Friday, July 20, 2012

Pass The Test

Some of you who are reading this are probably going through a struggle right now. It could be with your physical health, finances, place of employment, career choices. It could also be family related, people wanting you to fail to boost their ego, the will to live, and the list goes on. God is not allowing you to be in that place just to leave you there permanently. He wants you to pass the test so you can either help somebody else get through, to bless someone else and you as well; most importantly, for Him to get the glory. Your test/struggle is not in vain. Like I’ve done with some of previous posts, I need to use some examples:

  1. Abraham was tested to see if he was faithful to God by sacrificing Isaac. We never find Abraham questioning God, “why do you want me to sacrifice my son”; instead, we find him saying to the young men traveling with him, “stay here while Isaac and I worship the Lord.” Did Abraham pass? Yes!
  2. Job was tested to see if he would remain truthful to God while the devil wreaks havoc in his life. Job makes faith statements such as “though He slay me, yet I will trust Him” and “I know that my Redeemer lives and He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth.

I could give more examples, but I believe you get the point. I do need to say this; people will say that your challenges will be no more. For the record, as long as you’re living on this earth, you will always have tests, challenges or struggles to go through (some will be easy and some will be difficult). Either way, our faith in God needs to be strong or a relationship must be there so you can come out unscathed. Like I said in my post from last week (The Faithfulness of God), I believe that we as a nation are being tested from God to see if we’re going to look to ourselves, our respective president, or anybody but God. He wants us to try Him so He can show us His faithfulness. He’s done it with many people in the Bible and He will do it for us, if we solely take Him at His Word. With that, we can pass any test. Now, don’t think that our tests will be passed overnight. For some of us, it may take days, months, and years to come out of one test (depending on the assignment God has you on). Stay true to Him, He is with us. God will teach us many things in our tests, and like the Hebrew boys in Daniel 3, we can come out of the fire unharmed. Gold without fire can’t be pure gold, so take comfort when we’re in the furnace of God, He’s trying to refine us make us shine brighter than before.

While you’re in this test, swallow your pride thinking that you have to put up a front for people. God may have to bring you down to raise you up. That’s what He did with His Son, He had to die in order to be raised up. Don't be afraid to ask for prayer. We all need help in our tests (and God put us together to pass our respective tests). There will be those who will cheat, and try to get you to fail. So find someone who wants you to pass - not those trifling cheaters who not only want you to fail, but are failing themselves (and are probably so blind to the fact they're failing, they don't even realize it).

I close with this thought: most TESTimonies come after a TEST! Now that should give you something to TESTify!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

You Can't Quit Now

We all have a gift bestowed unto us by our Heavenly Father. A small disclaimer: when I say gift, it can be translated as talent, purpose, or calling. God has given it to us, and our responsibility is to use it for His glory to bless other people. Now as we go forth and pursue it, there will come a time where you will either be sidetracked or just feel like giving up (and there are countless reasons). Let’s detour for a second and talk from the Bible to show where people who didn’t quit though they had justifiable excuses to do so if they did.
  1. Joseph was given a dream that would rescue his family from famine. After revealing his dream to his brothers, Joseph was sold as a slave and eventually faced hardships after being lied on by Potiphar’s wife. Joseph had an excuse to quit, but he didn’t and as a result, the Lord was with him.
  2. Job was under satanic attack and lost a lot in his life. His wife wanted him to curse God and die. Job could’ve quit serving God, but he didn’t and as a result, the Lord double-blessed him.
  3. The apostles were beaten for preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. They could’ve quit doing that to preserve their lives, but they didn’t and as a result, their ministry made an impact on the world (reference Acts 5:40-42).
  4. Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den for praying to God. He could’ve quit for fear of his life, but he didn’t. As a result, Daniel made it known that God is a protector to those who love Him.
  5. The three Hebrew boys were thrown into the fire that was 7x hotter than normal for refusing to bow their knee to the king. They could’ve quit serving God, but they didn’t. As a result, God walked through the fire with them.

What do we see here? If we’re serving God and bringing true glory to Him, He will always be with us. God is not blind to what trials we face.

