCUSED heart so that he can obey what you command, live by your directions and counsel, and carry through with building The Temple for which I have provided.” (MSG). Today, ask God to give you an UNCLUTTERED AND FOCUSED HEART! One that keeps Him at the center and core! Not one that’s consumed with Michelle on Monday or Frank on Friday! Because they are mere distractions! I don’t care what they have to offer, what they can do, what they will do, I don’t even care what they look like! You are responsible for keeping your heart uncluttered and focused on God and what He’s assigned you to do!

Psalm 119:65-72, “Before I learned to answer you, I wandered all over the place, but now I’m in step with your Word. You are good, and the source of good; train me in your goodness. The godless spread lies about me, but I FOCUS my attention on what you are saying…” (MSG) Listen, I don’t care what they call you, focus on what God says about you only! They can say you’re ugly, fat, lazy, no good, less than, useless, worthless, and the like, and they are entitled to their opinion. But their opinion is not God’s! He calls you His chosen people, His priceless, cherished treasure, He calls you His own, He calls you gifted, anointed, powerful, awesome, healed, delivered, saved! He calls you ‘MINE’! And that supersedes anything anyone else has to say about you! Be like the psalmist, BUT I FOCUS MY ATTENTION ON WHAT YOU ARE SAYING!

DON’T LET THE VOICES BLUR YOUR VISION!

Matthew 6:6, “…Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The FOCUS will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.” (MSG) The player getting ready to do his free throw shot focuses only on the basket. And you need to make sure that daily you are spending time with God, and God alone. Focused solely on Him! Shift your focus to place Him in clear view! Yes, there will be times when you’re surrounded by the crowds, but there must also be those scheduled moments that you don’t compromise. The moments that you PURPOSELY set aside for you and God to have some one-on-one time. The best way to maintain your focus is to always keep God in your view!

Matthew 17:17-18, “Jesus said, “What a generation! No sense of God! No FOCUS to your lives! How many times do I have to go over these things?…” (MSG) Listen, you cannot serve God while serving a million other things in life. I’ve seen it far too often in churches, people wearing so many hats you can no longer see their entire body anymore. You can’t be all over the place and focused at the same time. Imagine if you’re driving down the highway and you’re trying to adjust all the mirrors, turn off the wipers, turn on the radio, change the heat, pull down the visor to get a piece of paper, yell at the kids and fix your seat belt buckle all at the same time, guess what’s about to happen?! You guessed it, CRASH! Why? Because you shifted your focus from what was most important to everything else! Learn how to get some focus to your life, your entire life, which means work, home, church, school, activities and the like. Get them all in order and place them in proper priority categories so you can get more focus to your life. You can’t see clearly when your entire life is nothing but a cluttered mess of distractions!

Mark 8:24-26, “He looked up. “I see men. They look like walking trees.” So Jesus laid hands on his eyes again. The man looked hard and realized that he had recovered perfect sight, saw everything in bright, twenty-twenty FOCUS…” (MSG) There’s nothing like taking what’s ailing you to Jesus for Him to lay His hands on it and fix and heal it. You can’t focus when you’re hurting and in pain. Meaning, yes, you have a purpose to fulfill, but when something isn’t working right in your life, don’t try to perform, just seek God. What happened to this man who had no sight, after he spend some time with Jesus? HE HAD RECOVERED PERFECT SIGHT, SAW EVERYTHING IN BRIGHT, TWENTY-TWENTY FOCUS! And the same will happen for you! Whether it’s physical, mental, emotional, financial, social, or spiritual, if it needs healing, take it to Jesus first, refocus, then get back to fulfilling your assignment!

Romans 4:19-25, “Abraham didn’t FOCUS on his own impotence and say, “It’s hopeless. This hundred-year-old body could never father a child.” Nor did he survey Sarah’s decades of infertility and give up. He didn’t tiptoe around God’s promise asking cautiously skeptical questions. He plunged into the promise and came up strong, ready for God, sure that God would make good on what he had said. That’s why it is said, “Abraham was declared fit before God by trusting God to set him right.” But it’s not just Abraham; it’s also us! The same thing gets said about us when we embrace and believe the One who brought Jesus to life when the conditions were equally hopeless. The sacrificed Jesus made us fit for God, set us right with God.” (MSG) I can’t imagine all that goes through the mind of a player who has to make a free throw shot, while everyone around him wants him to lose his focus and lose his aim! That’s a lot of pressure. And Abraham knew pressure. He was promised to father a child in his old age, when it was past time for them both, and yet he believed God! Whatever God has assigned you to do, you can do it, no matter your flaws and imperfections, no matter how hard or seemingly impossible. Simply focus on what God said and believe it until you see it!

Romans 15:14-16, “…I need your help in carrying out this highly FOCUSED assignment God gave me, this priestly and gospel work of serving…” (MSG) Now, the free throw shot is all on you, alone. But thank God, that’s only one small portion in the game. You need to make sure that you surround yourself with a good team so you can win the entire game, which you cannot do alone, no matter how focused and gifted you are! Make sure you have a team that’s focused just as you are, or even better! Avoid the lazy, the pessimistic, the undisciplined, the show-boats, the easily distracted! Get you a team that’s focused on God’s assignment, plan, purpose and kingdom, and get the work of serving completed!

2 Corinthians 1:12-14, “…It was God who kept us FOCUSED on him, uncompromised…” (MSG) You can’t win and compromise! You need God to keep you focused especially during those times of temptation! Because as soon as you shift your focus to the things of God, the devil will immediately show up with every distraction to take your focus from God, don’t let it happen! Stay with God so He can keep you focused and uncompromised as you complete your assignment for Him!

Ephesians 1:15-19, “I ask—ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory—to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes FOCUSED and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for his followers, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him—endless energy, boundless strength!” (MSG) So many say they have no idea what God has called them to do, but the Bible clearly says, “I ask—ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory—to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, YOUR EYES FOCUSED AND CLEAR, SO THAT YOU CAN SEE CLEARLY EXACTLY WHAT IT IS HE IS CALLING YOU TO DO…” You need to focus on God so you can see clearly what it is He has called you to do! Unfortunately however, far too many focus on what people say instead, ‘you sound like a preacher’; ‘you look like a dancer’…But You Can’t See Your Calling Clearly Looking to People, You Have to Focus On God!

Brothers and Sisters, let today be the day you get your focus back and not lose it again to distractions! God has called you to a great work, that can’t be accomplished while you’re unfocused! Be it people, places or things, let nothing and no one take your free throw focus off the basket! You never know, your focus just may win it for the entire team! We’re All Counting On You!

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

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“Are You Giving God Your BEST?”

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Jeremiah 48:10, “Cursed is the one who is HALFHEARTED in doing the Lord’s work…” (CEB)

If it’s one thing my mother hated, it was having asked someone to do something, and they do it, but do it, half-heartedly. The term “half-hearted” is defined as “without enthusiasm or determination; feeling or showing of little interest; to give lukewarm support to.”And what does God think about “lukewarm people“? Revelation 3:15-17, ‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold (invigorating, refreshing) nor hot (healing, therapeutic); I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm (SPIRITUALLY USELESS), and neither hot nor cold, I will vomit you out of My mouth [rejecting you with disgust]. Because you say, “I am rich, and have prospered and grown wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked [without hope and in great need],” (AMP) The Message Bible says it like this: “I know you inside and out, and find little to my liking. You’re not cold, you’re not hot—far better to be either cold or hot! You’re stale. You’re stagnant. You make me want to vomit. You brag, ‘I’m rich, I’ve got it made, I need nothing from anyone,’ oblivious that in fact you’re a pitiful, blind beggar, threadbare and homeless.” (MSG)

So, do you still want to serve God halfheartedly and lukewarm?

