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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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“The Power of Influence”

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1 Corinthians 8:8-9, “But fortunately God doesn’t grade us on our diet. We’re neither commended when we clean our plate nor reprimanded when we just can’t stomach it. But God does care when you use your freedom carelessly in a way that leads a fellow believer still vulnerable to those old associations to be thrown off track.” (MSG)

My girlfriend Charlene relocated from the big city to live in the South with her parents who inherited a huge family-owned country estate. Now, the estate, including a farm, doesn’t have any cows on it, but the place is surrounded by cows on all sides (after all, it is the country). Charlene would often say that it made her feel so peaceful when she could sit on the porch and see the cows inside the fence across the road, just quietly grazing or sitting in the shade. However, it didn’t make her feel peaceful when she got up one morning and saw one of her neighbor’s cows in her front yard grazing and leaving little ‘souvenirs’ of her visit.

You see, her neighbor left his pasture gate wide open, but that’s OK. The cattle guards are there in the ground; you know that little grate that cows are afraid to cross for fear of getting a hoof stuck. Well, they’re supposed to be afraid. But this one cow had somehow found her way to pick her way across the cattle guard, which left her free to wander all over the countryside! Charlene even named her – ‘Grazing Gloria’. But then, pretty soon, another cow saw what ‘Grazing Gloria’ did and managed to navigate that cattle guard too; this one she named ‘Copy-Cat Cathy’. After that, a little black calf followed ‘Copy-Cat Cathy’ out. In the end, several cows ended up wandering everywhere, even up toward the main highway, which is dangerous!

Moral of the story: As soon as one cow ignored the boundaries, others followed her, without question, where they were never meant to go (even into places that could’ve easily taken their lives)!

Now, it isn’t just cows that follow cows out of bounds. Which is why Paul issues this warning in 1 Corinthians 8 beginning with verse 9. “Be careful that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak.” As is my custom, let’s view this verse in a few translations:

“Only be careful that this liberty of yours [this power to choose] does not somehow become a stumbling block [that is, a temptation to sin] to the weak [in conscience].” (AMP);

“Only be careful that this power of choice (this permission and liberty to do as you please) which is yours, does not [somehow] become a hindrance (cause of stumbling) to the weak or overscrupulous [giving them an impulse to sin].” (AMPC);

“But watch out or else this freedom of yours might be a problem for those who are weak.” (CEB);

“But be careful that by using your freedom you don’t somehow make a believer who is weak in faith fall into sin.” (GWT);

“Be careful, however, not to let your freedom of action make those who are weak in the faith fall into sin.” (GNT);

“Since you are free to do as you please, be careful that this does not hurt a weak Christian.” (NLV)

You see, the danger for us is that we have the right of choice. We have freedom and we have liberty to choose as we please. But one of those translations reads, “…this POWER to choose…”, and where there’s power there’s responsibility. Because our power is influence (whether good or bad), and we are to be held accountable (especially as LEADERS) with how we exercise our rights, choices, power and influence, because others are watching, listening and following our lead. Yes, we can choose as we please, but we bear the responsibility to make choices that don’t cause catastrophic consequences to the lives of others who emulate our examples. We are to avoid tempting anyone to sin; influencing anyone to sin; or justifying others while they sin.

Our Strength of Choice should never Weaken a Fellow Believer!

Which is why Paul addresses a lifestyle choice he made, simply based on how a certain behavior would affect other believers. Now, that’s responsible leadership!

A little background: The issue back then had to do with whether or not Christians should eat meat that had been offered to idols in pagan ceremonies. Apparently, some felt they could eat that meat in good conscience – after all, it was just a piece of meat. But for others, it might be the first step backwards toward the darkness that Christ had delivered them from. So Paul says, “If what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall.” Paul says in essence, “I can’t make my choices based only on how it will affect me. If I go there, someone else may follow me…and worse, fall!”

Listen to Paul in, 1 Corinthians 8:10-13, “For instance, say you flaunt your freedom by going to a banquet thrown in honor of idols, where the main course is meat sacrificed to idols. Isn’t there great danger if someone still struggling over this issue, SOMEONE WHO LOOKS UP TO YOU AS KNOWLEDGEABLE AND MATURE, sees you go into that banquet? The danger is that he will become terribly confused—maybe even to the point of getting mixed up himself in what his conscience tells him is wrong. Christ gave up his life for that person. Wouldn’t you at least be willing to give up going to dinner for him—because, as you say, it doesn’t really make any difference? But it does make a difference if you hurt your friend terribly, risking his eternal ruin! When you hurt your friend, you hurt Christ. A free meal here and there isn’t worth it at the cost of even one of these “weak ones.” So, never go to these idol-tainted meals IF THERE IS ANY CHANCE IT WILL TRIP UP ONE OF YOUR BROTHERS OR SISTERS.” (MSG)

This is the danger of being irresponsible with our power of choice and influence. There are people around us (some we know, some we’ll never know), that see us, according to the text, as, “…SOMEONE WHO LOOKS UP TO YOU AS KNOWLEDGEABLE AND MATURE…”, which in a nutshell tells them, “if you hear them say that…you can repeat it, without question…if you see them do that…you can do the same, without question…” Why? Because we’re, “…SOMEONE TO LOOK UP TO AS KNOWLEDGEABLE AND MATURE …” So, naturally we can be trusted, obeyed, followed, and imitated, because clearly with so much knowledge and maturity, we wouldn’t lead them astray now would we?

Now back to Charlene’s wandering neighbor, ‘Grazing Gloria’. I don’t think she ever thought about a calf or any other cows following her outside the fence. All she knew was there was something she wanted that was beyond the boundaries. Actually, she should never have crossed the cattle guard herself (remember, most cows are afraid to cross it because they know they can be hurt). But what made it worse was that her example emboldened other cows to go where they shouldn’t go; to go where they could get hurt! And all because one cow decided to graze beyond the boundaries.

There’s a term “out of bounds”, that’s often used particularly in sports. A portion of its definition reads like this, “to be outside of specified or prescribed limits; to enter forbidden territory; to cross a boundary line; something that is not allowed or approved; to go beyond established limits; to break rules; to do what is unreasonable; to violate or exceed acceptable rules or standards.”

People of God, we are to set standards, not step outside of them! And certainly we are not to leave footprints for others to follow us in our folly! Which is why we need the Word of God so desperately in our daily lives and lifestyles.

Psalm 119:105-112, “By Your Words I can see where I’m going; they throw a beam of light on my dark path. I’ve committed myself and I’ll never turn back from living by Your righteous order. Everything’s falling apart on me, God; put me together again with Your Word. Festoon me with Your finest sayings, God; teach me Your holy rules. My life is as close as my own hands, but I don’t forget what You have revealed. The wicked do their best to throw me off track, but I don’t swerve an inch from Your course. I inherited Your book on living; it’s mine forever – what a gift! And how happy it makes me! I concentrate on doing exactly what You say – I always have and always will.” (MSG)

Listen, if we are to be living epistles, we have to know what the Word of God says. We have to read it, apply it, practice it, share it and above all, live it! If we are to lead those that follow us, we need to be sure that our feet don’t go out of bounds of what the Bible says! We need to live and lead in such a way that those who follow us will know that we obey the specified and prescribed limits of the Bible; we do not enter forbidden territory; we do not cross the boundary lines; we do not transgress what is allowed or approved; we do not go beyond established limits; we do not break the rules; we do nothing unreasonable; and we certainly do not violate or exceed the acceptable rules or standards of the Word of God! We Do Not Live Out of Bounds, We Do Not Lead Out of Bounds, and We Will Have No One to Follow Us Who Desires to Go Out of Bounds!

Which means we need to alter our lifestyles accordingly! Why? Because people are listening, watching and emulating us. So when we (especially as LEADERS), are INVISIBLE in Sunday School, Bible Study, Prayer, Sunday Services, Meetings and Rehearsals, We Are Setting the Example For Others to Follow! When we lie, cheat, steal, gossip, hate, run the rumor mill…we are setting the example for others to follow! When we are stubborn, malicious, disobedient, contrary, jealous, envious, coveting and unkind, we are setting the example for others to follow! When we’re critical, negative, pessimistic, fearful, anxious, mean-spirited, condescending, belittling, backbiting and gossiping we are setting the example for others to follow! When we are argumentative, complaining, murmuring, bickering, divisive, temperamental, moody, and full of attitude, we are setting the example for others to follow! Are you getting this? We are not to become ‘Grazing Gloria’, guiding people to dangerous, out-of-bounds territories of sin!

Now hopefully, you and I are a little smarter than cows! We have to remember that when we do things, people are watching and even following us because of that invisible power called influence. And because we can’t see it, we forget we have it and that it’s affecting people around us. Your behavior? Your choices? You’re giving permission to someone who’s watching you to do the same thing. A child is watching, a younger and weaker Christian, a coworker, a friend, your spouse, your church. Even people in the supermarket, hair and nail salons, barbershop, mall, McDonalds, and the laundromat are all watching you. You step outside the boundaries a little, and they might follow you and end up where they never would have gone otherwise; going farther than even you would ever go. And it’s all because of your choice; your power; your influence.

The word “influence” is defined as “the power or ability to affect someone’s beliefs or actions; the power to produce physical change.” Its origin, ‘influx’; from Latin ‘influere’ literally means ‘to flow in.’ And, ‘to flow in’ is defined as ‘to be encompassed in moving along steadily and continuously.’ When we make choices, and our choices influence others to follow, they are encompassed and moving along steadily and continuously in the choice and consequence that we set as a proper example for them to follow. When we make choices, others can be entrapped by our decisions. They can suffer consequences because of choices we made without responsibility for them. Which is why we need to be very cautious when entering into LEADERSHIP positions. There are many people who will listen to us, and follow us, just because it’s Us! And God help us if we ‘appear’ to be sound, strong, mature and right, they will follow us right into enemy territory and not even know it!

Now, a further danger is this, ‘Grazing Gloria’ never thought about the consequences of her choice; nor did she think about all the old cows and young calf’s that would follow her lead; nor did she ever look back to see the irresponsible and poor choice she made. But since she’s a cow, we can excuse her behavior…but then, what justifies ours?

We must always take time to do self-examination, and inventory so we can make appropriate adjustments before anyone gets hurt by our words, actions, choices or LEADERSHIP. We have to evaluate ourselves:

  1. Am I in the right place?
  2. Am I doing the right thing?
  3. Am I with the right people?
  4. Am I fulfilling the right purpose?
  5. What am I saying?
  6. What am I doing?
  7. Am I helpful, hurtful, or hindering?
  8. Am I lazy, hesitant, or procrastinating?
  9. Am I bitter, angry, hurt, disappointed, or discouraged?
  10. Am I getting stronger?
  11. Am I getting weaker?
  12. Do I have the right vision?
  13. Am I functioning in my gifts, talents, and skill-set?
  14. Am I obedient?
  15. What kind of example am I setting?
  16. Who’s following me?
  17. Who am I following?
  18. Who’s watching me?
  19. Who’s listening to me?
  20. How am I leading?
  21. Who’s keeping me responsible and accountable?
  22. How do I dress?
  23. Am I faithful, committed, and dedicated?
  24. Am I loyal and dependable?
  25. Do I talk to people, or just talk about them?
  26. Do I resolve problems, or am I the problem?
  27. Am I a servant?
  28. Am I trustworthy?
  29. Am I an example worthy of emulating?
  30. If people were asked about my influence, would it be good or bad?

You see, the problem with many of us is that we don’t want anyone to correct us, and we certainly don’t want to self-exam ourselves, because no one knows us better than us, therefore, many tests we already know we’ve failed! But the Psalmist admonishes us by his example: Psalm 139:23-24, “Investigate my life, O God, find out everything about me; Cross-examine and test me, get a clear picture of what I’m about; See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong – then guide me on the road to eternal life.” (MSG)

A Life Unexamined is Unhealthy…be it Leader or Laity!

You see, if we have no check-points, our blind-spots will cause us and others injury…and sometimes the damage is irreparable.

Like it or not, but we are responsible for our influence. We are responsible for the choices we make, even the ones we deem personal. People are watching, listening and following. And at the end of the day, we don’t want to be someone else’s excuse to watch or listen to something questionable. We don’t know where it might take them. So, don’t be someone else’s excuse to swear, or to cheat, to act selfish, to be disrespectful, maybe to flirt with sexual sin or a moral compromise, or just to shade the truth a bit. No, wear your character and integrity like a daily garment. Let people see it on display at all times. Be the example of godliness, holiness, order, obedience, discipline, and the fruit of the Spirit that they should seek to follow. Remember, there are people around you making choices, based on your choices, and they will suffer consequences one way or the other. Make your choices such that they reap gain and not loss.

Could it be that you’ve gotten a little careless, thinking you can wander just a little out of bounds, and you think you’ve found a way to do it where you won’t get hurt, you won’t get stuck, you won’t get caught. Even if that’s true, please look at what you’re doing to those who are watching you, who may follow you. Like ‘Grazing Gloria’s’ gang, you may inadvertently be leading someone down a road they should never be on. Your exercise of freedom could lead someone else into bondage or hurt. If it might cause a brother or sister to fall, don’t even go there! You are your brother and sisters keeper.

1 Corinthians 8:10-13, “For instance, say you flaunt your freedom by going to a banquet thrown in honor of idols, where the main course is meat sacrificed to idols. Isn’t there great danger if someone still struggling over this issue, SOMEONE WHO LOOKS UP TO YOU AS KNOWLEDGEABLE AND MATURE, sees you go into that banquet? The danger is that he will become terribly confused—maybe even to the point of getting mixed up himself in what his conscience tells him is wrong. Christ gave up his life for that person. Wouldn’t you at least be willing to give up going to dinner for him—because, as you say, it doesn’t really make any difference? But it does make a difference if you hurt your friend terribly, risking his eternal ruin! When you hurt your friend, you hurt Christ. A free meal here and there isn’t worth it at the cost of even one of these “weak ones.” So, never go to these idol-tainted meals IF THERE’S ANY CHANCE IT WILL TRIP UP ONE OF YOUR BROTHERS OR SISTERS.” (MSG)

Never Be the Reason Someone’s Fall Happened Simply Because They Were Following You!

