“Carry God Correctly!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s not lose anymore Uzzahs!

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

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

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

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“You’re Too Close to Lose Focus Now!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Feel free to also join us at: http://www.selfcarewithdrshermaine.blogspot.com Today’s Lesson: “Scientific Tips to Keep Your Produce Fresher Longer”

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“Pray For Your Pastor”

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(Ephesians 6:19 AMP), “AND [PRAY] ALSO FOR ME, that [freedom of] utterance may be given me, that I may open my mouth to proclaim boldly the mystery of the good news (the Gospel)”

The Message Bible reads: “AND DON’T FORGET TO PRAY FOR ME. Pray that I’ll know what to say and have the courage to say it at the right time, telling the mystery to one and all, the Message that I, jailbird preacher that I am, am responsible for getting out” (Ephesians 6:19 MSG)

Paul is one of the most tried Pastors of all time! One of God’s most suffering servants! In his own words Paul declares: “I’ve worked much harder, been jailed more often, beaten up more times than I can count, and at death’s door time after time. I’ve been flogged five times with the Jews’ thirty-nine lashes, beaten by Roman rods three times, pummeled with rocks once. I’ve been shipwrecked three times, and immersed in the open sea for a night and a day. In hard traveling year in and year out, I’ve had to ford rivers, fend off robbers, struggle with friends, struggle with foes. I’ve been at risk in the city, at risk in the country, endangered by desert sun and sea storm, and betrayed by those I thought were my brothers. I’ve known drudgery and hard labor, many a long and lonely night without sleep, many a missed meal, blasted by the cold, naked to the weather. And that’s not the half of it, when you throw in the daily pressures and anxieties of all the churches.“ (2 Corinthians 11:23-27 MSG).

Paul Was A Pastor Under Pressure! Truth Is, Paul Was Stressed! In essence, Paul started off killing church folks, and now church folks were trying to kill him! And yet, with all Paul’s pressure, problems, perplexities, and stress, all he asked for from the church was PRAYER!

He didn’t ask them to pay his mortgage, he didn’t ask for a down payment on a new car, he didn’t ask for a Pastoral Vacation in Hawaii, he didn’t ask for a bigger ring, a longer robe, or a platinum cross! He didn’t ask for another title, another office, another position! He didn’t ask for another church, another armor-bearer, or another entourage! He didn’t ask for a salary or a raise (and he was qualified and deserved both), he didn’t ask for a special offering, he didn’t ask for an appreciation service, banquet, awards ceremony, Christmas celebration, Birthday Explosion, or anniversary allotment! All the Pastor asked for was PRAYER! Church, the Pastor just asked for PRAYER!

Which Provokes Us To Question: What Was So Vital About Prayer, That With All His Pastoral Pressure, That’s All He Asked For?!

Listen: After Wilbur Chapman’s first sermon at Bethany Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, a man said, “You’re pretty young to be Pastor of this great church. We’ve always had older men. I’m afraid you won’t succeed, but since you preach the gospel I’m going to help you all I can.” Chapman thought, “What a crank”. But the man continued, “I’m going to pray for you, and a few others have covenanted to join me.” Later, Chapman wrote, “I didn’t feel so bad when I learned that they were going to pray for me. Soon the three became fifty, and the fifty became two hundred who met before every service to pray for me. In another room eighteen Elders knelt so closely around me that I could put out my hand and touch them. I always went into my pulpit confident that I would have God’s anointing in answer to the prayers of those people. It was easy to preach – a real joy. And what was the result? Eleven hundred people were saved and joined the church in the next three years, and six hundred of them were men! It was the fruit of the Holy Spirit in answer to prayer. Church members have much more to do than go to church as curious, idle spectators to be amused and entertained. It is their business to pray mightily that the Holy Spirit will clothe the Preacher with Power and make his words like Dynamite!

However, it is unfortunate that the opposite is taking place in many churches today, with many congregants who would rather complain about their Pastor instead of coming into covenant as a church and interceding on their Pastors behalf. And, yes, believe it or not as anointed, gifted, talented, and powerful as your Man and Woman of God is…Even They Need, Require and Desire PRAYER!

It’s hard enough standing before the masses who want you to entertain them, dazzle them, inspire, impact, impart in and empower them!  They want the Pastor to pray, study, meditate, perform signs and wonders, flow in the five-fold ministry and possess all the gifts of the Spirit! They want the Pastor to pray they get a job tomorrow (while they remain stretched out in their bed today) They want the Pastor to pray their throbbing right toe is healed right now (while they yet stand with their hammer toes, bunions, corns, and calloused feet scrunched up in a shoe 2 sizes too small) Not to mention they’re also hopeful that God answers the Pastor’s prayer that they get a new house, new car, new money, new children, new job, new business, and new spouse all by noon…YESTERDAY…

And yet, they never once think to cover their Pastor in PRAYER!

And I’m not talking about that little prayer addendum you make at the end of your hour long prayer FOR YOURSELF! ‘and Lord, bless my pastor too, in Jesus Name, amen’ The devil’s a lie!

Statistically, today, we have Pastor’s walking away from their marriages, ministries, families and churches (they obviously need more than your bless ‘em Lord prayer). Pastor’s are sexting church members, having facebook affairs, tweeting tricks and treats, fondling children, cheating on spouses, absent from their children’s lives (clearly they need more than your touch ‘em Jesus); Pastor’s are depressed, stressed, drinking, on drugs, committing suicide, and going back into the world (surely they need more than your bless ‘em Lord, in Jesus name)! Pastors are trying to pastor through this Covid-19 pandemic, encourage members who have lost loved ones, those battling the illness themselves (besides other health ailments), those who have lost their jobs, those who have no idea where the next mortgage, rent, tuition, gas, light, or meal provisions are coming from, those struggling with depression, fear and suicidal thoughts, not to mention sheer confusion. Yes, your pastor needs more than ‘do it again Lord’ prayers!

SAINTS, PRAY FOR YOUR PASTOR!

Clearly It’s Time To Stop Making Petitions OF Your Pastors, And Start Make Petitions FOR them Instead!

Truth is, Pastors are expected to cast out demons, mend messed up marriages, straighten out crooked children, be at the hospital, the morgue, hospice, nursing home, rehab center, the homeless shelter, soup kitchen, jailhouse and in the pulpit, with a smile on their face ready to preach you happy, all at the same time! And yet, nobody shows up for Prayer?!

SAINTS, PRAY FOR YOUR PASTOR!

Pastors are expected to help finance congregants bills, the church bills, fix the boiler in winter, the air conditioner in summer, pray away allergies in spring, and clean out the gutters in the fall! They’re expected to donate money for the tuition scholarship fund for your children, cure your car, repair the roof and raise the dead! But dare the Pastor expect the church to PRAY!

One thing I can assure you, no matter how wonderful your Pastor is, your Pastor needs your Prayers! I know they may be so anointed that you can’t see it, but trust the experience of someone who has worked behind the scenes with several Pastors, They Get Tired, Frustrated, Lonely, Depressed, Discouraged, Overwhelmed, and Yes Believe It Or Not They Have Their Own Health, Family and Finance Issues Too! They experience broken hearts, bitter church folks, and dreams that seem as though they will never be birthed into the Land of the Living!

I believe we look at Pastors and only see their robe and forget that they are still very much Human!

Your Pastor cries, Your Pastor gets angry, Your Pastor wants to walk away! Yes, Even Your Pastor Is Human!

It Always Amazes Me That Flaw-Filled Parishioners Always Want a Flaw-Less Pastor!

I’ve watched many churches only shine the spotlight on their Pastor at his/her Anniversary Services and Celebrations! But trust me on this one, your Pastor’s face lights up knowing that he/she is being Prayed for By YOU! Their greatest encouragement comes without the Celebrations…but the quiet Pastor I just wanted to say be encouraged…”  That might not sound like much to you, but to the Pastor who’s expected to daily walk in the shoes of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Paul, and Jesus….It Means The World! An innocent hug, a scripture text, an inspirational card, all give your Pastor a booster shot of encouragement! But absolutely nothing touches the heart of a Pastor like a word of Prayer!

Your Pastor is spending Incalculable Time In Prayer Keeping the Hand, Tactics and Attacks of the Enemy at Bay In Your Life…Are You Doing the Same For Him/Her?

The Enemy Is After Your Pastor Too! He Attacks Your Pastor when he/she is lonely, discouraged, tired, frustrated…and even after a Major Victory…he comes Shooting Off Fiery Darts! And unfortunately, there’s no one standing before him/her with a Shield of Faithful Prayers!

