Single Messages

by Rick
Single Messages

These are ‘Stand Alone’ messages that I pray will be a blessing to you.  All the messages are from God’s Word and led of God’s Spirit.  Any Word from God is good.  Read, Receive, and be blessed!

  • If you have the Faith, God has the Power
  • Understanding Your Purpose
  • Still on the Wheel (1) – The Master Potter
  • Still on the Wheel (2) – How do you spell Success?
  • Still on the Wheel (3) – Damaged, but still Destined!
  • Just Don’t Let Go
  • Praying the Scriptures
  • Jesus and Private Ryan
  • To God be the Glory!
  • Freedom is Not Free
  • You Become what you Behold
  • Tomorrow is not Promised
  • Our Heavenly Citizenship
  • It Is Finished!
  • Gods Coverage Area
  • Lessons from a Traffic Jam
  • Selected for Service
  • Our Part in His Provision
  • Praying for those in Authority
  • September 11th, 2003
  • My Testimony
  • The True Christmas Story
  • The Gift of God
  • I Am the Bread of Life
  • I Am the Light of the World
  • I Am the Door
  • I Am the Good Shepherd
  • I Am the Resurrection and the Life
  • I Am the Way
  • I am the Vine
  • Perfect Peace
  • The Menu and the Meal
  • Taking God at His Word
  • There is a War Going On
  • Making a Choice to Rejoice
  • I Thirst
  • It Is Finished
  • Into Thy Hands I Commend My Spirit
  • Resurrection Sunday
  • You Are Special
  • Too Much In Common to Be Uncommon
  • Earthly License for Heavenly Interference
  • The Power of the Pipe
  • The Power of the Blood
  • The Power of the Blood
  • Transformers, More than Meets the Eye
  • Gods Mixing Bowl
  • Trusting God for One More Step

If you have the Faith, God has the Power (top of page)

(Mark 9:23 KJV)  Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.

I pray that you enjoyed the Labor Day weekend.  I have been on leave this past week and have enjoyed this time with my wife.  This is her last ‘visit,’ praise God!  She will leave this morning and head to San Antonio for a ten week Officer Basic Course.  The next time she comes, she will come to stay.  I ask that you lift her up in prayer this morning as she travels back to Texas.

Last night the Lord spoke a Word to my wife through my Pastor.  She received the Word and I rejoiced with her concerning it as we drove home.  As soon as we thanked God, however, for speaking a Word into her life, she started to run a fever.  I did not think much of it, but by the time we got home, her fever was getting worse.  I prayed for her and believed God that she would be healed by morning.  We laid down and attempted to go to sleep.  About 1am the fever was really bad and she was sweating profusely.  I was not concerned and kept on saying, “She will be healed by morning” and I kept speaking this by faith.  I got up, got some medicine, prayed over the medicine, and gave it to her.  I reminded her that we believed God that she would be healed by morning.  At 2am she was still sweating, but I kept believing God.  At 3am she was still sweating, but I kept believing God.  At 4am, praise God, the fever broke and she was able to get both sleep and rest.  She is still sleeping as I write this message.  It is morning and she is healed!  To God be the glory.

So what does this mean to you today? A few things:

1.       God wants to bless His people and He often times blesses us by speaking to us via the Bible, the Holy Spirit, circumstances, or other people.

2.       The Word of God is an incorruptible seed (1 Pet 1:23).

3.       In the parable of the Sower and the Seed (Mark 4:1-20), Jesus explained how the Word of God is a seed and how satan (v.15) attempts to immediately snatch the seed (The Word) that is spoken into our lives.

4.       satan’s mission statement is to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10).  He will do whatever he can to distract us from receiving and rejoicing in a Word from God.

5.       Faith is the weapon that extinguishes the attacks of the enemy (Eph 6:16).

In summary, my wife and I were rejoicing in having heard from God in a situation she had been dealing with.  The enemy did not like that and wanted to distract us from God’s Word.  Our faith stifled his attack and we are able to continue to walk in victory.

Your attack may not be a fever, but the principle is still the same.  Our text says that all things are possible to him that believes.  The Word used here for ‘believe’ literally means to operate in faith.  By Faith you can see impossibilities become reality.  By Faith you can watch hopeless situations turn around.  If you have the faith, God has the power!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I have been justified by the blood of Jesus and Your Word says that the just shall live by faith.  I walk by faith and not by sight.  I fight the good fight of faith.  I pray the prayer of faith over every situation in my life.  I overcome by faith because Your Word says that faith is the victory that overcomes the world.  My faith looses Your Power in my life.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Understanding Your Purpose (top of page)

(Ex 3:8-11)  And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites.  (9) Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them.  (10) Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt.  (11) And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?

The Lord allowed me to share a lesson last night to Ministers about the ‘Specificity of the Call.’  We were dealing with the Call of God upon our lives and what God has specifically called us to do.  We all have a purpose in life and I have shared many times that we must Find, Follow, and Finish that purpose to achieve personal success.  I shared some points from several biblical examples and one of them was Moses.  Let’s take a close look at Moses’ call, how it was specific, and how it would shape his outcome.

1.             God knew that His people were being mistreated by the hands of the Egyptians.  As a matter of fact, it was part of His prophecy to Abraham (see Gen 15:13-16).

2.             The 400 years (part of the prophecy) of captivity was about to be over and God needed someone to accomplish His purpose in the earth.  Remember that God gave dominion and authority in the earth (Gen 1:26) to man and whenever He wants to operate in the earth, He needs a man – who has legal authority – to accomplish His will.  Everything that God did in the Bible, in the earth, He did through a human being.

3.             In verse 8 God says that He is going to do two things: (1) deliver His people out of Egypt and (2) deliver His people into Canaan (the land of milk and honey).

4.             In verse 9 He acknowledges their pain and struggle.

5.             In verse 10, He gives Moses his mission.  This was Moses’ Specific Call.  This would be the entire purpose of His existence.  He tells Moses that He would be sent to Pharaoh to lead the nation of Israel out of Egypt.  God promised Nothing More and Nothing Less!

6.             Verse 8 clearly outlines two (2) things that God was going to do, but He only instructed Moses to do ONE of them.

7.             Moses did lead the nation of Israel out of the bondage of Egypt and was used of God in one of the greatest miracles of all time (the parting of the Red Sea).  He would not, however, be allowed to lead the nation into the ‘promised land.’  Many attribute this to a later act of disobedience (Num 20:11,12), but we can see that God already knew what he would do and destined him accordingly.  God never promised Moses that he would see Canaan.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that God also has a specific plan and purpose for your life and living.  He knows your strengths because He gave them to you.  He knows your weaknesses because He designed you.  He destined you for ‘Something.’  What you must do is find out what it is and then live out your life in pursuit of completing it before you die!  You may not get to see what others get to see or do what others get to do, but the blessing is in the fact that they won’t get was is destined for you either!  Enter into this day with a smile on your face saying, “What God has for me is for me!”

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  You destined me before the foundations of the world.  I am Your child and also a child of purpose and destiny.  You reveal Your purpose for my life and I submit myself, my decisions, and my desires to that purpose.  My life is driven by my purpose.  I do not allow jealousy to destroy me.  I do not focus on the purpose of others.  I keep my eyes stayed on Your purpose for me!  What you have for me is for me and I receive it!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Master Potter (top of page)

(Jer 18:1-4 KJV) The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words.  Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels.  And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.

We are thankful to the Lord for His traveling mercies to and from Memphis this past weekend.  While there he allowed me to share a message from this text entitled “But, I’m Still on the Wheel.”  The premise being that the potter (God) looked down at the clay (us) and saw that is was marred (ruined, corrupt); so He made it all over again – something that was pleasing in His sight.  The problem is that a potter cannot remake marred clay without first smashing it.  Yes, God often times puts us through a smashing process when we are not submitting to the process of allowing Him to make us into the vessel that He desires for us to be.  The good news is, however, that we are – although smashed and crushed – still on the wheel.  For the next few days we will share a few principles from the message that I pray will be a blessing to you.  This morning we will lay the foundation by understanding that he potter in the text is God.

A potter is an artist who selects clay according to the design that he has in mind and then begins to shape and fashion that clay into the picture that he has preconceived.  God is the Master Potter.  He can take all sorts of clay and make it into beautiful vessels.  God is the Master Tailor who is in the business of making holy garments from flawed materials.  God is the Master Architect who is in the business of making holy edifices from stones that the world has rejected.  God is the Master Creator who spoke to chaos and created order, spoke to nothing and created everything, spoke to darkness and created light.  God can see what we cannot see ourselves IN us and then works on us, like a potter with clay, until we become what He sees.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you may not be the person that you know you ought to be, nor the person that you know you really want to be, but the mere fact that you are still living and still breathing is evidence that you are still on the wheel!  God is still working on you.  God is still bending, pulling, reshaping, making, and molding you into the vessel that He has in mind for you to be.  He saw something in you before he ever started the work and He is determined to work on you until you become what He saw (Phil 1:6).  It may be painful at times to endure the reshaping process, but it is a process that will cause you to come out as a beautiful vessel.  When people come in contact with you, they will know that you have been touched by the hand of the Master Potter.

Enter into this day with you head held high, knowing that the Master Potter, the Creator of the Universe, is at work in your life.  He saw something in you worth working on and He will keep working until you become what He saw!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  You are the Master Potter.  I submit and surrender myself to the making process and sit as yielded clay in Your hands.  I know that You have my best interests in mind and are making me into the vessel that is pleasing in Your sight.  I enter into this day as a work in progress, but a work that has been touched by the Master Potter!  Have Your way in me.  Make me into what You would have me to be.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

How Do You Spell Success? (top of page)

(Jer 18:1-4 KJV) The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words.  Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels.  And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.

This morning we continue to share some golden nuggets from the message the Lord allowed me to share this weekend from this text entitled “But, I’m Still on the Wheel.”  Yesterday we learned that the Potter (God) saw something in you worth working on and He will keep working until you become what He saw!  This morning we continue to flow in that same vein as we seek to define success and how you can go about achieving it.

Most people are striving for success without ever really knowing what it is that they are searching for.  They want to be successful, but they are not sure what that means.  When asked, some say that success is having large sums of money, a big house, a big family, or etc.  The problem then is that if we do not understand what success is, we will not be able to devise a plan to achieve it.  I believe success in life is understanding Your Purpose and completing it before you Die! Nothing more and nothing less.  Success has to be tied to God’s purpose for our lives.  Success is becoming the vessel that the potter originally intended for the clay to become.  Success is allowing God to make you into the shape that He originally pictured for your life.  With that in mind, let’s look at how we can achieve success:

1.  Find It: There is no such thing as success without purpose.  You must find your purpose in life.  Your purpose becomes the measuring stick by which you measure your Success.  My purpose may not be your purpose and your purpose may not be my purpose, therefore I cannot use your measuring stick to judge my life and vice-versa.  I have to spend some time with God to find out what He birthed me into the earth to DO!

2.  Follow It:  Once you understand what your purpose is, then you must have the discipline to follow it until you die.  What is discipline?  Discipline is self imposed limitations and restrictions that will take you towards a desired end.  Once you know what the desired end (purpose) is, then you must have the discipline to follow a plan that will take you there.

3.  Finish It:  A lot of people start stuff.  They start weight loss programs, work out programs, debt freedom programs, rehab programs, etc.; but success does not come to those who Start, but only to those who Finish!  Jesus finished His purpose at the tender age of 33 and after only 3 years of ministry, but once His purpose was complete, God took Him back home.  John, on the other hand, lived to a very old age to complete his purpose.  Once he finished writing the Revelation of Jesus Christ on the island of Patmos, his purpose was complete and the Lord took him home.  Either young or old, we must have the Spirit of a Finisher!

So what does this mean to you today? It means that God wants you to be successful, but He does not want you to judge success by the world’s standards.  God wants you to spend time with Him to Find His purpose for your life.  After you know what it is, then you must have the discipline to Follow it until it you are Finished here in the earth!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I am Your child and I live my life by Your standards.  My success is tied to my purpose.  I have an ear to hear what You are saying to me.  I hear from You and fully understand my purpose.  I follow that purpose all the days of my life.  I will finish my course before I die, but my commitment starts today!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Damaged But Still Destined! (top of page)

(Jer 18:1-4 KJV) The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words.  Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels.  And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.

For the last couple of days I have shared a few golden nuggets from a message the Lord allowed me to share this past weekend from this text entitled, “But, I’m Still on the Wheel.”  Yesterday we sought to define success (understanding your purpose and completing it before you die) and how to go about achieving it (find it, follow it, and finish it).  This morning we will wrap up this series of messages from this text by summarizing the message:

1.       The Potter selected the clay from the earth:  You were divinely selected by the Hand of God.  You are not here by mistake and not a result of chance (see Jer 1:5, 29:11, Ro 8:28-30).

2.       The Potter did not start the work until He finished it:  Meaning that the plans for the end product were completed before He ever got started on the clay.  The plans for a house have to be completed – in most cities – and approved by the city, before the work can ever get started!  You must understand that Your Future is God’s Past!  God has already setup Your Success!  He knew your end from the beginning.  Our role is to have the discipline to make the decisions that will take us towards that expected end.

3.       The Potter placed the clay on the wheel for a ReShaping Process:  The selection of the clay is just he beginning of the process.  After the potter selects the clay, he has to remove all debris from it and then place it on the wheel for a re-shaping process.  The clay must yield to the hands of the potter for the potter to make it into the design that He has in mind.  The process of cleaning us up and reshaping us (our desires, lifestyle, habits, mannerisms, etc.) can be a painful process.  Once we come to God, He basically has to make us over again through the renewing of our mind.  Our Spirit is saved instantly, but our soul (mind, emotions, will) must be saved progressively.