Job 31:12-31, “If I’ve ever used my strength and influence to take advantage of the unfortunate, Go ahead, break both my arms, cut off all my fingers! The fear of God has kept me from these things – how else could I ever face Him?” (MSG);

Proverbs 11:11, “By the blessing [of the influence] of the upright the city is exalted, but by the mouth of the wicked it is torn down.” (AMP)’

Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens [and influences] another [through discussion].” (AMP);

Mark 12:14, “They came and said to Him, “Teacher, we know that You are truthful and have no personal bias toward anyone; for You are not influenced by outward appearances or social status, but in truth You teach the way of God…” (AMP)

“You don’t have to be a “person of influence” to be influential. In fact, the most influential people in my life are probably not even aware of the things they’ve taught me.” (Scott Adams);

“Never underestimate the influence you have on others.” (Laurie Buchanan);

“Who and what we surround ourselves with directly influences our attitudes, goals and lifestyles.” (Pinterest);

“Attitude is greatly shaped by influence and association.” (Jim Rohn);

“Blessed is the influence of one true, loving human soul on another.” (George Eliot);

“It would be difficult to exaggerate the degree to which we are influenced by those we influence.” (Eric Hoffer);

“Leadership is influence, nothing more and nothing less.” (John Maxwell);

“The most important influence in my childhood was my father.” (DeForest Kelley);

“A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” (Henry Adams)

“As much as people refuse to believe it, the company you keep does have an impact and influence on your choices.” (Pinterest);

“Your circle of influence dictates your path.” (Jon Bielecki);

“Only God Himself fully appreciates the influence of a Christian mother in the molding of character in her children.” (Billy Graham);

“God chose to introduce Himself to us in the first verse of Genesis as a Creator. And yet so few Christians really understand the power of creativity to influence the culture.” (Phil Cooke);

“Our generation is in need of Christian women who are willing to rise up and show the culture the powerful influence a God-Defined woman can have.” (GirlDefined);

“The schools, the courts, the media – all seem determined to erase Christian influence from public life and confine religion to the four walls of the church or home.” (Bruce L. Shelley)

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

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“God’s Reserve Tank”

Christian illustrations for the whole family

Isaiah 40:28-31, “Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of His understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” (NLT)

A good friend of mine named Earl recently picked up a used pickup truck for a friend of ours. However, it’s when Earl started up the truck that the trouble began. You see, Earl (everybody’s friendly neighborhood mechanic) was taking the truck out for a test drive for Jim who had just bought it. And as he backed it out of the new owner’s garage, it suddenly started sputtering and stalling. He couldn’t keep it running no matter what he tried. He got to a phone and called the old owner and said, “What’s the deal with this truck you just sold?” Well, the man who sold it is an honorable man, and he was really distressed about this suddenly dysfunctional truck. Then suddenly he asked Earl, “Did you happen to mess with the radio at all?” Well, truth is, yes, he had. The previous owner told Earl to go check these two switches that are right next to the radio. You see, this truck has a wonderful feature, especially for the country roads that it travels so much. It has what they call a reserve gas tank. Earl had unknowingly turned off Tank 2, which was full of gas, and turned on Tank 1, which was totally empty. But the good news is that as soon as he switched from the empty tank to the reserve tank, Mr. Pickup Truck ran and ran and ran.

I’m assuming that your life runs pretty fast, and pretty hard much like mine. You have family, work, church, friends, schedules, children, business, school, leadership, health and financial check lists and the like. And because of it, there are times when your tank is basically empty. You’re totally exhausted, you have nothing left to give, your demands and responsibilities are much greater than the strength you have to meet them. And sometimes you just run out of ideas, you’re out of solutions, you’re out of motivation, you’re out of energy. Now why am I assuming that you know about an empty tank like this? Because I’m assuming you’re not that different from me or any other human being that has to face the grueling challenges of daily life.

But there is good news that gets delivered Right when your tank has nothing Left!

Isaiah 40:28 says, “Don’t you know? Haven’t you heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He doesn’t grow tired or weary. His understanding is beyond human reach.” (CEB)

Now, in case you didn’t know, the God you belong to, the God who lives in you, is inexhaustible! And that wonderful word “inexhaustible” is defined as “of a never-ending supply; incapable of being used up because of its continual abundance; tireless; incapable of being wearied or worn out; impossible to use up completely; impossible to exhaust; plentiful enough not to give out or be used up.” It even has synonyms like: “unlimited, limitless, illimitable, infinite, boundless, endless, never-ending, unfailing, and everlasting.” This is talking about the God who holds you together when you’re ready to fall apart! He is what the theologians call infinite. And “infinite” is defined as “limitless in space, extent, or size; very great in amount or degree; the quality of having no limits or end, exceedingly great; unmeasurable.” And it comes with synonyms such as: “everlasting, foreverness, eternity, perpetuity, boundless, endlessness, permanence, and timelessness.” His resources and wisdom just never, ever run out, but yours do, and don’t feel bad because mine does as well. But as for God? He is never tired or weary! As the One who created the ends of the earth (still He is never tired or weary). And no matter what the problem or struggle is, His understanding of it is still beyond human reach. There is nothing we can bring to Him, that so perplexes us, will ever stress Him! He can handle anything and everything…now if only we’d stop thinking we can as well! God never runs low, or runs out, but we do. The good news is that when we do, we still have our connection to Him!

And here’s where the reserve tank kicks in. The passage continues, “He gives power to the tired and worn out, and strength to the weak. Even the youths shall be exhausted, and the young men will all give up.” (vss. 29-30 TLB). Another translation says it like this: “He gives power to the faint and weary, and to him who has no might He increases strength [causing it to multiply and making it to abound]. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and [selected] young men shall feebly stumble and fall exhausted.” (vss. 29-30 AMPC). Any of the words here sound like you? “Weary, weak, tired, worn out, exhausted, feeble, faint, no might, stumble, and fall?” And what’s so interesting about this text is that even the “young” and the “selected” will not be exempt! You’d think the young would have nothing to complain about, but truth be told, life hits hard and it doesn’t care about your age! Even the youth will be exhausted and young men will all give up. And we can’t judge them either. Because you never know what someone’s struggle is. You may be 60 and battling with diabetes, but believe it or not, there’s a 6 year old battling cancer, and a 16 year old battling addiction. No one is exempt from running on empty! Not even the “select”! Listen to how this reads in a few translations:

“Even youths grow weary and tired, and VIGOROUS YOUNG MEN stumble badly.” (AMP); (“vigorous” is defined as “physical strength and good health.”)

“Young men get tired and need to rest. Even YOUNG BOYS stumble and fall.” (ERV);

“For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in THEIR PRIME stumble and fall.” (MSG); (“prime” is defined as “of the best possible quality; excellent.”)

“Even CHILDREN become tired and need to rest, and young people trip and fall.” (NCV);

“Even very young men get tired and become weak and STRONG YOUNG MEN trip and fall.” (NLV)

Even those who are physically strong, in good health, young, at their best possible level of quality, in excellent condition, are still tired, weary, need rest, stumble and fall, get weak and trip! So then why are you being so hard on yourself? Don’t attempt to ‘fake it till you make it.’ Be honest with yourself, if no one else, and admit that you’re exhausted…but don’t get stuck there…remember you still serve in Inexhaustible God!

You see, much like Earl, who got inside the pickup truck and immediately went to pressing buttons…we do the same thing. Pressing an unnecessary button (the radio) caused a necessary button (the reserve tank) to be switched off. Sometimes in life we think we know what we’re doing, but we don’t. And like Earl, who had to contact the person who owned the truck first and therefore knew it best, we need to go to God who created us first and knows us best to ask Him, “God what’s wrong with this?” Meaning, our life, our family, our finances and health, our choices, our decisions, our marriages, churches, ministries and businesses. “God why is this not working?” And as silly as it sounds, I’m certain we’ll get a response much like Earl did, “did you mess with the wrong button?” And if we’re honest and humble enough, we’ll admit that we did. Then we can have God tell us what to do next to fix it. And like Earl, it will be the same answer, switch to your reserve. And what’s your reserve tank?

Well, here’s what God promises to the totally overwhelmed and depleted person: “But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] will gain new strength and renew their power; they will lift up their wings [and rise up close to God] like eagles [rising toward the sun]; they will run and not become weary, they will walk and not grow tired.” (vs. 31).

When Earl’s Tank 1 on that truck was empty, the fuel in Tank 2 made all the difference! I can’t tell you how many times I have reached empty in my tank, and God’s never-empty tank has kicked in and it has made all the difference. After an exhausting week, I wake up and say, “God, I’m so tired.” He says, “I’m not.” I say, “I’m empty, Lord.” He says, “I know, but switch on My power. I’m not empty.” Which reminds me of the song I used to sing when I first got saved and I didn’t really understand it until life got a lot more complicated, but it simply says, “Little ones to Him belong, they are weak, but He is strong.”

I know men in particular, are “supposed” to be strong and able to handle anything and everything. But can I tell you how untrue that is. You are to be god-like, but you are never to attempt to be God. You will get tired and weary and worn out and exhausted. And none of that makes you a “weak man.” What makes you a “weak man” is when you think your source of strength and power comes from you alone!

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)

Did you get that? No matter what you’re going through, God’s Grace, Lovingkindness and Mercy are Sufficient…More Than Enough…and Always Available…REGARDLESS OF THE SITUATION! There is nothing you can bring to God that He can’t handle in your life! Nothing that weakens you can weaken Him! In fact, His power is more evident and effective IN YOUR WEAKNESS! That’s why we can boast, because no matter what weakens us, God will always be our reserve of strength! Whether it’s divorce, debt or diabetes…God can handle any situation that’s draining you! But you have to contact Him, like Earl had to contact the previous owner of the pickup truck. God is waiting for you brothers and sisters to stop trying to be strong and hold it all together. He’s waiting for you to come to Him for Help!

Hebrews 4:16, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” The Amplified Bible says it like this: “Therefore let us [with privilege] approach the throne of grace [that is, the throne of God’s gracious favor] with confidence and without fear, so that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find [His amazing] grace to help in time of need [an appropriate blessing, coming just at the right moment.” (AMP). And lastly, the Message Bible says it like this: “Now that we know what we have – Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God – let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all – all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to Him and get what He is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.” (MSG)

Now, I don’t know about you, but when I go to someone for advice and help, I like to know that they’ve already sat where I’m sitting. And who better to talk to about our weaknesses than one who has experienced weakness and overcame it?! This is our God who so desperately wants us to bring our failures, hurts, discouragement, disappointments, stress and struggles to Him. He wants us to bring Him our weaknesses and emptiness to Him.

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

Who knew that GRACE is the GAS we need to REFUEL?! And all we need to attain it is Honesty… “Lord, I’m exhausted and empty, please fill me again! Help me to rediscover Your reserve tank of strength, just for me!”

Listen: If you dwell on how stressed you are, or how tired, or how sick or overwhelmed, you’re done! That’s like sitting in a pickup truck dwelling on the empty tank! There’s no point to it, because that doesn’t change anything about it. But if, on those depleted days, you consciously focus on your Lord’s inexhaustible strength, your Lord’s unlimited power, you will be able to keep driving when you thought you couldn’t go another mile!

The songwriter of one of my favorite songs said it pretty well. “When we have exhausted our store of endurance; when our strength has failed ere the day is half done. When we’ve reached the end of our hoarded resources, our Father’s full giving has only begun.”

Remember, Even When You’re Exhausted, Never to Forget Your God is Inexhaustible! When You Need to Refuel, He is Your Reserve!

Today, Don’t Complain About Being Empty, Just Switch Tanks!

Isaiah 40:27-31, “Why would you ever complain, O Jacob, or, whine, Israel, saying, “God has lost track of me. He doesn’t care what happens to me?” Don’t you know anything? Haven’t you been listening? God doesn’t come and go. God lasts. He’s Creator of all you can see or imagine. He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch His breath. And He knows everything, inside and out. He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts. For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall. But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, they run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind.” (MSG)

“God wants to fill all the desperate little corners of our souls with Himself.” (Author Unknown)

Let Him Do It! Let Him Refuel You With His Reserve! Take Your Empty Tank to the God Where the Scriptures Declare “…In His Presence is the Fullness of Joy!…” (Psalm 16:11)

“Your emptiness is but the preparation for your being filled, and your casting down is but the making ready for your lifting up.” (Charles Spurgeon)

“Nobody ever tells you that emptiness weighs the most.” (Author Unknown)

“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength.” (Corrie Ten Boom)

“It is only when you realize your nothingness, your emptiness, that God can fill you with Himself.” (Mother Teresa)

“The usefulness of the cup is its emptiness.” (Osho)

“God wants to fill all the desperate little corners of our souls with Himself.” (Author Unknown)

“No person, possession, profession, or position ever fills the cup of a wounded, empty heart. It’s an emptiness only God can fill.” (Lysa TerKeurst)

“God created a void in your heart that is only His to fill. When life becomes meaningless, boring, and hard it’s because we’ve been filling it with anything but Him.” (Author Unknown)

“There is no friendship, no relationship, no championship, no ownership that will satisfy any of your desires in this life like a relationship with God Almighty.” (Pastor Matthew Hagee)

“If you want to live in the fullness of God’s anointing, fill your mouth with His Word.” (Joyce Meyer)

“May your prayer life be filled with the fullness of God and His powerful love.” (Stacey Hitch)

“You pray in your distress and in your need; would that you might also pray in the fullness of your joy and in your days of abundance.” (Khalil Gibran)

“It is only in the presence of God, we find the fullness of life and joy.” (Lailah Gifty Akita)

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: “What is the Blue Zone Diet?”

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“Let OUT What’s Locked IN!”

digital visualization of a chain

Ephesians 1:11 “IT’S IN CHRIST THAT WE FIND OUT WHO WE ARE AND WHAT WE ARE LIVING FOR. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, He had His eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose He is working out in everything and everyone.” (MSG)

One day a boy climbing in the mountains found an eagle’s nest with an egg in it. When he got home he put it under a hen along with her other eggs. When the eagle hatched he THOUGHT he was a chicken. He LEARNED chicken BEHAVIOR and scratched in the chicken yard with his “siblings.” HE DIDN’T KNOW ANY BETTER! Sometimes he felt strange stirrings WITHIN HIMSELF, but he didn’t know what to do with them, SO HE IGNORED OR SUPPRESSED THEM. After all, if he was a chicken he should BEHAVE like a chicken. Well, one day an eagle flew over the chicken yard and the eagle looked up and saw him. In that moment he realized he wanted to be like that eagle, to fly high, and to go to the mountain peaks he saw in the distance. As he spread his wings he suddenly understood that he was in fact just like that eagle. Though he’d never flown before, HE POSSESSED THE INNATE, INSTINCT AND CAPABILITIES to do so. At first he flew unsteadily, then with greater power and control. Finally, as he soared HE KNEW HE’D DISCOVERED HIS TRUE SELF—THE CREATURE GOD MADE HIM TO BE!

Phillip Brooks remarked, “When you discover you’ve been leading only half a life, the other half is going to haunt you until you develop it.

People of God, whether you know it or not, you were made BY God and FOR God. And until you understand that, your life won’t ever make sense. Because it’s “IN CHRIST” that we DISCOVER our purpose, our significance and our destiny. In other words, “IN CHRIST” we DISCOVER what’s ‘IN US’! Which means, you will never discover what’s in you while comparing yourself with others, competing with others or imitating others. You discover what’s in you through your relationship with Jesus Christ. If you never have one or develop and strengthen one with Him, you will forever wander aimlessly, never reaching your goal or fulfilling your calling. Truth is, potential is not enough, if it merely remains potential. Eventually you have to put in the work to develop your potential into purpose! For example, to know you’re called to ministry, but never entering ministry serves no purpose. Called to be an author and yet never publishing anything serves no purpose. Your potential has to produce purpose. Which it will never do if you don’t develop your relationship with Jesus so you can discover what He’s put in you! Having potential that never produces anything is the same as having a to-do-list where nothing gets done…it’s pointless! You can’t hope forever, wish forever, day-dream forever.  You have to discover what’s in you, so you can bring it out!