Some of its adjectives are, “unenthusiastic, indifferent (‘having no particular interest, unconcerned, not particularly good, mediocre’. Its Latin Origin literally means ‘making no difference’), apathetic, cool, neutral (‘disengaged’), passive (‘accepting of anything without active response or resistance’), lackluster (‘lacking in vitality, force, or conviction; not shining, dull’), lukewarm, uninterested, perfunctory (‘carried out with a minimum of effort or reflection’. Its Latin Origin literally means ‘careless’), listless (‘lacking energy’), and spiritless (‘lacking courage, energy, or determination’).Question: How do you give “spiritless” servitude to a God who is Spirit?! John 4:24, says, “GOD IS SPIRIT. Those who worship Him must worship Him in SPIRIT and in truth.” (NLV) I reiterate, how do you give “spiritless” servitude to THE Spirit, when you’re supposed to be led by His Spirit? Galatians 5:18, 25, “…But if ye be LED OF THE SPIRIT…IF WE LIVE IN THE SPIRIT, LET US ALSO WALK IN THE SPIRIT…” How do you give “spiritless” servitude to THE Spirit, when you’re supposed to be LED OF THE SPIRIT, LIVE IN THE SPIRIT AND WALK IN THE SPIRIT? Perhaps, if we stopped being so WHOLEHEARTEDLY led by the Flesh, living in the Flesh and walking in the Flesh, we could finally stop HALFHEARTEDLY serving in Spirit…Selah…

Let’s look at John 4:24 in a few translations:

God is Spirit, and those who worship God MUST be led by the Spirit to worship him according to the truth.” (CEV) –  The word “MUST” is defined as “to be obligated to; should; expressing insistence on something that should not be overlooked or missed.”

“God is spirit, and it is NECESSARY to worship God in spirit and truth.” (CEB) – That word “NECESSARY” is defined as, “required to be done, needed, must be, inevitable, basic requirement”.

In essence, in our service, no matter what the form, when it is to God, it is a necessity to have it done wholeheartedly in the Spirit, something that should not be overlooked or missed because it is our basic requirement. God has always given us His absolute best, in fact He gave us His Heart (His Son, His Sons Blood, His Sons Life) so, how do we dare serve Him halfheartedly?

“It’s who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself—Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.” (John 4:23-24 MSG) Nothing about that sounds fleshly or halfhearted!

There’s an interesting story that’s told about Queen Victoria. She loved being able to go out and be by herself, without being recognized, so she could mingle with ordinary people. And to keep from being noticed, the Queen would “dress down.” On one of her walks it began to rain, so she knocked on the door of this cottage and asked to borrow an umbrella. Well, not recognizing the Queen, the elderly woman who answered the door lent her a beat-up umbrella, instead of her best umbrella. She did that because she wasn’t sure she’d ever see the umbrella again of course. Well Queen Victoria left thanking the woman and promising to return the umbrella. The next day a royal messenger returned the lady’s umbrella. And he said to the woman, “The Queen asked me to return your umbrella.” The elderly woman was heard to say, “Oh, if I’d only known who it was, I would have given her my best.

Listen to these sobering words, from our text in Jeremiah 48:10,A curse” – oh, a curse – “A curse on him who is lax in doing the Lord’s work.” WARNING! Don’t be lax! Don’t be lazy! Don’t be careless in doing the work of God! Why? Because, THERE’S A CURSE PLACED ON ANYONE WHO IS! This is how strongly God feels about those who serve Him and His work in a half-hearted manner!

Various translations word it like this:

“Cursed is he who does the work of the Lord with SLACKNESS…” (ESV); – That word “slackness” is defined as “careless, lazy, negligent, reduced intensity, to decrease in effort.” Its Old English Origin literally means “inclined to be lazy”.

“Cursed is the one who does the work of the Lord NEGLIGENTLY…” (AMP); – That word “negligent” is defined as “lack of proper care and attention; breach of a duty of care which results in damage.”

“Curse those who do not do the Lord’s work with ALL THEIR HEART…” (GNT);

“SLOPPY WORK in God’s name is cursed…” (MSG); – That word “sloppy” is defined as “careless and unsystematic; weakly; foolishly.”

“A curse on anyone who is LAX in doing the Lord’s work…” (NIV); – That word “lax” is defined as “not sufficiently strict, severe, or careful.”

“The one who does the Lord’s work WITHOUT CARE is cursed…” (NLV);

In other words, God places a curse on anyone who serves Him and His work in a manner that is: SLACK, NEGLIGENT, HALF-HEARTED, SLOPPY, LAX or WITHOUT CARE! The work of the Kingdom means so much to God that He will place a curse on anyone who gives decreased effort, inclined to be lazy, lacks proper care and attention, foolish, weak, or careless in it! That ought to terrify many of us who have not been giving God our absolute best!

See, sometimes we give the Lord what’s easy for us to give Him, but the King deserves our best. Think about it: No one in their right mind would serve an earthly king dinner on paper plates, plastic silverware, bowls, cups and discount store napkins! Why not? Because that’s not what you serve a king! And certainly our KING is deserving of much better than any earthly king! Yet, we won’t serve an earthly king on paper and plastic, but our KING we serve with watered down worship; procrastinated praise; and perfunctory prayers! We bypass bible study and we’re so busy checking messages on our phones that we pay little or no attention to the Message coming through the microphone in the sanctuary! We sing songs with no emotions, and dance for show. How does God get any honor out of any of that? But we’re first to cry out “He’s Our King of Kings!” Well, if He truly is, than serve Him as a King should be served!

If truth be told, a lot of people are frequently lax doing the Lord’s work. That’s why a strong word is probably needed here. Some of us may have been financially lax with the Lord’s work; we’ve been careless with the money He’s provided for us. We’ve become careless in tithe and offering, careless in the benevolent offering, careless in the financial support of the work of the Lord. We’ve become undisciplined with our paychecks. When the truth is, you don’t need more money, you need to learn how to budget and properly manage the money He’s already provided you. Stop wishing for More when you’re wasteful with Less. Clearly there’s not been full integrity in the way funds have been taken care of. But money funds the work of the Lord. We can’t afford to be careless with it publicly or privately. In the House of the Lord or in our own personal Homes!

Another truth, some people are lax with their time. A lot of time gets wasted in the service of the Lord. Let’s be honest about it. We need to be doing every task as if it were a royal task, because it is.

Ephesians 6:5-8, “Servants, respectfully obey your earthly masters but always with an eye to obeying the real master, Christ. Don’t just do what you have to do to get by, but work heartily, as Christ’s servants doing what God wants you to do. And work with a smile on your face, always keeping in mind that no matter who happens to be giving the orders, YOU’RE REALLY SERVING GOD. Good work will get you good pay from the Master, regardless of whether you are slave or free.” (MSG);

Colossians 3:17, “Whatever you do [NO MATTER WHAT IT IS] in word or deed, DO EVERYTHING IN THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS [and in dependence on Him], giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” (AMP);

Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do [whatever your task may be], WORK FROM THE SOUL [THAT IS, PUT IN YOUR VERY BEST EFFORT], AS [SOMETHING DONE] FOR THE LORD AND NOT FOR MEN,” (AMP)

In other words, never be lax in giving your time to the work of the Kingdom. Whether you serve in the pulpit, at the door as an usher, on the choir, as a musician, as a janitor cleaning out the pews, serve in the manner you would if you were serving a King…because you are! There is no big and little work in the Kingdom, just work to be done. So, let today be the day you decide to work…wholeheartedly for the Lord!

Now, with the many social media networks (posting, snapping, liking, tweeting, scoping, streaming etc…), and all the things that are out there to distract us during the day and night, at work, home and church, it is so easy to waste God’s precious time. But what we have to remember is that we’re working for the King of kings, therefore, giving 100% however big or small it is, is an Obligation not an Option! Whether it’s in or out of the spotlight, we’ve got to realize time is of the essence and too precious and costly to waste. It often amazes me that we’re quick to say “we’re living in the end times…and these are the last days…” and yet we carry on as though we have all the time left in the world. If indeed these are the end times and last days shouldn’t we serve like it? Look like it? Act like? Behave and conduct ourselves like it? Preach, teach, and pray like it? And most importantly live like it? If there’s not much time left, shouldn’t we get this right, like right now?! Saints, no more carelessness with our time, for one day, our last night will indeed be our LAST night.