4.       Whenever the Potter looks down and does not like what He sees, it is because the clay is not cooperating:  To say that the Potter made a mistake is to say that the Potter is not Sovereign.  God does not make mistakes, but He does allow us to make choices.  Some times we make choices that contradict God’s plan for our lives.  At this point, God will look down at us and see that we are “marred.”  This word means damaged, flawed, faulty.

5.       The only true way to mix marred clay is to SMASH IT and start all over again:  God looks down at us from time to time and realizes that because we have made decisions that contradict His plan, He has to SMASH us to continue the re-shaping process.  Have you ever endured the SMASHING process?

6.       The Good News is that the Clay, although SMASHED, is still on the wheel:  We can find hope in knowing that God loves us enough to SMASH us, but not throw us away!

7.       If the Potter were to remove the clay from the wheel, then the Potter would be giving up on the clay and removing it from the Process of making it something beautiful:  God does not want to remove you from the process, but He does want to get you into the shape He has destined for you to be.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that no matter who you are and no matter how badly you may have messed up, the mere fact that you are still alive and still breathing is evidence that God is not through making you!  You may be Damaged, but You’re Still Destined!  Thank God that you are Still on the Wheel!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I am not yet perfect, but I am striving for perfection.  I allow You to make me into the vessel that you have destined me to be.  I submit to the re-shaping process.  My mind is renewed through the Word of God.  I walk in accordance with Your Word.  I live my life in accordance with Your Will.  I submit this day and every day to your Way!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Just Don’t Let Go (top of page)

(Gen 32:24-26 NIV)  So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak.  When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man.  Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”  But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”

Yesterday I worshipped at Greater Mount Calvary Holy Church where Co-Pastor Susie Owens preached the Word.  She preached a message from our text entitled “Just Don’t Let Go!” The message was so power that I feel led to share a few of my notes with you this morning.

Many of us can identify with Jacob.  Jacob’s life was one of crisis after crisis.  At the point of the text he is in serious trouble.  He can’t go back because his uncle Laban is chasing him.  He can’t make plans to move forward because his brother Esau has 400 men looking for him.  He has rough terrain to his left and right.  In many ways, he is boxed in and finds himself in a place of restriction.  To make it even worse the text says that he is “alone.”  Trouble on every side and he is alone.  I think it is safe to say that he was struggling.  His greatest struggle, however, would not be external.  His greatest struggle and our greatest struggles are always an ‘inside job.’  The text says that there was a man that wrestled with him and he held on to the man until his blessing came.  So what can we glean from the text?

1.  Don’t Fight the Process:  Whatever God permits to enter the arena of our lives; He has purpose wrapped up in.  Jacob was not fighting with the devil, but he was holding on to God!  There are situations that God allows us to enter because it is part of our development.  If you find yourself in a struggle this morning, it is not to destroy you, but to develop you.  Just Don’t let Go!

2.  You’ve Been Built to Last:  Jacob was not new to struggle, he had been in struggles all his life.  Likewise, many of us are quite familiar with the process of struggle.  We, like Jacob, have been built to last.  No matter what how hard the struggle gets, Just Don’t let Go!

3.  He touched him in his Place of Strength:  Jacob was touched in the socket of his hip because this is a place of strength and stability.  We often times are attacked in our areas of strength to further develop us to be the men and women that God has destined us to be.  If you are struggling with your finances, your marriage, your children, your job, or etc. it is because you are being developed in that area  —  for the glory of God!  No matter what, Just Don’t let Go!

4.  Give it All you’ve Got:  Normally people relax when the see the breaking of day, when they see the light at the end of the tunnel.  The man told Jacob to let him go because the day was about to break, but Jacob said that he would not let him go unless he blessed him!  You and I are going to get tired, frustrated, and disillusioned from time to time.  When we see the breaking of day we may want to give up and let go.  But no matter what, Just Don’t let Go, until God blesses YOU!

Walking with God is not always easy, but it will be worth it!  Hold on to God this morning and Just Don’t let Go!

This is Today’s Word.  Apply it and Prosper!

Praying the Scriptures (top of page)

How do you pray?  When you pray do you pray God’s word back to Him, reminding God of His promises?  James said, (James 4:3 KJV)  Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.  When we pray and are not lined up with the will of God and are really praying our own will, we do not receive what we ask.  When we pray in accordance with God’s will, however, we receive what we ask for.  How then can we make sure that we are praying God’s will and not our own?  Easy, by Praying the Scriptures.

I often times say that the spirit of God will never take you contrary to the word of God because God cannot contradict Himself.  So then, when you pray in accordance with His Word, you are praying in accordance with His will, hence you will receive what you have prayed for.  Jesus said it this way, (John 15:7 KJV)  If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.  He was basically saying that when you have my word deep down inside of you, you can ask whatever you want, because whatever YOU want, will be what I want, because of my Word.

The proverb writer said, (Prov 28:9 KJV)  He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.  This is the nail in the coffin for those who prayer contrary to the word of God.  When you pray outside of His word and His will, your prayer nauseates God.

So what does this mean to you today? Before you get deep into doing all you must do on today, pray.  But when you pray, pray in accordance with God’s word.  When you remind God of what He has said in His word, you will get His results because you are praying His way.  Listen, we are too busy to spend time in useless prayer.  Today, with all the things we have on our plate, we just simply cannot afford praying a prayer that will not be heard.   Please hear what the Spirit is saying and hasten to it.  Find out what God says in His word about your situation and pray His word back unto Him.  You will get Godly results!

When I pray your word I pray your will,
And having your word, prayed, it shall come to pass,
And blessed I shall be in every area of my life,
Not only from this day, but until my last.

This is Today’s Word.  Apply it and Prosper!

Jesus and Private Ryan (top of page)

This last weekend(30 Jul 98), I saw the movie; “Saving Private Ryan.”  This movie was a graphic representation of WWII.  It did not glamorize war at all and reminded me of the sobering reality that soldiers are in the military to “soldier.”  Soldiers take an oath to support and defend their country; with their life if necessary.  The plot is summarized in that the fact that four brothers went to war and three of them were already dead.  A group of soldiers were sent on a mission to save the last one (Private Ryan) and send him home to his mother.  In the process of finding and securing Private Ryan, most of the soldiers were killed.  One of them, in his dying breath, grabbed Ryan and whispered in his ear “Earn It!” Private Ryan lived his life trying to fulfill those words; trying to live a life “worthy” of the sacrifice of his fellow soldiers.  They died that he might have a right to live with his family.  They died so that he could go home and be with his mother.  They died for their country, but they also died for Private Ryan.

At the end of the movie, Private Ryan is at Arlington National Cemetery and is talking to the tombstone of the soldier who uttered those chilling words.  He says something to the effect; “I have tried to earn what you did for me all my life, I hope I have.”

The story was moving and it reminded me of another person who laid down His life so that others might live.  Of another person who was the ultimate sacrifice for us all.  Of a man who loved those who had turned their backs on Him.  Do you know this man?  His name is Jesus.  The bible speaks of him, It says; (Rom 5:7,8 NIV)  Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

We can’t “Earn” what Christ did for us, there is nothing we can do to “deserve” it.  All we can do is glorify Him by fulfilling His commandments and living a life pleasing in His sight.  So that one day, we will here the words;  (Mat 25:21 KJV)  His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

I really can’t earn what Christ did for me,
But with my life, I make an attempt to repay,
What for all of us, He did on Calvary,
How He Suffered, Bled, and Died on that day!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

To God be the Glory! (top of page)

My church (Marlboro Heights Missionary Baptist Church) is having a Leadership Conference (29 Jul 98) this week.  The conference has been a blessing to me.  Many things have been taught, but the one topic that particularly struck a cord with me was about going through the fire.  The Minister last night dealt with the three Hebrew boys in Daniel.  I will discuss this topic, but from Isaiah’s perspective.  Isaiah said, (Isa 43:1,2,7 KJV)  But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. (v.7)  Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.

So what does this mean to you today?  What can we learn form this passage?

1.  (v.1):  God identifies the children of Israel as his own:

1.      Created thee

2.      Formed thee

3.      Redeemed thee

v.2:  God assures the children of Israel of His presence in trouble:

1.      When (not if) thou passest through the waters (comfort:  I will be with thee)

2.      And through the rivers (comfort:  they shall not overflow thee)

3.      When (nor if) thou walkest through the fire (comfort:  thou shalt nor be burned)

v.7  God presents the children of Israel with a great task:

1.      Everyone that is called by my name  (those who He has identified as his (v.1))

2.      Created him for my glory (This is it, this is why you are here, on this planet today.  To glorify God)

Have you ever wondered why you are here?  What is your purpose?  Our (corporate) purpose is to glorify God.  To glorify means to have a good opinion or a good estimate of.  So when you see me, you should have a good opinion or a good estimate of God.  This is an awesome task, I know, but this is what we have been created to do.  Our circumstances do not exonerate us from our responsibility to bring glory to God.  As a matter of fact, God gets more glory out of our circumstances, because He gets the credit for the deliverance.

So no matter what you go through (v.1-6), you are still supposed to show a good opinion and a good estimate of God.  These people had been through the waters (The Red Sea) and through the rivers (The River Jordan) and now they were going through the fire, but through it all, God got the glory!  I will close with the words of my good friend, Elder Jon Bryant.  He asks, “Will you still praise God in a dry ditch?

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Freedom is Not Free (top of page)

(John 15:13 MSG)  This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends.

When he knelt to pray that first night in the Army they showered him with jeers and taunts.  When he quietly but firmly refused to pick up a rifle, they called him a coward.  When Harry Truman decorated him with the Medal of Honor, they called him unlikeliest hero.  Who is he?  His name is Desmond Doss, a Christian soldier.  In May, 1945, the 1stBattalion of the 307th Infantry Regiment was ordered to scale the 50-foot Maeda escarpment on the southern end of Okinawa. A barrage of Japanese mortar and rifle fire met the Americans and the battalion was forced off the escarpment, leaving behind 75 wounded comrades and Desmond Doss.  Working slowly and tenaciously under continuous enemy fire, Doss dragged each man to the edge of the cliff, tied him in a rope sling and lowered him to safety. One by one, he rescued them all.

“I don’t think there is anyone who appreciates peace more than I do,” Doss once told an interviewer.  “I am sad for the true heroes who paid the supreme price for our freedoms.”

LTG Simon Bolivar Buckner, Jr., graduated from West Point in 1908 and was commissioned in the Infantry.  In 1945 General Buckner was given command of the newly-formed Tenth U.S. Army and with it the task of invading and neutralizing Okinawa.  During the fighting he repeatedly exposed himself to danger by touring the frontlines to encourage his men.  Because of his attitude, they nicknamed him “The Bull.”  Four days prior to the victory he sought LTG Buckner was mortally wounded while motivating his forces from an advanced observation post.  He was the highest ranking officer to lose his life in the Pacific Theatre.  In 1954 Congress posthumously promoted him to the rank of General.

Today is Veteran’s Day.  Yesterday I stood at the cliff where Desmond Doss saved the lives of men of his unit and I stood at the very spot where Bolivar Buckner took his last breath.  I can’t help but remember America’s sons and daughters on the front lines in combat today.  I write this message from Okinawa, but my heart is in Iraq.  I have many friends in harms way this morning and I solicit your prayers for them.  We look back at Doss and Buckner and forward to all those putting their lives on the line for our security.  Our text for this morning reminds us of the lives that are freely given daily for us and then, most importantly, the life Jesus gave for all humanity.

I know you are busy, but please take a moment to pray for the family of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice and for those who are putting their lives on the line daily, for the ‘American Way!’  Pray for peace.  Pray for power.  Pray for protection.  Pray for them.  Prayer changes things.

Away from America’s soil, fighting for what is right, representing our nation’s liberty,
Lord, help them to be examples of your righteousness everywhere they go,
That the oppressed, downtrodden, and persecuted may be made free,
And that the blood stained banner of Jesus the Christ may, in every nation, freely flow!
Freedom is not Free!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

You Become what you Behold (top of page)

Last night (27 Apr 2000) God through Pastor Roderick Mitchell shared something that blessed me so much that I feel led to share it with you this morning.  He was dealing with conflicts and circumstances and how we deal with them.  He said “You become whatever you behold.”  That is to say, whatever it is that you are focusing on, will be at the forefront of your mind and hence, is what you will act out.  So, if your spouse is upset and you get in their face and behold them, you will soon become what you behold and get upset as well.  On the other hand, if you get in God’s face and behold Him, you will become what you behold and hence be better equipped to deal with the circumstance.  The face of God is directly correlated to Glory and Brightness.  God emanates enough glory to shine the entire world (Ez 43:2, Rev 18:1).

Understanding the connection between God and light, let us examine what happens when you focus on light.  If you stood in front of a bright light and ‘focused’ on it for an extended period of time, when you shifted your focus off of the light unto someone or something, you would not see them or it, but you would still see the light.  Your vision becomes affected by the light.

So what does this mean to you today? Understanding that you become what you behold, we should pay careful attention to what we focus on.  If your spouse, child, boss, or friend is upset; you have to make a decision on whether or not to focus on them or focus in on God.  When you focus in on God (who is the light), you will be blinded when you look back at them and will no longer see them, but God.  Once we see the glory of God, not only will we overcome that situation, but we will walk as conquerors and overcomers.  The question then becomes, what are you looking at?

Making a decision to take my eyes off of the problem and focus on the promise,
Will bring a renewing and refreshing joy to my life, and no longer will strife be what I perceive,
Understanding that principle, I should focus on the face of God,
And then His blessings, His vision, and His promises, I will receive.