The word ‘potential’ is defined as, ‘having the capacity to develop into something in the future; qualities or abilities that may be developed and lead to future success or usefulness.’ Its Latin origin ‘potentialis’, from ‘potentia’ literally means ‘power.’ A few definitions of the word ‘power’ are, ‘the ability to do something; the capacity to influence; a right or authority given or delegated to a person or body.’ Its Old French origin, ‘poeir’, from Latin ‘posse’ literally means ‘to be able.’ Which means: your POTENTIAL (your capacity, qualities and abilities to develop into something in the future and lead to success or usefulness) has POWER (the ability to do something; the capacity to influence, which is your right and authority delegated to you by your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ), proves you ARE WELL ABLE to discover what’s in you and bring it out!

Now, ‘potential’ is for the future because it’s something you develop over time. And ‘develop’ means ‘something that becomes clearer, larger and more advanced over time.’ Its origin literally means ‘to gradually unfold’. And ‘unfold’ means ‘to reveal.’ So, you are not going to become all that God has designed you to be overnight! Your potential takes time to develop. But it does eventually develop! Over time it should become clearer, larger and more advanced. It should gradually unfold and be revealed to you! Potential was never designed to remain potential! After all, you can’t have something that has power and it not perform and produce! That would be a waste of potential, power, productivity and purpose! And there’s absolutely no way Jesus went through all He did for you, for you to live in such a way that reflects no potential, power, productivity or purpose!

Keep in mind: “Haven’t you yet learned that your body is the home of the Holy Spirit God gave you, and that He lives within you? Your own body does not belong to you. For God has bought you with a great price. So use every part of your body to give glory back to God because He owns it.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 TLB). To discover what’s in you, all you have to do is build a relationship with the One who lives in you? And it’s not like you have to go through great lengths to talk to Him either. Remember: He Lives IN You! You may never talk to the President, but the Sovereign God of ALL you can talk to anytime at all! So what are you waiting for? He paid a great price to live in you!

Think about it, you have IN you…GOD! How much more inspiration do you need to birth what you’ve been pregnant with? God Himself is in you as a midwife trying to get you to push, so why are you pulling back instead?! He paid a great price for you and what He’s placed in you, do you really think He’s going to allow all of that value and worth to turn to naught?! “…use every part of your body to give glory back to God because He owns it.”

The Bible further states: “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” (2 Corinthians 4:7 NIV) Did you know you have TREASURE WITHIN YOU? God put it there. It’s in your unique qualities, talents, skill-set, anointing, gifts, abilities plus the fire in your soul. Now, life may have thrown cold water on that fire, BUT GOD CAN REKINDLE ANYTHING! The word ‘rekindle’ is defined as, ‘to relight (a fire); to revive (something lapsed or lost)’. This is your season to relight your fire and revive what you’ve allowed to lapse and be lost! Therefore, it’s time you do as Paul admonished: “This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you.” (2 Timothy 1:6 NLT). I don’t care how long it’s been since your gift has been on fire, but now is the time to fan it into flames again! I know depression, discouragement, and the like may have doused your fire, but the Holy Ghost can rekindle it! However, you have a part to play as well, you have to “fan into flames” which is a present tense verb that requires action. Meaning you can’t sit on the sidelines doing absolutely nothing thinking you’re coming home with the MVP! You want it, you have to work at it and for it! No more excuses or complaints and certainly no more blaming others, no more laziness, complacency, comfort zones or procrastination. Today, take charge and take courage and fan your gifts back into a flaming fire! Everything God placed in you has value, it all has treasure even in your little old jar of clay! So don’t depreciate its value by letting it rust, rot and come to ruin. Note, this treasure within you “IS FROM GOD” And what He OWNS He PROTECTS, He NURTURES, and USES to HIS GLORY! But know that God is a wise businessman; when He invests, HE EXPECTS A RETURN! So you’re not waiting for something great and grand to drop out of the sky and into your belly, it’s already there! Fan your gifts into flame and rekindle your fire for ministry so that you can turn your potential into purpose and fulfill your entrusted destiny and calling! God put it there, but it is your responsibility to get it out! Find your fire, find your passion, find your empowerment, find your encouragement, find your inspiration and determine to become all that God has destined you to be and do all that the Lord has assigned your hands to do!

Think About This: It’s said that the WEALTHIEST spot on this planet is not the oilfields of Kuwait or the diamond mines of South Africa. NO, THE RICHEST DEPOSITS LIE IN YOUR LOCAL CEMETERY! BURIED BENEATH THOSE SACRED GROUNDS ARE RICH DREAMS THAT NEVER CAME TO PASS, PROSPEROUS SONGS THAT WERE NEVER SUNG, A WEALTH OF SERMONS THAT WERE NEVER PREACHED, VALUABLE LESSONS THAT WERE NEVER TAUGHT, A MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR BUSINESS THAT NEVER BEGAN, #1 BEST SELLER BOOKS THAT WERE NEVER WRITTEN, BREAK-THROUGH IDEAS THAT WERE NEVER SHARED, AN ABUNDANCE OF VISIONS THAT WERE NEVER SEEN, EXPENSIVE INVENTIONS THAT WERE NEVER DESIGNED, HIGH-PRICED PLANS THAT NEVER GOT BEYOND THE DRAWING BOARD OF THE MIND, and PRICELESS PURPOSES THAT WERE NEVER FULFILLED!

SADLY, ONLY A TINY PERCENTAGE OF THOSE WHO LIVE ON THIS PLANET WILL DISCOVER AND FULFILL THEIR TRUE PURPOSE AND POTENTIAL! Do you want to be one of them? Then ask yourself: “Who am I? Why did God put me here? How much potential do I have? How can I maximize my ability for His Glory?” WITHIN THE ANSWERS OF THESE QUESTIONS LIE THE KEYS TO UNLOCK A FULFILLING LIFE!

Listen, life is far too short to leave it undone, incomplete and unfulfilled. So today is your wake-up call challenge to write the book, produce the play, preach the sermon, teach the lesson, start the business, open the church, purchase the house, go back to school, change careers, buy the car, take the vacation, board the cruise, face your fears and go for it! If you never really LIVE what LEGACY will there be to leave behind? Stop delaying, stop procrastinating, stop hesitating, stop blaming others, stop pointing fingers, stop making excuses. Get to work on fulfilling all that’s within You!  After all, you can’t keep saying “I’ll do it tomorrow”, eventually you will run out of tomorrow’s! So discover what’s in you today and began birthing it out of you TODAY!

And if you haven’t found your life’s purpose yet, TALK TO GOD! “EVERYTHING…FINDS ITS PURPOSE IN HIM” (Colossians 1:16 MSG). Literally Everything! Whatever the purpose, it’s found in Him so it’s fulfilled through Him!

Listen: Before you spoke your first word or took your first step, GOD HAD A PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE! “BEFORE I FORMED YOU IN THE WOMB I KNEW YOU [AND APPROVED OF YOU AS MY CHOSEN INSTRUMENT], AND BEFORE YOU WERE BORN I CONSECRATED YOU [TO MYSELF AS MY OWN]; I HAVE APPOINTED YOU AS A PROPHET TO THE NATIONS.” (Jeremiah 1:5 AMP); “FOR I KNOW THE PLANS AND THOUGHTS THAT I HAVE FOR YOU’, SAYS THE LORD, ‘PLANS FOR PEACE AND WELL-BEING AND NOT FOR DISASTER, TO GIVE YOU A FUTURE AND A HOPE.” (Jeremiah 29:11 AMP)

God Has Both a Plan and Purpose For Your Life, Talk to Him So You Can Find Out What They Are, So You Can Fulfill Them! You Do Not Get to Delegate Your Destiny! No One But YOU Can Accomplish Your Assignment, So Get to Work!

You say, “But I have failed so badly.” Maybe that’s true, BUT YOU’D BE AMAZED AT WHAT GOD CAN DO WITH A BROKEN LIFE—WHEN YOU GIVE HIM ALL THE PIECES! As poorly put together as you think you are, your Purpose is found in God, and He will not allow you to lose it! Your mistakes, missteps, errors, and even deliberate sins, transgressions and iniquities still cannot stop God from producing what He’s placed in you! Repent, Turn, Change, Be Restored so You Can Finally Become! Let no one make you think it’s harder than that! I mean have you read through the Bible? If God can use all of those, His misfit children, HE CAN CERTAINLY USE YOU!

Let’s be honest, you’ve been comfortable in your complacency long enough! And when you get too comfortable, God has a way of stirring things up! Just like a mother eagle who teaches her little ones to fly by MAKING THEIR NEST SO UNCOMFORTABLE THAT THEY’RE FORCED OUT OF IT! Next, THEY ARE PUSHED OFF A CLIFF EDGE! SO ONE WAY OR ANOTHER THEY MUST SOAR, BECAUSE IT’S WHAT’S “IN THEM” AND LIKEWISE YOU ARE THE VERY SAME! “But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired.” (Isaiah 40:31 AMP)

People of God, there’s so much more to you than you’ve settled for! In other words, you’ve scratched around in that hen house long enough! However, you are nobody’s chicken! So, realize who and what you are and all the possibilities and potential of what you WILL become and then simply determine to BECOME IT! In a nutshell: It’s time to flap your wings and fly!

The last thing we need is another VALUABLE ASSET TURNED INTO A CHEAP LOSS-LADEN LIABILITY, STUFFED IN THE COFFIN OF UNFILLED PURPOSE AND POTENTIAL!

SO, DISCOVER WHAT’S IN YOU, THEN DETERMINE TO BRING IT OUT!

“The wealthiest place in the world are not the gold mines of South America or the oil fields of Iraq or Iran. They are not the diamond mines of South Africa or the banks of the world. The wealthiest place on the planet is just down the road. It is the cemetery. There lies buried companies that were never started, inventions that were never made, best selling books that were never written, and masterpieces that were never painted. In the cemetery is buried the greatest treasure of untapped potential.” (Dr. Myles Munroe)

“Greatness is more than potential. It is the execution of that potential. Beyond the raw talent. You need the appropriate training. You need the discipline. You need the inspiration. You need the drive.” (Eric A. Burns)

“When you catch a glimpse of your potential, that’s when passion is born.” (Zig Ziglar)

“Look past the exterior, and see that there is so much more within. Then decide to unleash that potential to the fullest.” (Lincoln Patz)

“You cannot afford to live in potential for the rest of your life; at some point, you have to unleash the potential and make your move.” (Eric Thomas)

“It’s not enough to just have potential. You also need to know what to do with it.” (Susan Gale)

“Potential is priceless treasure, like gold. All of us have gold hidden within, but we have to dig to get it out.” (Joyce Meyer)

“Continuous effort, not strength or intelligence is the key to unlocking our potential.” (Winston Churchill)

“I have too much greatness awaiting me on the other side of this challenge to allow my fears to serve as a road block.” (Carmen Polk)

“If you are always trying to be NORMAL, you will never know how AMAZING you can be.” (Dr. Maya Angelou)

“Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us.” (Wilma Rudolph)

“People who repeatedly attack your confidence and self-esteem are quite aware of your potential, even if you are not.” (Author Unknown)

“God never loses sight of our eternal potential, even when we do.” (Carole M. Stephens)

“The obsession with instant gratification blinds us from our long-term potential.” (Michael Dooley)

“When you are not willing to be challenged, disturbed or offended, you are not willing to explore your weaknesses or ever reach your highest potential.” (Bryant McGill)

“To reach your greatest potential, you’ll have to fight your greatest fears.” (Author Unknown)

“You have to set goals that are almost out of reach. If you set a goal that is attainable without much work or thought, you are stuck with something below your true talent and potential.” (Steve Garvey)

“You were born with wings, you are not meant for crawling. So Don’t!” (Rumi)

“Each person has the potential of making a positive impact on the world. It all depends on what you do with what you have.” (Gary Chapman)

“How far you can go in life is yet to be seen. Don’t let other people’s limited beliefs about what’s possible diminish your potential.” (Kevin Ngo)

“Desire and imagination have the potential to position a person for greatness.” (Eric Thomas)

“Inside every seed is the potential for an incredible harvest.” (Farrah Gray)

“Don’t squander your potential living a life that amounts to far less than the one you are capable of living.” (Zero Dean)

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

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“3 Reasons You Keep Losing the Battle”

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Ephesians 6:10, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.” The Amplified Bible says it like this, “In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [be empowered through your union with Him]; draw your strength from Him [that strength which His boundless might provides].” (AMP)

Listen to some history: In 1917 Aqaba seemed impregnable. And the word “impregnable” literally means “unable to overcome.” You see, any army approaching its port would have to face huge naval guns. Behind it in every direction lay barren, waterless, inhospitable desert. To the EAST lay the deadly “anvil of the sun”, the hot sands along what is now the border between Saudi Arabia and Jordan. The Turks believed Aqaba to be immune to attack, But They Were Wrong! Lawrence of Arabia led a force of irregular Arab cavalry across the “anvil of the sun.” Together they rallied support among the local people. On July 6, 1917, they swept into Aqaba FROM THE NORTH, FROM THE BLIND SIDE! A climactic moment of the film “Lawrence of Arabia” is the long, panning shot of the Arabs, their camels and horses, with Lawrence at their head, galloping past the gigantic naval guns That Were Completely Powerless to Stop Them! And why were their powerful naval guns powerless to stop them? BECAUSE THE GUNS WERE FACING THE WRONG WAY! Aqaba fell and the Turkish hold on Palestine was broken, to be replaced by British mandate and eventually by the nation of Israel. The Turks failed to defend Aqaba because they made Three Fatal Mistakes:

  1. THEY DID NOT KNOW THEIR ENEMY;
  2. THEY DID NOT KNOW THEIR WEAKEST POINTS; and
  3. THEY DID NOT HAVE THE RIGHT WEAPONS!