Not to mention it’s possible to be lax with the quality of our work for the Lord, settling for mediocrity. But the King should always be represented by excellence don’t you think?

Numbers 18:29 says that we “must offer as the Lord’s portion, the BEST and holiest part of everything we have.” As is my custom, let’s view this in a few translations:

“Out of all your gifts, you shall present every offering due to the Lord, FROM ALL THE BEST of it, even the sacred part from them.’” (AMP);

“You will present each gift offering to the Lord from all your gifts, FROM ITS BEST PORTIONS and its holiest parts.” (CEB);

“so the BEST of what you receive will be Mine.” (CEV);

“Out of all the gifts to you, you shall present every contribution due to the Lord; from each ITS BEST PART IS TO BE DEDICATED.’” (ESV);

“Give it from the BEST that you receive.” (GNT);

“MAKE SURE THAT God’s PORTION IS THE BEST and holiest of everything you get.” (MSG);

Are you getting this? Whatever you do for the Lord, whatever you give to the Lord, “MAKE SURE THAT God’s PORTION IS THE BEST and HOLIEST of EVERYTHING…”

NOT SECOND-BEST, NOT USED, NOT LESS THAN, NOT MEDIOCRE, NOT LEFT-OVERS, EVERYTHING YOU DO AND EVERYTHING YOU PRESENT MUST BE THE BEST!

Let’s tell the truth, in a very busy world and our very busy lives the King often gets our leftovers; our leftover time, our leftover energy, our leftover talent, our leftover finances. And that’s wrong! We forget this isn’t work for the church or for some Christian organization or for the people around us or the people we report to. This is for the King! This is the King who bought you back with the life of His Son! And someday we’ll stand before this very same King and we will offer Him the work we did for Him. I hope you will make it work that Jesus will be proud of and you don’t have to be ashamed of, or in the words of 2 Timothy 2:15, “…CONCENTRATE ON DOING YOUR BEST FOR GOD, WORK YOU WON’T BE ASHAMED OF…” (MSG)

And why should we offer God our BEST work? 1 Corinthians 3:9-15, “We are God’s coworkers, and you are God’s field, God’s building. I laid a foundation like a wise master builder according to God’s grace that was given to me, but someone else is building on top of it. EACH PERSON NEEDS TO PAY ATTENTION TO THE WAY THEY BUILD ON IT.  No one can lay any other foundation besides the one that is already laid, which is Jesus Christ.  So, whether someone builds on top of the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, grass, or hay,  each one’s work will be clearly shown. The day will make it clear, because it will be revealed with fire—THE FIRE WILL TEST THE QUALITY OF EACH ONE’S WORK.  If anyone’s work survives, they’ll get a reward.  But if anyone’s work goes up in flames, they’ll lose it. However, they themselves will be saved as if they had gone through a fire.” (CEB)

This is why we need to evaluate the work we’re doing for the Lord. We need to pay attention that we’re giving Him our all and our best because the day is coming when we’ll be tested and graded, and unlike school when you get a failing or passing grade, this grade affects you eternally. There’s no make-up, it goes through the fire, and either it survives or burns, sounds a lot like our souls. Which is why this is so vital that we handle this appropriately, carefully and cautiously.

We’ve all heard the term “what’s the worst that can happen?” Well, in this case, the WORST that can happen is not giving God your BEST!

Lastly, remember the story above, the woman would have given the Queen her best umbrella had she known it was the Queen making the request. However, for you and I, we have no excuses, no one to blame, we can do no finger pointing, because we know exactly WHO is making a request of us. And certainly we will not be able to say in the end, “If I had only known it was for the King, I would have given Him my best.” I assure you, by then…it will be far too late! Just ask the foolish virgins who missed out on God’s best because they gave Him their worst! Don’t let that be the final chapter in your life’s story.

From this day forward, determine to always give God your Best in All things!

1 Corinthians 10:31-33, “So eat your meals heartily, not worrying about what others say about you—you’re eating to God’s glory, after all, not to please them. AS A MATTER OF FACT, DO EVERYTHING THAT WAY, HEARTILY AND FREELY TO GOD’S GLORY. At the same time, don’t be callous in your exercise of freedom, thoughtlessly stepping on the toes of those who aren’t as free as you are. I try my best to be considerate of everyone’s feelings in all these matters; I hope you will be, too.” (MSG)

Proverbs 3:5-12, “…Honor God with everything you own; GIVE HIM THE FIRST AND THE BEST. Your barns will burst, your wine vats will brim over…” (MSG)

Remember: Whether we give God our best or worst; whether we’re hot, cold, or lukewarm; whether we keep the oil in our lamps on high or low, full or empty, IT IS ALWAYS OUR DELIBERATE CHOICE. BE SURE TO CHOOSE WELL!

Matthew 25:1-13

THE STORY OF THE VIRGINS: “God’s kingdom is like ten young virgins who took oil lamps and went out to greet the bridegroom. Five were silly and five were smart. The silly virgins took lamps, but no extra oil. The smart virgins took jars of oil to feed their lamps. The bridegroom didn’t show up when they expected him, and they all fell asleep. “In the middle of the night someone yelled out, ‘He’s here! The bride-groom’s here! Go out and greet him!’ “The ten virgins got up and got their lamps ready. The silly virgins said to the smart ones, ‘Our lamps are going out; lend us some of your oil.’ “They answered, ‘There might not be enough to go around; go buy your own.’ “They did, but while they were out buying oil, the bridegroom arrived. When everyone who was there to greet him had gone into the wedding feast, the door was locked. “Much later, the other virgins, the silly ones, showed up and knocked on the door, saying, ‘Master, we’re here. Let us in.’ “He answered, ‘Do I know you? I don’t think I know you.’ “So stay alert. You have no idea when he might arrive.” (MSG)

Matthew 25:14-30

THE STORY ABOUT INVESTMENT: “It’s also like a man going off on an extended trip. He called his servants together and delegated responsibilities. To one he gave five thousand dollars, to another two thousand, to a third one thousand, depending on their abilities. Then he left. Right off, the first servant went to work and doubled his master’s investment. The second did the same. But the man with the single thousand dug a hole and carefully buried his master’s money. “After a long absence, the master of those three servants came back and settled up with them. The one given five thousand dollars showed him how he had doubled his investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.’ “The servant with the two thousand showed how he also had doubled his master’s investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.’ “The servant given one thousand said, ‘Master, I know you have high standards and hate careless ways, that you demand the best and make no allowances for error. I was afraid I might disappoint you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money. Here it is, safe and sound down to the last cent.’ “The master was furious. ‘That’s a terrible way to live! It’s criminal to live cautiously like that! IF YOU KNEW I WAS AFTER THE BEST, WHY DID YOU DO LESS THAN THE LEAST? The least you could have done would have been to invest the sum with the bankers, where at least I would have gotten a little interest. “‘Take the thousand and give it to the one who risked the most. And get rid of this “play-it-safe” who won’t go out on a limb. Throw him out into utter darkness.’” (MSG)

Matthew 25:31-46

THE STORY OF THE SHEEP AND THE GOATS: “When he finally arrives, blazing in beauty and all his angels with him, the Son of Man will take his place on his glorious throne. Then all the nations will be arranged before him and he will sort the people out, much as a shepherd sorts out sheep and goats, putting sheep to his right and goats to his left. “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why: I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, I was homeless and you gave me a room, I was shivering and you gave me clothes, I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.’ “Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’ “Then he will turn to the ‘goats,’ the ones on his left, and say, ‘Get out, worthless goats! You’re good for nothing but the fires of hell. And why? Because—I was hungry and you gave me no meal, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was homeless and you gave me no bed, I was shivering and you gave me no clothes, Sick and in prison, and you never visited.’ “Then those ‘goats’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or homeless or shivering or sick or in prison and didn’t help?’ “He will answer them, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me—you failed to do it to me.’ “Then those ‘goats’ will be herded to their eternal doom, but the ‘sheep’ to their eternal reward.” (MSG)

WHETHER YOU MAKE IT IN THE DOOR TO BE WITH THE BRIDEGROOM, OR HAVE THE DOOR SLAMMED IN YOUR FACE; WHETHER YOU INVEST BY USING WHAT GOD GAVE YOU OR YOU WASTE IT; WHETHER YOU ENTER ETERNAL DOOM, OR ETERNAL REWARD, THE DECISION IS ALWAYS YOURS TO MAKE! GIVE GOD YOUR WORST AND RECEIVE CURSES, GIVE GOD YOUR BEST AND RECEIVE BLESSINGS. THE CHOICE IS ALWAYS YOURS TO MAKE! CHOOSE WISELY!