This is the Word of the Day.  God Bless.

Tomorrow is not Promised (top of page)

This morning (14 Apr 2000) I want to start out by thanking God for traveling mercies to and from the National Training Center (NTC) in California.  I want to share something with you from my heart.

I remember a young man who taught me how to ride a motorcycle while I was a kid in the Dominican Republic.  He was a few years older than I and I found his friendship dear and true.  I hung around him as much as a could, hoping to learn from the “big kids.”  One day I moved back to New York and I knew that he would eventually follow.  My hopes became reality when he was granted a visa and came to New York.  God Blessed him to buy the grocery store that was right down stairs from my house and I saw him everyday.

I joined the military and started traveling all around the world.  I remember coming home and making it a point to run into the store and see him, sometimes even before I went upstairs to see my mother.  He was such a nice guy and helped just about anybody.

Last Saturday he fell to the ground with a headache.  He was rushed to the hospital and diagnosed with a tumor.  My mother called me and asked me to pray.  She told me that the family was praying in New York and, the Dominican Republic and wanted us to pray in Texas.  God told me in prayer that HE needed to pray and not us.  I relayed that message to my mom and she relayed it to his wife.  His wife told him and he prayed to God.

On Tuesday, while I was in NTC, he died.  He was my cousin, my confidant  —  but most of all  —  my friend.  I pray that he got right with God before he died.  His death serves as a message to my family and to you via this email that tomorrow is not promised.  He was a young man with many hopes and dreams.  He was a business owner in the land of plenty.  He and His wife were attempting to have children.  It seemed like everything was great.  Within 4 days time, his world came to a screeching halt.

I solicit your prayers for my family, but most importantly, I share this with you that you might be saved.  If you have never accepted Jesus Christ into you life, don’t wait for tomorrow, for tomorrow is not promised.  The bible says, (Rom 10:9 KJV)  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

You can be here today and gone today!  Receive Jesus and receive eternal life!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Our Heavenly Citizenship (top of page)

 

(Phil 3:20 AMP) But we are citizens of the state (commonwealth, homeland) which is in heaven, and from it also we earnestly and patiently await [the coming of] the Lord Jesus Christ (The Messiah) [as] Savior.

One of the blessings I was able to receive this past week was to spend Mother’s Day with my mother. I was TDY in Rhode Island during Mother’s Day weekend. I have family there and a couple of car loads also came up from New York City and we had a tremendous time of fellowship. I really enjoyed being around my family and experiencing our rich culture and festive spirit. As I meditated on the wonderful time that we had the Lord began to remind me of some messages that I heard Dr. Myles Munroe teach on related to Kingdom Living. Dr. Munroe was led of the Holy Spirit to paint a picture between migration and immigration into the Kingdom of God that has become so real to me. As I looked around at my family I could see many that had migrated to this country, but never immigrated to full citizenship. My Mother, for example, lived in this country for almost 15 years before she became a full-fledged citizen and was able to receive that benefits that come along with it. I even thought about my wife, who came to this country a little over 10 years ago, who became a citizen in 1999. When I think about both my and my wife’s families, I have plenty example of those who have both immigrated and become functioning citizens in this country and those who have refused to do so, but still attempt to live here and enjoy the benefits therein.

 

I could go on about this, but what does this mean to you today? Our scripture and this message deal with the new citizenship of Born-Again believers. A citizenship that is not tied to this world, but rather to the Kingdom of God. Many people come to church Sunday after Sunday and Wednesday after Wednesday, without even accepting Jesus Christ as their Savior. I liken these people to those who migrate to this country without ever immigrating therein. These people may enjoy temporary benefits that could with Kingdom association, but they will never know the true power of the Kingdom, until they make the move from migration to immigration. Those of us who have U.S. citizens enjoy the benefits our nation is obligated to bestow upon us. One of which is protection, both in the U.S. and abroad. Dr. Munroe points out that when we travel, we do so with a Passport. The Passport identifies us with our country and it also let’s everyone know that we are under the protection of our host nation, while we are traveling in a foreign land. As Born-Again believers, the blood of Jesus is our passport and it lets the devil and his hellish imps know that we are citizens of heaven and protected by God’s heavenly host of angels.

Are you a migrant in the Kingdom of God or have you immigrated to full citizenship? If you come to church and like what you hear, but have never accepted Jesus into your life, you need to do so today. Repent of your sin and allow God to bestow upon you the full citizenship that you can enjoy. If you are a Born-Again believer, then this message is a reminder that you are a citizenship of a heavenly Kingdom and you have a right to the benefits that this life in Christ can offer. Walk with your head held high and your shoulders broad, you are a child of the Most High King!

 

This is Today’s Word.  Apply it and Prosper!

It Is Finished! (top of page)

Last night (21 Apr 2000) we had a ‘Good Friday’ service and we experienced an awesome move of God.  Seven preachers preached from the seven last sayings of Jesus on the cross.  The Lord allowed me to share from the sixth  —  “It is finished!

First of all, you cannot finish something that you have not started.  To understand what God finished on the cross, we have to understand what He started.  For that, we have to go back to Genesis.  In Genesis God created Adam in His own image (Gen 1:27).  One day, however, God looked at Adam and saw something in him that He did not see in Himself  —  sin.  This caused God to ask the question: Adam, where art thou? (Gen 3:9).  It was not that He did not have the answer, because Jesus (the lamb of God) was slain before the foundations of the world (Rev 13:8).  It was that God needed to understand the question: where art thou?  In other words, where are you and what have you gotten yourself into?  God had to walk in a flesh and blood body and experience what you and I experience, cry like we cry and be tempted like we are tempted.  God was looking to understand that question.  God made Him (Jesus) to be sin, who didn’t know sin, so that we could become righteous once again (2 Cor 5:21).

God had a plan to rescue Adam and his descendants (us).  It would entail first the sprinkling of the blood of lambs, bullocks and pigeons.  These would provide a temporary covering (atonement) for sin; until the eternal sacrifice (Jesus) could be presented.  It would entail having to go through a mediator (Priest) until the Holy Ghost could be given (Pentecost) and the relationship that Adam had with God could be restored.  Yes, God had a plan.

There is much more that I could share, but let me tell you that that plan was FINISHED when Jesus uttered that victorious proclamation  —  IT IS FINISHED!  Let me close with the words of James Proctor:

Nothing either great or small,
Nothing, sinner no,
Jesus did it, did it all,
Long, long ago.

It is finished, it is finished! Yes indeed,
Finished, every jot,
Sinner, this is all you need,
Tell me, it is not?

Cast your deadly doing down,
Down at Jesus’ feet;
Stand in Him, in Him alone,
Gloriously complete!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

God’s Coverage Area (top of page)

 

(Psalms 50:15 KJV) And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.

I work in the communications field. In my present job it is my responsibility to ensure that the people my team supports can basically communicate, anytime and from anyplace. To accomplish this we have expensive communications equipment. This equipment, like all man-made products, sometimes fails. To ensure success we have to build in redundancy.

I am sharing this because I have lost many a cell phone call by driving into the underground parking area of my building. It has happened so often that now if I am on the phone and am about to drive into the parking area, I simply stop and wait until the call is over. I lose the cell phone signal in the underground parking area because of the density of the walls, but there are areas in Korea and worldwide where you can be in an open area and still lose the signal, we call these areas “dead spots.” These are areas that are dead to cellular communications. And then there are areas that are simply just not covered.

 

So what does this mean to you today? It is very likely that you could find yourself in a place or position to where you cannot “call” your superior, or subordinate, or even a friend. It is quite possible for you to encounter a dead spot from time to time or be in an area that is not “covered.” But as the Lord reminded me while I was sitting in my car, just outside of my underground parking area waiting for a phone call to end, His Coverage Area is Universal! You can call upon the name of the Lord from absolutely Anywhere at Anytime!

 

You don’t need expensive equipment, you don’t need satellite technology, and you don’t even need to say a word out of your tongue. If you want to you communicate with God, all you need do is “Call” upon Him! He is never out of range and never out of reach, and best of all, you will never get a busy signal! He is never too busy and He can answer all of our calls at the same time without missing a beat.

Our text for this morning ties a promise to this message. The promise is that if we are in the “day of trouble” and we call upon Him, He is will deliver us and when He does so, you ought to give Him the glory!

 

So no matter your circumstance this morning, no matter what you are going through, you can call on our God — a God who is never asleep, never too busy, and never out of reach.

This is Today’s Word.  Apply it and Prosper!

Lessons from a Traffic Jam (top of page)

The trip to the East Coast was perfect for driving. My wife and I did not encounter any traffic and had great weather. The trip back, however, was another story. It rained and stormed for a great deal of the trip and we also seemed to drive through every construction area between New York and Texas. I will be honest and say that I got a bit frustrated at one point driving through Arkansas when it took my wife and I an hour and a half to drive about 15 miles. I could expect this in New York, but not in Arkansas.

As I reflected upon the trip the Holy Spirit taught me a few lessons:

  1. • Roads need repair. The constant travel between confession and completion, between prayer and performance, between desire and destination can cause a few potholes in our Christian path.
  2. • Repair requires work. God often times puts up “Road Work” signs in our lives that can be frustrating to us, but necessary to the work God has called us to. This work requires both breaking up some ground (painful) and laying down new, smooth road (promising).
  3. • The End-state is rewarding. Once a new road — the asphalt dried and the lines painted — it is ready for new traveling. Once we weather our storms and wait on God’s construction, we can ride through on new pavement and enjoy the smooth travel. We must always remember, however, to stay between the lines God has painted for us.

You won’t see any “Men at Work” signs in your walk with Christ, but there will be many “God at Work” signs along the way. God is working on you like the potter and the clay. He know what He wants you to be and He is doing the necessary work to get you there. It can be frustrating to be under construction, but remember that God is in control and be content. I will close with the words of Erskine Mason:

 

“They that deserve nothing should be content with anything. Bless God for what you have and trust God for what you want. If a man is not content in the state he is in, he would not be content in the state he would be in.”

This is Today’s Word.  Apply it and Prosper!

Selected for Service (top of page)

Members of the Body of Christ have been blessed by God to have at least one Spiritual Gift. Identifying, operating in, and perfecting these gifts should be the work of every believer (under the unction of the Holy Spirit). We ought to want to know what are gifts are and how we can be used for the up-building of the Kingdom of God. I feel led to share a series of messages concerning Spiritual Gifts in an attempt to look at these in particular and this morning share on “Service” in general.

Last night God allowed me to share a message concerning our being “Selected for Service.” In that message He allowed me to share four things about the first two that Jesus called (Andrew and Peter). Andrew and Peter were:

 

Pro-Active:

  1. • They were fisherman and Jesus found them casting their nets
  2. • They were working and they were active (Work Ethic)
  3. • God does not save us to Sit, He saves us to Serve, so He is looking for some folk who are willing to work in the Body of Christ

 

Pre-Requisite: Mat 4:19 And he saith unto them, Follow me

  1. • Pre-requisite means “Required or necessary as a prior condition!”.
  2. • Before they could be used for anything in God, they had to learn how to Follow!
  3. • The first step in transforming a civilian into a soldier in the U.S. Army is to teach them submission. We teach them where to go and how to go. Where to sleep and when to sleep; etc.
  4. • If you want to be a good leader, you have to be a good follower!

 

Promise: and I will make

  1. • “God has selected You!”
  2. • God will do the work.
  3. • This is a process, “God is not Through, Making You!”

 

Position: you fishers of men

  1. • The Ocean is the World. The Fish are the unsaved. You have been selected for Service and God has given you the best bait! The Gospel of Jesus Christ
  2. • It is your Job as a member of the Body of Christ to Cast the Net and cast the reel and allow God to do the Work in the World!

What area of ministry has God called you to operate in? If you are not sure, then I pray that you read the up-coming messages concerning Spiritual Gifts and be led of God concerning your gifts. One thing you can be sure of is that God did not select you to Sit, He selected you to Serve!

This is Today’s Word.  Apply it and Prosper!

Our Part in His Provision (top of page)

 

(Gen 22:1,2 NIV) Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” “Here am I,” he replied. Then God said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.” (Read the entire chapter when you get a chance)

First of all I want to thank God for allowing me to spend some much needed time with my wife and we wonderfully enjoyed each other. Thank you for your prayers! Yesterday the Lord allowed me to share a message from our text entitled “Our Part in His Provision.” I feel led to share a few of my notes with you this morning:

 

Introduction: We know that God is capable of providing all our need. When it comes to provision the question is never one of whether God Can, but rather of whether God will. Whether or not God will is then tied, often times, to our actions. Many of God’s promises are conditional and therefore contingent upon us meeting the condition before we see the manifestation in our lives. The problem comes when we want God to supply the Provision, but we do not want to do our Part.

 

Background: There are two main characters in the text — Abraham and his son Isaac. Isaac was a miracle child. Abraham and Sarah had him when they were passed age. They had him, however, as a result of God’s promise. They did not have him without making some mistakes. See, there was a space of about 30 years between the promise (of the baby) and the performance. Many of us get itchy in the space between the promise and the performance and either lose heart of the promise or attempt to “Help God Out.” They had a baby out side of the will of God. They learned some powerful lessons about waiting on God and trusting Him from this experience. Some 30 years after the promise, they had little Isaac. Isaac is now a teenager and God has asked Him to take the boy and sacrifice him unto the Lord.

 

Our Part:

1. Denial (v.7): Isaac pointed out the fact that they had the wood and they had the fire, but he did not see the lamb. This was an opportunity for their flesh to rise up and a situation to break out. Abraham had already denied his own desires to keep his beloved boy and sought to follow the will of God and knew that somehow, God was going to make a way. His son Isaac now had to do the same. Our soul (mind, emotions, and will) will rise up from time to time and attempt to lead us against the things of God. We must deny ourselves and trust God, even when we cannot trace Him.