And further still, Pastors are expected to out-preach, out-teach, out-pray, out-gift every other Pastor on planet Earth! Everyone wants their Pastor to be the Best of the Best of Pastors! And with such Expectations, Many Pastors battle with Competition, Comparisons, Self-Esteem and Self-Worth Issues! Yes, Your Pastors Are Human!

Truth is, Many Pastors don’t think they’re good enough, smart enough, gifted enough, anointed enough, or even financially well enough to walk in their gift as Pastor! And worse yet, Many are in debt now, and yes I mean at the Bankruptcy Court filing because of the car, house, church, or clothes they bought attempting to keep up with the appearance of what they perceive a real anointed Pastor’s life should look like”. Want to know how I know? I’ve helped them fill out the papers! 

Many churches have 50 ministries, the appearance of meeting needs and being great, only to look again and no new souls have been added to the church…just recycled members from someone else’s! 

Chapman had eleven hundred New members added to the church in three years and six-hundred of them were men, and it was all the product of what prayer produced! Imagine the schemes, themes, and dreams the church would no longer have to entertain if the focus was simply shifted back to Prayer!

Furthermore, Your Pastor has Gossip filtered in his/her ears while they try to hear clearly from God. They have to keep their mind, heart, emotions, and body under subjection even while battling with Various Temptations…That Are Accidental…But More Likely Deliberate! They have to keep their eyes full of love while looking at a group of sinful folks that he/she is expected to help make Heaven their home!

Much Is Expected of Pastors, And Believe It Or Not, Much Is Expected From You Too!

Here’s a Challenge For You (And I Want You To Keep Me Informed Of How It’s Progressing): Select One Day Out of the Week That Is Designated For Prayer For Your Pastor! Fast That Day, and Keep Him/Her Covered!

What Should You Pray For? You want to pray that your Pastor hears God clearly and follows His directions accurately; pray that your Pastor Walks Circumspectly in this world as the Bible admonishes; pray that your Pastor Lives a Life and Lifestyle that is above reproach (Consecrated, Holy, Righteous, Just, and Clean); Pray that all of your Pastors Gifts are in Full Manifestation; Pray that your Pastor remains in Prayer, and keeps his/her Faith from Faltering; Pray that your Pastor keeps their body under subjection, their will yielded to God, their Spirit fed by God’s Word, their Mind Renewed, their Heart and Hands Clean, their Motives and Intentions Pure, and their Vision Clear; Pray that they remain continuously clothed in Humility, the Garment of Praise and the Whole Armor of God; Pray that they Follow In the Footsteps of Jesus.

But also pray that Your Pastor always takes the way of escape that the Lord has provided for Temptation; pray they are faithful stewards over the family, job, career, ministry, church and finances that the Lord has entrusted to them; pray that their ears and mouth are kept from gossip, rumors, lies, falsehood, deceit, and flattery; pray that they are kept from the failure of favoritism; pray that they are honest when they’re hurting (far too many Pastors are attempting to “Fake It Until They Make ItHowever, God never gave us this as a principle to practice); pray that they take needed physical and mental breaks; pray that they have adequate help in their personal and private lives; even pray that they go to the doctor for annual physicals (you don’t want to know the statistics of Pastors dying under age 50 from poor health); pray that they maintain their joy and their peace of mind!

In other words, Every Part of Your Pastors Life Needs and Requires Prayer!

They endure the same struggles as the congregants, they’re just expected to slap a robe, a cross, a bible and a good sermon over it!

Saints, be your Pastors safe place where they can be honest about their hurts and frustrations (again, you don’t even want to know the statistics of Pastors who are going to Unsaved Psychologists and Psychiatrists because of the stresses of life and ministry).

Your Pastor Needs You and Your Prayers!

Today, Determine to Lighten Their Burden Simply By Bending a Knee In Prayer. You’ll Be Amazed At How Much Better Your Pastor Will Be!

Alarming Pastoral Statistics: 97% of Pastors Have Been Betrayed, Falsely Accused, or Hurt By Their Trusted Friends; 50% of Pastors Marriages End In Divorce; 70% of Pastors Battle Depression; 7,000 Churches Close Each Year; 1,700 Pastors Quit Each Month; 80% of Pastors Feel Discouraged; 94% of Pastors Families Feel the Pressure of the Ministry; 78% of Pastors Have No Close Friend; 90% of Pastors Report Working 55-75 Hours Per Week With Either No Salary, or No Salary Increase; and Only 10% Actually Retire a Pastor. (By Dr. Bill Purvis)

Which is All The More Reason To Pray For Your Pastor!

Prayer is the greatest support for any Pastor.

Your prayers are much like Aaron and Hur: 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.” (Exodus 17:10-13 CEV)

Remember, your Pastor is human, and gets tired too. And when he does, he should be able to count on you to uplift and support him. And that doesn’t mean on Sunday only. After all, Aaron and Hur supported their leader “…IN THE SAME POSITION UNTIL SUNSET.” As long as it takes, keep your leader uplifted, covered and supported in prayer, they need it!

“A pastor never gets to say ‘I’m off duty’. Never gets to punch out at 5. Never gets to have a normal schedule. We don’t know how many sleepless nights they spend on their knees praying for their church. How much opposition they face. How many family opportunities they miss to meet with hurting people. We can’t carry their burden for them but we can do what the Bible tells us to: Pray for them. Encourage them. Support them. By blessing them we will only be blessed in return.” (DaughterByDesign)

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: “Checklist For Staying Healthy”

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“Answering the Caleb Calling”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Listen to varying translations of this Scripture:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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“You Can’t Be the SAME, and Make a DIFFERENCE”

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2 Corinthians 6:17-18, “Don’t become partners with those who reject God. How can you make a partnership out of right and wrong? That’s not partnership; that’s war. Is light best friends with dark? Does Christ go strolling with the Devil? Do trust and mistrust hold hands? Who would think of setting up pagan idols in God’s holy Temple? But that is exactly what we are, each of us a temple in whom God lives. God himself put it this way: “I’ll live in them, move into them; I’ll be their God and they’ll be my people. So leave the corruption and compromise; leave it for good,” says God. “Don’t link up with those who will pollute you. I want you all for myself. I’ll be a Father to you; you’ll be sons and daughters to me.” The Word of the Master, God.” (MSG)

Years ago some friends who lived near a heavy industrial area where the mills filled the air with a shall we say very distinctive aroma; well, actually, smell would be a better word for it. It was sort of a sulfur-like, rotten eggs type of odor. When you first went there, you would sniff and you’d go, “What is that?” And the people who lived there would say, “What’s what?” See, they’d lived around the stink so long, it didn’t even register any more. Well, in my humble opinion, there are simply some smells you should never get used to!

Which brings us to Ezekiel 9:2-4. It’s where the prophet is receiving his instructions from the Lord in the form of a vision, and here’s what it says: “Six men appeared at his call, coming from the upper north gate, each one with his sword. One of them wore linen clothing and carried a writer’s case strapped to his side. They all went into the Temple and stood beside the bronze altar. And the glory of the God of Israel rose from between the Guardian Angels where it had rested and stood above the entrance to the Temple. And the Lord called to the man with the writer’s case and said to him, “Walk through the streets of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who weep and sigh because of all the sins they see around them.”

God is saying here, “I’m looking for some people who don’t gloss over the sin around them; people who literally grieve over sin.” Well, they were hard to find then; and truth is, they’re hard to find now. Those kind of people were special then, and they’re special now. People who don’t get so used to being in the middle of sin that they don’t notice the ‘smell’ any more. Do you understand that it was so strange, odd, and unusual to find people who actually grieved over sin that God sent a vision to the prophet about sending out people to scout out the land and “mark” those who were indeed bothered by sin? Let’s look at verse 4 in a few translations to see the type of people God was looking for:

“The Lord said to him, “Go through the midst of the city, throughout all of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who SIGH [IN DISTRESS] AND GRIEVE OVER ALL THE REPULSIVE ACTS WHICH ARE BEING COMMITTED IN IT” (AMP);

“Walk through the city of Jerusalem and mark the forehead of anyone who is TRULY UPSET AND SAD ABOUT THE DISGUSTING THINGS THAT ARE BEING DONE THERE.” (CEV);

“Go through the whole city of Jerusalem and put a mark on the forehead of everyone who is DISTRESSED AND TROUBLED BECAUSE OF ALL THE DISGUSTING THINGS BEING DONE IN THE CITY.” (GNT);

“Go through the streets of Jerusalem and put a mark on the forehead of everyone who is IN ANGUISH OVER THE OUTRAGEOUS OBSCENITIES BEING DONE IN THE CITY.” (MSG);

“He said to the man, “Go through Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of the people who GROAN AND CRY ABOUT ALL THE HATEFUL THINGS BEING DONE AMONG THEM.” (NCV);

“The Lord said to him, “Go through the city of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who CRY INSIDE THEMSELVES OVER ALL THE HATED SINS WHICH ARE BEING DONE AMONG THEM.” (NLV)

God was looking for those who were lamenting, crying, groaning, in anguish, troubled, disgusted, repulsed, upset…ABOUT THE SINS OF THE CITY! I wonder if He looked for people like that today, in His church in particular, would He find anyone to mark?