The lesson we need to learn from this is that like the Turks there are three reasons we keep losing the battle and the reasons are the same as theirs:

1…WE DO NOT KNOW OUR ENEMY! You see, the Turks would’ve expected to be attacked by a powerful army since they were powerful and had powerful weapons themselves. From their perspective, if anyone would attack them it would be someone equivalent to their battle status. They would be prepared for someone coming against them with guns blazing. But they were not however prepared for an enemy that looked so harmless as they galloped along on camels and horses. Sad as it may be, but the truth is, we spend more time fighting one another than we do fighting our Real Enemy! And Jesus Himself makes it crystal clear who our Real Enemy is! “Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that ENEMY OF YOURS, THE DEVIL, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour.” (1 Peter 5:8 AMP). Believe it or not but the brother who lied on you or the sister who talked about you, IS NOT YOUR REAL ENEMY! The Word of God is Clear, YOUR REAL ENEMY IS THE DEVIL! And with his description in 1 Peter 5:8 as being like a roaring lion in fierce hunger ready to seize upon you and devour you, do you really think you have the time to waste in fighting People over what they may or may not have said?! The Devil is out to DEVOUR You, not take your position in the church, not to replace you, not to break up your clique, not to make people not like you…THE DEVIL IS OUT TO DEVOUR YOU! That word “Devour” is defined as “to eat greedily and to consume destructively.” Its Latin Origin “Devorare”, from “Vorare” literally means “to swallow whole”! Your enemy is not trying to ruin your reputation, attack your character, under estimate the ability of your gifts, give your Sunday morning assignment to someone else, or steal your anointing! People of God, your Real Enemy, THE DEVIL, is out to greedily eat and destructively consume you in one swallow! The enemy is not here to play games, he’s here on a mission to Seek, Capture, Consume and Destroy! He’s out to steal and snuff out your very LIFE! “The THIEF comes ONLY in order to STEAL AND KILL AND DESTROY…” (John 10:10 AMP) In other words, the THIEF’S ONLY ORDER OF THE DAY IS TO DEVOUR YOUR LIFE! So why are you wasting so much valuable time, efforts and energy fighting the wrong enemy?! Let me help you, people rolling their eyes at you, are not your real enemy. People who don’t pat you on the back, are not your real enemy. The people you are jealous and envious of, are not your real enemy. The people you compare yourself to and compete with, are not your real enemy. The person being elevated instead of you, is not your real enemy. The pastor’s favorite, is not your real enemy. Saints, regain your focus and clarify your vision so you can see clearly who your enemy really is so you can fight and win instead of becoming distracted and losing! There is of course a time when you are to simply resist the devil and he will flee from you according to James 4:7, “…Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” But there are also times when you need to gear up and fight! Why? Because you are in a war! The battle is real, so why aren’t you ready to fight?! “Behold! I have given you authority and power to trample upon serpents and scorpions, and [physical and mental strength and ability] over all the power that THE ENEMY [possesses]; and nothing shall in any way harm you.” (Luke 10:19 AMP) You have Weapons, Power and Authority, so why are you fighting people instead of your Real Enemy…THE DEVIL?! No more church as usual, let’s refocus on who we’re really supposed to be fighting here…THE DEVIL! The Turks didn’t know their enemy, you know yours, therefore, no more excuses for losing the battle!

2…WE DO NOT KNOW OUR WEAKEST POINTS! You need to know your blind spots, temptations, enticements and triggers if you’re going to win the war! And contrary to popular belief, Your Enemy, the Devil, will not show up dressed in a red jumpsuit with horns and a pitchfork! In fact, your “Devil” will show up tall, dark and handsome or slim, light and gorgeous. In other words, your “Devil” is going to show up ready to Entrap you with what Entices you! “Let no man say when he is TEMPTED, I am TEMPTED of God: for God cannot be TEMPTED with evil, neither TEMPTETH he any man: But EVERY MAN is TEMPTED, when he is DRAWN AWAY OF HIS OWN LUST, AND ENTICED. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” (James 1:13-15). The Message Bible says it like this: “Don’t let anyone under pressure to give in to evil say, “God is trying to trip me up.” God is impervious to evil, and puts evil in no one’s way. The TEMPTATION TO GIVE IN TO EVIL COMES FROM US AND ONLY US. WE HAVE NO ONE TO BLAME BUT THE LEERING, SEDUCING FLARE-UP OF OUR OWN LUST. Lust gets pregnant, and has a baby: sin! Sin grows up to adulthood, and becomes a real killer.” (MSG). The Turks lost the battle because they didn’t see their blind spot, are you losing the battle for the same reason? Remember this: If You Entertain What Entices You, It Will Eventually Entrap, Enslave and End You! Think about it, the ONE area the Turks didn’t think needed coverage was the very area that gave the enemy entry! Which is why Scripture admonishes us: “LEAVE NO [SUCH] ROOM OR FOOTHOLD FOR THE DEVIL [GIVE NO OPPORTUNITY TO HIM].” (Ephesians 4:27 AMP). That word “foothold” is defined as “a place where a person’s foot can be lodged to support them securely.” However, the second definition is the one I want to highlight, it means: “a secure position from which further progress may be made.” Do you not understand that the enemy doesn’t need to come in and invade your ENTIRE life? All he needs is an ENTRYWAY. Just a small space big enough to put his foot, so he can step in your life and instead of you trampling him underfoot, he now has the opportunity, invite and advantage to trample you, and to continue making progress in your life as he does! Family, you cannot afford to ignore your weaknesses! David, Solomon, and Samson all were distracted by their weakness for women. And dare we talk about Gomer (Hosea’s wife), surely she wasn’t invited to any of the Minister’s Wives meetings. There’s the woman caught in adultery, and the woman at the well with 5 husbands (none of which were her own). HOWEVER, let me insert something here before you get overly excited about the sexual sin you didn’t commit! We need to be certain that Weaknesses aren’t always Sexual Sin! “But when you follow your own wrong inclinations, your lives will produce these evil results: impure thoughts, eagerness for lustful pleasure, idolatry, spiritism (that is, encouraging the activity of demons), hatred and fighting, jealously and anger, constant effort to get the best for yourself, complaints and criticisms, the feeling that everyone else is wrong except those in your own little group- and there will be wrong doctrine, envy, murder, drunkenness, wild parties, and all that sort of thing. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:19-21 TLB). So before you focus all your sight on the Weakness of Sexual Sin, please be mindful that the Word of God indeed lists a lot more sins than that! It doesn’t minimize it, but it certainly broadens our scope to see the many sources for our blind spot distractions! Therefore, WHATEVER your blind spot is, today, discover it, and get rid of it, because it WILL cost you the war! Remember this: Saul lost his entire kingship simply because he didn’t utterly destroy his enemy! The Bible reads: “Samuel said to Saul, “God sent me to anoint you king over his people, Israel. Now, listen again to what God says. This is the God-of-the-Angel-Armies speaking: “I’m about to get even with Amalek for ambushing Israel when Israel came up out of Egypt. Here’s what you are to do: Go to war against Amalek. Put EVERYTHING connected with Amalek under a holy ban. And NO EXCEPTIONS! This is to be TOTAL DESTRUCTION – men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys – the works.” (1 Samuel 15:1-3 MSG). However, as we read further look what Saul did, “Then Saul went after Amalek…He captured Agag, king of Amalek, ALIVE. Everyone else was killed under the terms of the holy ban. Saul and the army MADE AN EXCEPTION for Agag, and for the choice sheep and cattle. They didn’t include them under the terms of the holy ban. But all the rest, which nobody wanted anyway, they destroyed as decreed by the holy ban. Then God spoke to Samuel: “I’m sorry I ever made Saul king. He’s turned his back on me. He refused to do what I tell him.” (1 Samuel 15:7-10 MSG) Then after multiple bad (and deliberate) choices, finally God has had enough! “You rejected God’s command. Now God has rejected you as king over Israel.” (1 Samuel 15:26 MSG). And it all stemmed from the same source, when God says to DESTROY the Enemy, He means DESTROY the Enemy! Leave nothing alive, and make no exceptions! If not, just a little foothold into your weakness will grant the enemy the room he needs to come in and DEVOUR YOU! Don’t put yourself in the position where God has to take Everything from you because you wouldn’t give up Anything for Him! Know your weaknesses and utterly destroy them!

3…WE DO NOT KNOW OUR WEAPONS! Which is sad because they are clearly listed in the Bible! “Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand safe against all strategies and tricks of Satan. For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against persons without bodies – the evil rulers of the unseen world, those mighty satanic beings and great evil princes of darkness who rule this world; and against huge numbers of wicked spirits in the spirit world. So use every piece of God’s armor to resist the enemy whenever he attacks, and when it is all over, you will still be standing up. But to do this, you will need the strong belt of truth and the breastplate of God’s approval. Wear shoes that are able to speed you on as you preach the Good News of peace with God. In every battle you will need faith as your shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed at you by Satan. And you will need the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit – which is the Word of God. Pray all the time…” (Ephesians 6:11-18 TLB). And the Bible doesn’t stop there, it goes on to share with us: “It is true that I am an ordinary, weak human being, but I don’t use human plans and methods to win my battles. I use God’s mighty weapons, not those made by men, to knock down the devil’s strongholds. These weapons can break down every proud argument against God and every wall that can be built to keep men from finding him. With these weapons I can capture rebels and bring them back to God and change them into men whose heart’s desire is obedience to Christ. I will use these weapons against every rebel who remains after I have first used them on you yourselves and you surrender to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:3-6 TLB). God loves us enough to not only make sure we are well equipped for battle, but He gives us weapons, tells us how to effectively use them, who to use them on, and how to win the warfare! So why are we still walking around ignorantly fighting the wrong enemy with faulty weapons? Honestly, we’re spending far too much time using our words to fight against our brothers and sisters instead of using the Word of God to fight against our real enemy, the Devil!  2 Timothy 2:15, “Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth.” (AMPC) After all, what’s the best way to defeat the father of lies, but by wielding the weapon of truth?! In fact it’s his weapon of truth that trains and equips us! 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action), So that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (AMPC) People of God, use your sword against Satan! Hebrews 4:12, “For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart.” (AMPC) You are NOT unequipped! Use the sword of the Spirit, use the Word of God, and not just your own words talking battle strategies over with other soldiers, yet not implementing any!

Listen: Going to a friend to tell them about your struggle is fine. We are to be our brothers/sisters keeper and we are certainly to share one another’s pain and aid in the lifting of one another’s burdens. However, you are girded with weaponry to destroy the enemy! Having a chit-chat won’t accomplish that goal! Remember: you are in a war with an enemy that wants to steal, kill, destroy and devour you, now is not the time to hold hands, in tears, singing kum-ba-yah my Lord. Sometimes you have to stop ‘touching and agreeing’ and get a weapon and go to war! “God’s Way is not a matter of mere talk; it’s an Empowered Life.” (1 Corinthians 4:20 MSG) So, use every weapon the Lord has given you and FIGHT! 1 Timothy 6:12, “Fight the good fight of the faith; lay hold of the eternal life to which you were summoned and [for which] you confessed the good confession [of faith] before many witnesses.” (AMPC) This is no bed of roses, this is not a stroll through the park, this is not a lightweight fight, this is war with a determined assassin and YOU are his assignment! You need to get ready and fight, this means war, the devil knows it, why don’t you?

Listen: Jesus has always made sure that His disciples knew they were in a battle and needed to be ready and equipped to fight and win! “And he called his twelve disciples together and sent them out two by two, with POWER TO CAST OUT DEMONS…And they CAST OUT MANY DEMONS…” (Mark 6:7, 13 TLB); “Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them AUTHORITY TO CAST OUT EVIL SPIRITS…” (Matthew 10:1 TLB). Just as His disciples then, were equipped and sent, so He does no different with His disciples today! Therefore, take your Power and Authority and start Casting Out Demons!

Not to mention all the varying Scriptures that empower us to overcome the enemy:

“Through You shall we push down our enemies; through Your name shall we tread them under who rise up against us.” (Psalm 44:5 AMP);

“But no weapon that is formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue that shall rise against you in judgment you shall show to be in the wrong. This [peace, righteousness, security, triumph over opposition] is the heritage of the servants of the Lord [those in whom the ideal Servant of the Lord is reproduced]; this is the righteousness or the vindication which they obtain from Me [this is that which I impart to them as their justification], says the Lord.” (Isaiah 54:17 AMP);

“Blessed be God, my mountain, who trains me to fight fair and well. He’s the bedrock on which I stand, the castle in which I live, my rescuing knight, The high crag where I run for dear life, while he lays my enemies low.” (Psalm 144:1-2 MSG);

“He gives power to the faint and weary, and to him who has no might He increases strength [causing it to multiply and making it to abound]” (Isaiah 40:29 AMP);

“Yet the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen [you] and set you on a firm foundation and guard you from the evil [one]” (2 Thessalonians 3:3 AMP);

“The good man does not escape all troubles – he has them too. But the Lord helps him in each and every one.” (Psalm 34:19 TLB)

John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace. In the world you have tribulation and distress and suffering, but be courageous [be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy]; I have overcome the world.” [My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding.]” (AMP)

Now how can you possibly read all of that and not be encouraged to fight and win?! 2 Corinthians 2:14, “But thanks be to God, Who in Christ always leads us in triumph [as trophies of Christ’s victory] and through us spreads and makes evident the fragrance of the knowledge of God everywhere” (AMPC)

People of God, today is the day you stop losing and start winning your spiritual warfare! Which Means, You Need to Know Your Real Enemy; Know Your Weakest Points That Need to Be Protected and Certainly You Must Know Your Weaponry!

Now Soldiers, FIGHT AND WIN!

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

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“Does Your Faith Still Have a Pulse?”

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James 2:26, “The very moment you separate body and spirit, you end up with a corpse. Separate faith and works and you get the same thing: a corpse.” (MSG)

We become so engrossed in what we see, feel, and hear, that we operate within our natural senses rather than our spiritual ones! However, the Bible instructs us: “THROUGH YOUR FAITH, God is protecting you by His power” (1 Peter 1:5 NLT). Therefore, you need to keep in mind that your “FAITH” is what Activates the Power of God in your life! Just imagine if you dared to increase your mustard seed faith and started nurturing it to grow bigger, taking it to new levels, what would God release in your life?! Because He heals, THROUGH YOUR FAITH; He delivers, THROUGH YOUR FAITH; He saves, THROUGH YOUR FAITH; He Opens and Shuts Doors, THROUGH YOUR FAITH; He grants opportunities that you don’t even qualify for, THROUGH YOUR FAITH; He protects you with His power…THROUGH YOUR FAITH! So, what’s the pulse of your faith today? Can you even feel it anymore, or have you become so conditioned to living in the comfort zone, in the familiar, in fear that it’s barely alive anymore?