2. Dependence (v.8): Abraham said, “God Will Provide Himself a Lamb!” Abraham did not know what was going to happen next, but He was totally dependant on God. We would do well in learning the lesson of dependance upon the Lord. It is God’s desire that we look to Him for leadership, direction, guidance, and strength. He is both the Author and the Finisher of our Faith. Depend on God, even in spite of the circumstances.

 

His Provision:

1. Deliverance (v.13): Now that they denied themselves and depended on God, God was free to manifest His glory. At the point that Abraham was going to take his son’s life, the angel of the Lord showed him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns. God will deliver our blessing to us when we deny our will and depend on Him. At the point that God knows that we are willing to forsake our agenda for His, He will manifest His glory. The ram was there the whole time, but it was manifested to Abraham when He positioned himself in the will of God. What blessings does God have caught in the thicket of your life that you have yet to see? What blessing is waiting on your to do your part?

2. Destiny (v.17): Here God repeats a previous blessing and loosed it in His life. So much so that we are still operating in this blessing today. Why? Because when we do out part (denial and dependance), God will loose the Provision. He will deliver our blessing and unlock our Destiny!

What is standing in the way of you receiving all that God would have you to receive? Whatever it is, it is not worthy of blocking your breakthrough. Deny yourself, Depend on God and watch Him Deliver your Blessing and Unlock your Destiny!

 

This is Today’s Word.  Apply it and Prosper!

Praying for those in Authority (top of page)

 

(Ro 13:1,2 NIV) Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgement on themselves.

The Sergeant Major of the Army (SMA) Jack Tilley told the following story at a Soldiers Breakfast at Redstone Arsenal, AL. The story was recorded by Chaplain James Henderson:

 

The SMA was visiting wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington DC recently. He saw a Special Forces Soldier who had lost his right hand and suffered severe wounds of his face and side of his body. The SMA wanted to honor him and show him respect without offending him, but what can you say or do in such a situation that will encourage and uplift? How do you shake the right hand of a soldier who has none? He decided to act as though the hand was not missing and gripped the soldier’s wrist while speaking words of comfort and encouragement to him. But there was another man in that group of visitors who had even brought his wife with him to visit the wounded who knew exactly what to do. This man reverently took the soldiers stump of a hand in both of his hands, bowed at the bedside and prayed for him. When he finished the prayer he stood up, bent over the soldier and kissed him on the head and told him that he loved him. What a powerful expression of love for one of our wounded heroes! And what a beautiful Christ-like example! What kind of a man would do such a thing? It was the wounded mans Commander-in-Chief, George W. Bush; President of the United States.

We are in the middle of walking through the gospel according to St. John, but this morning I felt led to share this story about out president and this text about submitting to those in God-Given positions of authority on the earth. This is a critical time in our nation. America’s children are putting their lives on the line daily in Iraq, Afghanistan, Liberia, Kosovo, Bosnia, and others. Many of America’s children are afraid. They go to sleep at night in tents, not knowing if a mortar is going to rip through them in the middle of a dream. They endure sweltering heat and uncertain situations. They battle to recognize the enemy and struggle to stay encouraged. They pray for the strength to fight, but also covet an illusive peace.

 

In such a time as this, when America’s children are in harms way, we must pray for America’s Leadership to be in God’s presence. I thank God for a praying President. I thank God for giving him the insight for oversight over our nation. I solicit your prayers this morning for America’s children, but I also solicit your prayers for America’s Leadership. Pray for the President, but also pray for the Combatant Commanders that have to make daily decisions that influence many lives. Please read the text for this morning again and remember that God placed America’s Leadership there; for such a time as this.

No matter how you “feel” about our leadership, pray that God’s glory would be made manifest through them. I’ll close with the words of David, “Blessed is the nation, whose God is the Lord!”

This is Today’s Word.  Apply it and Prosper!

September 11th, 2003 (top of page)

This morning I woke up into September 11th, 2003. Two years ago, on this same day, the world was changed. Thousands of lives were taken and it sparked a chain of events that continues today. This is an excerpt from our President’s address to our nation that night:

“Good evening. Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom came under attack in a series of deliberate and deadly terrorist acts. The victims were in airplanes or in their offices: secretaries, business men and women, military and federal workers, moms and dads, friends and neighbors. Thousands of lives were suddenly ended by evil, despicable acts of terror…

Tonight I ask for your prayers for all those who grieve, for the children whose worlds have been shattered, for all whose sense of safety and security has been threatened. And I pray they will be comforted by a power greater than any of us spoken through the ages in Psalm 23: Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil for you are with me.”

 

What should we do on today? I feel led to share four things:

1. Pause: We live in a high-paced society and everything needs to be done yesterday. We owe it to our fallen comrades and our wounded nation to slow down today and remember. I know you have a lot to do, we all do, but pause for a moment.

2. Ponder: Webster says that the word ponder means to consider and compare circumstances or consequences of an event. Take a this pause, to ponder what happened.

3. Pray: In this ever-changing always fluid world, we must never forget to pray to the God that changes not. Pray to the God of yesterday, today, and forevermore. Pray for the families of those of have lost loved ones and for the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines who are fighting this war, even this morning. Take this moment to pause, ponder, and pray.

4. Press: But then, as I have shared with you so many times, we must Press! We serve a God of progression and not regression. Yes, we can take a moment to pause, ponder, and pray; but we owe it those who gave their lives to Press! The adversary sought to cripple us with this attack, but he failed. We are still standing and still Pressing! Keep on Keepin’ On!

 

May God bless you this morning and May God continue to bless America!

This is Today’s Word.  Apply it and Prosper!

My Testimony (top of page)

 

(2 Cor 5:17 NLT) What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun!

It is now the morning of August 28th, 2003 here in Korea and still the afternoon of August 27th, 2003 in the United States. After I sent out yesterdays message, I realized the date and thanked God for it. It was my spiritual birthday.

On August 27th 1995 I walked into the Chapel on Camp Doha, Kuwait. I was invited by Leo Jacobs to come out to the Gospel Service. I was not necessarily accustomed to that style of worship, but I went anyway. It was awkward, right off the bat, because the service was in the evening. Sunday School started at 6pm and the worship started at 7pm. I attended both. I sat in the back and remained quiet. I remember seeing the energy in the people’s faces as they sang songs unto their God. I did not know any of the songs and they did not provide me a book to follow from (I came to find out later that the songs were not in a book — everyone just seemed to know them). Pastor B.W. Burnett preached the message and I wish will all my heart that I could remember what it was, but I don’t. What I do remember is the end of the service. When Pastor Burnett gave the initiation it seemed like he was speaking straight to me. He was inviting people that were not “Saved” to come and be “Saved!” I remember thinking, “I don’t know these people and I am not going up there in front of them.” I got down on my knees and placed my hands in what I thought at the time was the ‘praying position.’ I said, “God, I don’t know what these people are talking about. I don’t know what it means to be ‘saved.’ But, I know that they have something that I do not have and I want it.” That night, I got it! I received Christ as my Lord and Savior and my life has never been the same.

My life prior to August 27th 1995, was worlds apart from my life today. Every third word out of my mouth was a curse word. I had hatred and anger in my heart. I was a tough kid from Brooklyn and I let people know that about me. I thought I was a generally ‘good’ person, but I know now that I struggled with many issues in my life. I had resentment for my Father, who left us when I was three. I had racial issues I was dealing with, from growing up in the segregated communities of New York City. I was selfish. I was conceited because I had made rank so fast in the military. As I look back, I was really another person altogether. Our text for this morning is real to me. The old life is gone, a new life has begun. I will admit that it did not all happen overnight, but I thank God that it sure enough, did happen.

 

So what does this mean to you today? It means that we serve a real God that comes to real people to deal with real issues. It means that what He did for me, He can do for you — and a whole lot more! If you have not accepted Jesus Christ as Lord, then do so today. Repent of your sin and accept Him as Lord and allow Him to transform you into His image and His likeness. If you have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord, then are you allowing Him to be Lord of your life? He is either Lord OF all, or He is not Lord AT all! Give it ALL to Him. All your issues, all your struggles, all your shortcomings, all your disappointments. God wants it ALL! Give it totally to God and you will see a total transformation in your life. It may not happen overnight, but if you remain in Christ — it will happen! Are you ready for a change?

This is Today’s Word.  Apply it and Prosper!

The True Christmas Story (top of page)

Tomorrow morning kids of all ages all over the world will open up gifts and celebrate the day they call Christmas.  You cannot have true CHRISTmas, however, without CHRIST!  Santa Clause, the North Pole, Elfs, Reindeer and like all make for good stories and good songs, but many families enjoy these stories without ever telling their children the True Christmas Story.  This is a poem the Lord gave me to write about His Story:

For thousands of years they tried their best to live a sinless life, yet in vain,

Perfection alluded them, too strong was sin’s strain,

They killed sheep, bullocks, and turtledoves, all as a sacrifice,

But nothing that they found to kill could ever really suffice.

 

Once a year the High Priest went in to the Holy of Holies, alone,

Wishing that for all the people, the sins God would atone,

But this practice, at best, could only provide a temporary solution,

This caused my God in heaven to make an awesome resolution.

 

He came to a lady named Mary, who was a Nazarene,

Through her submission to God, His Son would come on the scene,

He would be born in Bethlehem, to fulfill Bible prophecy,

The star would shine brightly, for the three kings to see.

 

We celebrate his birth on Christmas, but his story doesn’t end there,

He went on to die on a cross, so that we could preach Him everywhere,

God’s Son, yes, became our ultimate sacrifice,

Behold the Lamb of God, who would pay the ultimate price.

 

His blood came streaming down, that tree on Calvary,

For the remission of sins, for the salvation of you and me,

They took Him down and buried Him in someone’s else tomb,

satan thought he had us, but this death would be his doom,

Three nights and three days would have to pass by,

He’s alive, He’s not there, would be the ladies’ cry.

 

For God rose Him up from the dead, with all power in His hand,

So that I could be delivered from sin, and join the Christian band,

So when you open up your gifts, on the upcoming Christmas day,

Take time to tell your kids the true meaning, and please take time to pray.

Ricardo Piña

I want to take this opportunity to thank you for being a part of the ministry the Lord has entrusted to me.  Know that you are prayed for daily and I thank God for YOU!  Isabella and I wish nothing less than God’s choice blessings upon you and yours this CHRISTmas season.  I will not send out a message tomorrow.  Have a blessed CHRISTmas and enjoy Jesus’ Birthday!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Gift of God (top of page)

In a couple of days it will be CHRISTmas day.  Our society has convoluted the meaning of CHRISTmas with the plethora of gifts associated with the season.  We get many gifts, but we must remember that this season is about “The Gift of God  —  Jesus the Christ!”  I shared a message a few years ago about God’s Gift.  This is a summarized outline of the six observations I made from John 3:16 about God’s Gift to us:

(John 3:16 KJV)  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

The Giver (God):  As we open our gifts, some become more special to us than others. Not because of the gift per say; but often times because of the giver. I remember as a child the tremendous value I placed on gifts from my mother.  The value of the gift was associated with its source. The Gift I speak of this morning is a gift that comes directly from God. God is the giver.  This immediately elevates the value of the gift.

The Grace (So Loved):  In January of 1983 Jerry Stovall (coach of the Louisiana State Tigers) was chosen Southeast Conference Coach of the year for guiding his Tigers to an 8–3-1 record in 1982. In December or 1983, some 11 months later, the LSU Board of Supervisors ignored widespread fan and alumni protest and fired him. Less than a year earlier they had given him a bonus—now they gave him the sack. Why? Because most of what is done in this world is tied to performance.  Aren’t you glad that God’s motivation is not our performance?  It’s a good thing that God did not check our stats before He sent us His gift. Paul said, (Ro 5:8 CEV) But God showed how much he loved us by having Christ die for us, even though we were sinful. God exhibited His grace (unmerited favor) towards us in giving us the greatest gift of all (the Gift of God), even though we would never be able to deserve it.

The Gift (Jesus):  Other gifts come and go, but this is a gift that keeps on giving. This gift is God’s only begotten Son. The Greek for only begotten is homogene; homo for singular or unique and gene for genus or gene, meaning identifying characteristic or DNA. This was the only child to ever be Born directly from God. This is the only child with God’s DNA. This is the only child with blood type “G.” This child was and is Precious, Priceless, and Powerful! Jesus was and is the Gift of God.

The recipients (The World):  This word used here for world is cosmon. This is where we get cosmos, or universe. This Gift of God is open to all people, of all nationalities and all races.  God is not like us, He does not play favorites.

The Requirement (Believeth):  Some gifts come, no strings attached.  All you need do is receive them. This gift comes, however, with ONE Requirement  —  belief! To receive this gift you must do so through the vehicle of faith in the Giver!

The Reward (Not Perish, Everlasting Life):  Now let me tell you about a two-fold reward that is also in the text.

  • First of all, if you are not saved this morning, you have a one way ticket to Hell; all expenses paid. You did not ask for these reservations, you were born with them.  The only way to get out of these reservations (that you were born with) is to be Born-Again.  Once you accept Jesus Christ, by faith and belief in Him, youWILL NOT PERISH!
  • The Second Reward is equally powerful.  Not only have your reservations to Hell been cancelled, you reservations to Heaven have been confirmed.  Your confirmation number this morning is 3:16. You shall have EVERLASTING LIFE, through the Gift of God!