Does the church lament, cry, groan, feel in anguish, troubled, disgusted, repulsed and upset about the sins of the city? Or have we sat amongst it so long that the scent of sin doesn’t even smell to us any longer? Does adultery still stink to us? Does lying still smell funky to us? Does backbiting still offend our nostrils? Does discord still smell foul in the sanctuary? Or have we learned to use religious behavior to act as Febreeze and attempt to mask the smell? Do we spray church lingo over stuff that only needs one word “sin” to describe its scent? Are we bothered, are we disturbed, are we convicted, or have we become so tolerant that we’re no longer even moved by the odor?

I spoke with a friend of mine who so happens to be a sanitation worker. And I asked him, “how in the world do you do a job that smells like this every-day?” He gave me a two-fold response. For one he said, “for the amount of money they pay me, the scent ain’t all that bad”. And then he added something that brought about today’s word, he said “once you’ve been around the stench so much, and so often, and for so long, you literally learn to block out the smell”. Now, I can’t lie to you, I’m still perplexed, because anytime I’ve passed a sanitation truck, I for the life of me can never just block out the scent! However, I’m only around such a stench every now and then, but sanitation workers are around it all the time. Which made me think of something my mother’s doctor said a few years ago. He said, “we have to change her medication because she’s been on it for so long that her body has built up an immune to it, and therefore it no longer works because its’ been in and apart of her make-up for so long now, that her body treats the medication as if it were just one of her vital organs functioning as it should as a part of the rest of her body.” I’m afraid that the church has become just like that! We’ve built up an immune to sin that it no longer looks or smells wrong because we’ve been in it for so long that it doesn’t bother us in the least. Its’ become a part of our make-up. It functions in us as though it were one of the vital organs in the Body of Christ. But this should not be so!

Chances are that you come in daily contact with a lot of sinful garbage; lying that’s considered just to be smart business, an acceptance of adultery (or do we call it “an affair, weakness, or indiscretion”? you know we like to use a prettier sounding term so it doesn’t seem so bad), or just a flippant attitude toward sexual purity. Like the two guys sitting next to me at the pizza place last year. One very casually said to the other one, and pardon my bluntness, but this is the way he stated it, “So, did you get laid yet?” See, that’s casual about something God calls sacred. It’s a flippant “who cares” approach to a sacred act of love, created by God for a lifetime bond. When did we, the church, become so accepting and tolerant of ALL things? What happened to the churches distinction?

Leviticus 10:8-11, “God instructed Aaron: “When you enter the Tent of Meeting, don’t drink wine or strong drink, neither you nor your sons, lest you die. This is a fixed rule down through the generations. Distinguish between the holy and the common, between the ritually clean and unclean. Teach the People of Israel all the decrees that God has spoken to them through Moses.” (MSG);

Leviticus 20:24-26, “I’ve told you, remember, that you will possess their land that I’m giving to you as an inheritance, a land flowing with milk and honey. I am God, your God, who has distinguished you from the nations. So live like it: Distinguish between ritually clean and unclean animals and birds. Don’t pollute yourselves with any animal or bird or crawling thing which I have marked out as unclean for you. Live holy lives before me because I, God, am holy. I have distinguished you from the nations to be my very own.” (MSG)

From the priests to the people, God has always Distinguished His own! The word “distinguish” is defined as “to recognize, show, or treat as different; to have an identifying characteristic; to be dignified in appearance; to successfully command great respect.” Its Latin Origin “distinguere”, from “stinguere” literally means “to put out.” In other words, to stand out from anything else! Look at it like this: If you visit any jewelry store, you’ll see that the costume jewelry does not mix with the real jewelry! How it’s made, how it’s crafted, how it’s priced and valued, and even where it’s placed at in the store lets you know the difference between the two. And likewise, should be said of the church! The world should be able to see that we don’t mix, don’t match and distinction is why! However, as sad as it may be, you can’t seem to tell the difference anymore between the holy and unholy, the clean and unclean, the fragrant and the funky, because we’ve dwelt together so long in the same space that they all appear one in the same!

I remember buying a bag of mixed bagels. I had everything from plain, to poppy seed, to cinnamon raisin, to onion. But when I opened the bag, all I could smell on all of them was the onion. Because its scent was the most prominent and dominant among them all. Even the ones it didn’t physically touch, still carried its scent because of its closeness in proximity. Makes me wonder if that’s what’s happening with the church? Have we spent so much time marrying, dating, having children, going to church….WITH THE WORLD….that you can no longer tell the 2 worlds apart? Have we gotten so close and comfortable with the world, that you can no longer see the Kingdom in the Church?

What happened to obeying Scriptures like:

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

With all that said, I must then ask, how did we go from Distinguished and Distinct to Compromise and Conformity?

When did we lose our Sense of the Scent of Sin?

2 Corinthians 2:15-16, “In the Messiah, in Christ, God leads us from place to place in one perpetual victory parade. Through us, he brings knowledge of Christ. Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation—an aroma redolent with life. But those on the way to destruction treat us more like the stench from a rotting corpse.” (MSG)

How did we go from the Exquisite Fragrance of Christ, the Sweet Smelling Scent of God, an Aroma of Life, to smelling like the scent of sin, the stench of a rotting corpse?

We as the church need to regain our Distinction!

The word “distinct” is defined as “to be recognizably different or individual; to be able to be perceived clearly by the senses; a marked difference or contrast; outstanding excellence; special honor or recognition; expressly different from others of its kind” Its Latin Origin “distinctus”, from “distinguere” literally means “distinguish”. Church, we need to be recognizably different from the world! We need a Peter experience!

The Bible says, “And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; FOR THY SPEECH BEWRAYETH THEE.” (Matthew 26:73) Listen to this verse in varying translations:

“…FOR EVEN YOUR [GALILEAN] ACCENT GIVES YOU AWAY.” (AMP);

“…FOR WE CAN TELL BY YOUR GALILEAN ACCENT.” (TLB);

“…WE CAN TELL IT BECAUSE YOU TALK LIKE SOMEONE FROM GALILEE” (CEV);

“…CERTAINLY YOU TOO ARE ONE OF THEM, FOR YOUR ACCENT BETRAYS YOU.” (ESV);

“…IT’S OBVIOUS YOU’RE ALSO ONE OF THEM. YOUR ACCENT GIVES YOU AWAY!” (GWT);

“…OF COURSE YOU ARE ONE OF THEM,” THEY SAID. “AFTER ALL, THE WAY YOU SPEAK GIVES YOU AWAY!” (GNT);

“…IT’S CLEAR FROM THE WAY YOU TALK.” (ERV);

“…THE WAY YOU TALK GIVES YOU AWAY.” (CEB);

“…YOU’VE GOT TO BE ONE OF THEM. YOUR ACCENT GIVES YOU AWAY.” (MSG);

“…FOR SURE, YOU ARE ONE OF THEM. YOU TALK LIKE THEY DO.” (NLV);

“…SURELY YOU ARE ONE OF THOSE WHO FOLLOWED JESUS. THE WAY YOU TALK SHOWS IT.” (NCV);

Peter couldn’t blend in because his distinction wouldn’t let him! Those who were not “with” him knew that something about him being here is simply out of place. They even went so far as to say “We can tell; certainly; it’s obvious; of course; it’s clear; you’ve got to be; and surely you are.” They had absolutely no doubt and no question about the fact that Peter was with Jesus. Therefore, him being there with them, was out place! They said “…surely you are one of those who followed Jesus. The way you talk shows it.” Peter’s distinctive speech betrayed him! He couldn’t blend, couldn’t hide, couldn’t join in, couldn’t go unnoticed, and all because who he really was couldn’t be camouflaged! Would people be able to see the evidence of your relationship to Jesus in your speech and conduct, in spite of where you are or who you’re around?