Look at it this way: Before a stone becomes a diamond it’s just carbon put under millions of pounds of pressure! Which helps us understand better what the Bible means when it says, “These TRIALS will show that your FAITH is genuine” (vs. 7 NLT). YOU SEE, TROUBLE NOT ONLY PLACES A DEMAND ON YOUR FAITH, BUT REVEALS THE DEPTH OF IT! Truth is, you don’t really know much about your faith when your bills are paid, your body is healthy, your children are acting right, and your marriage is intact! BUT WHEN ALL HELL IS BREAKING LOOSE AND YOU TRUST GOD TO BRING YOU THROUGH IT, YOU KNOW YOU’VE GOT GENUINE FAITH! When you trust God even with the disconnect notice in the mail or the eviction notice stapled to the door; when you have faith in God when the finances are in an exceeding drought; when you rely on God and yet have no idea where the bill money is coming from, where the gas money is coming from, where the rent, mortgage, car note, insurance and tuition money is coming from; when you continue to quote the Word even when the doctor hits you with yet another diagnosis! This is when the testing of your faith proves if it’s genuine, or if it’s just another form of godliness! 2 Timothy 3:5, “holding to a form of [outward] godliness (religion), although they have denied its power [for their conduct nullifies their claim of faith]. Avoid such people and keep far away from them.” (AMP)

You see, when trials hit, the enemy attacks your mind, your rest, your peace, your emotions and your thought life! So what can you do?  Lift up the shield of faith and stop his flaming arrows: “…take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God” and use it to drive him back! (Ephesians 6:17 NKJV). That’s what genuine faith does when the attacks of life come, blow by blow! Faith wields the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God, it uses that Word to drive the enemy back! For instance, genuine faith speaks healing when the doctor speaks sickness; it speaks covenant when the marriage is speaking divorce; it speaks peace when the whole household speaks chaos; it speaks life when depression is telling you to slit your wrists and die! Genuine faith refuses to allow circumstances and situations, trials, struggles and tribulations to cause it to get in the bed and pull the covers over its head. No, genuine faith gets up every morning without an alarm clock and continues to go to work!

People of God, Put Your Faith To Work! Say, “Enough is Enough”, and begin to take back what the enemy has stolen from you! David Did! The Bible says, “David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech’s son, I pray you, bring me the ephod. And Abiathar brought him the ephod. And David inquired of the Lord, saying, Shall I pursue this troop? Shall I overtake them? THE LORD ANSWERED HIM, PURSUE, FOR YOU SHALL SURELY OVERTAKE THEM AND WITHOUT FAIL RECOVER ALL.” (1 Samuel 30:7-8 AMP). IN OTHER WORDS, STOP WHINING AND WHIMPERING AND WIELD YOUR WEAPON! GET THE WORD AND PUT YOUR FAITH TO WORK! All you need is the go-ahead from God, and when you get it, GO FORTH, BECAUSE YOU WILL RECOVER ALL AND WITHOUT FAIL! Take heart, this fight my friend is already fixed in your favor, so you have absolutely nothing to worry about! You will succeed, because God has already spoken that you will not fail!

Listen to another example, the Syrian army had surrounded the city of Samaria and its population was dying of starvation. Having lived off scraps of bread that folks threw over the wall each day, four lepers quickly assessed that they were in trouble. They said, “WHY SIT HERE UNTIL WE DIE?” (2 Kings 7:3 TLB). So they went into the city, only to discover God had worked a miracle, causing the Syrians to flee in terror, leaving behind them food, water, and riches! What do we learn from these four lepers? REFUSE TO SIT THERE AND DIE! WHEN YOU PUT YOUR FAITH INTO ACTION, GOD WILL GO TO WORK ON YOUR BEHALF! BUT YOU HAVE TO RISE UP AND SAY: “IF I’M GOING TO DIE, I’M GOING TO DO IT REACHING FOR SOMETHING, BUILDING SOMETHING, GOING AFTER SOMETHING!” I REFUSE TO JUST SIT HERE AND DIE, WHEN I STILL HAVE OPTIONS! And my greatest option is that I still have faith in GOD!

WHEN IT FEELS LIKE YOU’RE DOWN FOR THE COUNT OF TEN, YOU HAVE TO RISE UP AND SAY: “I SHALL NOT DIE, BUT LIVE, AND DECLARE THE WORKS OF THE LORD” (Psalm 118:17 NKJV). THAT KIND OF FAITH GETS GOD’S ATTENTION EVERY TIME! It is a declaration and decree that I will not give up, I will not give in, I will not give out, I will not throw in the towel, I will not quit, I will not give the enemy the opportunity to see me die, when I can live and continue to declare the works of the Lord! Your faith is your ammunition when the enemy tries to come in and snuff out your life. You open your mouth and speak faith that silences fear, and live! YOUR MOUTH HAS THE POWER OF LIFE AND DEATH, BUT THE CHOICE IS ALWAYS YOURS, AFTER ALL, IT IS YOUR MOUTH! MAKE THE WISE DECISION TODAY TO SPEAK LIFE!

You see, I’ve learned from personal experience, when you get DESPERATE enough in your faith, you won’t even care who God uses to help you, you’ll be willing to receive any help He sends your way! Just ask Naaman! Naaman the leper, a five-star general in the Syrian army, humbled himself and eventually became willing to listen to a girl who washed dishes and made beds in his house! (Listen: WHEN SOMEBODY HAS AN ANSWER FROM GOD TO DELIVER TO YOU, YOU WON’T CARE WHO THE MESSENGER IS!) Genuine faith says, ‘I just need the message to be God delivered, and I don’t care if the delivery man/woman is an usher, janitor, drunk, maid, donkey, bus driver, bird, water, sanitation worker, hobo, CEO, young, old, black, white, male or female, leader or laity, seated high or seated low, age 8 or age 80, I just need the message to be God delivered to me!’ Genuine faith cares about the content of the message on the inside, not the kind of labeling of the container on the outside!

Think about it, Naaman was even willing to dip seven times in the dirtiest river around, in order to come up clean (2 Kings 5:1-19). GENUINE FAITH SAYS: “I DON’T CARE WHERE I HAVE TO GO, WHAT I HAVE TO DO, OR WHO I HAVE TO LISTEN TO, WHATEVER GOD SAYS, I’LL DO IT!” SAINTS, WHY LIVE WITH A DISEASE WHEN YOU CAN SIMPLY BELIEVE GOD, TRUST WHAT HE SAYS, AND PUT YOUR FAITH TO WORK?! I MEAN WHY DIE WHEN YOU CAN LIVE?! Why die in fear when you can live in faith?!

Luke records: “As He…passed through…Samaria…there met Him ten…lepers, who…lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” So when He saw them, He said…’Go show yourselves to the priests.’ And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed” (vss. 11-14 NKJV). Lepers were social outcasts, SO THEY LIVED TOGETHER IN A COLONY! BUT THE PROBLEM IS, YOU CAN’T GET WELL, HANGING AROUND PEOPLE WHO ARE JUST AS SICK AS YOU ARE! And this is where we mess up because we don’t take the problem to Jesus, we take it to people, and more often than not, people who are worse off than we are! I mean if you don’t have any money, what’s the point in telling Michelle, who’s broker than you? If your marriage is on the rocks, why are you telling Keith whose marriage is on life support? If your children are failing in school, whey tell Lisa whose daughter dropped out 3 months ago? If the doctor said it’s Cancer, why tell it to Paul who don’t have enough faith to believe God to heal him from the common cold? Are you getting this? You can’t heal in the same colony of folks who are just as sick (or sicker) than you! Which means you need to bring the problem to JESUS! The Bible says, “When evening came, THEY BROUGHT TO HIM many who were under the power of demons, AND HE DROVE OUT THE SPIRITS WITH A WORD AND RESTORED TO HEALTH ALL WHO WERE SICK.” (Matthew 8:16 AMP). IN OTHER WORDS, DON’T JUST SIT THERE AND DIE! AND DON’T HANG AROUND THOSE WHO ARE DYING EITHER! GET UP AND GET TO JESUS! Why? BECAUSE HE’LL DRIVE OUT THOSE DEMONIC SPIRITS WITH A WORD AND RESTORE YOU AND ALL ATTACHED TO YOU TO HEALTH! I reiterate, why sit in fear and die when you can walk by faith and live?!

Also, notice the words, “HE PASSED THROUGH…” Jesus didn’t go to the leper colony, He was just passing through. What do you do when you’re losing your life, your family, your health, your peace, your joy, your job, your mind, your finances, etc…and Jesus doesn’t even seem to be looking in your direction? You can get frustrated when it feels like He’s blessing everybody but you, and wonder, “Lord, when is my turn coming? I’ve served You faithfully, yet it seems like everybody else is the object of Your attention and affection.” Right There, It’s Time To Cry Out Just Like the Lepers, “Jesus, Have Mercy On Me!” AWAY WITH DIGNITY AND DECORUM; DESPERATE PEOPLE PRAY DESPERATE PRAYERS, AND GOD RESPONDS!

Notice also, when Jesus was passing by these lepers did NOT shout, “Unclean,” as the law REQUIRED! NO, THEY BROKE PROTOCOL! LISTEN: WHEN YOU’RE IN A BAD SITUATION, SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO BREAK OUT IN ORDER TO BREAK-THROUGH! You have to learn to respond like the psalmist:  “I cried to the Lord with my voice, and He heard me from His holy hill” (Psalm 3:4 NKJV). PEOPLE OF GOD, DON’T LET NOBODY BOX YOU INTO A CORNER PEW AND SHHH YOU DOWN! CRY LOUD AND SPARE NOT! OPEN YOUR MOUTH AND GET JESUS’ ATTENTION! DESPERATE PEOPLE ARE A DETERMINED PEOPLE! AND WHEN YOU HAVE NOTHING ELSE TO LOSE, YOU GO ALL THE WAY IN! SCREAM UNTIL YOU LOSE YOUR VOICE, CLAP YOUR HANDS UNTIL THEY TURN RED! DANCE UNTIL YOU COLLAPSE! SHOUT UNTIL MOTHER SITTING NEXT TO YOU TURNS OFF HER HEARING AID! RUN AROUND THAT CHURCH LIKE FLO JO! WHATEVER YOU DO, GET HIS ATTENTION! DON’T BECOME FEARFUL, FAINTHEARTED, FALTERING, OR FOOLISH! SIMPLY BELIEVE GOD’S PROMISE TO YOU AND PUT YOUR FAITH TO WORK!

Let’s look again at the ten lepers Jesus healed. In the Final Stages of their disease THE FLESH LITERALLY BEGAN DROPPING OFF THEIR BODIES! But notice, Jesus didn’t lay hands on them or pray for them. He didn’t even address their leprosy. INSTEAD HE COMMANDED THEM TO GO AND SHOW THEMSELVES TO THE PRIEST! How odd. To some of us it might even seem ridiculous. BUT OFTENTIMES BEFORE GOD DOES THE MIRACULOUS, SOMETIMES HE’LL ASK YOU TO DO THE RIDICULOUS! Indeed, when He tells you to do something it may not seem like it’s even related to what you’re praying about at all. When that happens, you have a decision to make: doubt Him, or obey Him! My Suggestion: Instead of discussing the issue endlessly, JUST DO WHAT HE’S TOLD YOU TO DO! REAL FAITH IN ACTION NEEDS NO EXPLANATION IN ORDER TO ACT! SOMETIMES GOD WILL GIVE YOU “A WORD” AND IT LOOKS LIKE IT’S NOT EVEN WORKING – BUT IT IS – YES, EVEN WHEN IT DOESN’T LOOK LIKE IT!  THE FAITH THAT GOD RESPONDS TO DOES NOT REQUIRE UNDERSTANDING OF THE ORDERS GIVEN, JUST OBEDIENCE IN CARRYING THEM OUT! AND WHEN YOU DO, YOU’LL BE AMAZED AT WHAT HE DOES IN THE MEANTIME!

“And so it was that AS THEY WENT, they were cleansed” (vs. 14 NKJV). Note the words, “AS THEY WENT” The Bible says, “The steps of a [good] man are directed and established by the Lord…” (Psalm 37:23 AMP). Listen, WHEN GOD TELLS YOU SOMETHING, STEP OUT ON IT! THE WORD HAS ALREADY DECLARED THAT HE’S ORDERED, DIRECTED, AND ESTABLISHED YOUR EVERY STEP! BUT DOES THAT MEAN YOU HAVE TO WALK IT ALONE? ABSOLUTELY NOT, THE BIBLE SAYS, “And so it was that AS THEY WENT, THEY were cleansed”. You don’t have to walk this faith out by yourself, HOWEVER, WHEN YOU WALK IN FAITH, IT’S A ONE WAY STREET! ONLY THOSE GOING IN THE SAME DIRECTION CAN GO WITH YOU! ALL OPPOSING TRAFFIC HAS TO PICK ANOTHER STREET! WHEN YOU WALK IN FAITH, YOU ARRIVE SAFELY TO YOUR DESTINATION, AND ONLY WITH THE COMPANY OF THOSE WHO WERE HEADING IN THE SAME DIRECTION! THEREFORE, WORK YOUR FAITH BY WALKING IN FAITH, BUT WATCH THOSE WHO YOU ALLOW TO WALK WITH YOU! LIKE-MINDED FAITH WALKERS WILL KEEP YOU ON TRACK, BUT DOUBTERS WILL TRIP YOU UP EVERY TIME!

Lastly, try to imagine this: “And so it was that AS THEY WENT, they were cleansed” (vs. 14 NKJV). IMAGINE THAT WHILE THEY ARE WALKING, THEIR TOES ARE GROWING BACK! AS THEY MOVE IN OBEDIENCE TO HIS WORD, IN FAITH, A STUB TURNS BACK INTO A FINGER! THEIR SKIN IS RENEWING BEFORE THEIR VERY EYES! GOD IS PUTTING THEM BACK TOGETHER AGAIN, AS THEY WALK OUT THE WORD HE GAVE THEM! THAT’S WHY YOU CAN’T STOP NOW! KEEP WALKING BY FAITH! BECAUSE AS YOU WALK IN OBEDIENCE TO THE WORD HE’S GIVEN YOU, YOUR MARRIAGE IS REPAIRING; YOUR CHILDREN ARE RETURNING; YOUR FINANCES ARE REPLENISHING; THE RUINS OF YOUR HEALTH ARE RESTORING! CELLS, VALVES, ARTERIES, MUSCLES, TISSUE, BREATHING, HEART RATE, GLUCOSE, ARE ALL COMING BACK INTO THE NORMAL RANGE. YOUR CHOLESTEROL AND BLOOD PRESSURE ARE BACK AT OPTIMAL LEVELS. THE ARTHRITIS IS EASING UP; THE PAIN IS SUBSIDING; THE SWELLING IS DECREASING; THE BONES ARE REGAINING NEW STRENGTH; THE HURT IS HEALING; THE X-RAYS ARE TURNING IN YOUR FAVOR; THE DIAGNOSIS IS REDIAGNOSING FOR THE BETTER. THE MEDICATIONS ARE LOWERING. YOUR SENSES ARE BACK TO FUNCTIONING AT THEIR BEST. THE CANE, CRUTCH, WHEELCHAIR AND WALKER ARE ALREADY PREPARED TO BE GIVEN TO SOMEONE ELSE SINCE YOU NO LONGER HAVE NEED OF THEM. YOU’RE COMING OFF ACCESS-A-RIDE AND GETTING BACK BEHIND THE WHEEL OF A CAR AGAIN! OXYGEN TANKS HAVE TO BE PICKED UP FOR GOOD BECAUSE YOUR LUNGS FOUND NEW AIR! AS YOU WALK BY FAITH IN OBEDIENCE TO THE WORD GOD GAVE YOU, HE’S BRINGING EVERYTHING OUT OF ORDER BACK INTO ORDER! AS YOU WALK BY FAITH, HE’S RESTORING, HEALING, DELIVERING, SAVING, REPLENISHING, REPAIRING, REDEEMING! THAT’S WHY YOU CAN’T GET STAGNANT IN FEAR AND DIE, KEEP YOUR FAITH STRIDE MOVING FORWARD, GOT IS PUTTING YOU BACK TOGETHER AGAIN AS YOU GO!