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

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“An Encounter With God”

See Me (v 5-7) Journey Inward. See Others (v 8-9) Journey Outward.

If it’s one man I love and respect, it’s our former President Barack Obama. And I’ve come to discover, that when the President of the United States comes to speak, it’s a rare opportunity. So if you desire to be physically present when he shows up to speak, you better get there hours early because of the mass of people that will be there as well! Think about it, it’s hard to find a place to park, to stand, to sit or to see and hear. Yet, if you should happen to be able to squeeze in and find a spot, you still then have to wait until he arrives! Finally, you can hear a ripple go through the crowd as they hang the presidential seal on the podium. Then comes the announcement: “Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States.” Everybody gives him a standing ovation that lasts quite a while, and when the applause dies down, he begins to speak. While he speaks, nobody leaves. In a nutshell, when you go to hear someone important, you don’t just applaud and leave. You stay after the applause to hear what they have to say.

You can find in Isaiah 6 perhaps the greatest worship scene in the Bible. The prophet Isaiah says the following in Isaiah 6:1-4: “In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw [in a vision] the Lord sitting on a throne, high and exalted, with the train of His royal robe filling the [most holy part of the] temple. Above Him seraphim (heavenly beings) stood; each one had six wings: with two wings he covered his face, with two wings he covered his feet, and with two wings he flew. And one called out to another, saying, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is filled with His glory.” And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, and the temple was filling with smoke” (AMP)

This is what you would call true worship! It is getting lost in who He is, and being overwhelmed by His very presence. It is the place where no flesh glories in His sight. It is the place where the true-worshiper dwells.

John 4:23-24, “But a time is coming and is already here when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit [from the heart, the inner self] and in truth; for the Father seeks such people to be His worshipers.  God is spirit [the Source of life, yet invisible to mankind], and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (AMP)

Here’s the KEY: “…the Father SEEKS such people to be His worshipers…”  

Can you imagine something being so important and vital to God that He actually comes looking for it? Well, that’s the power and attraction of true-worshipers. There is something so phenomenal about their worship, that God seeks for, looks for, goes after and pursues them. Which reminds me a lot of ‘new love’. We go so out of our way when it’s new love. The phone calls are never-ending, the flowers flow in constantly, the ‘I love you’s are dear, genuine, passionate and daily, the time together is precious and you never want it to come to an end. You rearrange your entire schedule just to spend a moment with the one you love. You gaze in their eyes, and smile for no reason. You can think of them and butterflies flutter on the inside. You give your everything to them, because you love them. It’s new, exciting, fun, and life-giving. It brings you joy, happiness, contentment, and you can’t stop telling everybody about the somebody that has stolen your heart and refuses to give it back. You want to hold hands all the time, your intimacy knows no limits or boundaries. You want to eat with them, go out with them, stay in with them. All because you love them. And often their response matches yours, because when someone knows just how special, valued, cherished and loved they are, they tend to give even more of themselves in return out of a heart full of gratitude. I wonder what would happen if we would dare to love God like that? What would it be like for our worship to resemble that kind of love in word, thought, and action? Could you imagine how relentless God would pursue us for rendering such worship on Him? If only we would give God even a tenth of what we give to people…Selah…

The God’s Word Translation says, “…The Father is looking for people like that to worship Him…” (GWT). Then the Good News Translation finishes like this, “…God is Spirit, and only by the power of His Spirit can people worship Him as He really is.” (GNT). Which makes me wonder, if we spend no time with God, no time talking to Him and hearing from Him; if we spend no time in prayer, no time in His Word, no time in His Presence, how will we ever be able to worship Him in spirit and in truth? How can we worship Him, by His Spirit, when our Spirit takes no time to learn who He really is? Which is hard to do in an era of the church that is “Praise” focused…ONLY. Now, is there anything wrong with praise? Absolutely not! From cover-to-cover of the Bible will you hear about the praises rendered to our God, and His response to them for He inhabits the praises of His people.

But I’m afraid that we’ve become so Praise-Centered, that we no longer know how to get to the Core of Worship anymore.

There’s a wonderful new emphasis in many places today on praise and worship. And I for one certainly recall it being called “devotion”. You see, it was the time in my former church where the Deacons and Deaconesses led in prayer, praise and worship and testimony service. It was a time when the people made the Lord the focus, when it’s so easy to forget Him, and we finally take time to forget ourselves instead and experience just how big God is. People from all over the sanctuary would share what the Lord had done for them and their loved ones, their health, their employment and marriage etc. It was wonderful, encouraging, empowering, motivating, faith-building, and inspiring. We would sing, and clap and dance, and holler. We would give God our best and noisiest praise! It was sort of our standing ovation for God! Much like the preparation for when the President is about to enter the room and speak.

Unfortunately, however, far too many of us leave after the standing ovation, not realizing that it’s only the beginning. Yes, Praise went forth and Worship went forth, but now God wants to say something; He wants to speak to us. But how can we hear Him if we leave, or tune out after the praise break stops? How can we hear Him over all the clapping, hollering, high-fiving, and ‘tap and tell your neighbor’? How can we hear Him while we’re so busy running, jumping, leaping, dancing, spinning, shouting and falling out? Is anything wrong with any of that? No, not in and of itself. And if that was the conclusion, it would be fine. However, it’s not, it’s only the beginning. Because after the ovation dies down, after the applause stops, His voice speaks, and that’s the most important part of it all. And when you realize that it is, you began to prepare yourself to hear the Lord speak.

Isaiah 6:5 says this, “Woe is me! For I am ruined, Because I am a man of [ceremonially] unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” (AMP). Worship is supposed to lead to Repentance. When you are in the Presence of the Lord, you should see His holiness and the sin that you have not dealt with. You need to make things right with this awesome and holy God. Worship that doesn’t lead to cleaning up your sin is just dead-end applause, and we should not leave until God has spoken. Worship should remind us that we’ve sinned, it should convict us of our unrighteousness when we realize just how righteous He is. It should uncover our unholiness when we realize just how holy He is. Worship should challenge us to change for the better. Worship should remind us that although we serve an awesome, loving and kind, and generous God, He is also Holy.

“because it is written, “You shall be holy (set apart), for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:16 AMP);

“Strive to live in peace with everybody and pursue that consecration and holiness without which no one will [ever] see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14 AMPC)

This is how vital holiness is! We are to be holy, because He Is Holy and Without Holiness, No One Will Ever See Him! So, when we worship God, it is a time of preparation to hear from God. We enter that place of holy worship where we acknowledge that we are unclean and need to be bathed in His presence. We need to be made right. We need to begin again. Start afresh, start anew. We need to reevaluate ourselves, our attitudes, our speech, our thoughts, our deeds, our motives and intentions, our desires, our longings, our heart. Because we need to hear Him, we have to come close to Him, and have Him cleanse us and position us. Praise is wonderful, it gets us to the door, thanksgiving opens it up, worship allows us to enter in, and holiness allows us to stay in preparation to hear God speak.