People of God, you can’t cover up distinction, its visible evidence! So much so, that even the senses can tell something is different!

See, the problem is, we’re around sin so much sometimes it doesn’t break our heart any more, but it breaks God’s heart all the time, and He’s looking for people whose heart it can still break. We hear people treat God’s name, Jesus’ name, like dirt. Jesus, the name at which every knee will bow. There are attitudes that amount to nothing less than idol worship, and we’re no longer bothered by it: living for money, living for a guy or a girl, living for music, careers, and entitlements, living for the next party, living for a ring, robe, positions and chairs. It’s time we prayed, “God, give me back my sense of spiritual smell.

Isaiah 65:1-7, “I’ve made myself available to those who haven’t bothered to ask. I’m here, ready to be found by those who haven’t bothered to look. I kept saying ‘I’m here, I’m right here’ to a nation that ignored me. I reached out day after day to a people who turned their backs on me, People who make wrong turns, who insist on doing things their own way. They get on my nerves, are rude to my face day after day, Make up their own kitchen religion, a potluck religious stew. They spend the night in tombs to get messages from the dead, Eat forbidden foods and drink a witch’s brew of potions and charms. They say, ‘Keep your distance. Don’t touch me. I’m holier than thou.’ These people gag me. I CAN’T STAND THEIR STENCH. Look at this! Their sins are all written out— I have the list before me. I’m not putting up with this any longer. I’ll pay them the wages. They have coming for their sins. And for the sins of their parents lumped in, a bonus.” God says so. “Because they’ve practiced their blasphemous worship, mocking me at their hillside shrines, I’ll let loose the consequences and pay them in full for their actions.” (MSG)

If this is how God feels about the stench of sin, why does the odor not bother the Body of Christ any longer?!

People of God, today is a good day to pray and ask God to deliver us, and give us back our distinction. Because the truth is, we can’t be the same as the world and make a difference. They should feel free to come into our church services, but they should feel something that makes them know that they can’t stay the same way they came. We can’t blend, compromise, conform, tolerate, and certainly not water down the Gospel. We have to stand up and stand out so that we might be able to bring them in. Today, determine to be the Fragrance of God, that abhors the Scent of Sin!

“The devil must be daily resisted. The world must be daily overcome. There is a warfare to be waged, and a battle to be fought.” (J.C. Ryle)

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

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“Don’t Miss Your Turn”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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“Your Storm is Keeping You On Course”

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Acts 27:44, “the rest were to follow, holding on to the planks or to some broken pieces of the ship. And this was how we all got safely ashore.” (GNT) 

It was some years ago, but I remember when they closed a local airport. You see there was a violent storm at Newark airport, and thousands of people had their plans suddenly changed…indefinitely. I’ve come to find out in life, Storms have a way of doing just that! There’s a snow storm, for example, and schools and businesses, even though they all had their plans made for the day, suddenly have all those plans thrown out the window. Meetings that HAD to be today are amazingly rescheduled. Planes and ships are diverted and all because of a storm. You see, a storm is a classic embodiment of that familiar phrase, “Due to circumstances beyond our control…” Ever heard that line? 

Truth is: maybe you’re in the middle of a storm right now. Your life and plans are being blown around in every possible direction, and it seems like everything is completely out of control. Well, if that’s your testimony, then I’ve got some really good news for you today! According to the Word of God, Acts 27 talks about A Stormy Surprise! Now, I don’t know where your storm is right now, but maybe there’s something blowing your life out of control: (a marriage conflict; a troubled child; a financial crisis; a health scare; a job loss or loved one loss; or a ministry transition). Whatever your storm is, it’s blowing fierce and hard! And to make matters worse, you’ve already tried everything to get it back to smooth sailing, and yet, all you see in all directions is nothing but complete and utter chaos!

And by the way, if you’re one of those tremendously blessed folks who’s not in a storm Right Now, Just Stay Tuned; Your Forecast Will Change Just Like the Rest of Us! That’s just the way life is. Before you know it, out of no-where, the winds blow, the waves are high, the lightening is bright, the thunder is loud, the foundation is shaky, the cold airs of conflict and crisis strike, and you’re wondering if you’ll Survive the Storm! We all get them, so if you haven’t YET, simply Stay Tuned!

However, for those who feel that In Your Life Right Now Things Are Completely Out of Control By the Storms of Life, You’ll Most Definitely Be Able to Relate to Paul’s Storm in Acts 27!

What was happening was that Paul was being taken by Roman soldiers on a grain ship from Israel to Rome. They had a lot of water to cross to get from where Israel is and to cross the ocean and to get over to Italy where they needed to be, and in the middle of all this they encountered a terrible storm that lasted for fourteen days. Hurricane strength, we’re told in Acts 27:20, “When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved.” (NIV). Now, if you’ve ever felt like all your points of reference were gone, like Acts 27:20, you couldn’t see the “…sun, the moon, the stars…” –Which Are All Things You Can Usually Count On To Be There As Your Day-to-Day, Consistent Point of Reference…When That’s Gone, The Storm Is Bad! The things you were able to hang on to before, They’re No Longer There! That one song that use to encourage you, now you can’t remember one verse of it, that friend whose shoulder use to be available for you to lean on has vanished into thin air, that Scripture that would pop into your head right when you were ready to throw in the towel (and now you have no idea what book of the Bible it’s even found in). It feels as though all you used to Depend on has somehow Disappeared into the Darkness of the Storm! 

Well, maybe you’re there right now, and you know what, truth is, it’s easy to give up hope. I know “church folks” will tell you that’s not supposed to ever happen to a believer. But truth is, life can get real hard, and heart breaking. It’s difficult to keep a praise on your lips when your coworker is cursing you out. It’s hard to keep joy when you’ve lost loved ones back-to-back. It’s not easy to keep shouting when your marriage is screaming divorce. Its’ rough trying to teach Sunday school to other children when your own don’t even attend. Life is not easy! No, not even for the believer. So never beat yourself up when you have a moment of lost hope, it happens to the best of us, from the pulpit to the door (whether we admit it or not)!

However, before you feel as if your lost hope can never be found again, keep this in mind: The Outcome of the Story Is What You Need to Take Note Of! Acts 27:44 declares, “…Everyone Reached Land Safely.They were blown into the rocks after two weeks, But It Says, IN THE END, They Were On An ISLAND! And in chapter 28 we find out the ISLAND was called MALTA! Do you know where Malta is? IT’S ON THE SOUTHERN COAST OF ITALY! Why is that such good news? Because, Regardless to a Violent Storm, They Ended Up Right Where They Were Heading All Along! Oh, they’d been out of control for two weeks or so it seemed, BUT THE WHOLE TIME THEY HAD BEEN OUT OF CONTROL, THEY HAD ACTUALLY BEEN RIGHT ON COURSE, AND SO ARE YOU!

The Surprise About Your Storm Is, That YOU’RE STILL ON COURSE! I know the storm blew some stuff all over the place, I know you received some bumps and bruises and even some brokenness in the storm, but YOU’RE STILL ON COURSE! As hectic as it is, as violent as it was, as rough as it’s been, as depressed as you’ve felt, YOU’RE STILL ON COURSE! Yes, with a marriage that seemed to be sinking, children that seemed to be jumping over-board, a ministry that seemed to lose the wind in its sails, and a health that has seemed to be tossed to and fro, from healthy to sick all in the same week, YOU MY FRIEND ARE STILL ON COURSE! REGARDLESS TO THE STORM, PAUL STILL ENDED UP EXACTLY WHERE HE WAS SUPPOSE TO BE…AND SO WILL YOU! SO, DON’T BE DISCOURAGED BY THE STORM, YOU’RE STILL ON COURSE!

Nahum 1:3 says, “…The Lord has His way in the whirlwind and the storm, and the clouds are the dust beneath His feet.” (AMP)

Look at this text in a few additional translations with some deeper insight:

“…He can BE SEEN in storms and in whirlwinds; clouds are the dust from His feet.” (CEV) Some encouragement during your storm is found in knowing that God is SEEN even in storms. The problem is that like Peter, we tend to focus on the storm instead of the Savior who’s in the storm With Us! Matthew 14:30-32, “But when he saw [the effects of] the wind, he was frightened, and he began to sink, and he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus extended His hand and caught him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.” (AMP) The key is knowing that Jesus is in the storms of life WITH us, and close enough to us in the storm, like Peter, that all He had to do was reach out His hand and touch him. He’s that close to us in the storms of our lives as well. So take heart beloved, because in the harshest of storms, the hand of God is still nigh. Those are the things we lose sight of in storms. We began to focus on the ‘effects of the wind’ instead of keeping our eyes on the One who created and controls All the Elements! When your in the storms of life, don’t look at the storm or its effects, look for God, He can always be seen in the storm!