“HE WHO HAS BEGUN A GOOD WORK IN YOU WILL COMPLETE IT!” (Philippians 1:6 NKJV). GOD BEGUN THIS WORK IN YOU AND HE’S GOING TO COMPLETE IT! RISE UP IN FAITH AND DECLARE, AS BAD AS IT WAS, AS DEPRESSED AS I WAS, AS BROKE AS I WAS, AS SICK AS I WAS, AS UNEMPLOYED AS I WAS, AS BAD AS MY MARRIAGE WAS: “IT’S ALL COMING BACK TOGETHER!” THE MORE YOU WALK BY FAITH, GOD IS RESTORING, RESURRECTING, RETURNING, REVIVING, REGENERATING, REESTABLISHING, AND IN THE END YOU’LL DO THE REJOICING WHEN ALL OF THE BROKEN PIECES ARE FINALLY BROUGHT BACK TOGETHER AGAIN! AND ALL IT TAKES IS FAITH THAT WORKS! 

“And He said to her, Daughter, YOUR FAITH (YOUR TRUST AND CONFIDENCE IN ME, SPRINGING FROM FAITH IN GOD) HAS RESTORED YOU TO HEALTH. GO IN (INTO) PEACE AND BE CONTINUALLY HEALED AND FREED FROM YOUR [DISTRESSING BODILY] DISEASE!” (Mark 5:24 AMP). People of God, PUT YOUR FAITH TO WORK, AND WATCH YOUR FAITH WORK FOR YOU! AND KNOW THIS, THIS WILL NOT BE A HEALING THAT COMES TO YOU IN MONTHLY INSTALLMENTS! NO, THIS HEALING IS GOING TO BE ‘…CONTINUALLY HEALED AND FREED…’ And all you have to do is refuse to die in fear, and instead, live in faith!

Now, With All That Said, I Have a Few Questions For You: 

Is your faith still alive and well?

Is it still growing?

Are you still feeding it?

Are you still nurturing you?

Are you still walking in it?

Are you still working in it?

Are you still living in it?

Does Your Faith Still Have a Pulse?

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: “9 Things Every Woman Should Know About Her Heart”

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“Daniel’s Praise Elevator!”

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Daniel 2:19, “…and then Daniel praised the God of heaven…” (TLB)

Now, if you were to ask my husband or children they would be the first to say I am the biggest kid in the entire house! And truth be told, I unapologetically admit, they’re absolutely right! And one of the things that bring out the kid in me most is riding those glass elevators that are found in some hotels. Now, as a person who is claustrophobic, it sounds crazy that I would love being in this little box. But for some reason, when it’s a glass elevator, I don’t feel quite so restricted or confined because I can see beyond where I am currently. You know how it goes, you get in on the main floor and then you ascend to the top floor, all the time you’re watching the big things in the lobby become the small things in the lobby. And the limited view you had down there, suddenly turns into a panoramic view up here. I mean we’re talking about going from the lobby to the observation deck in a matter of seconds; rising scores of floors in less time than it takes to place some phone calls! For instance at 9:32, you’re down in the lobby or even the basement, but by 9:33, you’re looking out over the entire city – and all because of an elevator! You see, elevators have a funny way of changing your perspective (which is the particular way you view something, the height, width, depth, length and distance of it), your prospective (which is what is expected or likely to happen or be in the future) and even your posture (which is the particular way a body is positioned, the way in which a person holds their body, to look down, to look up and most importantly to look out, over and beyond)! Elevators Change Your Perspective, Your Prospective and Your Posture.

And not that we don’t know it, but the word “elevator” is defined as “a platform or compartment housed in a shaft for raising and lowering people or things.” And in Daniel’s case, his praise elevator raised him up!

But before we get to Daniel, let’s face it, we all have some days when we feel like we’re stuck in the basement, right? The view isn’t very inspiring and neither is the situation we’re in. It’s dark, it’s lonely, it’s gloomy, it’s hard, it’s depressing. We’re low in funds, low in joy, low in peace, low in confidence, low in health, low in marriage, low in singlehood, low in dealing with the battles of raising children, low in dealing with coworkers and even low while sitting in the pew next to our brothers and sisters in Christ, Sunday after Sunday! There are simply some moments in life when we’re held in bondage in the basement, instead of breaking through the ceiling!

Well, the good news is that there is no basement so deep or so gloomy that you have to stay there, because there’s an elevator just waiting to take you up and out!

In essence, it’s the spiritual elevator many of God’s leaders in the Bible knew about – like Daniel, for example. He’s a top advisor to the most powerful man in the world, King Nebuchadnezzar. All of the king’s pagan advisors have been unable to meet his demand, and they tell him they don’t know what his disturbing dream meant. Of course, he’d also asked them to tell him what the dream was. But nobody could do that either. So he sentences them to death – a sentence that applies even to Daniel, even though he wasn’t there! So Daniel is literally staring at being executed for no reason at all! Talk about a dark basement!

However, he doesn’t become weary, he doesn’t panic, he doesn’t freak-out, he doesn’t start crying. So what does he do? Well, as any wise man (or woman) would, he recruits his spiritual brothers!

Daniel 2:16-17, “So Daniel went in to see the king. “Give me a little time,” he said, “and I will tell you the dream and what it means.” Then he went home and told Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions” (TLB).

First things first, he lets the king know, oh it won’t end like this, at least not for me! And sometimes you need to speak to the very person, place or thing that is attempting to snuff out your life, that it won’t go down like that, not today, and not for me! I know what I’m facing is tough, but I refuse to just lay down and die! Just give me a little time, I’m about to put a strategy in place that can’t fail! This is designed to take me down, but I’m coming up and out!

Listen: Don’t you dare just accept situations or attacks for their face value. Hit it head on! Don’t cower, don’t run, don’t give up, don’t get depressed…Strategize! That’s what Daniel did! It was time for a step of faith, not a stumble in fear! 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity or cowardice or fear, but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of sound judgment and personal discipline [abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control].” (AMP). I reiterate, this is a time to take a step of faith, not a stumble in fear!

Daniel responds, ‘Just give me a little time…’ And what does Daniel do in that little time? He gets Reinforcements! However, it’s important to note, that he only called three of them. Sounds a lot like Jesus with His inner circle of Peter, James and John. Which means we really need to be careful when going into spiritual battle (even battles we face in the natural) in making sure that we call for the right troops. We need to make sure that when we call in reinforcements, we call the right people! Proverbs 11:14, “Where there is no [wise, intelligent] guidance, the people fall [and go off course like a ship without a helm], But in the abundance of [wise and godly] counselors there is victory.” (AMP). Know that everybody who says they’re praying for you, are not! Not everyone asking about your situation cares that you get out of it, some just want to make sure you’re still in it! That’s why discernment and wisdom are necessities, not options when you’re gathering troops to go into battle!

Listen: You only need to take those IN, who can help bring you OUT! But how do you know you’ve selected the right people? Let’s continue reading: “They asked the God of heaven to show them His mercy by telling them the secret, so they would not die with the others. And that night in a vision God told Daniel what the king had dreamed.” (vss. 18-19)

Daniel didn’t just call any group of men, he called the ones he knew would immediately intercede! The Bible says, “They asked the God of heaven…” Are those the first people you call? If it’s not, you need to change your strategy if you plan to win! Notice, they don’t hold a long conversation with Daniel, they don’t offer him options or their opinions. They don’t find some other brothers to talk about the mess involving Daniel and the king. No, they go straight into intercession, talking to no one but God! They don’t ask Daniel how he feels about it, they don’t question him at all. He called for them, they came to him, then they went to God! If you don’t have reinforcements like this, find them, today!

Something else to note, the 3 men asked God to show “THEM” His mercy by telling “THEM” the secret. But the answer to what they asked goes like this: “…And that night in a vision GOD TOLD DANIEL what the king had dreamed…” They asked for God to show “THEM” but God told “DANIEL”. Note: You need intercessors that can intercede without jealousy or competition! They could have responded, “God WE came to you in intercession so you would reveal it to US”…but they were just fine with Daniel receiving the answer…ALONE. Some people pose as your teammates, when they’re really your opponents! Choose these people wisely!

People of God, surround yourself with people who will not be so busy competing with you that they can’t help you win. It didn’t matter if it was revealed to Daniel alone, as long as the revelation came, the inner circle was fine! And when it did, listen to Daniel’s response: “…Then Daniel praised the God of heaven…”

Before Daniel even goes to the king, remember, his life as well as the lives of others were already at stake, so if you think anything like me, you may respond with, “Daniel, now may not be the most opportune time to go into a praise break…maybe you should talk to the king first” But, in Daniel’s case, that’s exactly what he did first, he talked to the KING!

See, the problem with us is that we let fear supersede our faith! But even in the midst of having his life at risk, Daniel stops to praise God first! He has a problem, God provides the solution, but before Daniel applies the solution, he praises God first! If that’s not how you’ve handled it in the past, handle it like that in the present and in the future!

Truth is, we have to reach a place of trust, reliance, dependence, and faith in God where our circumstances don’t alter our praise! We need to allow our praise to be the evidence that we trust God’s outcome, before we even come out! We need our situations, trials and struggles to see that we walk by faith, even when that walk takes us through the valley’s of the shadows of death! And so Daniel is our example of celebrating God for Victory before the Battle is even over!

‘Don’t Wait Till the Battle is Over, Shout Now!’

Listen to the rest of the text: “…saying, “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for He alone has all wisdom and all power. World events are under His control. He removes kings and sets others on their thrones. He gives wise men their wisdom and scholars their intelligence. He reveals profound mysteries beyond man’s understanding. He knows all hidden things, for He is light, and darkness is no obstacle to Him. I thank and praise You, O God of my fathers, for You have given me wisdom and glowing health, and now even this vision of the king’s dream and the understanding of what it means.” (TLB)

Daniel steps into the spiritual elevator that takes him from the basement of his circumstances to the penthouse of his awesome God! That elevator is called “Praise!” Now, you would think that finally receiving a solution to his problem would make him run to the king, but he had to praise his King first! And people of God, so do you!

In Daniel 2, beginning with verse 19, the Bible declares, “Daniel praised the God of heaven and said: “Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are His. He changes the times and seasons and sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise…He reveals deep and hidden things…and light dwells with Him…”

See, Daniel rises from the basement of a dangerous and impossible situation to the penthouse view from the Throne Room of the Most High God! And everything looks different from there! Please know that as you rise higher on an elevator, what seemed so close and so big and so overwhelming (when you were on the same level as it), starts to shrink in size the higher you go up! The higher you go up, the smaller it gets, the higher you go up the further away from you it gets! Which is why it’s so vital that you learn how to rise from low places! Yes, it hurts, yes it’s confusing, yes it’s aggravating and frustrating, yes it’s caused you some night’s sleep, yes you’ve even worried, fretted and had panic attacks because of it, but that’s only because you stayed on the same level as it for far too long! When life’s attacks come at you and attempt to snuff out your life, start elevating! You don’t stay on the same level as your issues. Leave them right where they are and you shift your perspective, prospective and posture! Walk by faith and not by sight; began singing, dancing, clapping, praising and worshiping God! Sink into the depths of His Word where you will be reminded of His power, providence, sovereignty, provision, promises and protection! Began to speak His Words of Life, no matter the danger of death that is near! Walk like you know He is still the lifter up of your head and that He’s placed your feet like hinds’ feet on high places! Straighten your back and square off your shoulders. Put on the whole armor of God and get ready to do battle and win! Even when your situation and circumstances don’t change, you have to! You never stay on levels beneath the privilege of a Child of God!

Now, one of the secrets of peace in the midst of great stress, of poise when everything is up for grabs, of perspective when you could be flippin’ out – the secret is to start celebrating the kind of God you have! Remember, you enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise, not just with prayer requests. The great prayers of the Bible are like two-thirds about the greatness of God and maybe one-third about the need. When you start telling God the things about Him that you love, the things He’s done that you’re grateful for, that anxiety in your heart starts to ebb and the peace in your heart starts to grow. You realize that the size of the situation and the size of the need don’t change the size of your God at all! The size of your situation will never change the dimensions of your God! What may be too big for you, will never be too big for Him! With Him all things are possible, and they are likewise possible for you too because He’s already told you that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you! So stop listening to the words of your adversary, and start listening to the words of your Advocate! He’s fighting with you and for you, you will not lose! He ALWAYS Causes Us to Triumph!

In the midst of danger, Daniel still paused to take a praise and thank break! And so should you! Daniel could have complained, started to stress out, flip out and worry. Or do like many of us do, and try to design back-up plans just in case God doesn’t show up on our timetable! But no! His very life is in danger, and yet he doesn’t panic, he simply presses pause so he can give God praise!

And how does such a response end for Daniel? Listen to what happens after Daniel praises God, then shares the dream and revelation with the king:

Daniel 2:46-49, “When Daniel finished, King Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face in awe before Daniel. He ordered the offering of sacrifices and burning of incense in Daniel’s honor. He said to Daniel, “Your God is beyond question the God of all gods, the Master of all kings. And he solves all mysteries, I know, because you’ve solved this mystery.” Then the king promoted Daniel to a high position in the kingdom, lavished him with gifts, and made him governor over the entire province of Babylon and the chief in charge of all the Babylonian wise men. At Daniel’s request the king appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to administrative posts throughout Babylon, while Daniel governed from the royal headquarters.” (MSG)

How’s that for taking a praise elevator from the basement to the penthouse?! Everyone in your situation, everything in your situation looks different from God’s penthouse perspective. You’ll see the people differently. You’ll see possibilities you haven’t seen before. You’ll have ideas you haven’t had before. You’ll have the peace that you couldn’t have otherwise.

That is the power of praise – the elevator that takes you from the “basement” of earth-stuff to the “penthouse” of your awesome God! Daniel and his reinforcements, go from having their lives in danger to governing and administrating in the royal headquarters!

Brothers and Sisters, in spite of what you face as a struggle, it’s important that you learn how to put your praise in place so your problem doesn’t knock you out of position, but promotes you in it!

Another added bonus, when you praise God in the midst of your problems, even what came up against you, will eventually bow before you! The Bible says, “When Daniel finished, King Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face in awe before Daniel. He ordered the offering of sacrifices and burning of incense in Daniel’s honor. He said to Daniel, “Your God is beyond question the God of all gods, the Master of all kings…”

Listen: What hurt you will end up honoring you! And what had your back up against the wall, will bow down before you!