The Giver is God
The Grace is Love
The Gift is Jesus
The Recipients are the World
The Requirement is Belief
The Rewards are Not Perishing and Everlasting Life
The Choice is Yours!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

I Am the Bread of Life (top of page)

(John 6:35 NIV) Jesus replied: “I am the bread that gives life! No one who comes to me will ever be hungry. No one who has faith in me will ever be thirsty.”

Christmas is just around the corner and we know that you cannot have Christmas without Christ.  As we lead up to Christmas Day, we will recap the “I Am” sayings of Christ in the gospel of John.  The better we understand who Jesus said He was, the better we can understand who He is in our lives today.  The first “I Am” Jesus said was “I Am that Bread of Life!

In John 6 Jesus fed 5,000 with a little boy’s lunch, went up into a mountainside to pray, met his disciples in the middle of a storm by walking on water and then completed the journey to the other side of the lake with them.  The multitude that received from the miracle of the fish and loaves were looking for Jesus.  When they found Him on the other side of the lake, they asked Him how He got there.  Jesus did not address their question but rather pointed to the real reason they were there  —  they were looking for food and miracles.  Jesus told them that their motives were focused on the temporal and should be on the eternal.  He told them about the Manna from heaven that God provided their forefathers in the wilderness.  This Manna was good, but only for one day.  He explained that the Father would give obedient believers true bread from heaven that was not temporal.  They liked this idea and asked for some of ‘that’ bread.  This is where Jesus said, “I am the bread that gives life! No one who comes to me will ever be hungry. No one who has faith in me will ever be thirsty.”

So what does this mean to you today? A few things:

1.       Jesus wants you to want Him and not His ‘stuff’ (fish and loaves).

2.       We often times forfeit the eternal blessings for the temporary satisfaction (Manna).

3.       When you ask God the right question you will receive the right answer (give me some of ‘that’ bread).

4.       Jesus is God’s answer to man’s death (The Bread of Life).

5.       Jesus is God’s answer to man’s hunger (will never be hungry).

6.       Jesus is God’s answer to man’s thirst (will never be thirsty).

Jesus is the Grand Sum Total of every equation and the answer to all of life’s questions.  Are you hungry and thirsty this morning?  Are you tired of the temporary fixes that this world can offer?  Take a moment to eat of the Bread of Life and your life will never be the same!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

I Am the Light of the World (top of page)

(John 8:12 CEV) Once again Jesus spoke to the people. This time he said, “I am the light for the world!  Follow me, and you won’t be walking in the dark.  You will have the light that gives life.”

This morning we investigate Jesus’ second “I Am” saying.  Jesus was in the Jerusalem for the feast of the Tabernacles in the Women’s Court.  There were two huge candelabras in this court.  The candelabras were a reminder of the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night that God used to guide the nation of Israel through the wilderness.  They were normally lit after the evening sacrifice and the light is said to have traveled throughout the entire city.  Many people danced and rejoiced around the lights.  It is in this setting that Jesus says, “I am the light for the world!  Follow me, and you won’t be walking in the dark.  You will have the light that gives life.”

Let’s further investigate the text:

1.       Jesus’ Proclamation:  “I am the light for the world!”  In the pre-electricity world Jesus lived in, I can imagine Him standing in the midst of these two colossal golden lamp stands and watching as the people enjoyed the light.  Like yesterday’s bread, the light they enjoyed was temporal and finite.  Their light might have lit up the entire city, but His light would light up the entire world.

2.       Our Prerequisite:  Follow me.”  This has always been God’s requirement.  Yes, we live in a dark, dying and decaying world; but God does not want us resign ourselves to its fate.  He wants us to follow Him and exhibit His light in the midst of darkness.  Why?  Two reasons:

a. Individual Salvation:  So that we could have a relationship with God and have the knowledge and power to keep us from walking in ignorance.

b. Corporate Witness:  So that we could shine His light in the midst of a darkness and lead the lost to the only Savior — Jesus the Christ!

3.       The Promise:  “You will have the light that gives life.”  Not only does God want us to go to heaven, but He wants us to enjoy the ride!  He came that we might have life, but also have it ‘More Abundantly!’  If we follow Him, we will enjoy that life!

So what does this mean to you today? It means that this world is dark and destined for destruction, but God gave us an answer to man’s darkness in Jesus.  We can walk with Him and allow His light to permeate through us in the midst of darkness.  What do we get in return?  The Joy of the Lord!

Are you ready to shine this morning?

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

I Am the Door (top of page)

(John 10:7 KJV) Then said Jesus unto them again, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.”

This morning we investigate Jesus’ third “I Am” saying.  In John 10 Jesus paints a picture of His relationship with the people of God as one of Shepherd and sheep.  He likens the sheep to being in the sheep’s pen and the Shepherd to being the only one with the legal right to enter through the gate of the pen.  The watchman would open the gate for the shepherd and him alone and the sheep listen to no other voice.  This shepherd would lead his sheep in the way they should go and they would willfully follow him.  His audience did not understand what Jesus meant by all of this.  Jesus tried to make it plain to them and said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.” He claimed that all other ways to God (doors) were false and would end in death.  Jesus is the door to eternal life.  The Old Testament priests provided access to a distant and disconnected God through ritual and ceremony.  This New Testament door would transcend the ritual and provide intimate access to a loving and caring heavenly Father.

Let’s further investigate this illustration of the Shepherd and the Sheep:

1.  Sheep are dumb animals:  God made a perfect illustration when He likened us to sheep.  Sheep have a terrible sense of direction.  Sheep keep their faces down while they are eating and they focus on the grass and their immediate pleasure more than where they are going and their ultimate destination.  We are just like sheep.  We can easily get caught up in what we are doing and our immediate pleasure that we lose focus of God’s big picture (destiny) for our lives.  But we can also find hope in the illustration of the sheep.  The sheep really don’t need to know where they are going, just as long as they know WHO they are following.  Likewise, even when we are nibbling on our daily grass (email, projects, children, finances, marriage, etc.) and seemingly stray East and West, we would do well in hearing the voice of the Shepherd (prayer), making a course correction (change) and following Him!

2.  The Shepherd loves the sheep:  By being the “Door,” Jesus can permit or deny access to the pen.  While the sheep are in the pen they have protection from the wolves, lions, and bears.  If a sheep ever gets out of the pen and wanders away, they Shepherd would leave the 99 in search of the 1.  God loves us so much that He wants to shower us with His protection and peace.  He wants us to stay in the center of His will.  If ever we stray, however, He will search us out and make every attempt to lead us home to the pen, through the door!

So what does this mean to you today? Jesus is God’s answer to man’s misdirection.  Have you gone astray?  Are you in need of the protection and the peace of the sheep’s pen?  Then the answer is simple.  You can only get back in the pen, through the door  —  Jesus the Christ!  Pray to the Father in the name of Jesus and He will allow you access back in the pen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

I Am the Good Shepherd (top of page)

(John 10:14 CEV)  “I am the good shepherd. I know my sheep, and they know me.”

This morning we investigate Jesus’ fourth “I Am” saying.  While painting the picture of His relationship with the people of God as one of Shepherd and sheep, Jesus says, “I am the Good Shepherd and the Good Shepherd gives up his life for his sheep.”  He went on to talk about the difference between hired workers and the shepherds.  He said that hired workers don’t really know the sheep.  When they see a wolf coming, they run off and leave them behind.  They have no real vested interest in the sheep and don’t really care about them.  This is where we pick up our text and Jesus says, I am the good shepherd. I know my sheep, and they know me.”

I grew up in East New York, Brooklyn.  In the 1970s and 1980s, my neighborhood was one of the worst in the country.  Crime, violence, drugs, alcohol, etc. were the norm.  The streets were a mess.  Back then we had glass bottles and not today’s plastic ones.  The average person would drink a soda and just throw the bottle down on the sidewalk as they walked by.  Many of the building were abandoned and torn down.  They place looked like a war zone.  Towards the late 1980s and into the 1990s, the city government devised a strategy to clean up New York.  They realized that people did not care about their neighborhoods and buildings because they did not own them.  They started tearing down the large tenant buildings and building smaller, single family dwellings.  They then helped low-income families purchase these homes.  What happened was remarkable.  Once people owned their own home, they took a vested interest in the community.  They started driving drug dealers away and cleaning up the streets.  They no longer freely smashed bottles on the ground, but rather looked for a trash can.  Why the drastic change?  Ownership!

In this fourth “I Am,” Jesus likens Himself to the Good Shepherd.  He tells us about a Good Shepherd who owns the sheep, takes responsibility for them, and knows them intimately.  He loves us, cares for us, and wants nothing less than the best for us.  He will keep us form the wolves and protect us from all harm.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that if you are tired of dealing with hired workers and putting your life in the hands of everyone but God (the adversary, your spouse, finances, family, etc.) this message is for you.  God does not want you to depend on people who, like hired workers, will run away when the going gets rough.  He wants you to depend on Him, who will hang in there, no matter the situation.

Are you ready to put your life in the hands of the Good Shepherd?  He will never leave you nor forsake you!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

I Am the Resurrection and the Life (top of page)

(John 11:25 KJV)  Jesus said unto her, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.”

Christmas Day is right around the corner.  We have been investigating the “I Am” sayings of Christ in an attempt to know Him better.  This morning we investigate Jesus’ fifth “I Am” saying.   John’s 11th chapter opens with mention of a man named Lazarus (the brother of Mary and Martha) being sick.  Jesus loved this family and stayed with them whenever He was in Bethany or the surrounding area.  The sisters sent word to Jesus that their brother was sick.  By the time Jesus got there Lazarus had been dead for four days and his body was deteriorating.  Mary and Martha were crushed that Jesus had permitted this to happen.  Martha met Jesus and vented her frustrations to Him.  Jesus attempted to console her by telling her that her brother would live again.  She misunderstood His statement and thought that He meant this Lazarus would be raised in the last day with all the other dead.  Jesus knew she misunderstood.  Jesus told her that He was the Resurrection and the Life, not that He was simply a means by which to attain it, but rather that the embodiment of eternal life was standing before her.  Jesus went on to manifest that reality by raising Lazarus from the dead to life.

In a couple of days we will celebrate the birth of our Savior.  He was born, however, to die.  He came with a purpose  —  to conquer death and take away it’s sting.  He lived a sinless life, suffered, bled, and died; but the story does not end there.  God raised Jesus from the dead on with all power in His hand.  He conquered death so we could do the same.  In our text, Jesus told Martha that He was the resurrection and the life.  Yes, he would raise Lazarus from the dead and a manifestation of that power, but the greatest news of the gospel was that He Himself manifested that reality.  Lazarus was raised, but then died again.  Jesus was raised and would never again see death.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that as we prepare to open gifts under the tree, sing Christmas carols, drink egg nog, and etc.; remember that Jesus is the reason for the season.  He was born in a manger, yes, but Christmas simply points to Easter.  He was born to die, but also (and more importantly) to be resurrected from the dead.  He is the Resurrection and the Life and he came that we might enjoy that Life and have it More Abundantly!

Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior?  If so, then you should enjoy your new (resurrected) life in Christ.  As you celebrate Christmas remember that His birth led to His death and His death led to His resurrection!  That’s the Good News of the Gospel!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

I Am the Way (top of page)

(John 14:6 NIV)  Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”

I pray that you had a Joyous and Peaceful CHRISTmas Day.  We have been investigating the “I Am” sayings of Christ in an attempt to know Him better.  This morning we investigate Jesus’ sixth “I Am” saying.   In John 14 Jesus knew that His time with his disciples was almost up.  He knew that His impending death on the cross was right around the corner.  He knows that these guys left everything they had to follow Him.  He knows that He was been their source of direction, protection and inspiration for the last three years.  How are they going to take His departure?  He attempts to encourage them by telling them of where He is going.  He tells them of the Father’s many mansions and how He is going to prepare a place for them so they could be reunited later on.  He paints a beautiful picture and then tells them that they know where He is going, but Thomas claims that He does not know where and does not know the way.  This is where Jesus told them that He was the Way, the Truth and the Life.  The Old Testament pointed towards a Messiah that would come and save God’s people and provide a way to His presence.  Jesus did not claim to be “a” way, but rather the Messiah Himself who was “the” way.

So what does this mean to you today? A Few things:

1.  Encouragement to those who have Jesus:  If you have repented of your sin and accepted Jesus Christ as Lord, then you know ‘the’ way to get to where He is, because you know HIM.  When you have Him, you have direction (way), inspiration (truth) and vigor (life).  You can face any obstacle and overcome any hurdle.  You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you!  No matter what comes your way today, you can handle it because you know the WAY!  That is Good News!

2.  Conviction to those who do not have Jesus:  This also indicates that if you do not have Jesus you do not know ‘the’ way.  The Good News of the gospel is that you can.  You do not have to live another day without Him.  You can enter into this New Year with a New Life and heading down a New Path.  There is a better way and that way is in Jesus.  Repent and Receive Him today!

3.  Clarification for all:  Like it or not, this text does not leave any room for other ways, roads, or paths.  Either you believe the bible or you don’t.  Jesus is the way.  Mohammed, Buddha, Hinduism, Taoism, and others are not the way.  If you are on these roads, God has shown you the true path in Jesus.  The choice is yours.

Enjoy direction (way), inspiration (truth) and vigor (life) in Jesus today!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

I am the Vine (top of page)

(John 15:1 NIV)  “I am the true vine, and my Father is the Gardner.”