“…He will USE whirlwinds and storms to show His power. People walk on the dusty ground, but He walks on the clouds.” (ERV) Don’t be afraid of the storms, God uses storms to show forth His power! The problem is that we focus on how powerless we feel in the storms of life instead of focusing on how powerful God is even in the midst of the storm! In fact, He’s using the storm you’re in right now for your good not your harm. That’s why you have to always condition yourself to look for the lessons He’s showing you on how to trust Him even in strong storms where you feel most weak! 2 Corinthians 12:9, “but He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you [My lovingkindness and My mercy are more than enough—always available—regardless of the situation]; for [My] power is being perfected [and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness.” Therefore, I will all the more gladly boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ [may completely enfold me and] may dwell in me.” (AMP) God uses storms to showcase His power, and uses your weaknesses in the storms of life to do the same. Be encouraged in knowing that God is Using this storm on your behalf!

“…Raging winds and storms MARK HIS PATH, and clouds are the dust from His feet.” (GWT) When the winds and storms are raging in your life, don’t try to figure out which way to go, simply look for the Path of God. Follow His Footsteps and You’ll Exit the Storm Better Than You Entered it! Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him, and He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way].” (AMP) Don’t pace the floor in fear, walk by faith as you follow the path of God. If you just ask Him, He’ll show you the way to go! Psalm 37:23, “The steps of a [good and righteous] man are directed and established by the Lord, and He delights in his way [and blesses his path].” (AMP) In chaos, let God order your steps, and you will be sure to never stumble. Just ask Him to show you where He’s marked His path so you can follow it, instead of tripping over trouble trying to figure it all out on your own. Jeremiah 33:3, “This is God’s Message, the God who made earth, made it livable and lasting, known everywhere as God: ‘Call to Me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own.’ (MSG)

“…He shows His power in the TERRORS of the cyclone and the raging storms; clouds are billowing dust beneath His feet!” (TLB) No matter how terrifying your storm is, know that God still shows His power in the terrors of the cyclone and the raging storms. When God is in the storm with you, you need not worry yourself, no matter how bad the storm is. Your Storm Will Never Be Bigger Than the Size of Your God! Remember, Your God is Omnipotent; Omnipresent; Omniscient; All-Powerful; All-Present and All-Knowing. What Storm Do You Know Can Top That?!

Psalm 147:5, “Great is our [majestic and mighty] Lord and abundant in strength…” (AMP);

“Great is our Lord and of great power…” (AMPC);

“Our Lord is great and so strong…” (CEB);

Our Lord is great and powerful…” (CEV);

“Great is our Lord, and abundant in power…” (ESV);

“Our Lord is great, and His power is great…” (GWT);

“How great He is! His power is absolute!” (TLB);

“Our Lord is great, with limitless strength…” (MSG)

Now, with a God that Great, are you really going to let this temporary storm scare you?!

“…Tornadoes and hurricanes are the wake of His passage, Storm clouds are the dust He shakes off His feet…” (MSG); “…Where the Lord goes, there are whirlwinds and storms, and the clouds are the dust beneath His feet.” (NCV) I hope you’re starting to understand that when God is in the storm with you, you are in the safest place in all the world! And that means even in the midst of the tornado, hurricane, whirlwind and storm, He is always present, and you are always protected! After all, the Bible says, “Where the Lord goes, there are whirlwinds and storms…” If you’re in a storm, God is already there, so take heart!

Be Not Discouraged! The Lord Is Still In Control of Your Care and Course…Despite the Storm!

Believe It Or Not, As Bad As It Looks, His Ways Still Work…Even In the Storms of Life! And for an added bonus, God speaks in storms too!  “And now, finally, GOD answered Job from THE EYE OF A VIOLENT STORM…” (Job 38:1 MSG) Never feel as though storms have the power to cut off your communication from God. He sees you, He hears you, He speaks to you, He’s there with you! Even when the storm is Violent it can’t silence His Voice! So, make sure that while you’re in the storm, you keep your ears open, the Lord has a wonderful way of communicating calm even in the midst of chaos! Listen to the Bible: “Late that day he said to them, “Let’s go across to the other side.” They took him in the boat as he was. Other boats came along. A huge storm came up. Waves poured into the boat, threatening to sink it. And Jesus was in the stern, head on a pillow, sleeping! They roused him, saying, “Teacher, is it nothing to you that we’re going down?” Awake now, he told the wind to pipe down and said to the sea, “Quiet! Settle down!” The wind ran out of breath; the sea became smooth as glass. Jesus reprimanded the disciples: “Why are you such cowards? Don’t you have any faith at all?” They were in absolute awe, staggered. “Who is this, anyway?” they asked. “Wind and sea at his beck and call!” (Mark 4:35-41 MSG) Your storm is never designed to take you out! You just have to remember what happened BEFORE the storm took place: The Bible says, “…He said to them, “Let’s go across to the other side.” The best lifesaver in the storms of life is to always remember what “…HE SAID…”! He didn’t suggest to go, He said LET’S GO! When God is with you, never let what’s around you distract you from the direction He’s already given you! If HE SAID let’s go across to the other side, it doesn’t matter what takes place along the journey, one way or another you will reach the other side! Remember: Your Storm is Keeping You On Course! Yes, Even With All of Its’ Chaos! Therefore, Never Allow the Sound of the Storm to Drown Out What God Has Already Said!

People of God, Your Storms Will NEVER Be Powerful Enough To Short-Circuit The Power Of The God You Serve! Remember: Even Jesus Himself had to face storms: “Right now I AM STORM-TOSSED. And what am I going to say? ‘Father, get me out of this’? No, this is why I came in the first place. I’ll say, ‘Father, put your glory on display.’” A voice came out of the sky: “I have glorified it, and I’ll glorify it again.” (John 12:27-28 MSG) Jesus Himself was “…STORM-TOSSED…” yet He determined to endure it because it would display the glory of the Father! And as bad as your storm is, and as violently as it’s tossing you to and fro, don’t give up, give out or give in! Stick it out! You will eventually arrive to your destination and there will be glory after this!

Yes, In the End You May Just Make It By On Broken Pieces, However, That Still Does Not Change the Unchangeable Fact and Truth, That You Still Made It!  Jesus made it to the Crown, but not without the Cross, Enemies, Spit, Mockery, Piercing, Tomb, Grave, Nails, Pain, Suffering, Agony, Blood, Sweat etc…Yes, He made it, but it was a horrible journey. And yet He didn’t stop and take down the sails, He stayed the course, because there was too much Purpose and Promise on the other side of this. Likewise it is for you!

Paul Was Destined For Italy, and the Storm Would Not Be A Distraction, But a Driving Force to Ensure He Made It There! And Not Just Made It There, But Made It There With the Testimony of What He Had to Make It Through To Get There! And if it’s anyone who has a testimony of endurance, it’s certainly Paul! The Bible says, “I’ve worked much harder, been jailed more often, beaten up more times than I can count, and at death’s door time after time. I’ve been flogged five times with the Jews’ thirty-nine lashes, beaten by Roman rods three times, pummeled with rocks once. I’ve been shipwrecked three times, and immersed in the open sea for a night and a day. In hard traveling year in and year out, I’ve had to ford rivers, fend off robbers, struggle with friends, struggle with foes. I’ve been at risk in the city, at risk in the country, endangered by desert sun and sea storm, and betrayed by those I thought were my brothers. I’ve known drudgery and hard labor, many a long and lonely night without sleep, many a missed meal, blasted by the cold, naked to the weather. And that’s not the half of it, when you throw in the daily pressures and anxieties of all the churches. When someone gets to the end of his rope, I feel the desperation in my bones…” (2 Corinthians 11:23-29 MSG) Now, if Paul can survive THAT, you can survive THIS!