Many of you have gifts that only you can do (and it has be expressed through the creative arts, through service, or through other means) that will bring glory to God and bless others tremendously. You must be determined and disciplined to fulfill your gift. If you don’t, you’re robbing yourself, God and others. You can’t quit now. The devil will throw many things at you to get you off course to make you quit. Keep your hands to the plow. We all need your gift just you all need my gift. Think back to when you wanted to quit something, but God gave you the strength to keep going – and it thrust you into your prophetic destiny. And I also want you to think back to when you started something and how you felt when you gave up. I would venture to say that when you kept going, you felt great and God extended your outreach. Trust me when I say that I know everything has a season; the objective is to stay obedient to Him at all times, so you don’t miss out when it’s your season. Even if you do, it will come back around again (provided you don’t remain disobedient).

I’ll even put this out there, there was a time in 2007 where I almost gave up on writing after an editor rejected my first book (Take It from Me). If some people didn’t encourage me to write, I would’ve been writing and making an impact on a few people. God allowed me to cross paths with a few people in 2009 and my first book was released and now it’s 2012, and I’ve written my first novel. I almost gave up writing the novel as well due to some personal issues going on in my life. Many of you didn’t know this, but if you were to read the acknowledgements in my novel, I mentioned when thanking the Lord that there was a point where I not only wanted to give up writing the novel, but living as a whole due to those personal issues. A dark cloud was over me during that time and I am so grateful that God sustained me through it all. If I had ended my life without finishing my novel, how would people’s lives be affected? Sure, God can use others to do something you should be doing, but the beauty of God is that He called us individually for a specific task. I said all of that to say this, if God has ordained you (which He has), He will sustain you through it all. Never let go of Him because He will always have His hand on you. And now that my novel is released, I’m so grateful to see lives rescued from the spirit of suicide.

In short, though I could type a lot more, just know that you can’t quit now because God will never quit on you! I better not forget this, you will face opposition like Joseph, Job, the apostles and many others recorded in Scripture, but you still can’t afford to quit now. Remember, quitters never win!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Serving Others

Matthew 20:28 says the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister and to give his life a ransom for many. Another translation would be: the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many.

As we look at this verse along with verses 26-27, you find that the focus is not about reaching the top and exert your power and/or authority, but instead to give your life in the service of others, especially for the spiritual good of all people. As you can see, Jesus is advocating the phrase, “it’s not about us!” It’s about others.

Now, let’s look at serving others. Sometimes we want to serve others expecting something in return, or compensation, or to be looked upon as “all that”). That should not be part of our repertoire. The question might be asked, “How do we serve others if Jesus is advocating this?” That’s a legitimate question. And this is what we’re going to talk about for the remainder of this post.

If we’re in Christ and all about doing His will, then His Spirit should be manifested in us. 1 Corinthians 12:7-11 talks about gifts that are a manifestation of the Holy Spirit through individual believers: Word of Wisdom (an utterance from the Holy Spirit applying God’s Word or wisdom to a specific situation), Word of Knowledge (an utterance from the Holy Spirit revealing knowledge about people, circumstances, or Biblical truth), Faith (supernatural faith imparted by the Holy Spirit, enabling a Christian to believe God for the miraculous), Healing (restoring someone to physical health by divinely supernatural means), Miracles (divine supernatural power to alter the course of nature, including casting out demons), Prophecy (a special temporary ability to bring a word, warning, exhortation, or revelation from God under the impulse of the Holy Spirit), Discerning of Spirits (special ability to judge whether prophecies and utterances are from the Holy Spirit), Speaking in Tongues (expressing oneself at the level of one’s spirit under the direct influence of the Holy Spirit in a language he or she has not learned and does not know) and Interpretation of Tongues (special ability to interpret what is spoken in tongues – personally: I haven’t met too many people with this gift and sure would love to, because I believe this is needed in the body of Christ). Now, some will have more than one and some will only have one. There’s nothing wrong with that; just don’t sit on that gift. We can express the gifts given to us in multiple ways in the service of others, some can express it behind a pulpit, through the creative arts, and the list can go on. I have concerns when it comes to gifts: 1-when we belittle others when they don’t have the gift that we have, 2-copying what another person does because of the gift that’s in them (not really using your gift) and 3-using a true gift with the wrong motive (not serving others, but to itch ears for the sake of $).

Serving others is for the glory of God, not for our sole benefit. Yes, we will benefit whether on earth or in life eternal, but it’s all about Him and His glory!

Additional scriptures to view if you want to: John 13:34; 1 Corinthians 13; Colossians 3:14; 1 John 3:14 and 4:8.