We have been investigating the “I Am” sayings of Christ in an attempt to know Him better prior to entering into this New Year.  This morning we investigate Jesus’ seventh and final “I Am” saying.  This time He paints of picture of a vineyard where He is the vine and we are the branches.  The disciples were very familiar with the grape vine.  They could immediately picture it in their minds.  They could see the luscious and full grapes hanging from its branches.  They could imagine a long and full vine that seemingly went on forever.  Jesus then likened Himself to that vine, but with one disclaimer, “I am the true vine.” This was another statement directed towards His deity.  The disciples still did not really understand who Jesus was.  Jesus was not “a” vine, but rather “the” true vine.  Just like Jesus was not “a” way, but rather “the” way, nor “a” door to eternal life, but rather “the” door.  A vine is the source of life and nourishment to the branches.  A vine is the vehicle by which the branches grow and bring forth fruit. The vine represents the branches’ only chance at survival.  Without the vine, the branches shrivel up and die.  Jesus is the True Vine.

Have you ever bought a full, juicy and delicious cluster of grapes?  Imagine a huge cluster that is seemingly busting out of the plastic bag.  You get home and put them into the refrigerator and somehow forget about them.  A couple of weeks later you realize that the grapes are still in the fridge.  You look at them, but they do not look as appealing as they once did.  They do not make your mouth water any more.  They are drying and shriveling.  This is what happens to grapes when they are disconnected from the vine, because they are no longer connected to their source.  This is the modern version of the picture of the vine.  Jesus claimed to be Judah’s vine (Gen 49:11) that would cleanse and provide eternal life; and His Father, He says, is the Gardner.  He is the one who wakes up in the morning with the vineyard on his mind.  He is the one who goes out to tend to the branches; pruning, cutting, and snipping away the things that will hinder the growth and the production of fruit.  The Father, yes, is the Gardner.

So what does this mean to you today? A few things as we prepare for a New Year:

1.  Being connected to Jesus is our only chance at living God’s life and brining forth fruit in the earth.
2.  Apart from the Vine (Jesus) we can do nothing.
3.  Life on the vine is not free of cutting, snipping, and pruning.
4.  The often times painful process of being cut, is part of God’s plan for prosperous life and abundant fruit.
5.  Life on the vine requires fruit bearing.  He cuts off unproductive and stagnant branches.
6.  It is God’s will that we progress from no fruit, to fruit, to much fruit in 2004!

The better you know God, the more you will rely on Him and enjoy His fellowship and His love.  I pray that the “I Am” series has helped you in your journey towards fruit bearing.  Stay Connected to the Vine and enjoy what God has in Store for 2004!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Perfect Peace (top of page)

(Is 26:3 KJV)  Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

Our nation and our world is at war (21 Mar 03).  Our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, fellow service members and friends, are in harms way.  When I speak to my family, I can hear the anxiety in their voices.  Many of them live in New York where September 11th is still a vivid memory as fear has knocked on their door once again.  My mother does not want my sister to ride public transportation for fear of an attack.  My family is probably representative of many families and indicative of how a sense of ‘uneasiness’ resides in the hearts of many this morning.

I have shared with you many times the power of the Word of God and how it is filled with promises.  What we must do often times is find ‘chapter and verse’ for our situation and then stand upon that promise and allow the Holy Spirit to bring it to pass.  I believe this is why God led me to this text.  The Holy Spirit through the prophet Isaiah records a promise that applies to our lives this morning.  Let’s look at the text:

1.  What we can receive:  Perfect peace.  This word means completeness, safety, tranquility and peace (from war).  Yes our nation is at war, but that does not mean that we have to be at war in our in own members.  Our mind, emotions and will do not have to be consumed by the war.  As Christians, God has given us the power to be in the midst of chaos and still enjoy His perfect peace.  You can receive peace this morning.

2.  How we can receive it:  whose mind is stayed on thee.  We often times become what we behold.  If we keep our eyes glued to the television and bombard ourselves with update after update of war, then that is what our focus will be.  The world can start their day with ‘Good Morning America,’ but we can start our day with ‘Good Morning Holy Spirit.’  Not only should we start our day focused on God and His will for our lives, but we should also walk with Him throughout the day.  Keeping our eyes (spiritually) on God!  Now, this is not to say that we should not watch the news and know what is going on, just that we should not allow it to consume us.

3.  Why we can receive it:  because he trusteth in thee.  This is really what is all comes down to  —  Trust.  Either we trust God or we don’t.  If we are worrying, it is because we do not trust God.  If we did trust God, then we would not worry.  Worry and trust do not go together.  We can either worry or we can trust.  We serve a God that sits on the circle of the earth and has ALL things in and under control.

Do you trust God this morning?  Do you believe that our God is bigger than this war?  If so, keep you eyes stayed on Him and allow His perfect peace to overtake you this morning and everyday.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Menu and the Meal (top of page)

(Ps 34:8 KJV)  O taste and see that the LORD [is] good: blessed [is] the man [that] trusteth in him.

This past Sunday the Lord spoke to me about something my Pastor (Pastor Daniel) said about our text for this morning.  She said, “There is a difference between the Menu and Meal.”  The more I meditated on what she said, the more relevant the phrase became to me and this ministry.

I have been sharing messages via this forum for over five years now (28 Mar 03).  There have been many that have started out receiving the messages as a form a “motivation” or “inspiration,” without having a true relationship with Christ.  Many, over the course of receiving the Word on a continual basis, have come to know Christ in the pardon of their sin.  No doubt, there are many reading this message this morning that have yet to repent and receive Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.

God has blessed me to share principles and precepts, analogies and illustrations, and concepts and ideas that are all bible based and applicable to our lives.  Information without application is not really communication.  I pray for God to give me clirect application on a daily basis.  That is why I input questions like “So what does this mean to you today?”  If you read the Word of God, however, and fail to apply it to your life, you are like the person who reads the menu, but never tastes the meal.  What good is it for a person that is starving to go into a restaurant that is:
1.             Open:  We serve a God that neither slumbers nor sleeps (Ps 121:4).
2.             Functioning:  God hastens over His Word to perform it (Jer 1:12).

And then peruse the menu (The Word of God), but never actually order a meal and receive the nourishment, sustenance, and satisfaction that they could have?

Our text for this morning says that we should “Taste and see that the Lord is Good!”  Are you ready to taste the goodness of God on this Friday morning?  Pause for a moment and pray this prayer with me.

Prayer:  Father God, help me to taste Your goodness this morning and come to know You more intimately.  Help me Father to feel Your presence, even right now.  Give me the serenity that only You can give.  Allow your peace to overtake me and keep me throughout this day and this weekend.  Help me Lord to walk in Your goodness, Your light, and Your love.  Let no corrupt communication come out of my mouth, but that which is good, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.  Thank you for a taste of Your goodness.  This is Your servant’s prayer.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

The difference between the Menu and the Meal!

This is Today’s Word.  Apply it and Prosper!

Taking God at His Word (top of page)

(John 4:50 NIV)  Jesus replied, “You may go. Your son will live.” The man took Jesus at his word and departed.

We pick up Jesus here in the closing verses of John chapter 4.  We spent most of last week learning from His Divine Appointment with the Samaritan woman at the well.  After the two days he left for Galilee.  When he arrived in Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him.  They had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, for they also had been there.  He visited Cana (where he had turned the water into wine) again.  While He was there He encountered a certain royal official whose son was laying sick (with a very high fever) at Capernaum.  When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death.  Jesus said, “Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders, you will never believe.”  The royal official said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.”  This is where we pick up our text.  Jesus replied, “You may go. Your son will live.”  The man took Jesus at his word and departed.  While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living. He asked them to tell him exactly what time his son got better, they said to him, “The fever left him yesterday at the seventh hour (1pm).”  Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” So he and all his household believed.  This was Jesus’ second miracle.

This is a power-packed passage and it is full of golden nuggets.  Let’s seek God for a few nuggets that can apply to our lives today:

1.  The Situation:  This man was a Royal Official.  He could say “go” and people went.  He could say “do” and people did.  This was a man that was IN authority.  He was in control of many things.  A situation, however, arose in his life that he had no control over.  His son was lying at the point of death and he could not do anything about it.

Application:  God has blessed many of us to be in positions of authority.  God has positioned us to where we can have direct control and influence over certain situations.  But like the man in the text, many of us may find ourselves in a situation this morning that we have no direct control over.  You may have a loved one fighting in the war and you can seemingly do nothing about it.  Or you may have a loved one laying on a sick bed like the man in the text.  No matter the situation that we seemingly have no control over, we can learn something from the text this morning.

2.  The Request:  The man understood that he had no control over the situation and sought help from someone who did.  He went to Jesus and begged Him to come and heal his son.

Application:  When we find ourselves in situations that we have no control over, our only recourse is to take it to he Lord in prayer.  The text says that He begged Jesus to come and heal His son.  What is it that you stand in the need of this morning that you have yet to pray for?  Take it to God in sincere prayer and you will see His glory made manifest in your life.

3.  The Word:  Jesus replied, “You may go. Your son will live.” The man took Jesus at his word and departed.  Later on the man found out that his son’s fever broke at the same time that Jesus said these words.

Application:  When you pray, you need to believe that God will both hear you and answer you.  Whenever He does answer you, you need to take God at His Word.  It is one thing to seek His face in prayer, but another to receive His Word and act upon it.

Are you ready to receive a Word for your situation this morning?

This is Today’s Word.  Apply it and Prosper!

There is a War Going On (top of page)

(Matthew 11:12 KJV)  And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.

This morning I want to share about something I read yesterday (4 Apr 03).  It was about Jessica Lynch.  She is a 19 yr. old soldier who was in the 507th Ordinance Maintenance Company convoy that took a wrong turn in more ways than one.  That wrong turn in Nasiriyah would lead to an ambush and result in Pfc. Jessica Lynch, and seven other soldiers disappearing into the thick fog of war.  But then, she was back.  Army Rangers, Navy Seals, and other Special Operations forces conducted a rescue mission and brought her back safely.

The family has a 21yr. old son, who enlisted together with his younger sister and is also a PFC in the Army.  They also have a younger daughter, who is 18yrs. old.  This daughter has also enlisted and will go off to Basic Training this summer.  When asked if this situation has changed her mind about joining the military she said, “No, it makes me want to go even more.  This is Lynch blood they are messing with.”

Of course there are many from that convoy that did not make it back alive and we need to pray for their families and loved ones.  Amidst the barrage of negative reports, I was Godly glad to read this one.  This report reminded me of the patriotism, fidelity, and valor of my fellow comrades in the Armed Forces.

But now we make a shift  —  first the natural, then the spiritual.  Our text reminds us that we (the Body of Christ) are also at War.  My Pastor preached a message this past Sunday entitled “There is a War Going On!” and she was not making reference to Operations in Southwest Asia.  From the time that lucifer was kicked out of heaven, with a third of the angels, there has been a war going on.  There has never been a peace treaty, an armistice, a temporary truce, a timeout, nor a cessation of hostilities.  Simply put, satan and his imps, have been in an all out war against God and His children and it goes on today.

There’s no media coverage and are no daily briefings.  We get testimonies here and there at church, but most of the reporting is being done by personal conversations of the goodness of God and also of the attacks of the enemy.  The battles are not being held in one area of the world, but everywhere.  The battles take place in families, marriages, workplaces, relationships, and etc.  Yes, there is a War Going On!

Jessica Lynch’s younger sister reminded me of this text.  Many would have folded under the pressure of this situation, but she said it made her want it even more.  Why?  Because someone had messed with the Lynch blood.  Our text says that the Kingdom of heaven suffers violence, but the violent take it by force!

No matter where you are in your Spiritual walk this morning.  No matter how many times the adversary has attacked you, your marriage, your family, your finances, your friendships, and etc.  Don’t take it lying down.  Get up, dust yourself off.  Pray.  Ask the Holy Spirit to renew, revive, rejuvenate, and restore you, and then keep on Pressing toward the mark of the prize of the High Calling of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord!  Yes, there is a war going on, but let me let you in on something, the outcome is WE WIN!

This is Today’s Word.  Apply it and Prosper!

Making a Choice to Rejoice (top of page)

(Phil 4:8 NIV)  Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.

I was TDY for the past few days (8 Apr 03).  While I was on the trip I had the opportunity to go to dinner with the guys that I work with and with one of our local counterparts and his wife.  Since the local knew his way around the area he recommended a restaurant that had recently been recommended to him.  We went to the restaurant and we all commented on how hungry we were and how ready we were for some good food (I am sure that we have all been there).  When we got to the restaurant it was just opening.  To our surprise there were only eight seats and there were eight of us, so we filled up the place with our presence.  The owner had just opened the restaurant and was trying to get settled.  He did not have a staff, so he was the owner, waiter, cook, and cashier.  I could see the frustration in his face as he tried to figure out how he was going to cook eight steaks and potatoes in his small kitchen, without the rest of the food getting cold.  He then realized that he did not have enough lettuce and tomatoes for eight salads and called his friend to bring some.  To make a long story short: it took over two hours to get the food, he made a mistake on one of the orders, I received my steak after almost everyone else was finished eating and when I did, it was too red for me te eat it.  When it came time to pay for the meal, the owner made a mathematical error and when I pointed this out to him, he got visibly angry and loud.  We finally left.

As we were walking back to post, the person who took us there kept apologizing.  I told him not to worry about it because we had a great time.  The guys that work for me had been cooped up in our work environment all weekend and had finally had a chance to get out.  We sat around for a couple of hours and told jokes and stories and had a great fellowship.  That’s what we needed to focus on.  As we walked back we laughed about it and chalked it up to another great “War Story” (as we call it in the Army).