Listen: Your Storm Will Not Be a Straight Path To Your Destination! And After All, Who Wants to Hear the Boring Story of How You Left Here, and Simply Made It Straight There, With No Bumps, Bruises or Brokenness…Who Can Relate To That?! That’s Why Your Storm Is Adding Streets, Paths, Cliffs, Dead-Ends, U-Turns, Corners, Hills, Avenues, Back Alley’s, Valley’s and More to Your Story’s Journey! People Will Be Able to Relate to What You’ve Been Through, and then Further Be Encouraged to Know That They Can and Will Make It Through Just the Same!

You may feel like you’re either going nowhere right now or you’re on the verge of utter shipwreck disaster; maybe on the verge of being blown on the rocks even to crash and burn. But remember, the surprise in the storm is this: GOD STILL CONTROLS SEEMINGLY OUT-OF-CONTROL TIMES! He uses them to blow His children right where they were supposed to go all along! SO DON’T LET THE STORM DISCOURAGE YOU, DISTRACT YOU OR DISHEARTEN YOU! THE BOTTOM LINE IS: THE STORM IS KEEPING YOU ON COURSE! YOU WILL SURVIVE AND YOU WILL HAVE AN AWESOME STORY AND TESTIMONY TO TELL ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STORM!  

The word ‘storm’ is defined as, ‘a violent disturbance of the atmosphere with strong winds and usually rain, thunder, lightning, or snow; an uproar or controversy; a sudden attack and capture; to move forcefully in a specified direction.’ People of God, do not allow your storm to disturb you, even when it disturbs the atmosphere around you. Because my favorite definition of ‘storm’, is ‘to move forcefully in a specified direction.’ Your storm is not working against you, it’s working for you! It’s pushing, shoving, and moving you forcefully, but it’s taking you in the right direction! Your storm is not there to throw you off track, but to keep you on course! And your ‘specified direction’, is in the Will of God for your life! It will not be the easiest, or smoothest ride there, but you will arrive where God desired all along! Acts 27:44, “the rest were to follow, holding on to the planks or to some broken pieces of the ship. And this was how we all got safely ashore.” (GNT) Truth is, they survived the storm, but on broken pieces. Likewise, you will not survive this storm without some scrapes, scars, bruises and even broken pieces. But the key is, you survived the storm, you made it through and out of the storm! No, you will not look like GQ’s man of the year, or America’s Next Top Model, when it’s over, but you will have the testimony that you outlasted the storm! The storm won’t remain, but you will remain standing when the storm is over!

REMEMBER: THE SURPRISE OF THE STORM IS THAT THE STORM DIDN’T SURPRISE GOD! YOU WILL SURVIVE! And before you know it the storm will be over! The Bible says, “WHEN THE STORM IS OVER, there’s nothing left of the wicked; good people, firm on their rock foundation, aren’t even fazed.” (Proverbs 10:25 MSG) You’ll eventually look back and wonder, how you got over!

Here’s some more encouragement, “Moses left Pharaoh and the city and stretched out his arms to GOD. The thunder and hail stopped; THE STORM CLEARED.” (Exodus 9:33 MSG) And the same will happen for you! As soon as you reach your destination in God, the storm will clear and you’ll be able to clearly see that it was all worth it in the end!

Therefore, Sail On Through the Storm, It’s Helping You to Stay On Course!

Psalm 107:23-32, “Some of you set sail in big ships; you put to sea to do business in faraway ports. Out at sea you saw God in action, saw His breathtaking ways with the ocean: With a word He called up the wind— an ocean storm, towering waves! You shot high in the sky, then the bottom dropped out; your hearts were stuck in your throats. You were spun like a top, you reeled like a drunk, you didn’t know which end was up. Then you called out to God in your desperate condition; He got you out in the nick of time. He quieted the wind down to a whisper, put a muzzle on all the big waves. And you were so glad when the storm died down, and He led you safely back to harbor. So thank God for His marvelous love, for His miracle mercy to the children He loves. Lift high your praises when the people assemble, shout Hallelujah when the elders meet!” (MSG)

Your Storm is Keeping You On Course!

“And once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in.” (Haruki Murakami)

“You will not be the same after the storms of life; you will be stronger, wiser and more alive than ever before.” (Bryant McGill)

“Don’t fear the storms that life may bring. You’ve been chosen by God to survive it, overcome it, and outlast it.” (Sheryl Brady)

“The greatest miracles aren’t seen in calm peaceful waters, they are seen in the rocky, turbulent and frightful waters of a faith-filled life.” (Kelly Balarie)

“We shall steer safely through every storm, so long as our heart is right, our courage steadfast, and our trust fixed on God.” (St. Francis de Sales)

“The little reed, bending to the force of the wind, soon stood upright again when the storm had passed over.” (Aesop)

“When the storms do come; you can only allow them to slow you down, but don’t let them stop you. There will be delays, detours, and disappointments but you have to keep pushing through it. Pursue your dreams.” (Bernard Kelvin Clive)

“When the storms of life strike, it’s what happens in you that will determine what happens to you.” (Jerry Savelle)

“Often as we experience the storms of life, we witness the Lord’s hand in providing eternal protections.” (Quentin L. Cook)

“Clouds, leaves, soil and wind all offer themselves as signals of changes in the weather. However, not all the storms of life can be predicted.” (David Petersen)

“We cannot stand through the storms of life based on someone else’s faith. We must be fully assured in our own hearts and minds.” (Joyce Meyer)

“Without rain nothing grows, learn to embrace the storms of life.” (Author Unknown)

“You can’t calm the storm so stop trying. What you can do is calm yourself. The storm will pass.” (Thimber Hawkeye)

“If you want to see the sunshine, you have to weather the storm.” (Frank Lane)

“We all face storms in life. Some are more difficult than others, but we all go through trials and tribulation. That’s why we have the gift of faith.” (Joyce Meyer)

“Life’s toughest storms prove the strength of our anchors.” (Author Unknown)

“Who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed?” (Hunter S. Thompson)

“No storm can last forever. It will never rain 365 days consecutively. Keep in mind that trouble comes to pass, not to stay. Don’t worry. No storm, not even the one in your life, can last forever.” (Iyanla Vanzant)

“Not all storms come to disrupt your life, some come to clear your path.” (Author Unknown)

“There are some things you can only learn in a storm.” (Joel Osteen)

“He who sends the storm steers the vessel.” (Thomas Adams)

“I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship.” (Louisa May Alcott)

“God’s peace is not the calm after the storm. It’s the steadfastness during it.” (Dr. Michelle Bengston)

“Storms may postpone your journey, but they can never stop you from reaching your destination.” (Author Unknown)

“Beneath our clothes, our reputations, our pretensions, beneath our religion or lack of it, we are all vulnerable both to the storm without and to the storm within.” (Frederick Buechner)

“Embrace your storms, they’re a part of the journey too.” (Author Unknown)

“Once you have learned to dance in the rain, you will be able to survive life’s passing storms.” (Author Unknown)

“I like storms. They let me know that even the sky, screams sometimes.” (Author Unknown)

“You may be facing the storms of life but you can also walk over them. Fix your gaze on Jesus and begin to walk over lack, depression, confusion, sickness and attacks of the enemy. Don’t look at the waves. Don’t focus on who is attacking you or trying to pull you down.” (Pastor Mensa Otabil)

“Don’t be crushed under the oncoming tide of adversity that moves in to test your faith. Make sure that your foundation is built on the solid rock of Jesus Christ. Be ready for the storms of life and move forward in a confidence that cannot be shaken by the strong winds of hardship.” (Calvin W. Allison)

“The storms will come and the winds will rise and the gusts will threaten to pull you from your roots. Let the winds come. Let them rage and know that you will not break in the breeze, you will bend. Always bend because you are made of more strength than you know, because you are better than the breaking.” (Tyler Knott Gregson)

“Don’t let people pull you into their storm. Push them out of your peace.” (Author Unknown)

“This life will never be without storms. Stop fearing the storm. Build your inner shelter.” (Yasmin Mogahed)

“Storms make trees take deeper roots.” (Dolly Parton)

“In all my years, I’ve learned that life delivers many storms for us to weather. Some will be slow, brooding, quiet beasts, and others will be loud, thunderous, and frightening. But if you’re willing to look close enough, no matter how devastating the storm may be, after the rain you’ll always find new life sprouting in the aftermath.” (Renee Carlino)

“We can’t predict all the struggles and storms in life, not even the ones just around the next corner, but as persons of faith and hope, we know beyond a shadow of any doubt that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true and the best is yet to come.” (L. Tom Perry)

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

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“God is On the Move!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s look at this text in parts:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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“Jesus Spent Time Alone…Do You?”