“Then flew one of the seraphim [heavenly beings] to me, having a live coal in his hand which he had taken with tongs from off the altar; and with it he touched my mouth and said, Behold, this has touched your lips; your iniquity and guilt are taken away, and your sin is completely atoned for and forgiven.” (Isaiah 6:6-7 AMPC).

A lot happens after the initial cries of “Holy, Holy, Holy”. Just as a lot happens prior to the President speaking. There’s a Process before the Proclamation. Isaiah didn’t get happy just because of who he was around (the angels, or for us it’s other church folks). He didn’t even get happy because of the ovation and applause (“Holy, Holy, Holy”, or for us it’s our Praise). But Isaiah declared his sin, I’m unclean and unholy. But since I’m in your presence and have the opportunity to hear you speak, I’m not stopping here, I’m not staying here, I’m leaving here changed and better. And the very thing he declared was unclean (‘I’m a man of unclean lips’), the angels touched him and gave a new declaration, “Behold, this has touched your lips; your iniquity and guilt are taken away, and your sin is completely atoned for and forgiven.” And what happens after he confesses and gets cleaned up?

Verse 8 says, “Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!” (AMP). When we see our sin and receive God’s forgiveness, then we should see the people who don’t have a Savior yet. Our heart should ache for those who haven’t seen the King. Worship is not just getting a good feeling because you got close to God. When you see the Lord, it will help you see the lost people who haven’t gotten close to Him yet. Worship that is really worship will lead to repentance and then to evangelism. Unfortunately, we get so lost in what we desire the Lord to Personally do for us, that we assume, when we’ve received what we asked for, then that’s it, I’m good, the day is done, we can go home now. Not so! We don’t get to God, get what we can get from God, then go home. We get in the presence of God, so we can repent, change and get something to give away to somebody else.

“Here am I, Lord. I will go for You into the lives of the people around me who have yet to see the King as I have.”

You don’t get clean just to brag about your cleanliness. You don’t get clean just to hang around other clean folks. You get clean so you can go to them that are still in the filth of their sin, and you tell them I know a Man that can clean your sin better than Tide can clean your laundry!

You don’t just go into God’s presence to applaud, to run, jump, leap, spin, dance, shout, and praise, though that’s a great place to start. But you go to worship and repent, to receive forgiveness, to be cleansed and changed and to hear Him speak and then to act on what He says!

Think about this: Can you imagine traveling hours to hear the President speak, stuck in traffic, struggling to find a place to park. Then getting on a long line to be security cleared. Then to hear all the chatter from everyone else speaking all at the same time. Then to find you a little spot to try and see and hear him. Then to hear that he’s about to enter in, he’s announced and introduced, you clap and scream and get so excited. And then he comes in, and all the cheering gets even louder. He’s at the podium, then the applause dies down, and finally you get to hear him speak, BUT he just walks away without a word spoken…how disappointed would you be?

Well, on the reverse side of that, that’s where a lot of us are. We go through all we go through to get to church. Find parking, find somewhere to sit, then there’s the music, the clapping, dancing, praising, and then the mouthpiece of God gets ready to speak and we’ve completely checked out of service! Imagine God’s heart break that you don’t mind applauding Him, you just don’t want to hear from Him! Well, that’s not the purpose. We have to find our way back to what’s important in our churches. And it’s not how awesome the choir is, how amazing the music is, how high the anointing is, how fancy the footwork is. None of that has value. We need to enter in with thanksgiving and praise. But we also have to find our place of worship and repentance. So that we can be honest before God, confess and be cleansed and changed before God. Then we can clearly hear from God. And then we can take what we’ve heard from God and share it with others. Don’t lose the core importance of the Presence of God. It is not to tickle your ears or your fancy, it’s not hearing what you want to hear, it’s not about houses, cars, land, money, promotions and new spouses. It’s about becoming a better believer and person as a whole. It’s about spending so much time with God that you finally start to sound like Him, walk and talk like Him, think and act like Him, ultimately to reflect Him.

Enjoy service, enjoy the praises rendered to our God. Give Him the standing ovation and applause you freely give to the President and more so. But remember, if people can stay after the applause to hear what a ‘mere man’ has to say, surely we should stay after the applause (physically, spiritually, emotionally and mentally) to hear what God has to say don’t you think? With that said, don’t become so entertained in church, that you leave unchanged! Don’t get so lost in the Noise of Praise that you can’t find the Quiet of Worship!

Example: 1 Kings 19:11-13, “So He said, “Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord was passing by, and a great and powerful wind was tearing out the mountains and breaking the rocks in pieces before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind, [there was] an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.  After the earthquake, [there was] a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire, [there was] the sound of a gentle blowing.  When Elijah heard the sound, he wrapped his face in his mantle (cloak) and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. And behold, a voice came to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (AMP)

The Contemporary English Bible says it like this, “…Finally, there was a gentle breeze, and when Elijah heard it, he covered his face with his coat. He went out and stood at the entrance to the cave. The Lord asked, “Elijah, why are you here?” (CEV)

There was a Powerful Wind that tore out the mountains and broke rocks in piece; There was an Earthquake; There was a Fire… In short, there was a lot of Noise and a lot of Action to Be Seen and Heard…but the Lord’s voice wasn’t in the verbal noise or the visible action! And truth is, our churches have become quite noisy and visibly active…Selah…However, the Lord’s voice was in “the sound of a gentle blowing…” if you weren’t quiet and still, you would never hear it or feel it. Makes me ponder if the church needs to quiet down and learn to be still just a little bit more? Maybe, just maybe, we could sense, hear, see and feel the actual presence of the Lord.

Church, praise is not the only order on the menu of the day. Now, I know praise is more like the steak, potatoes, chicken and rice on the menu. However, worship is more like the vegetables, something that’s so much better, and healthier for you. Does it mean steak is bad? Nope, but it will be better with the balance of broccoli. And with such a simple, childlike analogy, our praise is more well-balanced WITH our worship. Applaud the Lord, but when the applause dies down, worship and listen to what thus saith the Lord.

Remember, it is the true worshipers that God is seeking for, looking for and pursuing. Those whose worship continuously goes off on His radar. These are the ones God goes out on a man-hunt for. He tracks them down. He desires them; longs for them; is drawn to them. So, a good question to ask yourself is: “Does My Seeking God in Worship Move God to Come Seeking After Me?” That’s the kind of Worship you should be after, the kind that causes God to come after you! A Real Encounter With God! One Where You See God; You See Yourself as He Sees You; and Then You See Others in Outreach!

Therefore, today, let’s start fresh. Let’s set the stage for God’s entrance. Praise Him, Thank Him, Glorify Him, Exalt and Extol Him, Speak Well of Him, Applaud Him. But then ask Him to prepare you through confession, repentance, forgiveness and cleansing to enter His presence to Hear Him speak. And when He speaks, listen and obey.

Remembering that Isaiah SAT until he was SANCTIFIED and then SENT.

Your process will be the same. And when God sends you, it’s not for your glory, your name, your reputation, your self-promotion, the people’s applause and approval or exalting your gifts, skills, talents, or anointing. No, you’re sent on assignment to lead others into the same process as you’ve experienced. Your purpose is the discipleship of others. Bring people into the Kingdom, even if they don’t come into Your Church. Their Soul, Not Your Seating, is What’s Important to God and Should Be Just as Important to Us, His People, His Church, Given His Charge and Commission to Complete. Keep that in mind as you renew your mind regarding Praise and Worship and making sure that it’s not a performance or show but that it becomes your very lifestyle.

People of God, whatever you do, Don’t Miss What Happens After the Applause! Experience One Real Encounter With God and You’ll Want an Encore!