So what does this mean to you today? There was a time in my life where I could not have laughed about an evening like that.  I would have been upset and probably made a scene.  Several negative comments were made as we were walking back, but I kept countering those with humor and reminding us of how much fun we had just being together.  Our text reminds us this morning that we should keep the proper perspective on life and train our minds to think on good things.  Paul wrote these words while imprisoned himself.  The entire letter is a call to Rejoice!  We would do well in remembering His closing remarks to the Phillipian church whenever we encounter unpleasant circumstances.

Are you in a unpleasant circumstance this morning?  You have a choice to make.  You can either choose to be upset and walk around with your head held down, or choose to Rejoice and keep a Godly perspective.  The Choice is Yours!

I’ll close with the words of Solomon, (Proverbs 17:22 KJV) A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.

This is Today’s Word.  Apply it and Prosper!

I Thirst (top of page)

(John 19:28,29 KJV)  After this, Jesus knowing that all things were accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled saith, I thirst.  Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to His mouth.

Today (16 Apr 03) many Christian churches around the world will remember and celebrate the death of Jesus, while many others will do the same on Friday.  It is the custom of many to worship God by remembering Jesus’ Seven Last Sayings on the cross.  This morning and for the next couple of days, we will examine the last three sayings and seek to glean application from them for our lives.  This morning’s text deals with Jesus’ fifth saying  —  “I Thirst!”

It has been said (and I agree) that the Old Testament is the New Testament concealed and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed.  The Old Testament is riddled with Messianic prophecies and Jesus had to fulfill them all.  So here He is, fulfilling prophecy by hanging on a the cross, and so that Palms 69:21 might be fulfilled, He says “I Thirst!”  I have shared with you many times that Jesus lived a Purpose Driven Life and how nothing “just happens.”  After Jesus says “I Thirst” they take a sponge, that is on the end of a hyssop stalk, fill it with vinegar and give it to Him to drink.  If drinking the sour vinegar wine was not enough, even the way in which they gave it to Him had purpose wrapped up in it.  You see, hyssop was used in the Passover ceremony (Ex 12:22).  Jesus would become, on this day, the last true Passover Lamb.

Jesus was born in Bethlehem to fulfill prophecy.  He moved to Egypt to fulfill prophecy.  He grew up in Nazareth to fulfill prophecy.  He ministered in Capernaum to fulfill prophecy.  And I could go on.  Time after time, event after event, Jesus was fulfilling His destiny.  Here He is, stretched out on the cross, He is about to give His life for humanity, but He is still at work.  Jesus is still fulfilling prophecy.

So what does this mean to you today? It may seem to you like things are going hay-wire in your life.  Your book may not be called the Old Testament, but you too have some prophecies to fulfill.  You have also been destined to a promise.  When you feel like you have been tossed to and fro, from pillar to post, from place to place  —  remember all that Jesus went through to fulfill His destiny.  You’re just going down the same zig-zag road that Jesus did.  Much of what He did made no sense to the disciples while He was living, but later on they looked back and could see the Purpose that was wrapped up in it.  Our lives in Christ are better understood when viewed in reverse.  For now, what you and I must do is Trust God!  Some times we have to drink the bitter vinegar, but we must learn to thank God for the bitter and the sweet!  Can you Trust Him, when you can’t Trace Him?

This is Today’s Word.  Apply it and Prosper!

It Is Finished (top of page)

(John 19:30 KJV)  When Jesus had therefore received the vinegar, He said, it is finished: and He bowed His head, and gave up the ghost.

Jesus was born of a virgin in a manger in Bethlehem.  He lived most of His life as a normal man, other than the fact that He never sinned.  At the age of thirty He is baptized at the hands of John.  He spends the next two years or so ministering in Galilee and Judea.  When things got hot with the rulers of the time, He spent a few months ministering in Perea (east of the Jordan), to stay out of the clutches of the Jewish leadership.  He raised Lazarus from the dead to help prepare the disciples for His resurrection.  He explains to the disciples what will happen to Him, but they do not understand.

Just days before the last Passover of His life, He moved back toward Jerusalem for the end of His earthly ministry.  On the way there, He stops at Jericho to heal a blind beggar named Bartimeaus and to minister to a tax collector named Zaccheaus.  He then traveled to Bethany where He stayed with His friends: Lazarus, Mary, and Martha; during the final week of His human life.  Jerusalem was a stir because the Sanhedrin made it known that they were after Jesus.  Many people thought that Jesus would not even show up.  But He would show up, as He traveled those two and a half miles from Bethany to Jerusalem every day of this Holy Week.

That Sunday morning Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey and the people went crazy.  The threw down palm branches and their coats and yelled, “Hosanna.  Hosanna.  Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!”  That night He went back to Bethany and got up early in the morning and took off back to Jerusalem.  He left before eating breakfast and He was hungry when He came upon a fig tree.  It had a lot of leaves, but no figs (like the nation of Israel at the time) and He cursed it.  He got to Jerusalem and cleared out the temple of the money changers and those selling unclean animals for sacrifice.  The next day would be a tough day for Jesus.  He had to outsmart the Pharisees all day long as He taught.  He then had the Passover meal with His disciples (which we acknowledge as the Last Supper).  He identified His betrayer at dinner.  After dinner He takes His inner circle (James, Peter, and John) with Him to Gethsemane for possibly the greatest battle of his human life  —  the battle within Himself.  Several hours later the battle was over and Jesus had surrendered His will to the will of the Father.

Judas came with the guards and the officials and betrayed Jesus.  The remainder of that night and early into the next morning He would have to endure six illegal trials.  Three before the Sanhedrin and three before the Roman tribunals.  Without any real charge, without any real witnesses, without an opportunity, nor time to prepare a defense, and without them finding any guilt at all  —  they condemned the only sinless human to ever live. They hung Him on a cross at 9am.  From Noon to 3pm the sun refused to shine.  At 3pm, having fulfilled all prophecy and ready to pay for the sin of humanity, He declares His last words  —  “It is finished.”

These three English words are really only one Greek word (tetelestai).  This word has been found on old tax receipts and it means “Paid in Full!” Once and for all, Jesus paid the price for our sin.  Take a moment to meditate on what Jesus did for us.  Remember this the next time you willfully sin.

This is Today’s Word.  Apply it and Prosper!

Into Thy Hands I Commend My Spirit (top of page)

(Luke 23:46 KJV)  And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, He said, Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, He gave up the ghost.

On the day that many call ‘Good Friday’ (18 Apr 03) and dedicate to the remembrance of the Jesus’ death on the cross, we will look at Jesus’ seventh and final saying (found in our text).  Jesus’ death on the cross fulfilled many prophecies and simply reiterates to me the Sovereignty of God.  He endured the mock trials.  He endured 39 lashes with a cat of nine tails.  He endured them putting a hood over His head and slapping Him and then telling Him to prophecy who it was.  He endured them making of mockery of His deity by putting a crown of thorns on His head and an inscription on the cross that read “King of the Jews,” when it was the Jews who were responsible for His crucifixion.  If all of this had not been enough, they took His battered and bruised body and nailed it to the cross.  They had already prepared the hole for the cross to sit in.  They then took the cross  —  with Jesus’ body nailed to it  —  and lifted it up.  The weight is now painfully between His upper and lower body.  They then locate the prepared hole and let the cross drop into it, rattling his bones as it fell into place.  He tries to support His body with His legs, but the position of His nailed feet makes it almost impossible.  He tries to pull Himself up with His arms, but His nailed hands make this excruciatingly painful.  They hang Him between two thieves and the entire time, the devil and his hellish imps are rejoicing.  They are having a party in hell thinking that they are about to win their ultimate victory.  Jesus has said six sayings from the cross already, the sixth one being “It is finished.”  God is so much a God of order that there was order, even in Jesus’ death.  God created the earth and He “finished” His work with the creation of man on the sixth day.  On the seventh day He rested.  Jesus’ seventh cry would translate Him from the cross into God’s Hands of rest.

I could really go on for a while about this, but let’s focus on two golden nuggets this morning that will apply to our lives:

1.  He gave up His life:  Until the very end, ’till the final cry, Jesus was still in control.  He willingly gave up His life.  At any point, He could have called on a host of angels to strike down His accusers and persecutors, but He restrained Himself and endured this horrible death because of our sin.  Jesus was and still is in control.

Application:  There are a multitude of scriptures  —  many of which I have shared with you  —  that deal with our power over the enemy.  Yes, God may permit several trials in your life.  Yes, you will have to endure tribulation in this world.  Yes, the world will seek to persecute you, like they did Jesus.  But the Good News is that God has Equipped, Enabled, and Empowered us to live a victorious life on the earth.  He never said it would be easy, but it will be worth it!  Never give up and never give in  —  Keep on Keepin’ On!

2.  The devil did not win, but lost that day:  The foolish devil thought this was the end of God’s reign and that the death of Jesus would give him the victory.  But it was exactly the opposite, Jesus’ death would give US the victory!  Jesus went down into hell during those three nights and three days in the grave and took the keys to hell and the grave with Him.

Application:  Jesus, like Joseph, could say that the devil meant it for evil, but God meant it for their good.  Likewise, it is with us.  The more we go through, the more we endure, the more He afflicts on us, the stronger in makes us IN CHRIST!  If he were smarter, he would leave us alone.  Yes, you might be going through the storm this morning, but it is all because God is not through MAKING YOU!

Yes, Jesus did die for our sin and next week we will deal with the Resurrection.  This morning, take a few moments to thank God for what He did on the cross and to meditate on what this means in your life.

This is Today’s Word.  Apply it and Prosper!

Resurrection Sunday (top of page)

(Mark 16:1-6 NIV)  When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Solome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body.  Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”  But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away.  As they entered the tomb, they saw a young many dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.  “Don’t be alarmed,” he said.  “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified.  He has risen!  He is not here.  See the place where they laid him.”

This is Monday morning (21 Apr 03), the day after Resurrection Sunday.  Yesterday Christians all over the world celebrated the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.  This is the single most important event in the history of history.  The death, burial, and most-importantly, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is what separates our religion from every other religion in the World.  We don’t serve an idol.  We don’t serve a man.  We don’t serve a dead God.  We serve a Living Savior  —  Jesus is His name!

It has been over 2,000 years now since Jesus conquered death and although many have tried, no one has ever been able to discount the validity of His Resurrection.  As Dr. Charlie Parmer puts it, “The most telling affirmation of the validity of His literal Resurrection was and is the dramatic change that it produced in the lives of those followers.  From the weak, wavering, faltering, denying group of fishermen, tax collectors, etc.  —  the twelve plus the others became the most zealous, faithful, dynamic group who ever lived.  They literally became burning evangels for the cause of Christ; and they totally turned the world up-side down for Him over the next 71 plus years.  Their doubts and skepticisms became the basis for an aggressive boldness that could not be silenced (Acts 5:42).  They were condemned, threatened, imprisoned, beaten, and commanded to be silent; but they just got right back out on the streets and just started preaching Jesus again  —  alive by Promise, dead by Purpose, Resurrected by (God’s) Power, and reigning for our good Measure and Pleasure!”

So what does this mean to you today? Jesus conquered death so that we could do the same.  Jesus’ death and resurrection gave us access to God’s precious Holy Spirit.  God’s Holy Spirit in our lives equips, enables, and empowers us to live in the Spirit of an Overcomer!  Jesus endured death, yes, even the death of the cross; but He Overcame it!  The disciples endured persecution, struggle, and strain; but they Overcame it!  You and I have faced and will have to face storms in our lives from time to time, we may have to endure the struggles and deal with the strain; but you and I, like Jesus and all those Christian conquerors who have come before us, can Overcome it!

Jesus conquered death!  Can He not equip us to deal with difficult people?  Can He not give us the peace to endure difficult situations?  Can He not empower us to survive the storms of our lives?  Let me give you the answer  —  Absolutely!  If you are a Born-Again believer, then you need to face this day under the Power of the Holy Spirit and with the Spirit of an Overcomer!

This is Today’s Word.  Apply it and Prosper!

You Are Special (top of page)

(Psalms 139:14 KJV)  I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

I recently read an article in Discover magazine entitled “Can we find another earth?” It opens with these words, “Astronomers have searched for, and found, some truly cosmic phenomena over the past few decades: black holes gobbling up a million stars, quasars shining from the very edge of the universe, even neutron stars so dense that a teaspoon would weigh a hundred tons.  But one type of celestial object  —  the most important one  —  has eluded star gazers.  Despite ground-based telescopes now so powerful they can see galaxies billions of light-years away; despite the Hubble, with its clear vision unhindered by atmospheric distortions; despite X-ray telescopes and infrared telescopes, no one has ever seen a planet anything like ours  —  another Earth orbiting another star.”

They can keep on searching and they never will.  Our planet is as unique as its people, because it was created by the Creator!  Do you realize how special you are?  Have you ever thought about your awesome uniqueness?  No one in history has ever been born with your fingerprint.  No one has ever had your unique voice print.  Your eyes are so individual that technology can now identify us by a retinal scan.  No one has ever been born exactly like YOU!

Our text tells us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made.  This psalm also teaches us that God knows us, inside and out.  He knows everything about us, because He made us.  He knows our thoughts before we think them.  He knows our concerns before we voice them.  He knows our tears before we cry them.  He knows our fears we feel them.  God knows us and He knows everything about us!

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you are special.  It means that you are unique.  It means that you are a wonderful creation of a wonderful creator.  It also means that you have someone to go to when you are down.  You have someone to speak to when you are lonely.  You have some to wipe your tears and remove our fears.  You have a God who made you!

Don’t walk around with your head held down.  You are a child of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords!  You are royalty.  God made you like no one else and He loves you enough to spend time with you.  Are you willing to spend time with Him?

This is Today’s Word.  Apply it and Prosper!

Too Much In Common to Be Uncommon (top of page)

(Ps 113:1 KJV)  Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!