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Mark 1:35, “The next morning Jesus woke up very early. He left the house while it was still dark and went to a place where HE COULD BE ALONE AND PRAY.” (ERV)

Believe it or not, but in a day where everybody wants to be in the ‘in crowd’; have a clique; be a part of a pack; be a member of the team; or surrounded by an inner circle; being ALONE isn’t always a bad thing! In fact there are times when it’s Absolutely Necessary in Order to Hear From God!

The Bible points out the following “ALONE” moments of Jesus:

  1. “But JESUS would OFTEN go to SOME PLACE where he could be ALONE and pray.” (Luke 5:16 CEV).
  2. “…JESUS…CROSSED LAKE GALILEE to go to some place where he could be ALONE…” (Matthew 14:13 CEV).
  3. “Then HE went UP ON A MOUNTAIN where he could be ALONE and pray. Later that evening, he was still there.” (Matthew 14:23 CEV).
  4. “After leaving them, HE went UP ON A MOUNTAINSIDE to pray. When evening came, the boat was in the MIDDLE OF THE LAKE, and he was ALONE ON LAND…” (Mark 6:46-48 NIV).
  5. “When the voice had spoken, they found that JESUS was ALONE…” (Luke 9:36 NIV).

Now, many of you will say, ‘but I don’t have time to go away and be alone.’ But, Jesus went ‘SOME PLACE’, He ‘CROSSED A LAKE’, was on a boat ‘IN THE MIDDLE OF THE LAKE’ and He ‘WENT UP ON A MOUNTAIN AND ON A MOUNTAINSIDE.’ In other words, Jesus didn’t select easy places to get away too. He crossed lakes and went up mountains just to be alone. And please note, He didn’t have a speed boat, a jet ski, plane, or helicopter! Which means getting away to these places was not a 123 escape route! And yet if alone time was this important to Jesus to do whatever He had to do in order to get it, how can you say you don’t have time? I’m sure Jesus was just a tad bit more busy than you don’t you think? Furthermore, you can have access to a speed boat; jet ski; plane or helicopter to take you anywhere in the blink of an eye, so what’s your excuse? Now I can even hear your next excuse, ‘but that’s expensive.’ Let me help you out again, the Scripture says, “…JESUS would OFTEN go to SOME PLACE where he could be ALONE and pray.” Key words? SOME PLACE! No one is telling you to rent a private villa in Paris, JUST MAKE TIME TO GO SOMEPLACE ALONE! Surely you can do that, and for free!

Listen, we often talk a lot about Jesus being active in ministry, however, He was also well-balanced in ministry and in life. Even as the Son of God, He took advantage of alone time. And more often than not, it was to pray. Church, do you take advantage of your alone time? Do you take advantage of the privilege of prayer? Or are you like most who get so busy in ministry and life that the crowds consume them and everything about them? Jesus, with all the miracles, blessings, healings, deliverance, teaching, leading and even enemy attacks, He still made time to get away alone to pray. Brothers and sisters, if you’re schedule is so overwhelming that you don’t even have alone time to get away and pray, than much of your schedule has nothing to do with the Agenda of God. Programs, Protocols, and Positions should never become more Potent than your alone time with God which carries with it the Priority of Prayer. If the Son of God made time to get away alone and pray, but you can’t, does that really mean you’re busier than God? I think not…

And so that we don’t get stuck on Jesus alone, but He was in a great company of people who spent time alone:

In Exodus God said: “Moses ALONE shall come near the Lord; THE OTHERS SHALL NOT COME NEAR, NEITHER SHALL THE PEOPLE COME UP WITH HIM” (24:2 AMP). God wanted Moses to come to Him alone, this speaks volumes of a relationship with intimacy at its core. Truthfully, there are some things going on in your life that don’t need public opinion! Some of that stuff that you keep taking to Tommy and Tammy should only be spoken in the ear of God, alone! People flip out and go off on folks because they found out somebody they ‘confided’ in, shared their personal business that they themselves already shared all over social media! How can you get mad at the world, when you posted your life on the world wide web?! There’s a reason God desires private, intimate alone time with us. Because it’s in settings like those where God can heal us without anyone knowing we were hurt; He can deliver us without anybody knowing what we were delivered from; He can save us when nobody knew how much of a sinner we were; He can silence the gossip before Gabby Gabriella parts her lips; He can mend the marriage without anybody knowing it was torn; He can restore our children without anybody knowing they were the prodigal sons and daughters eating slop with pigs; He can give you a job without anybody knowing you were laid off; He can reverse sickness without anybody seeing a symptom! That’s why it’s so important to spend private, quality, intimate, alone time with God! There’s just some things He’s going to do in private that do not need a public display!

When Elijah spent the night ALONE in a cave, God told him to: “…Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by…” (1 Kings 19:11 NIV). He didn’t however, call a men or women’s ministry meeting to have everybody go with him, he was sent alone. There are some assignments God gives you alone, stop trying to take the crowd with you!

Daniel was: “…left ALONE, gazing at this great vision…” (10:8 NIV) All eyes don’t need to see the great vision that God is about to show you! That’s how plans and purpose get messed up, we show people more than they were pre-approved to see!

The Prophet Jeremiah needed time alone due to ministry: …I sat ALONE because Your hand was on me…” {Jeremiah 15:17 NIV} For some reason we assume that as soon as God calls us, we’re supposed to run off to do a 10 day revival in Africa, but what happens when God’s hand is on you and all He wants you to do is sit down? Believe it or not saints, but sometimes you’re anointing won’t flow while you’re standing up in the pulpit, but when you’re sitting down in the pew!

Even our Patriarch Jacob had an “ALONE” moment: “So JACOB was left ALONE, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak.” (Genesis 32:24 NIV). And what happened in this alone time? Jacob received a name change and a blessing! Dare I ask, what are you missing out on and messing up in, all because you want to bring 10 people to a table set up by God as a table for two!

Like it or not, but Many of Your Greatest Spiritual Victories Come From the Battles God Calls You to Fight When YOU’RE ALONE! Most times He outlines and clarifies His plans for your life when there’s NOBODY ELSE AROUND! That’s because He wants YOU to be more Influenced By HIM, than ANYONE ELSE!

When God’s grooming you for a special work you’ll be Required to Spend Time Outside the Company of Others. And does that make the others bad? No, just not full-time necessities! Even Jesus knew how to divide His time between the 12 Apostles, the 3 Inner Circle, and when it was necessary to just be alone By Himself! And the same goes for you! You don’t always need an entourage; you don’t always need your boys or your girls; you don’t always need all the armor bearers and adjutants; you don’t always need the whole men and women’s ministries! You can’t always take your family, friends, your network, your social media ‘friends’, your church, your ministry, your business, etc…Sometimes It Will Only Be YOU!

Now, can you imagine if any of these men forfeited their alone time with God? Moses would have missed the presence of God; Elijah would have missed the voice of God, Daniel would have missed the vision of God; Jeremiah would have missed the assignment of God and Jacob would have missed the blessing of breakthrough with God. Which makes me wonder, in forfeiting your alone time, how much of God have you missed out on? Has the crowd cost you the presence of God; the voice of God; the vision of God; the assignment of God; the blessing of breakthrough from God? Was your alone time really worth what it cost you to lose God in the crowd?

People of God, your alone time is good and vital!

But the problem with many is that they confuse ALONE and LONELY. They are NOT one in the same. People who are LONELY can feel that way Even When Standing In the Middle of Grand Central Station! They can be right in the Midst of a Crowd and Still Feel Deserted.

But those who are ALONE, are usually “PURPOSELY” so! 

When I have to teach or preach I purposely spend time ALONE because I Don’t Want Any Outside Distraction or Interference With Me Hearing God’s Directives Clearly. I need to hear what He wants me to say and do, and in order to be sure I hear Him Alone, I need time Alone with Him! And I feel no sadness or despair, I don’t feel abandoned or left out, because I DELIBERATELY do as Jesus did and “…often go to some place where [I can] BE ALONE AND PRAY” (Luke 5:16 CEV).

Jesus, Jacob, Moses, Elijah, Daniel and Jeremiah all spent time ALONE Because of the Assignment On Their Lives to Fulfill. Likewise, YOU Will Have to Spend Time ALONE To Fulfill the Assignment That Has Been Mandated For Your Life. And that’s difficult to accomplish when you’re so wrapped up in the lives of others.