1 Samuel 3:10, “Then the Lord came and stood and called as at the previous times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel answered, “Speak, for Your servant is listening.”(AMP)

James 4:8, “Come close to God [with a contrite heart] and He will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; and purify your [unfaithful] hearts, you double-minded [people].” (AMP)

Psalm 24:4, “He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to what is false, Nor has sworn [oaths] deceitfully.” (AMP)

John 10:27, “The sheep that are My own hear My voice and listen to Me; I know them, and they follow Me.” (AMP)

Psalm 96:9, “Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness; Tremble [in submissive wonder] before Him, all the earth.” (AMP)

Psalm 29:2, “Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name; Worship the Lord in the beauty and majesty of His holiness [as the creator and source of holiness].” (AMP)

“True worship always brings you into a right relationship with God.” (Author Unknown)

“Worship that is pleasing to God, radiates throughout a person’s entire life.” (A.W. Tozer)

“Worship, it’s not about you, it’s all about Him being worthy and you being unworthy.” (Author Unknown)

“An encounter with God marks you, and makes you hungry for more of Him.” (Jenn Johnson)

“Worship is a lifestyle. What you do throughout the day is your act of worship to God.” (Patrick Mabilog)

“Worship is an act of war against the enemy of our hearts.” (Holley Gerth)

“Worship is so much more than the songs that we sing on Sunday morning. It is the life that we live the rest of the week.” (Author Unknown)

“In the case of Jesus, He is infinitely admirable, and our admiration rises to the most absolute worship.” (John Piper)

“True worshipers believe they are the Temple of God in which the Father dwells and from which they worship the Father. They are not just instruments in God’s hands, most importantly they have a relationship with God and so they are no waiting for that special time or place or call to do anything, worship is their lifestyle.” (Justice Kojo Bentil)

“Such true worship will stand the test of Christ’s great principle, ‘by their fruits you shall know them.’ It sanctifies the Christian’s life and makes them walk with God, lifting them above fear and love of the world. It enables a Christian to show God to other folks. Such worship comes from Heaven, and has the mark of God upon it.” (J.C. Ryle)

“God is looking for worshipers not professional musicians.” (Author Unknown)

“Work becomes worship when you dedicate it to God and perform it with an awareness of His Presence.” (Rick Warren)

“A man can no more diminish God’s Glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, ‘darkness’ an the walls of his cell.” (C.S. Lewis)

“In true worship the Father must be first.” (Andrew Murray)

“It is imperative that the Christian, at the beginning of his pursuit to understand what true worship is, gets it clear that the object of our worship is to be God and God alone.” (R.C. Sproul)

Romans 12:1-2, “Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies [dedicating all of yourselves, set apart] as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship. And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you].” (AMP)

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: “Great Tips for a Good Night!”

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“Stop Complaining!”

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“Do everything WITHOUT COMPLAINING…” (Philippians 2:14 NIV)

Two groups of psychology students were wired for recording purposes, and assigned a period to socialize freely. One group KNEW the experiment would measure the level of complaining in normal conversation; the other group DID NOT. Afterwards, BOTH groups were shocked by how frequently they complained. The group in the “KNOW” complained almost as much as the group “UNAWARE” of what the experiment was aiming to achieve! It’s the oldest response in the book – LITERALLY! Confronted with our choices and actions, we spontaneously start complaining! ‘It was their fault, not mine; If they hadn’t… I wouldn’t have.’ Adam needed no lessons in the art of complaining! Caught red-handed, he told God, ‘…The woman whom YOU gave to be with me, SHE gave me from the tree, and I ate.” What happens next? “…the woman…[Eve]… said, “The SERPENT deceived me, and I ate” ‘ (Genesis 3:12-13 NASB). If you think about it, the only one NOT complaining was the serpent! Neither, Adam nor Eve accepted Responsibility for their Choices! And since God doesn’t help people who won’t be responsible, He threw the complainers out of Paradise!

If they ever subsequently ‘got it’ regarding complaining, THEY DIDN’T TRANSMIT IT TO THEIR OFFSPRING, ISRAEL: How do I know? The Bible says: ‘One day THE ISRAELITE’S STARTED COMPLAINING about their troubles. The LORD HEARD THEM and became so angry that he destroyed the outer edges of their camp with fire.’ (Numbers 11:1 NIV). Notice, all complaining is ‘in the hearing of the Lord’, and HE CLEARLY DOESN’T WANT TO HEAR IT! Paul writes, ‘DO NOT COMPLAIN as some of them did; they were killed by the angel that destroys. The things that happened to those people are examples. They were written down to teach us…’ (1 Corinthians 10:10-11 NCV).

People of God, clean up your verbal act! Decide to detect, reject and eject all complaining from your vocabulary!

“Everyone has to make their own decisions. I still believe in that. You just have to be able to accept the consequences without complaining.” (Grace Jones).

Simply put: COMPLAINING IS TOXIC! IT CONTAMINATES BOTH THE COMPLAINER AND EVERYONE WITHIN EARSHOT! Complaining reminds you a lot of what Hebrews 12:15 says about BITTERNESS: “Exercise foresight and be on the watch to look [after one another], to see that no one falls back from and fails to secure God’s grace (His unmerited favor and spiritual blessing), in order that no root of resentment (rancor, bitterness, or hatred) shoots forth and causes trouble and bitter torment, and the MANY BECOME CONTAMINATED AND DEFILED BY IT” (AMP).

LIKE BITTERNESS AND RESENTMENT, COMPLAINING CONTAMINATES AND DEFILES MANY!

Sometimes we even think we’re ‘HELPING’ by complaining. We maintain, ‘If somebody doesn’t say something, nothing’s ever going to change!’ – AS THOUGH POSITIVE CHANGE CAN COME FROM NEGATIVE WORDS! We imagine we’ve contributed something worthwhile by our complaint. BUT COMPLAINING IS WHAT WE DO TO AVOID FACING, DEALING WITH AND SOLVING THE PROBLEM! IT’S WHAT WE DO INSTEAD OF CONTRIBUTING TO CONSTRUCTIVE CHANGE; AND IT MAKES US APART OF THE PROBLEM INSTEAD OF THE SOLUTION! THE MORE YOU COMPLAIN THE MORE PROBLEM-FOCUSED YOU BECOME, AND THE MORE PROBLEM-FOCUSED YOU BECOME THE MORE YOU COMPLAIN!

ULTIMATELY, YOUR COMPLAINING AFFECTS YOU MORE THAN ANYONE ELSE! The Psalmist said, ‘…I COMPLAINED, AND MY SPIRIT WAS OVERWHELMED… ‘ (Psalm 77:3 NKJV). If no one else pays attention to your words, YOU DO! BEFORE YOU EVER SAY THEM…YOU THINK THEM: ‘…out of the abundance of the HEART the MOUTH SPEAKS’ (Matthew 12:34 NKJV). The Message Bible says it like this: “…YOU HAVE MINDS LIKE A SNAKE PIT! How do you suppose WHAT YOU SAY IS WORTH ANYTHING WHEN YOU ARE SO FOUL-MINDED? IT’S YOUR HEART, not the dictionary, THAT GIVES MEANING TO YOUR WORDS. A good person produces good deeds AND WORDS season after season. An evil person is a blight on the orchard. Let me tell you something: EVERY ONE OF THESE CARELESS WORDS IS GOING TO COME BACK TO HAUNT YOU. THERE WILL BE A TIME OF RECKONING. WORDS ARE POWERFUL; TAKE THEM SERIOUSLY. WORDS CAN BE YOUR SALVATION. WORDS CAN ALSO BE YOUR DAMNATION” (Matthew 12:34-37 MSG).