Last night (4 May 03) I went to a Pastor’s Appreciation service for held by the Church of God Servicemen’s Center for their Pastor, Elder Gregory Ransaw.  Several local churches were represented by their Pastors and membership.  The Lord preached a powerful message through my Pastor and the Spirit forged a bond between all of us present and helped us to remember that the Church is God’s Church and that the Church is a Universal Church.  As I looked around the room I saw Koreans, Africans, African Americans, Hispanics, and Caucasians.  I saw young and old, male and female, and several different Denominational backgrounds represented.  We were all there, all uniquely different, but all Universally the same. Last night we did not focus on our differences, but rather on what we have in Common and that is Jesus Christ, the only begotten of the Father!

Our text reminds us of the sweet fellowship found in the unity of believers.  There is a special Anointing that is loosed when we all come together and realize, like my former Pastor put it, that ‘We Have Too Much In Common, to be Uncommon!

So what does this mean to you today? The message is short and simple.  If you are a Born-Again believer, then you are a member of a Universal Church.   Bigger than Catholic, Baptist, Presbyterian, or Holiness; bigger than Black, White, Hispanic, or Asian; bigger than male or female; you are a member of God’s global and Universal Church!  Why is this important?  It is important because we can find comfort in knowing that no matter where we are in the world, no matter where our Christian journey takes us, no matter how hard the road may be  —  We are NOT in this race alone!

You have brothers and sisters all around the world.  You have brothers and sisters right there in your workplace, in your community and in your church.  Loneliness is one of the greatest weapons of the enemy.  Many of us in the military know what it is like to spend long periods away from our families.  Loneliness can come in to our hearts and attempt to destroy us.  If you are lonely this morning, if you are down, if you are frustrated, remember that you are part of the largest and greatest family in the world.  You can find comfort in knowing that you are not running this race alone!

This is Today’s Word.  Apply it and Prosper!

Earthly License for Heavenly Interference (top of page)

(Gen 1:26a KJV)  And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over…

While on vacation (July 2003) I have been reading a book entitled “Understanding the purpose and power of Prayer  —  Earthly license for heavenly interference” by Dr. Myles Munroe.  This book is tremendously power-packed and I felt led to share with you what he says about our text for this morning, that lays that foundation for the book.  In reference to our text, he says, “Please note, He did not say, “Let us,” but rather, “Let them.”  With this statement, God created seven primary laws:

1.  The legal authority to dominate earth was given to mankind only.
2.  God did not include Himself in the legal authority structure over the earth.
3.  Man became the legal steward of the earth domain.
4.  Man is a spirit with a physical body, therefore, only spirits with physical bodies can legally function in the earth realm.
5.  Any spirit without a body is illegal on the earth.
6.  Any influence or interference from the supernatural realm on the earth is only legal through mankind.
7.  God Himself, who is a Spirit, without a physical body, made Himself subject to this law.

Dr. Munroe then says that the following are the results of these laws:

1.  The legal authority on the earth is in the hands of human kind.
2.  The Creator, because of His integrity, will not violate the law of His Word.
3.  Nothing will happen in the earth realm without the active of passive permission of man, who is its legal authority.
4.  The Creator and heavenly beings cannot interfere in the earth realm without the cooperation or permission of mankind.
5.  God must obtain the agreement and cooperation of a person for whatever He desires to do in the earth.

Having said all of that, He says, “Prayer is man giving God the legal right and permission to interfere with earth’s affairs.”

So what does this mean to you today? It means that if you are a Born-Again believer, you have access to the supernatural in prayer.  You have dominion on the earth and have the confidence that can come to the Father in the name of Jesus, in prayer.  You do not have to go through this day alone.  You can have protection, power, and peace.  You can have serenity, stability, and strength.  Are you ready to give God earthly license for heavenly interference?

This is Today’s Word.  Apply it and Prosper!

The Power of the Pipe (top of page)

(John 14:24b NIV)  These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

As we continue to walk through John’s Gospel we see that Jesus is still teaching about His impending departure and the wonderful  —  soon to manifest  —  gift of the Holy Spirit.  He makes another statement about “obedience” and how our obedience unlocks the flow of God’s love and favor upon our lives.  He then says this, “These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.”  Jesus explained that He was a conduit through which the Father spoke.  He was the container, but the Father was the content.  Jesus was our ultimate example and He was used on the earth to manifest the Glory of God.

So what does this mean to you today? A lot, but let’s just look at two things:

1.  Manufacturer vs. Distributor:  Just as Jesus did not manufacturer His words, neither are we required to, as it relates to ministry.  Have you ever come in contact with someone who really needed Jesus, but you did not know what to say?  Have you ever seen someone you really needed encouragement, but you could not find the words?  The blessing is in the fact that you don’t have to come up with the words to say.  God has given us, as Born-Again believers, His precious Holy Spirit.  We can pray and ask the Holy Spirit to use us as He used Jesus  —  to bless others through us.  We are not the Manufacturers, but rather the Distributors of God’s Word and God’s Grace.  Is there someone in your office today that needs a few words from God?  Is there someone in your family that’s needs a word of encouragement?  Pray and ask God to manufacture a blessing so you can distribute it to them!

2.  Author vs. Orator:  When you pray and God manufacturers the words to say and you distribute them to His people for His glory, leave it at that.  If they don’t receive it, they are not denying you, they are denying Christ.  You are not the Author, but rather just the Orator.  They are not your words and you don’t have a heaven or hell to put anyone in anyway.  Simple say what God told you to say and move on.  Allow God, who is the Author, to do the Work, behind His Words!  So don’t be afraid to be used as the Orator for the Author, if they reject the Words, they are rejecting God.

Finally, this is the “The Power of the Pipe!” Picture yourself as a pipe connected to God.  He is the source of water.  Water in this illustration is the blessing.  As you allow God to use you, He wets the people through YOU!  God has the water, but He needs the pipes to channel His blessing on the earth. Are you willing to be used as a Pipe today?  Oh Yeah!  One last thing about this pipe.  The Power of the Pipe is that the water cannot pass through the Pipe, without the Pipe getting wet!  When God blesses others through you, you also get blessed.  Are you ready to get wet?

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Power of the Blood (top of page)

(Heb 9:22 NIV)  In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

This is a story I received from one of my Sister’s about the Blood of Jesus.  “One night in a church service, a young woman felt the tug of the God at her heart.  She responded to the call and accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior.  The young woman had a very rough past, involving alcohol, drugs, and prostitution.  But the change in her life was immediate and evident.  As time went on she became a faithful member in the church.  She eventually became involved in the ministry, teaching young children.  Not long after, this faithful young woman caught the eye of the pastor’s son.  The church began to argue and fight about the matter.  Finally they decided to have a meeting.  As the people made their arguments, and tensions increased, the meeting got completely out of hand.  The young woman became very upset about all her past being discussed and began to weep.  The pastor’s son stood to speak.  He couldn’t bear the pain this was causing his wife-to-be.  He said, “My fiancée’s past is not what’s on trial here.  What you are questioning is the ability of the blood of Jesus to wash away ALL sins.  Today you put the blood of Jesus on trial.  So, does it wash away ALL sins or not?  The church then began to weep.

Forgiveness is a foundational part of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  If the blood of Jesus does not cleanse the other person completely, then it cannot cleanse us completely.  “What can wash away my sins?  Nothing but the blood of Jesus.  What can make me whole again?  Nothing but the blood of Jesus!”

The story is good and applicable.  In the story, however, the question is raised as to whether or not the blood of Jesus can wash away ALL sins (plural).  Oswald Chambers, I believe, said it best.  He said that Jesus’ blood delivers us from the curse of SIN (singular) not just our sins (plural).

So what does this mean to you today? A few things:

1.  Don’t allow people to judge your future by your past.

2.  When God said we were NEW (2 Cor 5:17), He meant it!

3.  When you were Born-Again, you got a new chance, a new outlook, a new Life!  Use it for God’s glory!

4.  Yesterday ended last night.  You can’t change the past, but your decisions today will shape your destiny!  Make today count.

5.  When God says you are forgiven, you also need to accept His forgiveness in your heart.  That way, no matter what people say, you know who and whose you are!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Transformers, More than Meets the Eye (top of page)

(II Cor 4:18 MSG)   There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.

This morning I feel led to share a message from a scripture my Pastor mentioned in her message yesterday.  About this text.  She said, “There is more to you than what you see.”  She then had us to look at our neighbors and say, “Neighbor, there is more to me than what you see!

This immediately reminded me of the popular cartoon series, the Transformers.  I remember watching it after school as a kid and I enjoyed their slogan, “Transformers, More than Meets the Eye!  Transformers, Robots in Disguise!”  The point was than the robots were disguised as every day vehicles (trucks, cars, planes, etc.).  The power of the transformer was not in what you could naturally see, but what their real identity was and what they would transform into.

No doubt you got up this morning and looked at yourself in the mirror.  There were some things that you liked and some things that you did not like.  The things you did not like, you attempted to change.  What  you were looking at, however, is not all there is to YOU!  Our text tells us that there is far more than meets the eye.  Our body is temporal, our Spirit is eternal.

So what does this mean to you today? How much time do you spend at the hairdresser?  The barber shop?  The nail salon?  The spa?  How much time do you spend at the gym?  Think about that for a minute.  If you spend this much time trying to work on something that is temporal, how much more effort should you put into the eternal?  When is the last time you had a spiritual ‘touch up?’  When is the last time you had a good spiritual ‘work out’ with God?  Bodily exercise is OK and somewhat necessary, but let’s never forget that there is much more to us than meets the eye!  Our focus should be on developing towards spiritual maturity, so that God can get the glory out of our lives.  What has your focus been?  What should your focus be?

One last note: be careful how you treat people today  —  there is much more to them than meets the eye!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

God’s Mixing Bowl (top of page)

(Rom 8:28 NASB)  And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

Our walk with God is always better viewed in reverse.  When the unexpected happens we often times surrender to mixed emotions wind up upset.  After the initial shock, however, many of us then realize that God is still in control and although we don’t know why, we know who!

I was out of town last week and was so looking forward to coming home and seeing my wife.  I missed my connecting flight in Dallas to come home.  I did not think it a big deal until I was informed that it was the last flight for the evening.  I began to question God.  All I wanted was to see my wife.  After getting over the initial emotions, I prayed and God reminded me of this verse.  Once He spoke to me I knew that He was in control (as if He wasn’t the entire time).

I had to spend the night in Dallas anyway and after getting a room, my wife drove up and we had a great time and I am thankful to God that I missed the flight.

So what does this have to do with you today? Unexpected things happen.  Maybe today or maybe tomorrow, but for sure, they will happen.  We can find comfort in knowing that God causes all things, the seemingly good and bad, to work together for our good.

Have you ever heard the phrase “you don’t want to be in the kitchen when the cake is being made?”  This is what this text makes reference of.  God takes experiences in our lives like ingredients in the mixing bowl.  It may look like a mess to everyone but the baker, but He knows what He is doing.  After mixing everything up, He carefully places in the oven (the fire) for a predetermined time.  To take it out a few minutes early may mean it will collapse and a few minutes too long and it will overcook.  No, the baker knows how long to leave it in and how high to set the fire.

Thank God for ever situation and know that He is making something special out of you.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Trusting God for One More Step (top of page)

(Ps 119:105 MSG) By your words I can see where I’m going; they throw a beam of light on my dark path.

Happy New Year!  By the grace of God we have crossed over from 2003 to 2004 and we are still in the land of the living.  The theme the Lord gave my Pastor for our Ministry for this year is “Much More in 2004!”  The theme for Today’s Word for this year is “Knowing God More in 2004!

We had several ministers to share God’s Word with us during our Watch Night (New Year’s Eve) worship.  Evangelist Michelle James said something that stuck with me.  She said, “You trust who you know.”  I am convinced that it is God’s desire that we Trust Him.  Many, however, fail to trust Him because they do not know Him.  Our focus this year will be to come to Know God More and hence move towards total Trust and dependence in Him.  Thank you in advance for taking the journey with me towardsKnowing God More in 2004!

Our first message for the first Monday morning of the New Year is “Trusting God for One More Step.”  The author of the text is David.  He wrote this before electricity.  There were no street lights, nor vehicular head lamps.  Most evening light either came from the stars or from candles.  David had to often times travel through the desert in the evening.  When it was dark, it was really dark; especially if the moon was not clear.  The desert posed many possible dangers.  There were snakes, scorpions, holes, etc. that could stifle any evening journey.  This is why many used what were referred to as ‘ankle lamps.’  These were basically a leather strap with a holding device for a candle and something to protect the flame.  The user would tie them around their ankles (on the outside), light them, and endeavor to journey out into the evening.  These small candles could not light up the entire path, but they could provide enough light to see around your “Next Step!”  Picture this, you take one step with your right foot.  As you look down, the candle shines enough light for you to safely take “One More Step.”  When you get your left foot down, the candle shines enough light for you to safely take “One More Step.”  And so on.  You repeat this process until you get to your destination.  You could not see down the road, but you could see enough to take “One More Step!”

So what does this mean to you today? The text says that God’s Word becomes that light for our dark path.  God’s Word provides us the instruction, direction, and inspiration required to take “One More Step!”  We may not see what is down the road for October, November, or December or 2004; but with God’s Word – Day by Day – we will have enough light to take “One More Step!”  Step by Step, we will get there.

Can you trust God for One More Step?  Can you trust God to take you through this Monday morning as you begin your journey through this New Year?  If you trust God for where you are, He can take you to where you need to be.

Trust God for One More Step!  The same God that kept you through 2003, will continue to bless you in 2004; but simply Much More!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!