Which is why you need to prepare yourselves because there will be seasons in which you have to “…come out from among them and be ye separated…” (AND THAT INCLUDES BELIEVERS AND NON-BELIEVERS ALIKE) Why? Because oftentimes you’ll experience what Jesus experienced: “And when daybreak came, He left [Peter’s house] and went into an ISOLATED [DESERT] PLACE. And the people looked for Him until they came up to Him and tried to prevent Him from leaving them” (Luke 4:42 AMPC)

You’ve Got To Realize That Your Time ALONE With God Is VITAL, And NEEDS To Be Respected, Even By Those Who Need You The Most!

As soon as Jesus went to be ALONE, HERE COMES THE CROWD! “The next morning Jesus went out to a place where He could be alone, and crowds came looking for Him. When they found Him, they tried to stop Him from leaving.” (CEV)

Max Lucado said it best: “A Man Who Wants To Lead The Orchestra Must Turn His Back On The Crowd” You Can’t Fulfill Your Vision to Lead the Orchestra While Focusing On the Audience! And Sometimes The Hardest Thing to Do Is Walk Away From Those Who Want to Walk With You…But Can’t! The Bible says, “…they tried to stop Him from leaving.” And people in your life will do the very same thing to you. And it’s not because of something bad either. But when you have an assignment and anointing on your life, you are a blessing to the lives of people, and who wants to be apart from a blessing? Of course they want to cling to you, they’ve heard God preached, taught and prayed through you. You’ve been a blessing to them. And still, you have to know when to turn your back on the crowd, spend alone time with God, and finish fulfilling your assignment.

Another translation says it like this: “…And Tried To Keep Him From Going Away From Them” Another Hard Truth? People Who Can’t Go Where You’re Going Will Attempt To Stop You From Going Anywhere! If they can’t go with you, they don’t want you to go at all! So, how did Jesus handle this? The Bible says, “…But He replied, “I must preach the Good News of the Kingdom of God IN OTHER PLACES TOO, FOR THAT IS WHY I WAS SENT. SO HE CONTINUED TO TRAVEL AROUND PREACHING IN SYNAGOGUES THROUGHOUT JUDEA.” (vss. 43-44 TLB) Don’t get so busy and caught up in ministry, crowds, assignments and life, that you get distracted and derailed! Saints, don’t get stuck where you were never supposed to stay! Jesus deliberately went to spend alone time, got away from the crowds, informed them of why He couldn’t stay in the same place with them, and He kept on preaching! Family, know how to pull away before you press forward! Even Jesus didn’t attempt to keep preaching UNTIL AFTER He spent alone time away from the crowds! Remember, He is your example to follow!

Sadly, so many are busy self-promoting themselves and running after people, places and things, they’re missing out on time with God. The crowd has become more important than the closet! The greatest mistake you can ever make is to spend all of your time with the people in the crowd, and yet having no time to spend with God alone in the prayer closet. Far too many of us will quickly take an assignment from God, and yet not have any time on our agenda for Him. Oh, we’ll accept a full itinerary for ministry to travel all over the world, yet at the same time, God can’t get five minutes with us on our face in the living room!

Listen, far too often, God speaks in a STILL, SMALL VOICE, and when we’re so caught up in the Need To Have Someone Around Us, Their Voice Has a Way of Amplifying Itself Above His! Which isn’t hard to do, because remember, HE’S NOT YELLING, SCREAMING OR GRABBING AT YOUR EAR…HE’S SPEAKING IN A STILL, SMALL VOICE. And It’s Hard To Hear Direction From God When Mike’s Voice Is Directing You To The Movies, Keisha’s Voice Is Directing You To The Concert, Alicia’s Voice Is Directing You To Olive Garden, Tim’s Voice Is Directing You To The Football Game, Craig’s Voice Is Directing You To The Sales At the Men’s Warehouse, the 15% off at the Barbershop, and the Buy One Get One Free at DSW!

And to bring it further home for us “CHURCH FOLKS”, It’s Also Hard To Hear Direction From God When You’re Singing On The Choir, Overseeing The Youth Group, Setting Up for the Church Meeting, Preparing Communion, Planning  Anniversary Celebrations and Driving the Church Van, ALL AT THE SAME TIME!

PEOPLE OF GOD, STOP CONFUSING ACTIVITY WITH PRODUCTIVITY! JUST BECAUSE YOU’RE BUSY DOESN’T MEAN YOU’RE FULFILLING THE WILL OF GOD FOR YOUR LIFE! CHURCH WORK AND KINGDOM WORK ARE JUST AS DIFFERENT AS LONELY AND ALONE! TOO OFTEN WHAT WE DO IN THE CHURCH ISN’T WHAT HE’S CALLED US TO DO IN THE KINGDOM ANYWAY! AND I’D RATHER BE APART OF THE PLANS OF GOD FOR THE KINGDOM THAN MISS OUT BECAUSE I WAS TOO BUSY BEING APART OF THE PROGRAMS OF THE CHURCH, THAT HE NEVER ASSIGNED TO MY HANDS IN THE FIRST PLACE!

That’s why you’ve got to learn the NECESSITY of FOLLOWING JESUS’ EXAMPLE: “Very early the next morning, JESUS got up and went to a place WHERE HE COULD BE ALONE AND PRAY” (Mark 1:35 CEV).

PEOPLE OF GOD, GUARD YOUR ALONE TIME WITH GOD! IT’S THE PLACE WHERE YOU SEEK HIM AND HIS WILL FOR YOUR LIFE! IT’S THE “SOLITARY PLACE” WHERE YOU AND HIM ALONE SPEND QUALITY TIME TOGETHER! The word ‘solitary’ is defined as ‘done or existing alone; secluded or isolated; single; and only.’ Its Latin origin ‘solitarius,’ from ‘solus’ literally means, ‘alone.’ God loves you so much He desires to have you secluded; isolated; and alone. Only you! Single, meaning ONE, and you are that ONE! Do you even realize just how treasured you are by God that in all His greatness, all He wants to do is spend alone time with YOU alone. Is He really asking too much? I think not.

Hear God’s Heart, He Has Already PROMISED: “…Call to Me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out ON YOUR OWN.” (Jeremiah 33:3 MSG). IF YOU WOULD ONLY GET TO A QUIET PLACE ALONE WITH GOD, YOU COULD FINALLY STOP TRYING TO FIGURE IT ALL OUT ON YOUR OWN! ALL YOU WOULD HAVE TO DO IS CALL AND HE’LL ANSWER AND TELL YOU MARVELOUS AND WONDROUS THINGS! THAT’S CERTAINLY A LOT LESS STRESSFUL THAN THE WAY YOU’VE BEEN DOING IT DON’T YOU THINK? He said, ‘CALL ME AND I WILL ANSWER YOU…’ But we’re too busy talking and texting everybody else! But doesn’t it make you wonder what you’re missing out on receiving from God, and all because you took your QUESTIONS to THEM when only He said, “I WILL ANSWER YOU.”

Listen, the Crowd will kill you, just ask Jesus!

Church, if Jesus made time to be alone, you are certainly not busier than He that you can’t do the same. You have a lot of responsibility to meet, and that can’t be done with your agenda alone. You need time away with God, His plans are more important than your agenda and His purpose is more important than you itinerary! Getting away from the crowd and in some alone time with God will grant you insider information on how to be a better man, woman, husband, wife, father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, teacher, preacher, leader, believer, and person in general. You can’t get that from yourself or the crowd, only God, and He’s still speaking in a still small voice. If you don’t get away from THEM, you’ll never hear HIM, and surely what He’s got to say supersedes anything they do.

Today, rearrange your schedule and MAKE alone time for God!

“In Order to Be Open to Creativity, One Must Have the Capacity For Constructive Use of Solitude. One Must Overcome the Fear of Being Alone” (Rollo May)

You’re not being asked to be Tom Hanks in the movie“Cast Away”, but you do need time alone to yourself and with God. Today, Make Sure You Take It!

“One of the best gifts we can give ourselves is time alone with God.” (Author Unknown)

“Spending time with God, puts everything else in perspective.” (Author Unknown)

“Time spent alone with God is never wasted.” (Author Unknown)

“If you are feeling inpatient, irritable, bitter, forgetful, disorganized, and disconnected from God, it’s time to tend to your soul. Grab your Bible. Get alone with God.” (Courtney Joseph)

“Sometimes loneliness is God’s cry for time with you.” (Author Unknown)

“We can be tired, weary, and emotionally distraught, but after spending time alone with God, we find that He injects into our bodies energy, power and strength.” (Charles Stanley)

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

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