Again: keep in mind: If no one else pays attention to your words, YOU DO! BEFORE YOU SAY THEM YOU THINK THEM IN YOUR HEART, WHICH MAKES WHAT YOU SAY, DELIBERATE! And when you say them, you hear them and believe them just as you would the words of a trusted authority! Every Time You Repeat Them You Reinforce Their Power Over You Until Eventually You Make Yourself The Victim of Your Own Complaints! “FOR AS HE THINKS WITHIN HIMSELF, SO HE IS…” (Proverbs 23:7 NASB). Your Spirit (Attitude) Will Be Overwhelmed, Not By the Problems and Difficulties People Bring to You, BUT AS THE SELF-INFLICTED PRODUCT OF YOUR OWN COMPLAINTS! “WORDS KILL, WORDS GIVE LIFE; THEY’RE EITHER POISON OR FRUIT—YOU CHOOSE” (Proverbs 18:21 MSG). So, why not just follow this advice: “DO ALL THINGS WITHOUT GRUMBLING AND FAULTFINDING AND COMPLAINING [AGAINST GOD] and questioning and doubting [among yourselves], That you may show yourselves to be blameless and guiltless, innocent and UNCONTAMINATED CHILDREN OF GOD without blemish (faultless, unrebukable) in the midst of a crooked and wicked generation [spiritually perverted and perverse], among whom you are seen as bright lights (stars or beacons shining out clearly) in the [dark] world,” (Philippians 2:14-15 AMP).

Don’t let Thomas Fuller’s quote be descriptive of your life: “We are born crying, live complaining, and die disappointed.”

Many of you may ask, “Isn’t complaining really just about words?” NO, IT’S MUCH MORE THAN THAT!

FIRST, COMPLAINING HANDS YOUR POWER OVER TO THE PEOPLE AND CIRCUMSTANCES YOU COMPLAIN ABOUT, MAKING YOU FEEL LIKE THEIR VICTIM! It diminishes your ability to think of solutions, conditions your mind negatively, and blunts your ability to receive creative ideas from God! POSITIVE SEEDS DON’T GROW IN NEGATIVE SOIL! YOU CAN’T NEGATIVELY COMPLAIN AND POSITIVELY CREATE SIMULTANEOUSLY!Does a fountain send forth [SIMULTANEOUSLY] from the SAME opening fresh water and bitter? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine figs? Neither can a salt spring furnish fresh water.’ (James 3:11-12 AMP).

COMPLAINTS ARE VERBAL EXPRESSIONS OF NEGATIVE BELIEFS! THEY CANCEL POSITIVE INTENTIONS AND CONFESSIONS, RENDERING YOU POWERLESS TO REAP THE GAINS GOD OFFERS! COMPLAINING FOCUSES ON A PAST YOU CAN’T CHANGE! IT KEEPS YOU SCAVENGING IN YESTERDAY’S DEBRIS, SEARCHING FOR EVIDENCE ABOUT ‘WHO DID WHAT’ AND ‘WHEN AND WHY’, WHILE YOUR PRESENT IS TOO FRUSTRATED TO FOCUS ON THE FACT THAT YOUR FUTURE IS FRUITLESSLY SLIPPING AWAY!  

SECOND, COMPLAINING IS TOXIC TO YOUR RELATIONSHIPS: ‘Your flip and callous arrogance in these things bothers me. You pass it off as a small thing, but it’s anything but that. Yeast, too, is a “small thing,” but it works its way through a whole batch of bread dough pretty fast. So get rid of this “yeast.” Our true identity is flat and plain, not puffed up with the wrong kind of ingredient. The Messiah, our Passover Lamb, has already been sacrificed for the Passover meal, and we are the Unraised Bread part of the Feast. So let’s live out our part in the Feast, not as raised bread swollen with the yeast of evil, but as flat bread—simple, genuine, unpretentious.’ (1 Corinthians 5:6-8  MSG). AS A SMALL AMOUNT OF YEAST WORKS ITS WAY THROUGH A WHOLE BATCH OF BREAD DOUGH, COMPLAINING WORKS ITS WAY THROUGH AND INVITES OTHERS TO COMPLAIN TOO! INJECTED POISON (NO MATTER HOW SMALL) IS TOXIC TO EVERY PART OF THE BODY! Bear In Mind: The word “Toxic” means “Poisonous”! Its Latin Origin “Toxicum” literally means “Poison”! And the word “Poison”  means “A Substance That Causes Death or Injury When Introduced Into or Absorbed By a Living Organism; A Destructive or Corrupting Influence; to Contaminate or Prove Harmful To” It’s Old French Origin means “Magic Potion” which comes from a Latin Origin “Potio” meaning ‘Potion” And ‘Potion’ is Latin for “Drink, Poisonous Draft”. PEOPLE OF GOD: YOUR COMPLAINING INTO THE LIVES OF EVERY RELATIONSHIP IN YOUR LIFE IS THE EQUIVALENT OF POURING A POISONOUS POTION INTO THE LIVES OF YOUR LOVED ONES WITH THE SOLE PURPOSE TO CAUSE DEATH; INJURY; DESTRUCTION; CORRUPTION; CONTAMINATION AND HARM!  SURELY THAT’S NOT THE DESCRIPTION YOU WANT YOUR LOVED ONES TO HAVE OF YOU EVERY TIME YOU OPEN YOUR MOUTH! YOUR COMPLAINING IS A DEATH TRAP FOR THOSE YOU HOLD DEAR! REMEMBER: YOU THINK YOUR WORDS BEFORE YOU SPEAK THEM, AND THEY’RE SPOKEN FROM OUT OF YOUR HEART: ‘…out of the abundance of the HEART the MOUTH SPEAKS’ (Matthew 12:34 NKJV). SO IT’S VITAL TO GUARD YOUR HEART, SINCE THAT’S WHERE YOUR WORDS FLOW FROM (NOT TO MENTION YOUR ENTIRE LIFE!): “GUARD YOUR HEART MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE, BECAUSE THE SOURCE OF YOUR LIFE FLOWS FROM IT” (Proverbs 4:23 GWT).  AND THE LAST THING YOU WANT “FLOWING” LIKE A “POISONOUS POTION” FROM YOUR MOUTH INTO THE LIVES OF YOUR RELATIONSHIPS IS BITTER WORDS OF COMPLAINT!

SUBTLY, YOUR RELATIONSHIPS, YOUR FAMILY, YOUR WORKPLACE, YOUR CHURCH AND YOUR ENVIRONMENT BECOMES POLLUTED! COMPLAINING POLARIZES RELATIONSHIPS! PEOPLE WHO DON’T LIKE STRESS, ANXIETY AND NEGATIVITY WILL BEGIN TO DISTANCE THEMSELVES FROM YOU! AFTER ALL, WOULD YOU WANT TO CONTINUOUSLY HANG AROUND SOMEONE WHOSE WORDS POSSESS THE POISONOUS POTENTIAL TO KILL YOU?!  ‘The tongue has the power of LIFE AND DEATH…’ (Proverbs 18:21 NIV) – THAT IS YOUR LIFE AND DEATH…AND THE LIFE AND DEATH OF OTHERS YOU SPEAK SUCH TOXIC WORDS TO! So pray DAILY, ‘SET A GUARD OVER MY MOUTH, O LORD; KEEP WATCH OVER THE DOOR OF MY LIPS’ (Psalm 141:3 NIV).

WHATEVER YOU DO PLEASE AVOID COMPLAINING!

“If you don’t like something change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. DON’T COMPLAIN” (Dr. Maya Angelou).

You say, ‘But isn’t it possible my complaint might be legitimate?’ The answer: Yes. Injustice, abuse, betrayal, robbery, gossip, libel, prejudice, physical harm against you or your family, and so on, Are Legitimate Causes! Then you say, ‘And if I don’t do something about these, won’t I be failing in my responsibility?’ The answer: Right again! You are called to be salt and light in this world, resolving problems that arise by practicing spiritual principles in your daily life. To do nothing at such times makes you irresponsible and disobedient to God! HOWEVER, COMPLAINING about it is NOT doing something about it, at least Not By God’s Definition! You say, ‘All right, since God is against complaining, then how do I handle Legitimate Complaints?’ Glad you asked!