Which means, going forward, when you face an uphill battle, fight like Daniel! Seek out the right men (and women) (those with a prayer life that know how to use their mouth to intercede to God as opposed to gossiping to other people); and when God reveals the solution to the problem, don’t panic and run to the problem as if you don’t get to it quick enough, God’s plan will fail. No, when you have enough sense to go to God in the first place, you don’t have to fear anything afterwards. Which is why you can then walk by faith, walk in favor, and walk away from fear! And then watch God do for you as he did for Daniel and even as He did for Joseph (God Will Use the Very Same Plans That Were Meant to Hurt You, to Help You Instead! What Was Meant For Your Evil, Will Be For Your Good!) Before you know it, your problem, turned into a praise, will turn into a position of promotion for you and those attached to you!

People of God, no matter how low life may take you, never allow it to lower your praise! It was the elevator that raised Daniel up, and it’s the same elevator that will do the same for you!

“When You Complain You Remain, When You Praise You Get Raised.” (Joyce Meyer)

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

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“Big Man, Big Head, Big Fall!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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“You Have to Go Beyond the Surface!”

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Luke 6:46-49, “Why are you so polite with me, always saying ‘Yes, sir,’ and ‘That’s right, sir,’ but never doing a thing I tell you? These words I speak to you are not mere additions to your life, HOMEOWNER IMPROVEMENTS to your standard of living. They are FOUNDATION words, words to BUILD a life on. “If you WORK the words into your life, you are like a SMART CARPENTER who DUG DEEP and laid the FOUNDATION of his HOUSE on BEDROCK. When the river burst its banks and crashed against the HOUSE, NOTHING COULD SHAKE IT; IT WAS BUILT TO LAST. But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t WORK them into your life, you are like a DUMB CARPENTER who BUILT a HOUSE BUT SKIPPED THE FOUNDATION. When the swollen river came crashing in, it collapsed like a HOUSE of cards. IT WAS A TOTAL LOSS.” (MSG)

I am indeed a lover of the animal kingdom! In fact, I’ve written countless devotionals, lessons and even sermons about eagles, donkey’s, geese, snakes, grasshoppers, ants, rock badgers, termites, heifers, mules, gerbils, ticks, and more, including all sorts of birds! But doing a crossword puzzle, I happened to come across an animal I’d never heard of. Therefore, my question to you today is, what on God’s green earth (as my mother would say), is an Emu?

Well, if you guessed a big old Australian bird that can’t fly, you’re right! They can’t fly, however, what they can do is Produce Oil!

How did I find that out? Well, in addition to loving the animal kingdom, I have some great (but crazy) friends who are tremendous lovers of all things outdoors! And Michelle and her husband Tom were the ones who taught me about the Emu (I mean, who better to ask than those who are always in the mountains, on trails, hiking, and camping…in other words, doing all the stuff I do NOT do!)

You see, Michelle is the one who discovered that the Emu produces oil, and here’s how she discovered it and why she’s glad she did! Michelle had been having some severe pain in her back and arm. But in-spite of it, her and Tom decided to go ahead with their plans to spend a few days away with their family. The place they were staying at had bottles of emu oil for sale, of all things, at the cash register. Tom had never heard of emu oil (much to my surprise). And so he wasn’t exactly jumping up and down to buy some. But the owners said it might help give his wife a little relief. So, “Hello, to our new purchase of emu oil.” Now, it wasn’t a miracle cure, but they do think it helped. Tom just put a blob of it on Michelle where she was hurting, and then gently, yet deeply rubbed it into her back and arm (as per the instructions). Which means, that blob of emu oil wouldn’t have done much good just sitting on the surface of Michelle’s back and arm. No, it worked because it was rubbed deep into it and that’s how it helped, that’s how it became effective!

And believe it or not, but that’s how we arrive at Luke 6:46-49. It’s a great Scripture and analogy about the importance of rubbing it in, or going deeper. Jesus begins by saying this, “Why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord’ and do not do what I say?” In case you didn’t catch it, the key words here are: “…DO NOT DO…” Which reminds me of James 1:22 – “Do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourselves. DO WHAT IT SAYS.In other words, just having a big blob of Bible information in your brain won’t do anything but make you think you’re doing fine spiritually, when you’re not. You have to rub it in! It needs to go deeper, it needs to penetrate to make a significant life-changing difference. Which is why it never makes sense to attend Sunday School, Bible Study, Sunday Sermons or even Higher Christian Education with Bible College and Seminary…IF…you are not going to apply what you hear, learn and now know! It has to get off the surface so it can be EMBEDDED (which means, ‘fixed firmly and deeply; implanted; and engrafted.’) in your Spirit! Which we learn about when we go up just one verse in James 1:21, where it admonishes us about the value of an ENGRAFTED WORD!

Sidebar: the full devotional titled “The Necessity of an Engrafted Word” was posted on yesterday, enjoy the full read at your convenience! But here is a snippet to assist with today’s devotional:

“Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the ENGRAFTED WORD, which is able to save your souls.” The word “Engrafted” means “to attach to, and become part of.” And that’s what should be happening when you hear the Word of God, it should penetrate so deeply THAT IT BECOMES PART OF YOU! And why do we need an “Engrafted Word” so badly? Well, to be real blunt, far too many are simply “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof…” (2 Timothy 3:5). And how do I know many are hearing a Word, but not receiving an “Engrafted Word”? Because Power Changes Things! For example, you can take an extension cord and plug it into an outlet, but if the power is off, nothing in a dark room is going to change! But if you take that same cord and plug it in with the power on, light comes in and darkness gets pushed out! That’s why the Bible says: “…what fellowship has light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14 ESV). Light and darkness don’t dwell together, and it’s Power that separates the two, because Power always changes things! With that said, you’ll know when you’ve received an “Engrafted Wordbecause things in your life will Change! Why? Because the Word has Power! For the Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12). In other words, an “Engrafted Word” is “Powerfulenough to invoke Change! But right before that word “Powerful”, did you notice it also says the Word is “Quick”?! So before you go complaining that, “this is just the way I am; I’ve been like this my whole life; that’s just me; I’m set in my ways; that’s just my personality; I don’t let nothing and no one change me…”, before you go off on that tangent, might I remind you that the Word of God is “Quick” and “Powerful”! Therefore, if you haven’t changed yet, it’s because you have NOT received an “Engrafted Word”! You can’t receive one and stay the same!

Even if you’re walking in the darkness of sin, the Bible says: “By your words I can see where I’m going; they throw a beam of light on my dark path. I’ve committed myself and I’ll never turn back from living by your righteous order.” (Psalm 119:105-106 MSG). When you’ve received an “Engrafted Word”, you must change and change quickly! In truth, it doesn’t take a lifetime for God to change you! He spoke one Word to Peter “Come”, it was an “Engrafted Word” because Peter received and embraced it, and upon doing so, he changed location from sitting on a boat to walking on the water, and it didn’t take a decade to get it done! But an “Engrafted Word” requires work! It doesn’t stay on the surface, it goes down deep! It’s not purposed to make you feel better, it’s purposed to make you better! However, that can’t happen until you go from hearing the Word to applying it. It has to become your firm foundation on which you build your entire life!

Let’s travel back to Luke 6:47. “I will show you what he is like who comes to Me and hears My words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it because it was well built.

The Word of God is really what makes a difference in a person’s life when a storm hits. And that’s how you know where someone’s Christian walk, life, faith and trust are, it’s found in how they’ve prepared for the storms, as well as how they stand in them and survive them! You see, when all you do is go to church to hear a Word, but don’t apply it, when the doctor calls with a bad diagnosis, you immediately lose heart. The Word was exciting, (in the moment), but when it came time to apply it, you didn’t. The storm hit your house, and your house fell apart like the deck of cards you built it on. But when you hear the Word go forth, and it assures you that God loves you, saves you, heals and delivers you, when the doctor calls, you merely thank him for his expertise, and then go into prayer with the Ultimate Expert in all things! You don’t let the doctor shake you because you know of a Great Physician that can heal anything! But how can you possibly get there by simply hearing the Word and letting it sit in you for the time being. But not taking it home to read more, study more, pray over it more, and find practical life application for it in your life daily.

Listen, if you want a firm foundation and a house that’s built on Rock, you have to work at it! Think about it in the natural, can you imagine construction workers showing up to build a house, and they have on pajamas, with a cup of coffee in one hand and a newspaper in the other? They have their bedroom slippers on, and the only tools they have with them is one nail and a hammer?! Exactly what are they going to build with that? How can they possibly take that and build a house with a solid foundation on rocks that will withstand a storm?! In a nutshell: THEY CAN’T! You see, when construction workers show up to build, they know it’s going to take some serious, hard work, a messy site, dangerous elements, powerful tools, hard hats, and for certain, sweat and strained muscles! Why? Because they didn’t come to bake a cake, they came to build a house that will stand!

HOWEVER, when all you want to do is hear a feel good Word to get you through the next 5 minutes, you don’t require much work, or tools, or struggle. After all, how much blood, sweat and tears go into building a house of cards? The Bible says, “…But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a dumb carpenter who built a house but skipped the foundation. When the swollen river came crashing in, it collapsed like a house of cards. It was a total loss.” (MSG) Another translation reads, “…But the one,” it says, “who hears My words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.” Notice – it isn’t knowing His words that make the difference. It’s putting them into Practice; he who puts them into Practice and he who doesn’t. Which one are you?

Brothers and sisters, this means every time you read or hear God’s Word, you should be coming away with a “DO”, because of what God Said! “Lord, what did I read today and what do I ‘DO’ differently because of what I read/heard?” You see, just having that emu oil didn’t help Michelle’s situation. Just getting into it didn’t do anything. Even merely applying it on the surface did nothing. No, it had to be rubbed deeply in; it had to become a part of her (engrafted!) It had to penetrate! It had to go deep! And the Bible is just like that! Just getting into the Bible isn’t what Transforms your life. It’s getting the Bible into you, into some specific application in today’s experience; something that changes part of you today!

It’s not just knowing a lot of verses, or having some great outlines from some great speakers. It’s not about mimicking what you see on live stream or other broadcasts. It’s not even about taking this devotional, reading it, and saying okay I get it. Nor is it about you becoming Biblically smarter. It’s not about you knowing some big words, or knowing those big words in Latin, Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic. It’s not about your spiritual vocabulary growing. It’s not about you applying ‘blobs of Bible’, but never rubbing it into your soul, your personality, your relationships, your priorities, your habits and addictions, and your everyday life. It’s not about your title, position, office, gifts, or anointing. It’s not about civics, vestments, chairs, rings, elevations, initials or degrees. It’s about Building a Christian life that’s firm and stable, even in the storms of life, whether you are leader or laity! It’s about applying the Word of God so deeply in you that when the storm hits your health, finances, marriage, career, children, parents, church, you don’t float away on the sea of discouragement. No, because as the waves hit, and as vicious as the hits will be, you still know Jesus, who speaks to the sea, walks on the water, hushes the waves, calms the winds and sleeps in the storm!

Mark 4:39, “And He got up and [sternly] rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still (muzzled)!” And the wind died down [as if it had grown weary] and there was [at once] a great calm [a perfect peacefulness.]” (AMP);

Proverbs 8:29, “When He set for the sea its boundary so that the waters would not transgress [the boundaries set by] His command, when He marked out the foundations of the earth.” (AMP);

Luke 8:24, “They came to Jesus and woke Him, saying, “Master, Master, we are about to die!” He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging, violent waves, and they ceased, and it became calm [a perfect peacefulness]” (AMP);

This is the Word you need to get deep on the inside of you! So when the storms do arise, you know with certainty that you, your family, your house, your church, your faith are all safe, secure and stable because you know what He has Said and what He’s able to Do! People of God, it’s not enough to read God’s Word just to know what He says, to analyze it, or even to understand what He says, though that’s important. Ultimately, we have to read God’s Word to let it change us in some specific way! Which is why I admonish you, each new day, open up to the transforming oil of God’s Word and let God rub it into your life deeply! Getting into His Word is Enlightening; getting His Word into you is Transforming! Which is why it is so imperative that we go beyond the surface!

Luke 6:46-49, “Why are you so polite with me, always saying ‘Yes, sir,’ and ‘That’s right, sir,’ but never doing a thing I tell you? These words I speak to you are not mere additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living…” In other words, stop treating the Word of God like decorations for a house! Picking what you like, what looks good, feels good, and will be appealing for others to see. It’s not something non-essential, it is a necessity for every aspect of your life! And maybe if we would get to the place where we realize just how vital the Word of God is, we’ll stop using it to look good on the outside, and instead use it to build up our inside!

“…They are foundation words, words to build a life on….” The Word of God is the tool you use to build your entire life! Not pieces and parts, but your whole life should reflect evidence of the presence of God’s Word at work. 

“…If you work the words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who dug deep and laid the foundation of his house on bedrock. When the river burst its banks and crashed against the house, nothing could shake it; it was built to last…” And isn’t that the testimony you want? That you’ve built a life on the Word of the Lord, therefore, even with the harshest of storms, it’s not shaken because it was built to last!

“…But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a dumb carpenter who built a house but skipped the foundation. When the swollen river came crashing in, it collapsed like a house of cards. It was a total loss.” Did you catch that? “…IT WAS A TOTAL LOSS.” What was a total loss? THE WHOLE HOUSE! That’s why this is so vital! It’s not just about you! BUT EVERYTHING ATTACHED TO YOU! Think about it, a storm that crashes a house, can’t take the house and not everything in it as well! If the storm destroys the house, it destroys all that’s in the house! You going beyond the surface into the depths of God, is important for you, your spouse, your children, your family, your church, your community…everything attached to you will either be built up or torn down…and either way it will be your hands that caused it to be established or eroded!

Please take this admonishment to heart, and view the Word of God differently than you have before. Realize its value and its necessity. Today, hear it, but also apply it, do it, share it, live it! Be the smart carpenter that built his house on the Word of God (foundation) that would last, even in the storms of life. Not the dumb one that skipped the essentials of a firm foundation, and therefore, when the storms of life hit, his Whole House of cards folded!

Today, Go Beyond the Surface and Dig Deeper into the Word of God…and not just for your own sake, but for the sake of Everyone in the House!

Proverbs 24:3, “Through [skillful and godly] wisdom a house [a life, a home, a family] is built, And by understanding it is established [on a sound and good foundation],” (AMP)

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

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“The Necessity of an Engrafted Word”

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“Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the ENGRAFTED WORD, which is able to save your souls.” (James 1:21) 

I’m often told that I e-mail ‘Bible Studies’ daily and not daily devotionals! That always makes me smile, since for one, that’s a very high compliment as a teacher; and two, many Pastors actually use my daily devotionals, especially the series, as Bible Study / Sunday School Lessons in their churches! So, am I offended by the statement? Not one bit! In fact, I’m quite honored! Truthfully, I never intended to send out 2-3 lines daily just to encourage believers. No disrespect intended, but there are Many daily devotionals that are e-mailed with that as their sole intent, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that! Even Peter received One Word, “Come”, that was an “Engrafted Word”, because it impacted him by moving him from one place to another, (we’ll look at that a little more in depth later). So, I reiterate, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a short format devotional!                 