First, DO NOTHING UNTIL YOU’VE TALKED WITH GOD! “I will praise the LORD, Who COUNSELS ME; even at night…” (Psalm 16:7 NIV); “The COUNSEL OF THE LORD STANDS FOREVER…” (Psalm 33:11 AMP). YOU’LL ALWAYS CHART THE RIGHT COURSE IF YOU TAKE TIME TO GET THE RIGHT COUNSEL! And who’s the right counsel? “CALL TO ME AND I WILL ANSWER YOU AND TELL YOU GREAT AND UNSEARCHABLE THINGS YOU DO NOT KNOW” (Jeremiah 33:3 NIV).

Also keep in mind, PRAYER CLARIFIES YOUR OPTIONS AND ADJUSTS YOUR PERSPECTIVES! That’s why the Bible says, “Don’t fret or worry. Instead…PRAY. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into PRAYERS, Letting God Know Your Concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” (Philippians 4:6-7 MSG).  This will Defuse Your Anger, Restore Your Objectivity and Rational Thinking!

Note: YOUR SECOND MOVE IS MORE LIKELY TO SUCCEED IF YOUR FIRST MOVE IS TO SEEK GOD FOR WISDOM: ‘If any of you LACKS WISDOM, He should ASK GOD, WHO GIVES GENEROUSLY…’ (James. 1:5 NIV); “COUNSEL IS MINE, AND SOUND WISDOM: I AM UNDERSTANDING; I HAVE STRENGTH” (Proverbs 8:14); “And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, THE SPIRIT OF WISDOM AND UNDERSTANDING, THE SPIRIT OF COUNSEL AND MIGHT, THE SPIRIT OF KNOWLEDGE AND OF THE FEAR OF THE LORD;” (Isaiah 11:2). SEEK GOD FOR COUNSEL AND WISDOM AND YOU’LL BECOME LIKE DANIEL: “THEN DANIEL ANSWERED WITH COUNSEL AND WISDOM…” (2:14). THE KEY IS COUNSEL…NOT COMPLAINING!

Second, BEFORE YOU SAY OR DO ANYTHING, PERFORM AN ATTITUDE CHECK! Stop and ask yourself, ‘What’s my real agenda here? Is it to show them that I’m right and they’re wrong? Is it to come away looking good while I make them look bad? Is it to win a personal victory or to solve the problem in a way that glorifies God?’ Robert A. Cook shares some good advice: “Say and do something positive that will help the situation; it doesn’t take any brains to complain.” So, before you Speak, Check what’s in your HEART: ‘…FOR THE MOUTH SPEAKS OUT OF THAT WHICH FILLS THE HEART’ (Matthew 12:34 NASB). When your Heart Attitude Pleases God, you’re ready to handle any Legitimate Complaint! “Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk [EVER] COME OUT OF YOUR MOUTH, But Only Such [SPEECH] AS IS GOOD AND BENEFICIAL TO THE SPIRITUAL PROGRESS OF OTHERS, AS IS FITTING TO THE NEED AND THE OCCASION, THAT IT MAY BE A BLESSING AND GIVE GRACE (GOD’S FAVOR) TO THOSE WHO HEAR IT” (Ephesians 4:29 AMP).

When your Complaint is Legitimate, ALWAYS AND ONLY TALK TO THE PERSON WITH WHOM YOU HAVE THE ISSUE! When you’re upset, your Temptation will be to tell everybody else! It feels right, justified, and even therapeutic! Well-meaning friends will encourage it, and even help you publicize it. ‘You’ll feel better when you’ve got it off your chest,’ they’ll say. But God’s Word condemns handling complaints that way! Do it, and you add insult to your own injury by disobeying God – and you can’t expect Him to cooperate with you while you violate His Word! And what does His Word say? ‘If your brother wrongs you, Go and Show HIM His Fault, Between YOU and HIM PRIVATELY. If he listens to you, you have won back your brother’ (Matthew 18:15 AMP). Courage, Humility and Wisdom are Required to face your offender PRIVATELY, but it’s God’s Way. It contains the conflict, minimizes embarrassment and increases the likelihood of resolution and restoration, which is God’s real concern. “But all things are from God, Who through Jesus Christ RECONCILED us to Himself [received us into favor, brought us into harmony with Himself] AND GAVE TO US THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION [that by WORD AND DEED we might aim to bring others into harmony with Him].” (2 Corinthians 5:18 AMP).

Next, SPEAK IN LOVE, NOT IN WORDS MEANT TO HURT! Let your words be Gracious, Conciliatory and aimed at Solution, not ‘one-upmanship’. “LET YOUR SPEECH AT ALL TIMES BE GRACIOUS (PLEASANT AND WINSOME), SEASONED [AS IT WERE] WITH SALT, [SO THAT YOU MAY NEVER BE AT A LOSS] TO KNOW HOW YOU OUGHT TO ANSWER ANYONE [WHO PUTS A QUESTION TO YOU]” (Colossians 4:6 AMP). The Bible gives additional counsel: ‘Rather, let our lives LOVINGLY EXPRESS truth [in all things, SPEAKING TRULY, Dealing Truly, Living Truly]. Enfolded in LOVE, let us grow up in every way and in all things into Him Who is the Head [even] Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).’ (Ephesians 4:15 AMP). Your growth in Christ is the End; speaking truth in love is the Means. Tell the offender your goal is not to humiliate them or to get revenge, BUT RATHER TO RESOLVE YOUR DIFFERENCES, STRENGTHEN YOUR RELATIONSHIP, AND ABOVE ALL ELSE, HONOR GOD! INSTEAD OF MAKING AN ADVERSARY WHO’LL OPPOSE YOU, YOU’LL BE INVITING AN ALLY TO JOIN YOU IN A MUTUALLY BENEFICIAL, GOD-GLORIFYING MISSION! Never forget: “A BROTHER OFFENDED IS HARDER TO BE WON OVER THAN A STRONG CITY, AND [THEIR] CONTENTIONS SEPARATE THEM LIKE THE BARS OF A CASTLE” (Proverbs 18:19 AMP). BELIEVERS ARE TO BE ONE ANOTHERS’ ALLY…NOT ADVERSARY!

Third, DON’T MAKE A COMPLAINT, MAKE A REQUEST! However legitimate your gripe, you’ll be heard as COMPLAINING- which will greatly reduce the likelihood of a good outcome. Whatever the cause, you’re more likely to get what you ask for graciously, than you are to cure what you’re complaining about. Therefore, asking, ‘Would you be willing to do this [a preferred specific behavior] rather than that [the old behavior]?’ is respectful, clear, avoids argument over past issues that can’t be changed, and always brings a better result. Remember: “The speech of a good person is worth waiting for; the blabber of the wicked is worthless.” (Proverbs 10:20 MSG). COMPLAINING CURES NOTHING!

Fourth, ALRIGHT, YOU’VE SAID IT, NOW LET GOD WORK! Changing people is God’s job, SO BACK OFF, BE PATIENT AND LET HIM HANDLE IT! ‘But doesn’t somebody need to supervise them to be sure they change?’ you ask…Well, unless they’re behind bars and you’re their prison guard, the answer is NO! Get out of God’s way and let Him do what you can’t! He has ways and means you never dreamed of. When He’s allowed to take over the job it always gets done properly! “I Don’t Think the Way You Think. The Way You Work Isn’t the Way I Work.” God’s Decree. “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.” (Isaiah 55:8-11 MSG). YOU’RE ALLOWED TO SAY YOUR PIECE…BUT REMEMBER: YOUR WORD IS NOT THE LAST AND FINAL SAY!

And what should you do while waiting for God to work? Well, you could sit around ruminating, resenting and rehashing the past, OR YOU COULD TAKE LESSONS FROM JOSEPH! He’d every reason to complain about his family’s treatment and to take revenge when the tables turned in his favor. Instead he conscientiously and skillfully did what he had to do, watching for the strategic moments every problem offers, when he could align himself to become part of the solution. Eventually, he did, his family was reunited, and God promoted him to even greater blessings! Learn from him!

“Don’t complain that you are not getting what you want, Just be glad you are not getting what you deserve!” (Anonymous).

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: “I’m in the Process of Change”

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