However, as for me, my heart’s desire as a teacher/preacher/counselor/life coach (and whatever else can be added to the list) is based solely on the Word of God, more specifically, based on James 1:21, the “…Engrafted Word” of God! Why you ask? Because the word “Engrafted” means, “to attach to, and become part of.Therefore, it is my ministry goal daily to e-mail an “Engrafted Word”, one that will attach itself to you and become part of you!

Picture a gardener grafting a branch into a tree and that branch coming to life and bearing fruit. Now picture yourself reading God’s Word and a Scripture attaching itself to you, growing in you and producing change in your life. That’s how God’s Word works. And so help me, that’s how these Devotionals will continue to work!               

As a teacher, it is my charge to give clear and concise instruction, which causes me to have to dig deeper and explain further. Why is that so important? Because James admonishes: “NOT MANY [of you] should become teachers…for you know that we [teachers] will be judged by a higher standard and with greater severity [than other people; thus we assume the greater accountability and the more condemnation].” (3:1 AMP). The Message Bible says it like this: “Don’t be in any rush to become a teacher…Teaching is highly responsible work. Teachers are held to the strictest standards…

In other words, when I e-mail you daily devotionals of direction to change your life and lifestyle, I’m held accountable for the “Engrafted Word” I teach that becomes a part of who you become! That’s a tremendous responsibility, that no teacher ought to take lightly! Now, you understand why I’m an extremely detailed devotional writer! There is great responsibility and condemnation to the teachers of the “Engrafted Word” of God!                 

But why do I desire to teach an “Engrafted Word”? Well, to be real blunt, far too many are simply “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof…” (2 Timothy 3:5). How do I know many are hearing a Word, but not receiving an “Engrafted Word”? Because power changes things! For example, you can take an extension cord and plug it into an outlet, but if the power is off, nothing in a dark room is going to change! But if you take that same cord and plug it in with the power on, light comes in and darkness gets pushed out! That’s why the Bible says: “…what fellowship has light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14 ESV). Light and darkness don’t dwell together, and it’s power that separates the two, because power always changes things! 

With that said, you’ll know when you’ve received an “Engrafted Wordbecause things in your life will change! Why? Because the Word has Power!For the Word of God is quick, and POWERFUL, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12). In other words, an “Engrafted Word” is “Powerfulenough to invoke change! But right before that word “Powerful”, did you notice it also says the Word is “Quick”?! So before you go complaining that, “this is just the way I am; I’ve been like this my whole life; that’s just me; I’m set in my ways; that’s just my personality; I don’t let nothing and no one change me”, before you go off on that tangent, might I remind you that the Word of God is “Quick” and “Powerful”! If you haven’t changed yet, it’s because you have NOT received an “Engrafted Word”! You can’t receive one and stay the same! Even if you’re walking in the darkness of sin, the Bible says: “By your words I can see where I’m going; they throw a beam of light on my dark path. I’ve committed myself and I’ll never turn back from living by your righteous order.” (Psalm 119:105-106 MSG). When you’ve received an “Engrafted Word”, you must change and change quickly! It don’t take a lifetime for God to change you! He spoke one Word to Peter “Come”, it was an “Engrafted Word” because Peter received and embraced it, upon doing so he changed location from sitting on a boat to walking on the water, and it didn’t take a decade to get it done! 

Let’s look at a few Scriptures to test this out: 

  1. …Jesus called them, and IMMEDIATELY they left the boat and…followed him.” (Matthew 4:21-22 NIV). [The Engrafted Word spoke and they changed direction and occupation!]
  2. …Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying…be thou clean. And IMMEDIATELY his leprosy was cleansed.” (Matthew 8:2-4). [The Engrafted Word spoke and a disease was dismissed!]
  3. I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go…and IMMEDIATELY he arose, took up the bed, and went…” (Mark 2:11-13). [The Engrafted Word spoke and he was able to lift what had carried him for years!]
  4. And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And IMMEDIATELY he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.” (Mark 10:52). [The Engrafted Word spoke and impaired vision was restored!]
  5. And he stood over her, and rebuked the fever; and it left her: and IMMEDIATELY she arose and ministered…” (Luke 4:39). [The Engrafted Word spoke and ministering went forth!]               

Clearly, the “Engrafted Word” is “Quick” and “Powerful” enough to change people, places and things ‘Immediately’!               

The “Engrafted Word” liberates you, lifts you, directs you, and enables you to fight and win! Engrafted-Word-Carrying-Believers are Potent! That’s because the “Engrafted Word” sticks to you, takes you through the storm, feeds you in famine, quenches your thirst in drought, and brings you through the worst of times!  

The “Engrafted Word” is self-sustaining! It doesn’t require the accolades of men or the support of others to validate it! As Jesus was walking on the water towards His disciples in the boat, Peter said, “Lord, if it’s you,”…”tell me to come…” (Matthew 14:28 NIV). Jesus gave him one Word, “Come,” and Peter started walking! Was he scared? I know I would’ve been! That’s why your desire to obey what He said, has to always be greater than the fear of doing what He said! The “Engrafted Word” gives you a desire for God that’s greater than your doubts and limitations!  

Keep in mind: When you receive an “Engrafted Word” from God, there will always be those who don’t believe you can do it; those who are so comfortable with where you’re currently at, that they don’t want you to even try to do it; and those who are so competitive that they don’t want you to succeed at doing it! When God gives you a Word and you step out on it, don’t expect everybody to validate it! It’s normal for you to want certain people to see what you see and believe what you believe. But God prepares you for disagreements between you and those who don’t understand what God has told you. If you’re not careful, people’s opinions will short-circuit your faith and make you doubt what God said! God says: “I’m not going to confirm what I’ve told you through them! In fact, I don’t even need them to agree with what I’ve spoken concerning you. Pay attention to Peter once again: He said: “Lord, if it’s YOU…That’s all you need to know, is it the “Lord”! Secondly, Peter said: “…tell me to come…”, NOT US! Just, “…tell ME…Everybody sitting with you, can’t walk with you! Be confident in God. You may want all these external support systems, but the truth is, you don’t need them! The “Engrafted Word” is self-sustaining!               

Lastly, when God gives you an “Engrafted Word,” it will make you hunger for more of the same! But be careful; don’t go “cherry-picking” the Bible for feel-good Scriptures! To grow in your faith you must discipline yourself to spend time each day in God’s Word! You don’t discover an “Engrafted Word” all by yourself, or decide that one particular Scripture is for you and another is not. No! The Bible says: “ALL Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).  

To make a profit in business you must know your business thoroughly, otherwise you’ll soon be out of business! The way to succeed in your Christian life is to make it your business to know your Bible! Don’t just seek a Word from God, study the entire Word of God! Saturate yourself in the Scriptures! It’s like the analogy of the sperm and the egg. Neither the male sperm nor the female egg is designed to reproduce on their own. Only when the sperm impacts and is embraced by the egg, is there conception and reproduction! And it’s the same with our spiritual growth! When God’s Word and the receptive heart get together, something is going to happen! That’s a combination that works every time! There’s no substitute for first-hand, daily, consistent exposure to His “Engrafted Word”! 

Today, no matter who is teaching the Word, your goal is to make sure you are receiving the unadulterated Gospel, the full Word of God and not a piece meal, or selected feel-good verses. If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you. So determine to study the Bible in its entirety, yes, even the Scriptures that step on your toes, after all, those are usually the very ones that cause you to walk better! Remember the Word of God is to be Engrafted so that it Equips, not Entertains! Which is why we are not told to simply read the Word, but to STUDY and APPLY it! “Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth” (2 Timothy 2:15 AMP); “But be doers of the Word [obey the message], and not merely listeners to it, betraying yourselves [into deception by reasoning contrary to the Truth]” (James 1:22 AMP)  

Seek Engraftment NOT Entertainment!

“For the time is coming when [people] will not tolerate (endure) sound and wholesome instruction, but, having ears itching [for something pleasing and gratifying], they will gather to themselves one teacher after another to a considerable number, chosen to satisfy their own liking and to foster the errors they hold, And will turn aside from hearing the truth and wander off into myths and man-made fictions.” (2 Timothy 4:3-4 AMP). 

The point of teaching is to pierce the heart of the believer and unbeliever alike, to make both better! “Now when they heard this they were stung (cut) to the heart, and they said to Peter and the rest of the apostles (special messengers), Brethren, what shall we do? And Peter answered them, Repent (change your views and purpose to accept the will of God in your inner selves instead of rejecting it) and be baptized, every one of you, in the name Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of and release from your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise [of the Holy Spirit] is to and for you and your children, and to and for all that are far away, [even] to and for as many as the Lord our God invites and bids to come to Himself. And [Peter] solemnly and earnestly witnessed (testified) and admonished (exhorted) with much more continuous speaking and warned (reproved, advised, encouraged) them, saying, Be saved from this crooked (perverse, wicked, unjust) generation. Therefore those who accepted and welcomed his message were baptized, and there were added that day about 3,000 souls. And they steadfastly persevered, devoting themselves constantly to the instruction and fellowship of the apostles, to the breaking of bread [including the Lord’s Supper] and prayers.” (Acts 2:38-42 AMP).

An Engrafted Word Will Always Impact the Lives of People For the Better!

Listen, these are indeed the last and evil days, and the last thing you need to do is wander away from the Word of God. Make a determination to be rooted and grounded in a Bible Teaching, Bible Preaching, Bible Praying, Bible Believing, Bible Living Church! And once you’re there, determine to always be found in Sunday School and Bible Study, not just Sunday Morning Worship! The teaching arm of the ministry is strong and powerful, it’s foundational to your growth and development in the faith! Strengthen your personal and congregational bible study time with the Engrafted Word of God. You will become one of God’s Strongest Soldiers in Spiritual Warfare!

“Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the ENGRAFTED WORD, which is able to SAVE YOUR SOULS.” (James 1:21) 

Most importantly, the Engrafted Word of God is Purposed to Save Your Soul. Not make you feel good, or feel better. Not to twist and distort into a prosperity, blessings, houses, cars, land, promotion message. Not to tickle your ears or your fancy. But it is to Save Your Soul! And for the price your Savior paid for your soul don’t you think you owe Him your undivided attention where His Word is concerned? After all, He gave His blood and life and all He’s asking from you is that you study His Word. Should that really be a struggle?

Proverbs 30:5, “Every Word of God has been proven true. He is a safe-covering to those who trust in Him.” (NLV)

Romans 10:17, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the Word of Christ.” (ESV)

John 1:1, “In the beginning [before all time] was the Word (Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself.” (AMP)

John 1:14, “And the Word (Christ) became flesh, and lived among us; and we [actually] saw His glory as belongs to the [One and] only begotten Son of the Father, [the Son who is truly unique, the only One of His kind, who is] full of grace and truth (absolutely free of deception).” (AMP)

Hosea 4:6, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge [of My law, where I reveal My will]. Because you [the priestly nation] have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you from being My priest. Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I will also forget your children.” (AMP)

Psalm 119:9-16, “How can a young person live a clean life? By carefully reading the map of your Word. I’m single-minded in pursuit of you; don’t let me miss the road signs you’ve posted. I’ve banked your promises in the vault of my heart so I won’t sin myself bankrupt. Be blessed, God; train me in your ways of wise living. I’ll transfer to my lips all the counsel that comes from your mouth; I delight far more in what you tell me about living than in gathering a pile of riches. I ponder every morsel of wisdom from you, I attentively watch how you’ve done it. I relish everything you’ve told me of life, I won’t forget a word of it.” (MSG)

“There is only one safeguard against error, and that is to be established in the faith; and for that, there has to be prayerful and diligent study, and a receiving with meekness the engrafted Word of God. Only then are we fortified against the attacks of those who assail us.” (Arthur W. Pink)

“We need to start teaching the Bible the way it was written instead of watering it down to make it easier for people to swallow. People can swallow the truth.” (PassionForTruth)

“Being a Christian is more than just an instantaneous conversion – it is a daily process whereby you grow to be more and more like Christ.” (Charles Spurgeon)

“If Jesus preached the same message ministers preach today, He would never have been crucified.” (Leonard Ravenhill)

“There was a time when people went to church, heard the truth, and wept over their sins. Today…people go to church, hear a motivational speech, and ignore their sins.” (Ron Smith)

“It is the Christian’s responsibility to spread and protect the Gospel, why? Because it will continue to be under attack. The enemies want to distort and neutralize its powerful effect.” (Author Unknown)

“We should no more tolerate false doctrine than we would tolerate sin.” (J.C. Ryle)

“Avoid a sugar-coated gospel. Seek the gospel that rips up, wounds and even kills, for that’s the Gospel that makes alive again.” (Charles Spurgeon)

“The church is getting fat feeding on feel good gospel, when it needs to go on a diet of Jesus Filled Reality.” (Author Unknown)

“If the Word of God were a treasure map, I believe more people would read it. This proves they have no idea what unspeakable riches it holds.” (AMBrewster)

“There’s nothing more dangerous to the kingdom of darkness than a believer with the Word of God in his mouth.” (Joyce Meyer)

“If you want to be led by the Spirit of God, then devote yourself to the Word of God.” (J.D. Grear)

“The Bible was not given to increase knowledge, but to change our lives.” (D.L. Moody)

“Within the covers of the Bible are the answers for all the problems men face.” (Ronald Reagan)

“The Bible will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from the Bible.” (D.L. Moody)

“I spent six years in bible study because I needed to get grounded. People really need to spend time in the Bible getting to know the God they claim to love.” (Willie Aames)

“A Bible that’s falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn’t.” (Charles Spurgeon)

“Keep studying the Scriptures. Keep doing the things that build your faith in Jesus Christ. And then notice the wise choices you are naturally drawn to make.” (Russell M. Nelson)

“The Bible and studying the Bible has been an important part of my life.” (Jimmy Carter)

“The devil is a better theologian than any of us and is a devil still.” (A.W. Tozer)

“Don’t yield to Satan’s lie that you don’t have time to study the Scriptures. Choose to take time to study them. Feasting on the Word of God each day is more important than sleep, school, work, television shows, video games, or social media. You may need to reorganize your priorities to provide time for the study of the Word of God. If so, do it!” (Richard G. Scott)

“There is no long-range effective teaching of the Bible that is not accompanied by long hours of ongoing study of the Bible.” (D.A. Carson)

“We cannot properly understand Scripture without prayer, and we cannot know how to pray without studying Scripture.” (Becka Goings)

“God’s voice echoes throughout Scriptures. If I want to know God’s voice, I must spend time reading and studying the Bible.” (Margaret Feinberg)

“We live in a time when the Scriptures and the words of modern-day prophets are more easily accessible than at any time in the history of the world. However, it is our privilege and duty, and it is our responsibility to reach out and grasp their teachings.” (Dieter F. Uchtdorf)

“Let us receive nothing, believe nothing, follow nothing, which is not in the Bible, nor can be proved by the Bible.” (J.C. Ryle)

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

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